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118  The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter  Jan. {27th } 29th 28th 1900 gafu no uchi1 [長干行] Cho Kanko regular 52 Chokan = place {name of town} ko = uta3 = narrative song long—mt. side4 [The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter] [1] [妾 髮 初 覆 額] Sho hatsu shŏ fuku gaku mistress hair first cover brow Chinese lady’s I or my {beginning} My hair was at first covering my brows/(child’s method of wearing hair) [While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead]7 [2] [折 花 門 前 劇] Setsu Kwa mon zen geki break flowers gate front play Breaking flower branches8 I was frolicing in front of our/gate. [I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.] The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter 119 [3] [郎 騎 竹 馬 來] rō Ki Chiku ba rai Second person ride on bamboo horse come masculine, you, young man! lit. “young man” When you came riding on bamboo stilts9 [129] [You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,] [4] [遶 牀 弄 青 梅] gio sho ro sei bai going round seat10 play with blue11 plums {(fruit)} And going about my seat, you played with the blue plums. [You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.] [5] [同 居 長 干 里] Do Kiŏ cho Kan ri Same dwell cho Kan village Together we dwelt in the same Chokan village [And we went on living in the village of Chokan:] [And we went on living in the village of Cho-kan:] [6] [兩 小 無 嫌 猜] rio sho mu Ken sai double small not dislike suspicion “the two” And we two little ones had neither mutual dislike or/suspicion, (no evil thots or bashfulness) [Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.] 120 Cribs for Cathay & Other Poems [7] [十 四 為 君 婦] ju shi i Kun fu Fourteen became lord’s wife your At fourteen I became your wife—[130] [At fourteen I married My Lord you.] [At fourteen I married you, My Lord.]12 [8] [羞 顏 未 嘗 開] sa{hu}13 gan mi jo Kai bashful face not yet ever open Bashful I never opened my face (I never laughed) [I never laughed, being bashful.] [9] [低 頭 向 暗 壁] Tei to Ko am peki lowering head face blank wall but lowering my head I always faced toward a dark wall/ashamed to see anybody—she sat in dark corners [Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.] [10] [千 喚 不 一 迴] Sen Kan fu itsu Kai thousand call not once look back And though a thousand times called, not once did I look/around— [Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.] [11] [十 五 始 展 眉] ju go shi tem bi 15 first time open eyebrows At fifteen I first opened my brows//i.e.//I first knew what married life meant—now she/opens her eyebrows, i.e. smoothes out the wrinkles between/her brows. She now began to understand love, and to be/happy—[131] [At fifteen I stopped scowling,] The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter 121 [12] [願 同 塵 與 灰] Gan do jin yō bai desire same dust together with ashes and And so I desired to live and die with you/even after death, I wish to be with you— /even as dust, and even as ashes—particles together— [I desired my dust to be mingled with yours] [I desired my dust to be mingled with your dust] [13] [常 存 抱 柱 信] Jo son ho chu shin eternally preserve embrace pillar faith I always had in me the faith of holding to pillars [Forever and forever, and forever.] [14] [豈 上 望 夫 臺] Ki jo bo fu dai Why should16 climb lookout husband terrace And why should I think of climbing the husband/looking out terrace, [Why should I climb the look out?] [15] [十 六 君 遠 行] Ju roku Kun en Ko 16 you far go At 16, however, you had to go far away [132] [At sixteen you departed,] 122 Cribs for Cathay & Other Poems {both yen + yo are adj. expressing foaming of water {fearful} {riverside} passing over hidden rocks.}18 [16] [瞿 塘 灔 澦 堆] Ku to yen yo tai name Yenyo- rock of locality {eddy?} (Towards Shoku19 passing through the difficult place of)/Yenyotai at Kuto.20 [You went into far Ku-to-Yen, by the river of swirling eddies,] [17] [五 月 不 可 觸] Go getsu fu Ka Shoku 5 month not must touch23 In May24 not to be touched.//The ship must be careful of them in May. [And you have been gone five months.] [And you were gone for five months.] [18] [猿 聲 天 上 哀] En sei ten jo mei {ai} monkeys voices heaven above sorrowful25 Monkeys cry sorrowful above heaven. [The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.] ⎫ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎬ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎭ The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter 123 [19] [門 前 遲 行 跡] Mon zen chi Ko seki gate front late...


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