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  • Gordon Osing and Julia Min

永遇乐. 落日熔金 Again, the Sun’s Melted Gold in a Jade Ring


永遇乐. 落日熔金

原作:李清照 (宋)


落日熔金,暮云合璧,人在何处。

染柳烟浓,吹梅笛怨,春意知几许。

元宵佳节,融和天气,次第岂无风雨。

来相召、香车宝马,谢他酒朋诗侣。

 

中州盛日,闺门多暇,记得偏重三五。

铺翠冠儿,捻金雪柳,簇带争济楚。

如今憔悴,风鬟霜鬓,怕见夜间出去。

不如向、帘儿底下,听人笑语。


Again, the Sun’s Melted Gold in a Jade Ring

- to the Tune of Yongyuyue

written by: Li Qingzhao ( 1084 – 1155?)

old Eng.version: G Osing, J. Min & H.Huang(1991)

Revised Eng. version: Julia Min (2023)


Again, the sun’s melted gold in a jade ring

at dusk, but how come my spirit is all gone?

The willows shrouded in haze, hardly our Spring!

And, here comes the flute Plum Blossoms Falling?

The last day on Lantern Festival, already warm,

Why does one dread, at every hour, a storm?

Friends came for me, in carriages and horses

bedecked with ornaments. Of course I ignored.

 

I recall other days, and better, in Zhongzhou,

a lady at home in her boudoir, toasting the festival,

wearing a cap of inlaid jade, and twisted rolled gold

to snow willows for children, a vision of elegance.

But now, pallid and thin, hair frosted, dishevelled,

how ought she dare to appear for their merriment?

She's best seen not at all, curtained and listening

to their laughter, loud and empty as their talk.



For appreciation:

This ci could be composed in 1150 when our poet was in her late sixties. Feeling like a traveler in a strange place Lin’an, the temporary capital of the new Southern Song, she also had to give up her hope of returning to her homeland in this lifetime. The barbarian tribes from the Jin and the Mongols were simply too violent and strong on battlefields for the Song to reclaim lost states.  It was the Lantern Festival day, and her friends wanted her to celebrate with them, but she couldn’t. All she could do was to recall the grand festivals in Zhongzhou (Kaifeng, Henan Province now), the old capital, and to listen bittersweetly to the laughter and talk of the celebrants.


Notes:

1.     ‘jade ring’: evening clouds circling jade, meaning clouds around the sun;

2.     The flute “The Plum Blossoms Falling”: the old bittersweet tune played with flute was frequently heard at this time of the year when plum trees were in full bloom, and with the weather warmer in this southern town, would shed flowers even earlier. It was our poet’s favorite flower, so the sentiment was felt stronger with the flute music.

3.     ‘hardly our Spring’: ironic remark on her status as an emigrant in a strange land, a strong melancholy over the hopeless return to her invaded homeland for such a reunion festival. The so-called ‘temporary court’ in Lin’an seemed permanent, so again she was criticizing the weakness of the Royal against the invaders.

4.     ‘The Lantern Festival’: the night on the 15th of the first lunar month, 15 days after the Chinese New Year, the last day of the longest festive season;

5.     ‘Zhongzhou’: the old name for Kaifeng, the Song capital (in Henan province today); Chinese describe China as Jiuzhou (nine states), with Zhongzhou in the centre,  meaning ‘the middle state’, or the middle kingdom which has been often misunderstood by the English world.

6.     ‘papers of gold’: ornaments made for children’s hairdo at festival times, paper of rolled gold folded and braided like the leaves of willow strands.


Pinyin

yǒng yù lè . luò rì róng jīn


luò rì róng jīn ,

mù yún hé bì ,

rén zài hé chù 。

rǎn liǔ yān nóng ,

chuī méi dí yuàn ,

chūn yì zhī jǐ xǔ 。

yuán xiāo jiā jiē ,

róng hé tiān qì ,

cì dì qǐ wú fēng yǔ 。

lái xiàng zhào 、xiāng chē bǎo mǎ ,

xiè tā jiǔ péng shī lǚ 。


zhōng zhōu shèng rì ,

guī mén duō xiá ,

jì dé piān zhòng sān wǔ 。

pù cuì guàn ér ,

niǎn jīn xuě liǔ ,

cù dài zhēng jì chǔ 。

rú jīn qiáo cuì ,

fēng huán shuāng bìn ,

pà jiàn yè jiān chū qù 。

bú rú xiàng 、lián ér dǐ xià ,

tīng rén xiào yǔ


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