More Translations from the Chinese

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Translations by Arthur Waley

  1. A HUNDRED AND SEVENTY CHINESE POEMS
  2. MORE TRANSLATIONS FROM THE CHINESE

MORE TRANSLATIONS FROM THE CHINESE

BY

ARTHUR WALEY

NEW YORK

ALFRED · A · KNOPF

MCMXIX


COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY ALFRED A. KNOPF, Inc.

PRINTED BY THE VAIL-BALLOU CO., BINGHAMTON, N.Y. ON WARREN’S INDIA TINT OLD STYLE PAPER
BOUND BY THE PLIMPTON PRESS, NORWOOD, MASS


CONTENTS

PAGE
Introduction9
Ch‘ü Yüan:—
The Great Summons13
Wang Wei:—
Prose Letter23
Li Po:—
Drinking Alone by Moonlight27
In the Mountains on a Summer Day29
Waking from Drunkenness on a Spring Day30
Self-Abandonment31
To Tan Ch‘iu32
Clearing at Dawn33
Po Chü-i:—
Life of Po Chü-i35
After Passing the Examination37
Escorting Candidates to the Examination Hall38
In Early Summer Lodging in a Temple to Enjoy the Moonlight39
Sick Leave40
Watching the Reapers41
Going Alone to Spend a Night at the Hsien-Yu Temple42
Planting Bamboos43
To Li Chien44
At the End of Spring45
The Poem on the Wall46
Chu Ch‘?n Village47
Fishing in the Wei River50
Lazy Man’s Song51
Illness and Idleness52
Winter Night53
The Chrysanthemums in the Eastern Garden54
Poems in Depression, at Wei Village55
To His Brother Hsing-Chien, Who was in Tung-Ch‘uan56
Starting Early from the Ch‘u-Ch‘?ng Inn57
Rain58
The Beginning of Summer59
Visiting the Hsi-Lin Temple60
Prose Letter to Yüan Ch?n61
Hearing the Early Oriole65
Dreaming that I Went with Lu and Yu to Visit Yüan Ch?n66
The Fifteenth Volume67
Invitation to Hsiao Chü-Shih68
To Li Chien69
The Spring River70
After Collecting the Autumn Taxes71
Lodging with the Old Man of the Stream72
To His Brother Hsing-Chien73
The Pine-Trees in the Courtyard74
Sleeping on Horseback76
Parting from the Winter Stove77
Good-Bye to the People of Hangchow78
Written when Governor of Soochow79
Getting Up Early on a Spring Morning80
Losing a Slave-Girl81
The Grand Houses at Lo-Yang82
The Cranes83
On His Baldness84
Thinking of the Past85
A Mad Poem Addressed to My Nephews and Nieces87
Old Age88
To a Talkative Guest89
To Liu Yü-Hsi90
My Servant Wakes Me91
Since I Lay Ill92
Song of Past Feelings93
Illness96
Resignation97
Yüan Ch?n:—
The Story of Ts‘ui Ying-Ying101
The Pitcher114
Po Hsing-Chien:—
The Story of Miss Li117
Wang Chien:—
Hearing that His Friend was Coming Back from the War137
The South138
Ou-Yang Hsiu:—
Autumn141
Appendix144


INTRODUCTION

This book is not intended to be representative of Chinese literature as a whole. I have chosen and arranged chronologically various pieces which interested me and which it seemed possible to translate adequately.

An account of the history and technique of Chinese poetry will be found in the introduction to my last book.[1] Learned reviewers must not suppose that I have failed to appreciate the poets whom I do not translate. Nor can they complain that the more famous of these poets are inaccessible to European readers; about a hundred of Li Po’s poems have been translated, and thirty or forty of Tu Fu’s. I have, as before, given half my space to Po Chü-i, of whose poems I had selected for translation a much larger number than I have succeeded in rendering. I will give literal versions of two rejected ones:

EVENING

[a.d. 835]

Water’s colour at-dusk still white;
Sunsets glow in-the-dark gradually nil.
Windy lotus shakes [like] broken fan;
Wave-moon stirs [like] string [of] jewels.
Crickets chirping answer one another;
Mandarin-ducks sleep, not alone.
Little servant repeatedly announces night;
Returning steps still hesitate.

IN EARLY SPRING ALONE CLIMBING THE T‘IEN-KUNG PAGODA

[a.d. 389]

While many of the pieces in “170 Chinese Poems” aimed at literary form in English, others did no more than give the sense of the Chinese in almost as crude a way as the two examples above. It was probably because of this inconsistency that no reviewer treated the book as an experiment in English unrhymed verse, though this was the aspect of it which most interested the writer.

In the present work I have aimed more consistently at poetic form, but have included on account of their biographical interest two or three rather unsuccessful versions of late poems by Po Chü-i.

For leave to reprint I am indebted to the editors of the English Review, Nation, New Statesman, Bulletin of School of Oriental Studies, and Reconstruction.

[1] “170 Chinese Poems,” New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1919.


CH‘U YÜAN

[Fourth Century b.c.]

[1] THE GREAT SUMMONS

When Ch‘ü Yüan had been exiled from the Court for nine years, he became so despondent that he feared his soul would part from his body and he would die. It was then that he made the poem called “The Great Summons,” calling upon his soul not to leave him.

Green Spring receiveth
The vacant earth;
The white sun shineth;
Spring wind provoketh
To burst and burgeon
Each sprout and flower.
In those dark caves where Winter lurketh
Hide not, my Soul!
O Soul come back again! O, do not stray!
O Soul come back again and go not east or west, or north or south!
For to the East a mighty water drowneth Earth’s other shore;
Tossed on its waves and heaving with its tides
The hornless Dragon of the Ocean rideth:
Clouds gather low and fogs enfold the sea
And gleaming ice drifts past.
O Soul go not to the East,
To the silent Valley of Sunrise!
Next are brought
Fresh turtle, and sweet chicken cooked in cheese
Pressed by the men of Ch‘u.
And pickled sucking-pig
And flesh of whelps floating in liver-sauce
With salad of minced radishes in brine;
All served with that hot spice of southernwood
The land of Wu supplies.
O Soul come back to choose the meats you love!
Roasted daw, steamed widgeon and grilled quail—
On every fowl they fare.
Boiled perch and sparrow broth,—in each preserved
The separate flavour that is most its own.
O Soul come back to where such dainties wait!
Eight and eight the dancers sway,
Weaving their steps to the poet’s voice
Who speaks his odes and rhapsodies;
They tap their bells and beat their chimes
Rigidly, lest harp and flute
Should mar the measure.
Then rival singers of the Four Domains
Compete in melody, till not a tune
Is left unsung that human voice could sing.
O Soul come back and listen to their songs!
Then women enter whose red lips and dazzling teeth
Seduce the eye;
But meek and virtuous, trained in every art;
Fit sharers of play-time,
So soft their flesh and delicate their bones.
O Soul come back and let them ease your woe!
Like the sun shining over the four seas
Shall be the reputation of our King;
His deeds, matched only in Heaven, shall repair
The wrongs endured by every tribe of men,—
Northward to Yu and southward to Annam
To the Sheep’s Gut Mountain and the Eastern Seas.
O Soul come back to where the wise are sought!

[1] The harp.

[2] Yü, T‘ang and W?n, the three just rulers of antiquity.


WANG WEI

[a.d. 699-759]

[2] PROSE LETTER

To the Bachelor-of-Arts P‘ei Ti

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