临江仙.庭院深深深几许How deeply shrouded her courtyard had been
How deeply shrouded her courtyard had been
- to the Tune of Linjiangxian
written by Li Qingzhao （ 1084-1155？）
translated by Gordon Osing & Julia Min
How deeply shrouded her courtyard had been,
the windows clouded with mist, chambers shut.
But see! The tips of willows, plum buds,
and a full Spring returned to the Moling trees,
as if for an aging stranger locked in J.K. City.
Who sings so softly of the moon and the wind,
of getting old too, and cut-off from honors, …
and no one pitying her, pallid and withering,
too glum for the festival lanterns of Spring,
unable to go out in the fresh snow fallen.
According to Another Collection of Li Qingzhao, this ci was composed in 1129, after she had joined her husband in Jiankang, now the city of Nanjing. Before the Lantern Festival（元宵节）, the last day of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), people tried on lanterns to be used the next night. Our poet cannot bring herself to participate; she can't give up thinking about her own and her country's sad retreats before the invading enemy. The sorrow in this, her second Spring in Jiankang, is for her country, not merely on celebrating when the nation is in such dire peril.
l. “Moling” and "J.K.": both Moling and Jiankang refer to the same city which is today’s Nanjing. This is her second Spring there with her husband and she is yet to allow herself to feel at home; she can't, for the sake of her country's trouble.
2. "for the festival lanterns of Spring” try the lamps made to celebrate the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month which is usually in February in the western calendar.
Pinyin and Word -For-Word Translation:
lín jiāng xiān .tíng yuàn shēn shēn shēn jǐ xǔ
tíng yuàn shēn shēn shēn jǐ xǔ ？
yún chuāng wù gé cháng jiōng 。
liǔ shāo méi è jiàn fèn míng 。
chūn guī mò líng shù ，
rén lǎo jiàn kāng chéng 。
gǎn yuè yín fēng duō shǎo shì ，
rú jīn lǎo qù wú chéng 。
shuí lián qiáo cuì gèng diāo líng 。
shì dēng wú yì sī ，
tà xuě méi xīn qíng 。