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生查子 . 年年玉镜台 The jade table mirror at this time every year


生查子 . 年年玉镜台

原作:李清照/朱淑真(存疑)

英译:闵晓红


年年玉镜台,

梅蕊宫妆困。

今岁未还家 (也作‘不归来’),

怕见江南信。


酒从别后疏,

泪向愁中尽。

遥想楚云深,

人远天涯近。


The jade table mirror at this time every year

- to the tune of Shengchazi

written by: Li Qingzhao / Zhu Shuzhen

translated by: Julia Min


The jade table mirror at this time every year

would see her brow wearing the plum flower.

This year it gets bored to find her alone in here;

A mail from River South may seize her in fear.


She’s refrained from wine since parting there,

but can’t hold from falling her running tears.

She could feel clouds over him now gathering,

so far away even the world’s edge seems near.


Appreciation:

This could well be Li Qingzhao’s work. If so, the theme could be much deeper than the plum blossoms and her longings for family reunion. The fear mentioned could be a strong hint about her father’s shaky situation at the Royal Court where the old party and the new party are fighting like dogs and cats right now. And her concern was witnessed later as her father, together with many others following Su Dongpo were been heavily punished and banished far away from the political stage. So the ‘clouds over him’ could refer to the heated power fight well recorded in all history books. We could imagine the depression felt by Yi’an about her family as well as about the fate of Southern Song.


Please also refer to “Fragments from ‘A letter to my dear father-in-law’”(散轶句:上赵挺之.炙手可热心可寒).


Notes:

1. ‘her brow…Blossom’: please refer to her other poem “So Blessed with the Purest Complexion”(香苞素质);

2. A message from River South’: a famous expression from Lu Kai’s poem to his friend from River South ( the rich and beautiful region along the South of Yangtze River’s middle to lower basin.) where he mentioned sending a branch of plum blossoms by the post office; Plum trees bloom during the Chinese New Year. Later it’s often borrowed to express homesickness, so the sight of the plum trees could trigger her longings for her family at this time for reunion. The fear could be a strong hint about her father’s shaky situation at the Royal Court where the old party and the new party are fighting like dogs and cats right now.


Reference:


1.  李清照文集 作者:(北宋)李清照著,刘振鹏https://books.google.com.au/
2   《李清照集笺注》李清照撰,徐培均笺注; 2002年上海古籍出版社


 




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