071 白居易 – 長恨歌
071 BAI Juyi – A Song of Immortal Regret
英文翻譯 / English Translation﹕
Tang Emperor Xuanzhong lusted after a beauty worthy of taking a country to war for,
For so many years of his reign, unfulfilled his wish remained.
There was a Yang family whose daughter had come of age,
She was well kempt in her boudoir unknown to the social scene.
Yet her natural beauty had spelt her destiny that could not be forsaken,
Into the palace she did go and by the Emperor's side she was received.
As she turned her head, one smile enchanted all,
Outshining all women in the Palace who in comparison had their colour lost.
In spring chill, the Emperor bestowed on her a bath in the Splendid Pond,
A natural thermal spa with salubrious waters to her milky skin cleanse;
A maid helped to support her lady-like delicacy,
Thus began the Emperor's adoration of this fair lady.
She had a florid face and cloud-soft hair adorned with glittering golden beads that swayed,
Behind bedchamber curtains painted with lotus, springtime passion was in play;
Springtime passion made speed of night and in no time the sun had risen high,
The Emperor stopped attending the morning assembly on state affairs.
Pleasing the Emperor and accompanying him at banquets took up all of her time,
Springtime is for garden wayfaring and the night-time for bedchamber private affairs.
The Emperor's beauty mansions held three thousand fair ladies,
Whom the Emperor could have adored but he chose to dote on Lady Yang alone.
In her gilded chamber she prepared for the Emperor's night entertainment,
After a banquet on a majestic pavilion she'd waver down in sensual high.
All of her brothers and sisters were awarded with prominent official titles,
All the power and glory because of her on one family fell.
Hence all fathers and mothers of the world,
Would rather than boys girls bear and raise.
The Li Palace soared into the sky among clouds,
From there heavenly music drifted in the wind far and wide.
Soothing singing and amatory dancing intertwined with strings and pipes,
The Emperor indulged day and night ever wanting more.
Until suddenly war drums from Yuyang had the capital's earth quaking,
Sprung out of tune was Lady Yang's dance in the Rainbow Dress and Feather Robe.
The revolt stormed near bringing smoke and dust to the palace towers,
The Emperor decided to south-west retreat with his cavalry of tens of thousands.
The Emperor's coach with a jade flower flag made way and stops now and again,
West of the capital for mere tens of miles they rode;
Then the army refused to continue course, the Emperor in dilemma had to consent
To the now wailing Lady's execution at once in front of horses for all to see.
Strangled she was, her bejewelled hair pieces were left scattered on the ground,
Jade and golden ornaments that used to adorn her hair.
The Emperor could not the fair lady rescue nor bear to watch,
When he did look back, he wept tears that flowed also blood.
The bleakness lingered in the bitter wind storming the yellow earth sky high,
The retreat continued through alpine passes from the Cloudy to the Sword-like.
The foot of the Emei Mountains in the Shu region used to little traffic see,
Yet lacklustre was the feel of the Emperor's flag and daylight appeared weak.
The waters of Shu were blue and its mountains green,
The Emperor however was day after day consumed by the remembrance of love lost.
At his temporary residence, the moon offered nothing but added to his grieve,
The rain and bells at night rang the sound of his heart broken in pieces.
After moving heaven and earth, the Emperor returned in his dragon coach,
Stopping at where his Lady died, unable to move on, long he lingered.
For beneath the soil of the Mawei Slopes must be where his lady lied,
Though her beautiful face of pure jade might have in vain sacrificed.
The Emperor and his courtiers looked on, their collars damp with tears,
Their loosely reigned horses sauntered eastward towards the capital gates.
The palace gardens and ponds were as they had always been in their comeback,
The hibiscus in the Taiye Pond blossomed, the willows in the Weiyang Mansion thrived;
The hibiscus was like the late Lady's face and the willows her eyebrows,
With such scenery, how could the Emperor not be reminded of the Lady's countenance?
How they had seen together the peach and plum blossoms in the spring breeze,
How they had watched the leaves leave phoenix trees in autumn rain.
The Emperor now resided in the south-western mansion full of autumn vegetation,
Where stairs were covered in reddened leaves and no one would come by to sweep.
The operatic circle students' hair had begun to turn grey,
Eunuchs and maids at the late Lady's mansion had aged and faded away.
The palace had a lonely place become, even fireflies of night could not it enliven,
The Emperor's lament would wear a lone candle to its end on sleepless nights.
Night-hour gongs gonged the start of long nights,
Starry light lighted so bright resembling daybreak time.
Palace roof figurines of mandarin ducks were covered cold in heavy frost,
With whom could the Emperor share the now warmth-lacking kingfisher feather quilt?
In a daze, the passing of the late Lady had been a year in time,
Yet her spirit never once the Emperor's dream entered for a rendezvous.
A Taoist priest from Lingqiong of the region of Shu,
Claimed to with his sincere and pure faith dead spirits reach;
As the Emperor seemed forever engrossed in the remembrance of the late Lady,
The priest was summoned to seek attentively for her spirit.
In lightening speed he glided in thin air and navigated the clouds,
He searched everywhere in the sky and on the earth but failed to her spirit find;
He exhausted all avenues in heaven and the nether world,
Boundless and vast as they were, he could not her existence bring to light.
Then he heard of tales of a celestial mountain in the sea,
That lay in the mid of misty nowhere.
In the mountains amongst clouds of rainbow colours existed delicate architecture,
And there lived many beautiful fairies.
Of them there was a fairy named True Faith, same as the late Lady,
With whom the fairy shared much similar snow-white skin and flowery face.
The priest came to the gate of the golden West Hall to knock on a door of jade,
And asked the heavenly maid and matron to their fairy lady notify.
Upon hearing the arrival of the Emperor's envoy,
The Lady resting behind her canopy of nine flowers was startled and aroused;
She pushed aside her pillow to get dressed, then she hesitated and paced,
Surrounded she was by veils of golden beads and silvery mirror panes.
Her luxuriant mane was lopsided from having just woken up,
She came to the main hall with her crooked laureate unadjusted.
Her clothes and sleeves were fluttering in the breeze,
It was like a scene from the Lady's dance of the Rainbow Dress and Feather Robe.
Her beauty is marred by loneliness with her tears in streams,
Muck like a pear flower blooming after the rain.
She gazed at the priest in silence to her gratitude to the Emperor convey,
Since parting they could not each other's voice hear nor visage behold.
Their warmth and love were left behind in the Mansion of Morning Sun,
Her days in the fairy court were long and indefinitely prolonged was time.
When she looked back to the temporal world,
She could not see Changan the capital but dusty and misty skies.
What remained of the bygone days were two keepsakes,
A jewellery casket and a golden hairpin for the priest to the Emperor take.
One half of the hairpin and one tray of the casket she would keep,
Breaking the pin and the box into parts;
She hoped the Emperor's love would be as unflinching as their pledge,
So they could be reunited in heaven or on earth in another life.
Upon bidding farewell to the Emperor's emissary she reminded him repeatedly,
To relay to the Emperor a poem wherein contained their secret oath,
Once on the seventh night of the seventh moon in the Hall of Eternity,
When no one was around they whispered words of love in the depth of night:
"In heaven above let us be one-winged birds and only in pairs fly,
On earth let us be neighbouring trees with our branches intertwined."
Yet even if eternal heaven and earth ever had an end,
Never-ending would be this couple's immortal regret.