本帖最后由 fanghuzhai 于 2015-8-29 13:31 编辑

The Eighteen Songs of Cai Wenji

方壶斋 译


When I was born the country was in peace
When I grew up she was like broken cheese
Chaos came down from an unkind heaven
From the unkind earth came this ill fortune
Spears and swords clang on the dangerous roads
In sadness, refugees flock together like goats
In the dusty wilderness the Xiongnu captured a lot
Bending the wills and virtues of those who were caught
Their alien customs I was not fit to face
When evilly insulted I couldn’t argue a case
Now with this alien instrument I play a number
Yet nobody knows of my sadness and anger


The fur coated forced me to be his bed mate
And took me on a journey to his camp gate
My home was thousands of mountains back
Sandy winds blew hard on the no-ending track
His tribe men were fierce like beasts.
Arrogant with armors and armed to teeth
At this second stanza my strings are to break.
Disheartened I sigh at a prospect bleak


We left the Chinese land and entered the barbarian city
How I wished to die now I had lost home and chastity
My flesh shuddered at the bed cover of fur and hide
I loathed the food’s animal smell spreading wide
They beat their drums from evening to dawn
Their camps were bleak in border wind strong
In sorrow and sadness I finished stanza three
When can I pacify the resentment buried in me?


I think of my home day and night.
I am the bitterest soul in sight
When disasters came, my country was lord-less
Yet I alone was ill fated to become captured mistress
Their alien customs are hard to accommodate
No one to talk to and no food to my taste
Looking back at my hardship and suffering
This fourth stanza I am even sadder to sing


When geese flew south I wished to pass on my news
When geese return north I wished to hear Chinese muse
The geese flew high and were lost to my sight
The secrete yearnings set my heart into plight
With eye brows knit, I pluck at the strings
This fifth stanza embodies many meanings


Cold were the ice and frost chilled my body
Hunger couldn’t force meat and cheese on me
At night I heard the weeping river of hometown
The Great Wall appeared distant at the dawn
Thinking of the past, I found hard the journey
This sad sixth stanza I can finish hardly

日暮風悲兮邊聲四起,不知愁心兮說向誰是!原野蕭條兮烽戍萬里,俗賤老弱兮少壯為美。逐t 水草兮安家葺壘,牛羊滿野兮聚如蜂蟻。草盡水竭兮羊馬皆徒,七拍流恨兮惡居於此。

At dust the wind spreaded the sad bugle sound
And my sadness I knew no one to pass around
Deserted was the land and scorched was the country  
The feeble old despised to give the young glory
Following grazing pastures they set up tents
Their swarms of herd were like bees and ants.
When there’s no grass nor water to feed on
They moved and my loathing of it is in this song

為天有眼兮何不見我獨漂流?為神有靈兮何事處我天南海北頭 ?我不負天兮天何配我殊匹?我不負神兮神何殛我越荒州?制茲八拍兮擬排憂,何知曲成兮心轉愁。

Had Heaven eyes why is he blind to my loneliness?
Were gods real why I ‘m deserted to this remoteness?
Heaven I betrayed not why was I matched with an alien ?
Gods I defied not why was I sent to a land so barren?
I composed this eighth stanza to dispel my sorrow
And my sorrow now doubles, which I could never know


Brimless is the sky and endless the earth,
And deep in my heart so is my sadness.
Life’s time is what a horse takes to jump a gap
Yet merriment is not marked on my youth’s map
Resentful, I would like to go and Heaven ask
But reaching Heaven is an impossible task
I look up at the sky what I see is only foggy cloud
The feelings in this ninth stanza to whom can I speak aloud?


The signal fire of the fortress never dies
The field is forever fraught with battle cries
The killing atmosphere shrouds what border town confines
The alien land’s wind blows as the border moon shines
My homeland is so far I hear nothing from there
I cry in muted sound till my breath my sorrows tear
In this tenth stanza my tears become blood sad
My life’s trials come from the experience I had


Not that I fear death and crave for life,
My heart tells me not to forsake the strife.
While living I still hope to return home
If I die any place can be my tomb
Many suns and moons in the barbarian world
My two sons were begotten by the nomad lord
I nursed and taught them despite the shame
And pitied them for carrying a barbarian name
In stanza eleven I thus complain
My heart is slain with lingering pain


With music came the warm east breeze
In spring the Han emperor declared peace.
The minorities gathered to dance and sing
The end of war they came celebrating
The Han sent an emissary to this land
With much gold to ask for my hand
Happy was I to return alive during a sage’s reign
But sighed as it is hard to see my children again


Never imagined my remaining life could see a return home
Holding my children in my arms my tear smeared my robe
The emissary met me, his four stallions plump and restless
Bitterly wept my children, who were now left helpless
Life and death we shared up to this very hour of misery
When could I take you from darkness back to my nursery?
One step farther the other step hard to move
Their figures blurred to whom I left my love
This thirteenth stanza is played fast and sad
None knows how it churns my guts like mad


I returned to my country leaving children behind
Like hunger hurts stomach, they’re oft in my mind
The four seasons bring changes in all the things
The never ending bitterness forever me stings
High mountains and vast earth separate you and me
Only in deep night you enter my dreams quietly
I’m both happy and sad holding your hands
As the dream departs my pain never ends
As I write this fourteenth stanza my tears rain down
My longing for my children is like a river long


The fifteenth stanza now plays a staccato sound
My chest heaves yet none sees the meaning profound
I lived in the barbarian tent and followed alien ways
I wished to return home and Heaven granted my prays
My heart feels content now I dwell on Chinese soil
Yet saudade turns my heart into that of toil
The impartial sun and moon do not favor my chamber
From the separation of flesh I constantly suffer
Our gap is that of two evading planets
And death won’t join us like pieces of magnets


My mind goes blank as I play this sixteenth stanza
My children and I are separated by a distance far
Like the sun and the moon facing each other in vain
I cannot join them, I feel like forever being slain
Facing fragrant grass I forget not my sorrows
Strumming my instrument the music hurts me like arrows
Now I’ve returned home but my children are left behind
Old grudges died only to see the birth of a new kind!
Crying blood I raise my head to appeal to Heaven
For WHAT do I have to suffer from this bad fortune?


At the seventeenth stanza I’m about to weep
My journey was made hard by mountains deep
When I was kidnapped it was my home I missed
When I was returned it was my children I kissed
On the barbarian land leaves and grass were dry
On the battle field the wounded bones met the eye
Spring and summer still cold with icy winds strong
Hunger weakened men and horses on a journey long
I never fancied to enter the Han’s capital
I sighed when I shed my tears on the citadel


This alien instrument came from the alien land
It sounds Chinese as I play it with my own hand
This eighteenth stanza puts an end to my song
The lingering music yet bespeaks my feelings strong
It's Creator's wonder that music has such subtleties
Sad tunes vary with individuals yet share similarities
The Xiongnu and Han are different lands with different ways
Like heaven and earth my sons and I are separated always
My resentment, my anger are beyond the bounds of the sky
The vast universe cannot hold them should it want to try!