《離筵》 The farewell feast
Spiritless is the wine which speeds the parting at the farewell feast.
When the time for parting came, ten thousand thousand were my behests.
He said, he would not long be gone, e’er he sent a letter back to me.
Why, then, can I count on my finger-tips that till to-day a full half a year has passed?
In thought of him I weep tears; yet fear that some one may privily spy on me.
Thou loveless man! Why dost thou harden thy heart so wilfully?
Then said I that day and night I would discard thought of thee.
Only I grieve that my soul meets thine in dreams and strives eagerly, eagerly, to embrace thee.
Tell me: how can I be like to that pair of swallows flying side by side?
Aye! They do not fly aimlessly; but in autumn they go and in spring they return;
‘Twit! Twit!’ they whisper loow as they meet among the flowers.
• 《緣慳》Fate the Miser
I grieve that ‘twas nightfall e’er we two were acquainted; well I see fate is a miser.
In the moment we met, we met, we parted; truly I felt my heart burning.
Since the day of our seeing each other was so fair, why was a limit set upon our life together?
To-day the goose-borne missive laments the isolation of two homes.
How could I know in girlhood’s hour that I should sink hitherwards, to suffer the hardship of wanton joys?
Night by night, tho’ paired with a mate, I feel a very loneliness.
In my first remorse, I heard not thy warning, O my prince;
For wishing to pay my flower debts, in mistake I have fallen among men;
And, since I am fallen among men, needst must my eyes be discerning.
Moreover, I must have skill to choose aright.
In this world the number of those who pity flowers has indeed its limit.
But, if a man would prop up a fair flower, then with subtle care must he fence it round.
《花花世界》 The world of flowers
Our world is of flowers, aye! Of flowers. What matter’s it?
Ah! Why need I compass so many a sinful act?
When I see before my eyes those that are plunged in distress, how coldly (think you) does it chill my heart?
Methinks that wanton joy is everywhere all of one kind.
‘Twere better to hold the fast with prayer to Buddha, and go read the Sutras.
So now with one pen-stroke I will blot out the word ‘passion’; then my desires will no more be such rebels.
Let me erase my debt of sin;
Thus I shall avoid loss of chastity and shall not sink down to yonder Sell-Smile Village.
Now morning and evening will I hold the fragrant sticks;
Also I must ever clasp my hands
In prayerful contemplation, penetrating the mask of beauty.
‘Tis my purpose to escape from this sea of bitterness, and straightway win a seat in the Boat of Mercy.
《思想起》 Thought-born desire
In thought desire arises;
Desire arises, then I stifle my sorrow.
I cannot endure to mention that wayward youth;
When first we were acquaint, he said that naught would change his purpose.
Trusting him I said: ‘Heaven is long, Earth old; you and I, we two, will rely each upon the other.’
Methinks that in choice of wit and beauty such as yours, verily I did not judge my lord amiss;
But vainly have I wasted the heart’s passion, which I bore you in former days; since you could thus forsake me.
To-day I do but regret my forlorn life: I dare not regret that you, sir, are faithless.
Yet, if I be a royal flower in the Cassia Garden, why have urchins been suffered to snap my stalk?
You have wronged me: in mid-road you have left me standing, a jilted girl, alone.
If I ask what fate is in store, what destiny was fore-doomed, certes no mention should be made of you and me.
Now half my life is gone, you bid me choose another sweetheart; but it is in no wise easy.
Men when they open their lips call me a blighted willow or bruised flower; no sound fruit will be my harvest-home.
Would that my love could cling round you to the last, deep-rooted as the cypress-tree;
So, when we met in the infernal realm, ‘twould be manifest to my lover’s ken.
Of a surety in the former life my fate had no share in yours, therefore to-day I see myself jilted in mid-road.
Ah! Truly it savours ill.
Why must I still sojourn among life’s vicissitudes?
‘Twere better I died; that in heaven’s sanctuary, far from repining, I might await my lord in the after-life – even then none too late.
《聽春鶯》 The Spring’s Oriole
Whoso is heart-broken dreads to hear the oriole in the Spring-tide.
The oriole’s voice moves men more readily to break their soul in sorrow.
Once radiant spring has come, already of itself it moves men to repine;
O Bird! Art thou then the more resolved with the Spring’s aid to crush my heart?
Men say the bird’s voice may give forgetfulness of sorrow. So I will even listen for a moment.
Think you that man can scarce compare with a bird; or cannot the birds vie with men?
See! He plumes himself on his speech-craft; aye, he speaks in wondrous wise;
Amid lovely scenes, he communes clearly with the spring.
Would that thou, O Bird, couldst in my stead speak a true saying, saying it to yon truant!
But I fear me that, though thou say a word of import and urgency, yet will he feign not to hear.
Would then that my soul could dream itself transfigured, and as a bird fly with thee in his quest!
When I find the truant, I will speak out frankly and hold him to reply.
Ah! Itruly desire is instant.
As I dream still I rest on my pillow.
But had not my dream’s cry awakened me, then as companion had I gone with thee.
《唔好死》 Error in death
唔好死得咁易，要死得心甜。恐怕死錯番來你話點，死得遍添。有的應死佢又偷生。真正生不顧面。有的理唔該死實在死得哀憐。我想錯死與共偷生真正差得好遠。一則被人辱罵，一則惹我心酸。 大抵死得磊落光明就係生亦有咁顯。你睇忠臣烈女都在萬古留傳。自古女子輕生都係情字引線。關頭打破又要義字為先。情義兩全千古罕見。 唔在幾遠，你睇紅樓夢上三姊與及柳湘蓮。
Ye err in yielding to death so easily; death it behoves to die in heart’s sweetness,
Lest dying amiss ye should say, ‘Would we could die once more!”
Some there be that should die, yet they steal life: verily living they regard not their fair fame;
Some there be whose due death is not; their dying is piteous indeed.
Methinks that truly death amiss and theft of life differ full widely.
These suffer insult and abuse of men; those edge my heart with sour sorrow.
Mostly, if a man die pre-eminent and glorious, then even life gives no such lustre.
Look you! The loval minister, the faithful wife, in a myriad ages their story endures.
From of yore, when a girl made light of life, ‘twas ever the word ‘passion’ that gave the clue.
When passion’s bars are broken down, then must the word ‘virture’ be set foremost.
The proof is not far;
Ye see it in that which the ‘Red Chamber Dream’ tells of Sister Teria and of Lau Song-lin.