滿江紅 – A New Translation of an Ancient Chinese Poem

by Zixin Jiang

yuefeibattle

Background

Ngok Fei (1103-1142) was a Chinese general in the Song dynasty. In 1126, the northern Jurchen civilisation invaded the Song dynasty and captured the Song capital Kaifeng and the Song emperor. Ngok Fei led the Song army in wars against the Jurchens and was about to recapture Kaifeng when the reigning Song Emperor Gaozong recalled him, fearing that another military success would lead to the release of the previous emperor. When Ngok Fei returned, he was arrested under false charges and executed.

“Atop the Yellow Crane Tower” was written in 1134, after Ngok Fei had won many victories and the emperor had rewarded him richly in the hope of persuading him to remain in Hanyang. But Ngok Fei would not forget the war and kept asking the emperor to send troops so that he could reclaim the lost land. The Yellow Crane Tower is among the most famous pieces of Chinese architecture and is featured in many ancient songs and poems.

 

“Atop the Yellow Crane Tower”, by Ngok Fei

Toward the central plains I move my gaze

That I might glimpse, beyond the barren haze,

The walls and crowded cities of our land.

Then to another time my mind is swept

When cities flower-strewn and willow-kept,

Adorned with dragon mansions, used to stand.

Bright pearls of all sorts danced around the throne,

Imperial Hill bore rarities unknown

And Daisy Court echoed with reed pipe tunes.

Today that happy picture is no more

As savage horsemen gather at our door

And stir awake foul winds and dusty dunes.

Where are our soldiers? Painted on the swords

Of foes. Where are the peasants? On the floors

Of ditches, piling up to form a rancid heap.

Alas! The hills and rivers stay the same

And in their ancient stations still remain

But for the desolate villages I weep.

When will the Emperor send his strongest guard

That I with them may charge across the ford

To sweep our enemies from the grassy plain?

And then return to Hanyang, where I stand,

My worries gone, in peace to tour the land.

Soaring above, riding the Yellow Crane.

 

《滿江紅 ∙ 登黃鶴樓有感》                 岳飛

遙望中原,荒煙外,許多城郭。 想當年,花遮柳護,鳳樓龍閣。

萬歲山前珠翠繞, 蓬壺殿裡笙歌作。 到而今,鐵騎滿郊畿,風塵惡

兵安在?膏鋒鍔; 民安在?填溝壑。 嘆江山如故,千村寥落。

何日請纓提銳旅, 一鞭直渡清河洛?卻歸來,再續漢陽遊, 騎黃鶴!

***

poetry

The Poor Print

The Oriel College Newspaper. Run by students, with contributions from the JCR, MCR, and SCR & Staff. Current Executive Editors: Tom Davy, Joanna Engle and Chris Hill

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