Category: Poems by – 蔡琰 [文姬]

胡笳十八拍 13,14,15 (东汉) 蔡琰 [文姬]

Eighteen Refrains on Tartar Pipes 13,14,15 Cai Yan [Cai Wenji] (ca. 177-?)
Tr. YK Chan 陈耀国译

13
不谓残生兮却得旋归,抚抱胡儿兮泣下沾衣。
This late in life my successful repatriation is not expected,
My blouse’s wetted by tears as my Tartar sons are hugged tight.

汉使迎我兮四牡腓腓,号失声兮谁得知?
With the Han emissary and a four-horse-drawn carriage standing by,
Wildly I wail but who cares even when my wailing voices die?

与我生死兮逢此时,愁为子兮日无光辉,焉得羽翼兮将汝归?
In life-death departure, grieving for my boys the sun shines no more; return them not to me before they grow up?
一步一远兮足难移,魂消影绝兮恩爱遗。
A step farther away from them my feet cannot move,
Though their images are disappearing, my love for them is not remov’d.

十有三拍兮弦急调悲,肝肠搅刺兮人莫我知。
At thirteenth refrain the tempo accelerates and melody turns grave,
No one but me know that I fall apart into an abysmal cave.

14
身归国兮儿莫之随,心悬悬兮长如饥。
Repatriated without my sons for upbringing,
My heart forever starves of all my longings.

四时万物兮有盛衰,唯我愁苦兮不暂移。
Everything thrives or dies according to the seasons,
But my sorrow and bitterness never waive with reasons.

山高地阔兮见汝无期,更深夜阑兮梦汝来斯。
In this whole wide world we’ll ne’er meet again,
Late at night in my dream you two come to me again.

梦中执手兮一喜一悲,觉后痛我心兮无休歇时。
Dreaming of holding your hands I’m split between joy and grief,
Awake my heart pangs never stop to offer me relief.

十有四拍兮涕泪交垂,河水东流兮心是思。
By fourteenth refrain my sobs and tears mingle,
Like a stream flowing east my thoughts tingle.

15
十五拍兮节调促,气填胸兮谁识曲?
The tempo accelerates at fifteenth refrain,
Who’d recognize sulking and anger sound like twain?

处 庐兮偶殊俗,愿得归兮天从欲。
Staying in Tartar camp at odds with their custom,
Heaven grants my wish of returning home I fathom.

再还汉国兮欢心足,心有怀兮愁转深。
Repatriating to Han I’m gladly satisfied,
But sadness in my heart is intensified.

日月无私兮曾不照临,子母分离兮意难任。
The sun and moon shine all over but not on me,
For I can’t bear being separated my sons from me

同天隔越兮职商参,生死不相知兮何处寻?
Under the same sky yet we can ne’er meet,
About each other’s well being where to seek?

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胡笳十八拍 10, 11, 12 (东汉) 蔡琰 [文姬]

Eighteen Refrains on Tartar Pipes 10, 11, 12 Cai Yan [Cai Wenji] (ca. 177-?)
Tr. YK Chan 陈耀国译

10
城头烽火不曾灭,疆场征战何时歇?
Beacons on the Great Wall are ne’er out at ease,
Will fights on the battlefield ever cease?

杀气朝朝冲塞门,胡风夜夜吹边月。
Day after day killing rampages through the frontier gates,
Night after night gusts whip along moonlit border in haste.

故乡隔兮音尘绝,哭无声兮气将咽。
Isolated from homeland news can’t be heard,
Muted sobs of frustration are swallowed and unheard.

一生辛苦兮缘离别,十拍悲深兮泪成血。
A hard life since my separation from those I love,
At sad tenth refrain my tears turn fast into blood
.

11
我非贪生而恶死,不能捐身兮心有以。
I loathe dying not because I wish to long live,
For good reasons I don’t take my own life.

生仍冀得兮归桑梓,死当埋骨兮长已矣。
Living, so one day to my homeland I’ll return,
If dead, and my bones buried that’s just not a concern.

日居月诸兮在戎垒,胡人宠我兮有二子。
Day in day out staying in war camp what I’ve done;
Tartar spoils me as I bore him two sons.

鞠之育之兮不羞耻,悯之念之兮生长边鄙。
Them I nurture without dishonour,
‘Tis a pity they’re brought up off the border.

十有一拍兮因兹起,哀响缠绵兮彻心髓。
So it starts for the eleventh refrain,
My grief lingers deep inside unrestrained.

12
东风应律兮暖气多,知是汉家天子兮布阳和。
Vernal breezes harmonize in a warming trend,
By virtue of the Han emperor’s grace it tends.

羌胡蹈舞兮共讴歌,两国交欢兮罢兵戈。
Southern Huns celebrate by song and dance,
For the two nations reconcile and lay down their arms.

忽遇汉使兮称近诏,遣千金兮赎妾身。
Han emissary suddenly brings forth the emperor’s mission,
That’s to send handsome monies for my repatriation.

喜得生还兮逢圣君,嗟别稚子兮会无因。
Joyful of survival and meeting the virtuous son of heaven,
But regrets to leaving young sons without good reason.

