Sun Sunyi 孫蓀意: “On the Novel Honglou meng” 題紅樓夢傳奇(賀新源)

孙荪意(1783-1818?),原名琦,字秀芬,一字苕玉,浙江仁和人,孙震元女,儒学训导萧山高第室,举人丙曦湖南盐道枚之母。.

On the Novel Honglou meng

Such deep feeling,
Surprisingly willing
To break her heart for him,
To die for him.
She awakens in the Red Chamber and doesn’t see anyone.
The shadows of the curtains blowing in the wind startle her awake,
In vain fresh grief pours like water.
Because there is karma from a previous life,
She throws this life away in a stream of tears of longing.
Let it be called out–
“Frowner” is her name.

Outside Xiaoxiang guan, how much of spring is left?
Set against traces of moss, a mass of fallen blossoms
Dotted with red, a touch of purple.
Drifting, the east wind pities her sad fate,
How her heart cherishes flowers!
Take a crow-beak hoe and deeply bury the flowers.
As she returns to her fairy land, the world of dust is silent.
How does one know whether this resentment can end or not?
I fear that as of old
Her dark eyebrows will be locked in sorrow.

Translation from Ellen Widmer, Beauty and the Book, 146-47.

Listen to Li Kan read the poem in Chinese.

 

The Chinese text of the poem:
題紅樓夢傳奇(賀新源):
情深到如此,
竟甘心,
為他腸斷,
為他身死。
夢醒紅樓人不見,
簾影搖風驚起。
漫贏得新愁如水。
為有前生因果在,
拚今生滴盡相思淚。
憑喚取,
顰兒字。
瀟湘館外春餘幾,
襯苔痕殘英一片,
斷紅零紫。
漂泊東風憐簿命,
多少惜花心事。
攜鴉嘴為花深瘞。
歸去瑤台塵境杳,
又爭知此恨能消未。
怕依舊,
鎖蛾翠。

Notes on the poem

First stanza

Second stanza Xiaoxiang guan is the name of Daiyu’s residence. Hawkes translates it as “Naiad’s House.” This stanza invokes the scene in which Daiyu buries fallen blossoms so that they will not get stained.  The last lines of each stanza invoke Daiyu’s physical appearance: Because her eyebrows are perpetually knotted, she is given the nickname “Frowner,” as we are told in the last line of the first stanza. The last line of the second stanza 鎖蛾翠, which Widmer translates as “Her dark eyebrows are locked in sorrow” invokes her name–the Dai 黛 in Daiyu means dark eyebrows.

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Dream of the Red Chamber by Ann Waltner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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