072 白居易 – 琵琶行并序
072 BAI Juyi – Ode to a Lady's Pipa Play with an Introduction
元和十年，予左遷九江郡司馬。明年秋，送客湓浦口，聞船中夜彈琵琶者，聽其音，錚錚然 有京都聲；問其人，本長安倡女，嘗學琵琶於穆曹二善才。年長色衰，委身為賈人婦。遂命酒，使快彈數曲，曲罷憫然。自敘少小時歡樂事，今漂淪憔悴，轉徙於江湖間。予出官二年 恬然自安，感斯人言，是夕，始覺有遷謫意，因為長句歌以贈之，凡六百一十六言，命曰〈琵 琶行〉。
In the tenth year of the Yuanhe era, I was demoted to the Nine Rivers region to be a State Inspector's lieutenant. In autumn of the following year, I was seeing off guests at the Penpu ferry terminal, at night I heard someone playing pipa on board a boat, the tune carried a territorial cadence particular to the capital. I asked the musician, it turned out she was originally a performer from Changan, who once studied pipa under master musicians Mu and Cao. Now her youthful beauty has passed, she settled for marrying a trader. I ordered some wine and made a request for her to play a few allegros, after which she seemed aggrieved. She began to talk about the merry days of her childhood, now she was thin and pallid from all this wandering around, adrift in the world. I had been posted to the regional for two years, and I had been feeling self-complacent and contented, yet upon hearing her words, I began to feel I was in exile, I therefore wrote a long lyric for her, a total of six hundred and sixteen words, titled Ode to a Lady's Pipa Play.
英文翻譯 / English Translation﹕
Seeing off my guests at night at the Xunyang terminal of the Yangtze,
Maple leaves and white reed flowers scatter over a green field an autumn scene.
I had dismounted from my horse and boarded a boat were my guests,
We raised our drinks to toast but there was no music to the atmosphere complement;
Inebriated we became but gathered little enjoyment as parting drew near,
By this time, soaking in the vast river waters was a reflection of the moon.
Suddenly from over the waters came the sound of pipa play,
That had me forgetting to home return and my guests reluctant to set their sail.
We followed the melody and enquired, “who plays?”
The performance stopped and hesitating was the reply.
We floated our boat over to request a meeting,
Then we called for more wine and dishes to go with it, and had the lamps rekindled.
It was after many invitations, call after call, before she showed herself,
Even then, she held her pipa close and revealed only half of her countenance.
She picked a few notes as she her pipa strings tightened and tuned,
Evoking a sentimental appeal even before a melody was played.
It was as if every string held suppressed emotions released note by note,
As if recounting her disappointing life that didn't her expectations meet, not even close.
She lowered her head and continue to casually pick and strum,
Emptying out what had been repressed within, her misery and sorrows.
Her was skilled with the strings, be it a light pluck, a slow stroke, a strum or a pick,
Firstly she played the tune, the Rainbow Dress and Feather Robes, then the Little Six.
Like pelting rain, the bass strings give a deep and raucous timbre,
Like a whisper, the treble strings spring a light and gentle tone;
Notes high and low a composition form as she played,
It was like countless beads of large and small falling onto a jadeite plate.
At one time it flowed agreeably like the warble of orioles flitting through flowers,
Then it turned into a seemingly suppressed sob of spring water over a sandy trail.
Frigid seemed the strings uttering notes sounding like springs cold and jolted,
Cold and jolted, it came to a halt.
Muted was the music, yet gloomy was the stillness that had begun to regret manifest,
Right then, no sound could compete with what such a resounding silence could carry.
All of a sudden, it was like an exploding water bottle bursting forth splashes and sprays,
Or like the clanking of crossing swords when the cavalry makes a raid.
At the end of a tune, she gathered the strings in the heart of the pipa in a stroke,
The music from all four strings end on a silk tear of a note.
There was her boat and there was ours, both carrying silence,
In the river waters there reflected the autumn moon brightly aglow.
In her reticence she replaced the pick among the pipa strings,
She then smoothed her clothes to stand up and put on a reserved expression.
She said: “I had my origin in the capital,
My home was in the southern red-light district.
At the age of thirteen, I became learned in pipa,
In the performers' circle, I was the one with top-notch distinction.
At the end of my performance, even music masters would offer their compliments,
With make-up my visage would sicken many a courtesan with jealousies.
Young men of the capital's noble hills would rush before me to riches proffer,
For every tune I played, I received countless pieces of silk and satin.
Many of my hairpins and jewellery fell to pieces as I clapped to the beats as I sang,
My scarlet silk skirt was used to becoming stained with tipped over drinks.
Year after year time went by in cheers as I made my living,
In my neglect, beautiful scenes of the changing seasons had slid by.
One day, my brother was conscripted by the army and my aunt died,
Gone was dawn and arrived dusk, overnight my looks were a thing of the past;
Coaches seldom came by my door to bring any to attention pay,
Being past my prime, I had little option but to marry a trader.
In business, parting plays second fiddle to achievable profits,
Just last month he set off for Fuliang to buy tea.
Leaving me here by the terminal minding the boat.
A bright moon makes the waters seem colder as I stay on board and afloat.
Deep in the night I'd dream of my youthful years,
Sometimes I'd wake up with tears running rusty streaks on my powdered face.”
Her pipa play already had me heaving sighs of lament,
Hearing her account further depressed me deep in grief.
We are both disadvantaged wayfarers of this world,
Must we be acquaintances in order to compassion show as our paths cross?
“As for me, I left the capital last year,
To come to my demoted post here in the town of Xunyang, and fell ill.
Xunyang is remote in location and there is no music around,
All year round I've heard not a note of orchestral sound.
Where I live is close to the Pen River, a damp low-lying area,
Yellow reeds and bitter bamboos around my cottage thrive.
In such an environment what do I have to listen to day and night?
Nothing but blood-weeping cuckoos and howling gibbons.
Be it a flowering spring day on the river or a moonlit autumn night,
I would often take out some wine to drink by myself.
You may ask, aren't there folk lores and local flutes?
Yet harsh and hoarse they seem, hardly music to ears.
Tonight upon hearing your pipa play,
It was like immersing in heavenly sounds enlightening my sense of hearing.
Please decline not, play us an encore,
I shall write for you a poem on your pipa play, an ode.”
She heard me and there long she stood,
Then she sat down, tightened the strings and plucked a tune of rapid movement.
Sad and sombre was the tone, unlike the sonorous melodies of before,
This time everyone there covered their faces to sob.
Among them who shed tears the most?
It had to be a lieutenant of the River State, so drenched in tears was his blue robe.