Nalan Xingde (1665 -1685, Qing dynasty), a Manchurian Chinese, was a famous lyrical poet. He was also the emperor’s personal body guard. A friend from Toronto forwarded two verses of the above poem to me. I was very impressed with the beauty of his lyrical verses. I took the opportunity to translate this lyric (ci poem) to share with my English readers. I am not Chinese educated, and I apologize for any error in mistranslation. For understanding, you have to read historical references, such as the love entanglement of the Tang emperor and his famous concubine, Yang.

Imprinted at first sight,
What plight would alter life?
Idlers would change mind,
Fickleness was truly blind.
At Lishan, love promised in the night,
Tears rained the bells with blame and spite.
My man in silk, how flimsy and callous!
Liked holding on a helpless twig in solace.

The Chinese version follows, with han yu pin in:

ren sheng mo zhi ru chu jiang

he shi giu feng pei hua shan

Děngxián biàn què gùrén xīn,

què dào gùrén xīn yì biàn.

Lí shān yǔ bà qīng xiāo bàn,

lèi yǔ líng líng zhōng bù yuàn

Hérú bóxìng jǐnyī láng,

bǐyì liánzhī dāngrì yuàn

P/S: The forward mail to me was in in Chinese. Initially, this was my translation for the first two stanza:

1. 人生若只如初見,何事秋風悲畫扇
ren sheng mo zhi ru chu jiang, he shi giu feng pei hua shan
If one could hold one’s first impression of life afresh, one would not be affected by the changing vicissitudes of living; the wind in autumn would be a mere cooling pictorial bamboo hand fan.

image of the poet from the web

image of the poet from the web

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.