十有二拍兮哀乐均,去往两情兮难具陈。
At twelfth refrain grief and joy made even,
My mixed emotions are difficult for entailment
.

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胡笳十八拍 7, 8, 9 (东汉) 蔡琰 [文姬]

Eighteen Refrains on Tartar Pipes 7, 8, 9 Cai Yan [Cai Wenji] (ca. 177-?)
Tr. YK Chan 陈耀国译

7
日暮风悲兮边声四起,不知愁心兮说向谁是?
At dusk whining winds on all sides of frontier start,
To whom shall I bare my mournful heart?

原野萧条兮烽戍万里,俗贱老弱兮少壮为美。
By destitute rampart outskirts beacons and tents stretch mile after mile.
The weak and old mistreated but the young and strong held up in style.

逐有水草兮安家葺垒,牛羊满野兮聚如蜂蚁。
Following water and grassland to settle as homestead in tents,
Herding cattle and sheep like bees and ants in open land.

草尽水弱兮羊马皆徙,七拍流恨兮恶居于此。
Sheep and horses driven again when grass and water exhaust,
At seventh refrain I loathe why I reside here and find myself lost.


8
为天有眼兮何不见我独漂流?为神有灵兮缘何处我天南海北头?
If an all-seeing eye is watching why it sees not I’m alone drifting?
If the Almighty keeps order why my world’s upside-down shifting?

我不负天兮天何配我殊匹?我不负神兮神何殛我越荒州?
I haven’t offended the one high above why am I betrothed into a foreign race?
I haven’t neglected the Almighty why am I banished to the wilderness without trace?

制兹八拍兮拟排忧,奈何曲成兮心转愁。
To relieve myself from sorrows this eight refrain ends,
Yet when the melody ends to melancholy my heart tends.


9
天无涯兮地无边,我心愁兮亦复然。
Heaven has no end, earth has no brink,
Melancholy in me is endless also I think.
生倏忽兮如白驹之过隙,然不得欢乐兮当我之盛年。
Life passes suddenly as it is ephemeral and toyed,
Yet in my prime I am not overwhelmed with joy.

怨兮欲问天,天苍苍兮上无缘。
Regretful, I wish to learn from heaven high,
Yet in vast space no reason’s found to confide.
举头仰望兮空云烟,九拍怀情兮谁与传?
Looking far above are just mists and grey,
Sentiments at ninth refrain to whom shall I convey?

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胡笳十八拍 3,4,5,6 (东汉) 蔡琰 [文姬]

Eighteen Refrains on Tartar Pipes Cai Yan [Cai Wenji] (ca. 177-?)

3
越汉国兮入胡域,亡家失身兮不如无生。

Leaving Han Kingdom to enter Tartar territory,
Home lost and body violated I’d rather die than be sorry.

毡裘为裳兮骨肉震惊,羯膻为味兮枉遏我情。
Wearing fur blanket scared me to the bone and flesh,
Stinking sheep taste numbed my feelings to clash.

鼙鼓喧兮从夜达明,胡风浩浩兮暗塞营。
Boisterous drum racket lasted from dusk to dawn,
Wintry winds stealthily through outskirt tents were drawn.

伤今感昔兮三拍成,衔悲蓄恨兮何时平?
Third refrain ends with present grief and the past recalled,
When will my repressed sorrows and frustrations be forestalled?

4
无日无夜兮不思我乡土,禀气含生兮莫过我最苦。
All day all night I yearn for my homeland,
Bitterness I endure more than anyone can stand.

天灾国乱兮人无主,独我命薄兮没胡虏。
In disaster and chaos there’s no one to lead,
So ill-fated only I ended up in Tartar hand indeed.

殊俗异兮身难处,嗜欲不同兮谁可与语?
‘Tis hard to fit into foreign customs,
To whom I tell what I can’t accustom?

寻思涉历兮多艰阻,四拍成兮益凄楚。
‘Tis hard recalling my experiences to be told,
On the completion of the fourth refrain my sorrows grow.

5
雁南征兮欲寄边心,雁北归兮欲得汉音,
I wish my yearning to be delivered by south-migrating geese,
And news obtained from home by north-returning geese.

雁飞高兮渺难寻,空断肠兮思愔愔。
But geese fly high and away I could hardly find,
Broken-hearted I’m muted with thoughts deep in mind.

攒眉向月兮抚雅琴,五拍泠泠兮意弥深。
Strumming the zither at the moon I frown,
Sad fifth refrain denotes meanings profound.

6
冰霜凛凛兮身苦寒,饥对肉酪兮不能餐。
In icy and frosty weather I feel bitterly cold and low,
Though hungry dried meat and milk I can’t swallow.

夜闻陇水兮声呜咽,朝见长城兮路杳漫。
I hear Long River murmuring as if sobbing at night,
At morn Great Wall meandering yonder though in sight.

追思往日兮行李难,六拍悲兮欲罢弹。
Reminiscing the hardship of my long journey hither,
At pathetic sixth refrain I wish not to play the zither.

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胡笳十八拍 1,2 (东汉) 蔡琰 [文姬]

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