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  • Gordon Osing and Julia Min

孤雁儿 .藤床纸帐朝眠起 Rising at dawn alone in my small rattan bed

孤雁儿 .藤床纸帐朝眠起

原作: 李清照( 12世纪北宋)

旧版英译:戈登.奥赛茵, 闵晓红, 黄海鹏(1991)

新版及赏析: 闵晓红(2023)















Rising at dawn alone in my small rattan bed

--to the tune of “The Lonely Goose”

written by Li Qingzhao (12th AC, social name 'Yi'an')

old En. trans. by G. Osing, J. Min & H. Huang (1991)

new trans+ annot. by Julia Min (2023)

Rising at dawn alone in my small rattan bed

covered in the silkworm cocoon paper net,

I’m already lost for words in gloom and despair.

The eaglewood is finished in the jade burner,

my heart feels as cold as the water of winter.

And here comes the flute music Plum Blossoms,

until then, so real seems the new sensual spring!

The wind’s delivering a steady down-pouring,

to match my tears, -- this is just my morning!

Like the flute player who had been long absent,

my love’s gone forever from our happy pavilion,

leaving behind a tender heart nowhere to recline.

Why I still carefully picked this branch of spring,

to whomever to send now, earth and heaven?!


This ci was, of course, composed upon the unexpected death of her beloved husband Zhao Mingcheng. The last gesture in the poem refers to the story in the South Dynasty (420-589) when a man named Lu Kai sent a branch of plum blossoms from the lower reaches of the Yangtse River to his best friend in the capital in Chang’an (today’s Xi’an), a spring greeting sent in a poem with the expression “ a branch of Spring”.


l. “Plum Bed” :a bed made of rattan with a net made of silkworm cocoon paper, very popular among the literati of the gentle class in the Song. Plum blossoms is the theme with freshly picked branches in the vase or painted on the net or in the paintings hung on the wall behind, often accompanied with small bookshelves, incense burners in the room.

2. "the flute player" : From a story in The Old fairy Tales, in which there was a man who played the flute wonderfully well that even peacocks and white cranes came to him when he played. Lord Qin Mu married his daughter to him. Often the young couple produced the beautiful music on phoenix and birds. So well they sang together that one day their song carried them both off into heaven, the lady on a phoenix, the groom on a dragon. Yi'an referred to the story here to imply her tragic separation with her husband who had just died on his way to a new post.


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