Ugly Slave

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Ugly Slave
        Xīn Qìjí 1140-1207
(Brushed on a wall on the Boshan Road)

When young 
        I didn't know taste of sorrow.
Loved to climb pagodas,
Loved to climb pagodas,
On high composing trendy tunes
        striving for that taste of sorrow.

Exhausted now
by the taste of sorrow.
Want to tell you... but hesitate.
Want to tell you... but hesitate.
So I just say
the weather's crisp
what a lovely fall day!

 When young, I knew not the taste of sorrow,
 But loved to mount the high towers;
 I loved to mount the high towers
 To compose a new song,urging myself to talk about sorrow.

 Now that I have known all the taste of sorrow,
 I would like to talk about it, but refrain;
 I would like to talk about it, but refrain,
 And say merely: "It is chilly; what a fine autumn!"

Tr. Lu Wu-chi

 In days when I was young and didn't know the taste of sorrow 
     I like to climb the storied tower,
     I like to climb the storied tower;
 To write the latest odes I forced myself to tell of sorrow.

 Now that I understand the taste of sorrow altogether
     I would like to tell, but stop,
     I would like to tell, but stop;
 Instead I say, 'What a cool day! Such lovely autumn weather!'

Tr. A. Ayling & D. Mackintosh

Chǒu Núér
Xīn Qìjí 1140-1207
(Shū Bóshān Dàozhōng Bì)

Xiàonián bùshí chóuxīwèi.
Àishang cénglóu,
Àishang cénglóu,
Wèi fù xīncí qiáng shōu chóu.

Érjīn xiě shí jìn chóuzīwèi.
Yù shuō hái xiū,
Yù shuō hái xiū,
Yù dào tiān liáng hǎoge chóu.
Translator: Dongbo 東波

Three translations of the same poem. This poem was written while Xin Qiji was in seclusion by Dai Lake in Jiangxi Province. It is a 詞 Ci, song-poem, written to the meter of a long lost song by the name Ugly Slave.

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