江城子 · 密州出猎
Hunting Outside Mizhou
-to the tune of Jiangchengzi
Chinese original: Su Shi ( 11th Century)
English old version: G. Osing and J. Min
English new version: Julia Min (2023)
This old boy is truly young at heart and mind,
A retriever by left hand, a falcon on the right.
In coats of fur and hats of brocade we ride,
Thousands of hoofbeats swept the hills in sight.
I'd shoot a tiger like Sun Quan the heroic archer,
To treat the whole town following me to the site.
My old heart is fearless again, fired with wine.
What does it matter so frost covers my temples high!
When would Feng Tang be sent with the tally
To help this governor who's ready to fight?
Like the full moon I'd pull the bow tight and round.
To northwest, I'd shoot the star of Sirius down!
As the governor of Mizhou ( Nov. 1074 - Nov. 1076), Su Shi and his friends went hunting after their festive tour to a sacrificial ceremony. It is one of the poet's most heroic and robust ci poems with the subject being inspirationally patriotic and dramatically bold and ambitious. The reader might also take note of the poet's breezy pleasure for his success in public leadership, which reveals, in reality and spirit, his optimistic enthusiasm for a devoted official career for the people.
The first stanza is again on the event and the second stanza goes to the theme, his hindsight of the day. The poetic vibes connect with the heroic style, regarded then as a new challenge to the elegant and graceful vibes of the existing solely sentimental ci school, or you may say Su Shi deliberately filled the gap with heroic style, which was desperately needed then during the constant threats from the Huns and the Jin at the west and north borders. The parallel performance of the two styles created a perfect scenario of the yin and yang, evolving to enrich the world of ci, establishing it as a more independently complete writing form distinguished further from the poetry category in literature.
1. Another title of this ci poem is “On Hunting.”“Mizhou” in the title is in today’s Jucheng
County, Shandong Province.
2. 'this old man': referring to himself at the time when he was forty years old.
3. 'Sun Quan': refers to Sun Quan of the Three Kingdoms Period, who was famous for hunting on horseback, especially for his driving off a tiger by throwing his empty weapon in its face in a famous episode in folklore. Like his father, Sun Quan was considered as one of the best archers at the time.
4. 'Feng Tang': the governor of Yunzhong (under Emperor Wen of han) who defeated an invasion by the Huns. When asked to report the tally of enemies killed, the governor exaggerated the number by six and was disgraced and sentenced to heavy punishment,
including the loss of his governorship. Feng Tang, who interceded on behalf of the governor for the return of his post, arranged for a second, true tally to be brought forth and the episode became famous for dramatizing honesty in government. A tally was an order issued by the emperor to generals and envoys. A tally to Yunzhong would be one for the Yunzhong Prefecture in the Han Dynasty, a county in Inner Mongolia today.
5. 'Sirius': the brightest star in the northwest sky from where our poet had the event. It is used here as a symbol for the invaders, mainly the Mongols.
1. Blooming Alone in Winter by Gordon Osing, Julia Min, and Huang Haipeng, published by the People's Publication House Henan Province in 1990 (《寒心未肯随春态》戈登.奥赛茵，闵晓红，黄海鹏) (“Hunting Outside Mizhou"-- "This old boy's truly young at heart at the sight:/My left hand's led by a retriever, a falcon rides my right./In coats of fur and hats of silk brocade we ride, / Thousands of hoofbeats over a low bridge./The whole town's turned-out to follow its governor, watching./When I shot my tiger, the people surely saw heroic Sun Chuan.// Fired with the wine, my old heart became fearless once again. /What does it matter if, truth to tell, frost covers my temples./When will honest Feng Tang come with the tally that saves the governor?/I will pull the bow tight and round as the moon when it is fullest./Northwest I aim; I shoot the invading Tianlang Star.")
2. Other versions for your reference（许渊冲） http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_1534238f70102xgt4.html
Pinyin and word-for-word translation:
jiāng chéng zǐ . mì zhōu chū liè - to the tune of Jiangchengzi (outside Mizhou hunting)
lǎo fū liáo fā shǎo nián kuáng - old man is being in youth's exuberate spirit;
zuǒ qiān huáng ，yòu qíng cāng - left hand lead yellow hunting dog, right hold eagle;
jǐn mào diāo qiú - silk brocade cap marten coat,
qiān qí juàn píng gāng - thousand horses sweep smooth the ridge;
wéi bào qīng chéng suí tài shǒu - to thank the whole city follow the governor;
qīn shè hǔ ，kàn sūn láng - myself shoot tiger, let people see Sun Chuan;
jiǔ hān xiōng dǎn shàng kāi zhāng - heated wine with breast bravery still open;
bìn wēi shuāng ，yòu hé fáng ？- temples slightly frosty, what does it matter;
chí jiē yún zhōng - hold a tally to Yunzhong;
hé rì qiǎn féng táng ？- what day send Feng Tang;
huì wǎn diāo gōng rú mǎn yuè - would draw carved bow like a full moon;
xī běi wàng ，shè tiān láng - northwest looking shoot Sirius Star;