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90  The Beautiful Toilet  (no name) [The Beautiful Toilet18 ] [1] 青 青 河 畔 草 Sei sei Ka han So blue blue19 River bank grass side [Blue, blue is the grass about the river] The Beautiful Toilet 91 [2] 鬱 鬱 園 中 柳 utsu utsu en chu riu luxuriantly20 ″ garden in willow21 spreading like willow [And the willows have overfilled the close garden.]22 [3] 盈 盈 樓 上 女 Yei yei ro jo jo fill ″ storied on girl full house in first bloom of youth23 [And within, the mistress, in the midmost of her youth,] [70] [4] 皎 皎 當 牕 牖 Ko Ko to So yo white24 ″ just window door25 brilliant face26 luminous [White, white of face, hesitates, passing the door.] [5] 娥 娥 紅 粉 糚 Ga ga Ko fun Sō beauty of ″ red oshiroi27 toilet28 face29 (of beni30 ) powder [6] 纖 纖 出 素 手 Sen Sen shutsu so Shu slender slender put forth white originally meaning “blank” or “ground”31 or “not dyed” originally white hand [Slender,32 she puts forth a slender hand,] [71] ⎫ ⎪ ⎬ ⎪ ⎭ 92 Cribs for Cathay & Other Poems [7] 昔 為 倡 家 女 Seki i sho Ka jo in former times was courtesan house girl (did) [And she was a courtezan in the old days,] [8] 今 為 蕩 子 婦 Kon i To shu{i} fu now was {is} dissipated son’s33 wife [And she has married a sot,] [9] 蕩 子 行 不 歸 To shi Ko fu ki dissipated son go away not return [Who now goes drunkenly out] [72] [10] 空 牀 難 獨 守 Ku sho nan doku shu empty bed hard only one keep. alone [And leaves her too much alone.]34 [73] Thefirsttwolines,ofgrassandwillow,express/theconditionofthingsastheyoughttobe/bytheirown nature, according to law.//But the girl is all out of place— /So there is a moral contrast.//This kind of thing is in Shikio, in Kokufu35 —/He transplanted the beauty of the old poetry/into a new form, and made it quite simple/to understand.//This is the inner or deeper meaning of the poem— //But if we read {carelessly}, and look at {mere} form of characters,/then it seems that the grass is blue, and/willow full, is compared to the beauty of/the girl—i.e. harmony, not contrast—see/only a beautiful picture.36 But if one looks/more deeply—will see a great contrast.//That’s the special beauty of Baijo. __________ From format of form and sound, there the/[74] repeating of characters, “yei yei” etc/is taken from Shikio; where it occurs very/frequently.//Studied from this point of view, this poem becomes very interesting and beautiful. The Beautiful Toilet 93 [Excerpt from Fenollosa’s notes on fu, bi, and xing from Mori’s lecture ]37 Notes THE BEAUTIFUL TOILET (100–4225:69–73, MF 3380; Pound’s #52; 古詩十九首其二 [Nineteen Ancient Poems, the Second], Wen Xuan 文選 (李善注), 29:1b–2a, SKQS (source text); anonymous . With Mori & Ariga (see “Editorial Conventions” for an explanation of the ampersand). Pentasyllabic old-style verse (wuyan gushi 五言古詩). Probably dating to the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220), this was one of a series of highly influential series of “Nineteen Ancient Poems” collected in the canonical 6th -century anthology Wen Xuan 文選 (Selections of Refined Literature) compiled by the young crown prince Xiao Tong 蕭統 (501–531) of the Liang dynasty, and annotated by Li Shan 李善 (630–689) in the early Tang dynasty. This poem includes Chinese characters written by Fenollosa himself in black ink with a small brush. Hugh Kenner begins his groundbreaking chapter on Cathay by imagining Fenollosa sitting down with a blank notebook to prepare this lesson: “Now onto four consecutive unruled pages he transcribed the 50 ideographs of a ten-line poem, chosen by Mori to illustrate an historical point” (192). The spacing of the columns, however, indicates that Fenollosa first took all of his penciled notes in English during his lesson, and only afterward copied out the Chinese characters in ink above their respective rōmaji (romanizations). Mori’s “historical point” is that the pentasyllabic line evolved in the Han dynasty (two millennia ago) as an innovative response to the traditional tetrasyllabics of the canonical Shijing 詩 經 (Classic of Poetry) from as early as three millennia ago, including reduplicated binomes (i.e., a twocharacter word composed of a repeated character) and the figurative structures of xing 興 and bi 比 (see note 16). In explaining why Chinese poetry is pentasyllabic (the heptasyllabic line merely adds a two-character head), Mori is answering a question as fundamental as why the primary meter of English poetry is iambic pentameter when Old English prosody is completely different. Of course, one understands why Kenner was more interested in Pound than in the poetic tradition he was working from, but unfortunately the dismissal of...


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