Monday, September 29, 2008

Huang Jingren: At the Year-End, Missing Friends 1

  At the Year-End, Missing Friends
           Huang Jingren (1749-1783 Qing Dynasty)

  In the 44th year of Qianlong Reign (1779), when Huang Jingren had been in Beijing as a low-rank official for a few years, he wrote a group of twenty poems. The first one should be read as an opening piece, which was not addressed to any particular one, while each of the rest was written for a specific friend or teacher.

  No 1 (of 20)
Icy rain flogs the window, and wind snakes in,
Scissoring the flame heart of the lamp into unstable forks.
I try a deep voice on a new poem in the flickering fire from the earthen pan,
To see whether I myself can be moved.
At this hour, to what can I compare my loved friends?
Scattered stars in the morning, wild geese fading at dusk.

The allusion of 拥鼻吟 pinching the nostrils to recite a poem refers to a story in Jin Chronicles. There was a poet called Xie An谢安, whose recitation of poems was very touching. It turned out that he had an ailment of nose, and his voice was quite nasal. Therefore, many people tried to pinch their noses to imitate him. And Ouyang Xiu欧阳修 once wrote a line “one guest pinches his nose to recite the bitter coldness of the poem.” Therefore, the allusion used here is to suggest the emotional power of the poem.

Chinese Original 汉语原诗


  岁year 暮dusk 怀miss 人man
打beat 窗window 冻frozen 雨rain 剪scissor 灯lamp 风wind
拥hold 鼻nose 吟recite 残broken 地earth 火fire 红red
寥few 落fall 故acquainted 人man 谁who 得can 似similar
晓morning 天sky 星star 影shadow 暮dusk 天sky 鸿swan goose

Back-translation into Contemporary Chinese 现代汉语回译

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