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  • Gordon Osing and Julia Min

清平乐 .年年雪里 To Spring! And to all the years together



清平乐 .年年雪里

原作:李清照

英译:戈登.奥赛茵、闵晓红、黄海鹏 (1991)

新改版:闵晓红(2022)


年年雪里,

常插梅花醉。

挼尽梅花无好意,

赢得满衣清泪。


今年海角天涯,

萧萧两鬓生华。

看取晚来风势,

故应难看梅花。


To Spring! And to all the years together

- to the tune of Qingpingyue


written by Li Qingzhao(12th century)

trans. by Gordon Osing Julia Min & Huang Haipeng (1991)

revised trans. by Julia Min (2022)


To Spring! And to all the years together

we toasted her plum blossoms in snow!

now I worry them in my fingers to shreds,

shedding silent tears soaking my chest.


To the end of the world where I am this year,

the temples of my hair evermore grey and thin.

Tonight the north wind the more fiercely tear

our plum trees’ courage to bloom in frosty air.




Appreciation:

Scholars place this ci in the winter of 1129, when the Jin armies pushed further south into the heartland of China. Li Qingzhao had fled south, indeed, all the way to south China. Toasting the plum blossoms was part of the New Year's ritual, that tree being the first to bloom at the Chinese calendar end of winter. The holiday occurs between mid-January and mid-February, so that the first blossoms of Spring can actually bloom in the snow around the first full moon after the winter solstice. Plum blossoms, as in the famous poem of Su Shi, represent pure heart, noble courage, endurance, character, and Confucian virtues.


Notes:

1. "worry them to shreds " etc.: Rolling and wadding flowers in the hand is a habit of ancient women showing their anxieties and fears, a dramatic sign in ancient China.

2. “the end of the world”: originally referring to Hainan Island which is the edge of China’s map by the sea; The idiom is borrowed here to express her strong longings for home lost to the invaders. Lin’an, where she stays now, is in the south east also near the sea.


Reference:

  1. Forever Tonight at my Window 《薄雾浓云愁永昼》trans. by Gordon Osing, Julia Min and Huang Haipeng; Published in 1991 by The People's Publication House, Henan Province. ("To the tune of Qingpingyue/To Spring! And all the years/we toasted her plum blossoms in the snow!/And now i worry them to shreds in my fingers;/my dress is stained by cold tears running down.//To the end of the world! It's come to that this time,/the hairs at my temples ever more grey and thinning!/Tonight the north wind the more fiercely spoils/our honoured plum tree's courageous blossoming!)

  2. pictures sourced from Google


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