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  • Gordon Osing and Julia Min

蝶恋花 . 晚止昌乐馆寄姊妹Writing to my Friends from my Hotel at Chang-le

蝶恋花 . 晚止昌乐馆寄姊妹

作者:李清照 英译:戈登.奥赛茵,闵晓红











Long into the night I sing "Yang-guan's" refrain

(to my Friends from my Hotel at Chang-le)

- To the Tune of Dielianhua

Translated by Gordon Osing and Julia Min

Long into the night I sing "Yang-guan's" refrain,

till my brocade gown by powders and tears stained,

cut off by so much more than rivers and mountains,

rain-showers cover my whispers in seclusion.

In fierce sorrow I go, a heart broken with pain.

I forget which cup this is, or how many I've drained.

Let the flying geese be the messengers we send!

Donglai is not as far as Penglai, that fairy land!


This ci is thought to have been composed in 1120 on her way from Qingzhou to join her husband Zhao Mincheng who became governor of Laizhou. Li Qing-zhao had lived in Qingzhou for over ten years and had intimate friends there. These friends would have followed her out several miles from the town to see her off. She has come to her first night alone in a hotel and it has been raining all night while she passed painfully her lonely hours drinking. It was likely Autumn.


①Iuo yi: The custom would have been for such an aristocratic lady to dress-upfor travel, including the correct fashion in make-up .

②yang quan This song alludes to a familiar tune and poem "Weicheng Tune", by the famous Tang poet Wang Wei:" Weicheng morning rain wets the light dust./ The green willows of the inn are freshening;/ take another cup wine, for friendship's sake./ Once west of Yang-quan, you lose sight of old friends." This poem had been set to music and become a famous farewell song, the last line repeated three or four times. Here the lady, perhaps inebriated or lost in grief at parting, has found herself unable to get that last line out of her mind.

③ "shan you duan": the first "shan "is mountains, of course, but the second "shan", in some editions, reads "shui", rivers, as in the Chinese folk expression "many mountains and rivers of separation".

④"xiao-xiao": Chinese onomatopoeia for the sibilant, whispering sound of rain.

⑤ "guo yan": passing swallows, as in Chinese folklore, in which the birds fly everywhere and thus connect parted loved ones.

⑥ "dong lai" and "peng lai": "Dong lai", as in Laizhou, is not so far to go or send messages, as Peng Lai, the faerie island usually thought to be in the Bay of Bohai, in the north China Sea, that is, somewhere merely sometimes believed.

Pinying and Word -For-Word Translation:

dié liàn huā – the musical tune of this song poem

lèi shī luó yī zhī fěn mǎn – tears wet brocade dress cream powder,

sì dié yáng guān – four repeats of “Yangguan”;

chàng dào qiān qiān biàn – sing for thousands of times;

rén dào shān zhǎng shān yòu duàn – people say mountains high mountains also separate;

xiāo xiāo wēi yǔ bì gū guǎn – endless rain drizzling closed lonely hotel;

xī bié shāng lí fāng cùn luàn -hate to go, sad to leave, heart broken;

wàng le lín háng -forgot it was parting;

jiǔ zhǎn shēn hé qiǎn – wine cup deep and shallow;

hǎo bǎ yīn shū píng guò yàn – please have letters sent by the passing geese;

dōng lái bú sì péng lái yuǎn – Donglai is not like Penglai far away;



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