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300  Fan-Piece, For Her Imperial Lord  [From Giles’s History] Women now begin to appear in Chinese literature. The Lady Pan was for a long time chief favourite of the Emperor who ruled China b.c. 32–6.1 So devoted was his Majesty that he even wished her to appear alongside of him in the Imperial chariot. Upon which she replied, “Your handmaid has heard that wise rulers of old were always accompanied by virtuous ministers, but never that they drove out with women by their side.” She was ultimately supplanted by a younger and more beautiful rival, whereupon she forwarded to the Emperor one of those fans, round or octagonal frames of bamboo with silk stretched over them,* which in this country are called “fire-screens,” inscribed with the following lines:— [Fan-Piece, For Her Imperial Lord] O fair white silk, fresh from the weaver’s loom, [O fan of white silk,] Clear as the frost, bright as the winter snow— [clear as frost on the grass-blade,] See! friendship fashions out of thee2 a fan, Round as the round moon shines in heaven above, At home, abroad, a close companion thou, Stirring at every move the grateful gale. And yet I fear, ah me! that autumn chills, Cooling the dying summer’s torrid rage, Will see thee laid neglected on the shelf, All thought of bygone days, like them bygone. [You also are laid aside.] The phrase “autumn fan” has long since passed into the language, and is used figuratively of a deserted wife. * The folding fan, invented by the Japanese, was not known in China until the eleventh century a.d., when it was introduced through Korea. Fan-Piece, For Her Imperial Lord 301 [Fenollosa’s Draft Translation with Editor’s Cribs3 ] [1] [新 裂 齊 紈 素] new cut (State of) Qi white silk plain silk (lit. “torn”) exquisite white silk Newly torn round white cloth of the land of Sei, [2] [鮮 潔 如 霜 雪] [fresh pure like frost snow] Brilliantly clean like frost and snow. [3] [裁 為 合 歡 扇] cut made into Together- Happiness fan name of a floral design symbolic of its name You have been cut and made into the Symbol of Marriage. [4] [團 團 似 明 月] [round round like bright, full moon] So round, so round, it resembles the luminous moon. [5] [出 入 君 懷 袖] [exit enter you, lord breast sleeve] Going out, and coming in, my lord may keep it in his breast and sleeves. [6] [動 搖 微 風 發] [move wave, shake soft, light Wind produce] In waving motion starting a soft wind. ⎤ ⎥ ⎦ ⎤ ⎥ ⎦ ⎫ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎬ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎭ ⎤ ⎥ ⎥ ⎦ ⎤ ⎥ ⎥ ⎦ ⎫ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎬ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎭ 302 Cribs for Cathay & Other Poems [7] [常 恐 秋 節 至] [always afraid autumn season arrival] But one must {may} always fear the coming of the Autumn Season, [8] [涼 飈 奪 炎 熱] [cool gale, whirlwind4 seize heat; flame heat] When cool storms have snatch away the fierce/fire’s heat. [9] [棄 捐 篋 笥 中] discard abandon, box, case bamboo case inside deposit a box woven of bamboo abandon Then thrown aside, or given away, it may lie in the drawer or a box [10] [恩 情 中 道 絕] [favor passion, love in the midst road, way cut off] Thus condescending love has been cut midway. Notes FAN-PIECE, FOR HER IMPERIAL LORD (Lustra, 52; 怨歌行 [Ballad of Resentment] (四部 叢刊初編,樂府詩集九 42:2b–3a), traditionally attributed to Ban Jieyu 班婕妤 or “Consort Ban” (48–42 bce). Pentasyllabic old-style verse (wuyan gushi 五言古詩) in the Music Bureau style (yuefu 樂府). The poem belongs to the same genre of “palace complaint” (gongyuan 宮怨) as “The Beautiful Toilet.” Pound’s poem was first published in Des Imagistes (The Glebe, February 1914) and later again in Poetry and Drama (July 1914)—but not in Cathay—before appearing in Lustra alongside “Ts’ai Chi’h” (52). It was thus published before Pound started working on the Fenollosa notebooks and is based entirely on the description and blank verse translation in Herbert Giles’s A History of Chinese Literature (London: William Heinemann, 1901), 101, which is the source reprinted here. Even though Pound’s version does not follow the syllabic pattern of the Japanese haiku (俳句), it does have a 7–5–7 word-count per line, and thus seems to have been intended as an English haiku. Fenollosa’s notebooks include a handwritten copy of Giles’s translation (MF 3398) as well as another by W. A. P. Martin headed “Pan Tsi Yu/The Sappho of China” (MS 3385), originally published in “The ⎤ ⎥ ⎥ ⎥ ⎦ ⎤ ⎥ ⎥ ⎥ ⎦ ⎫ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎬ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎭ ⎫ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎬ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎭ Fan-Piece, For Her Imperial Lord 303 Poetry of the Chinese,” North American Review 172, no. 535 (June 1901): 859, and reproduced here for comparison: “Of fresh, new silk, all snowy white. And round as harvest moon; A pledge of purity...


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