長恨歌   Song of Eternal Sorrow
白居易
  Bai Juyi
English Translation by Bynner

唐詩三百首 (Tang Shi)
300 Tang poems



漢皇重色思傾國, 御宇多年求不得。
楊家有女初長成, 養在深閨人未識。
天生麗質難自棄, 一朝選在君王側;
回眸一笑百媚生, 六宮粉黛無顏色。
春寒賜浴華清池, 溫泉水滑洗凝脂;
侍兒扶起嬌無力, 始是新承恩澤時。
雲鬢花顏金步搖, 芙蓉帳暖度春宵;
春宵苦短日高起, 從此君王不早朝。
承歡侍宴無閑暇, 春從春遊夜專夜。
後宮佳麗三千人, 三千寵愛在一身。
金星妝成嬌侍夜, 玉樓宴罷醉和春。
姊妹弟兄皆列士, 可憐光彩生門戶;
遂令天下父母心, 不重生男重生女。
驪宮高處入青雲, 仙樂風飄處處聞;
緩歌慢舞凝絲竹, 盡日君王看不足。
漁陽鼙鼓動地來, 驚破霓裳羽衣曲。
九重城闕煙塵生, 千乘萬騎西南行。
翠華搖搖行復止, 西出都門百餘里。
六軍不發無奈何? 宛轉蛾眉馬前死。
花鈿委地無人收, 翠翹金雀玉搔頭。
君王掩面救不得, 回看血淚相和流。
黃埃散漫風蕭索, 雲棧縈紆登劍閣。
峨嵋山下少人行, 旌旗無光日色薄。
蜀江水碧蜀山青, 聖主朝朝暮暮情。
行宮見月傷心色, 夜雨聞鈴腸斷聲。
天旋地轉迴龍馭, 到此躊躇不能去。
馬嵬坡下泥土中, 不見玉顏空死處。
君臣相顧盡霑衣, 東望都門信馬歸。
歸來池苑皆依舊, 太液芙蓉未央柳;
芙蓉如面柳如眉, 對此如何不淚垂?
春風桃李花開日, 秋雨梧桐葉落時。
西宮南內多秋草, 落葉滿階紅不掃。
梨園子弟白髮新, 椒房阿監青娥老。
夕殿螢飛思悄然, 孤燈挑盡未成眠。
遲遲鐘鼓初長夜, 耿耿星河欲曙天。
鴛鴦瓦冷霜華重, 翡翠衾寒誰與共?
悠悠生死別經年, 魂魄不曾來入夢。
臨邛道士鴻都客, 能以精誠致魂魄;
為感君王輾轉思, 遂教方士殷勤覓。
排空馭氣奔如電, 升天入地求之遍;
上窮碧落下黃泉, 兩處茫茫皆不見。
忽聞海上有仙山, 山在虛無縹緲間;
樓閣玲瓏五雲起, 其中綽約多仙子。
中有一人字太真, 雪膚花貌參差是。
金闕西廂叩玉扃, 轉教小玉報雙成。
聞道漢家天子使, 九華帳裡夢魂驚。
攬衣推枕起徘徊, 珠箔銀屏迤邐開,
雲鬢半偏新睡覺, 花冠不整下堂來。
風吹仙袂飄飄舉, 猶似霓裳羽衣舞;
玉容寂寞淚闌干, 梨花一枝春帶雨。
含情凝睇謝君王, 一別音容兩渺茫。
昭陽殿裡恩愛絕, 蓬萊宮中日月長。
回頭下望人寰處, 不見長安見塵霧。
唯將舊物表深情, 鈿合金釵寄將去。
釵留一股合一扇, 釵擘黃金合分鈿;
但教心似金鈿堅, 天上人間會相見。
臨別殷勤重寄詞, 詞中有誓兩心知。
七月七日長生殿, 夜半無人私語時。
在天願作比翼鳥, 在地願為連理枝。
天長地久有時盡, 此恨綿綿無絕期。

China's Emperor, craving beauty that might shake an empire,
Was on the throne for many years, searching, never finding,
Till a little child of the Yang clan, hardly even grown,
Bred in an inner chamber, with no one knowing her,
But with graces granted by heaven and not to be concealed,
At last one day was chosen for the imperial household.
If she but turned her head and smiled, there were cast a hundred spells,
And the powder and paint of the Six Palaces faded into nothing.
...It was early spring. They bathed her in the FlowerPure Pool,
Which warmed and smoothed the creamy-tinted crystal of her skin,
And, because of her languor, a maid was lifting her
When first the Emperor noticed her and chose her for his bride.
The cloud of her hair, petal of her cheek, gold ripples of her crown when she moved,
Were sheltered on spring evenings by warm hibiscus curtains;
But nights of spring were short and the sun arose too soon,
And the Emperor, from that time forth, forsook his early hearings
And lavished all his time on her with feasts and revelry,
His mistress of the spring, his despot of the night.
There were other ladies in his court, three thousand of rare beauty,
But his favours to three thousand were concentered in one body.
By the time she was dressed in her Golden Chamber, it would be almost evening;
And when tables were cleared in the Tower of Jade, she would loiter, slow with wine.
Her sisters and her brothers all were given titles;
And, because she so illumined and glorified her clan,
She brought to every father, every mother through the empire,
Happiness when a girl was born rather than a boy.
...High rose Li Palace, entering blue clouds,
And far and wide the breezes carried magical notes
Of soft song and slow dance, of string and bamboo music.
The Emperor's eyes could never gaze on her enough-
Till war-drums, booming from Yuyang, shocked the whole earth
And broke the tunes of The Rainbow Skirt and the Feathered Coat.
The Forbidden City, the nine-tiered palace, loomed in the dust
From thousands of horses and chariots headed southwest.
The imperial flag opened the way, now moving and now pausing- -
But thirty miles from the capital, beyond the western gate,
The men of the army stopped, not one of them would stir
Till under their horses' hoofs they might trample those moth- eyebrows....
Flowery hairpins fell to the ground, no one picked them up,
And a green and white jade hair-tassel and a yellowgold hair- bird.
The Emperor could not save her, he could only cover his face.
And later when he turned to look, the place of blood and tears
Was hidden in a yellow dust blown by a cold wind.
... At the cleft of the Dagger-Tower Trail they crisscrossed through a cloud-line
Under Omei Mountain. The last few came.
Flags and banners lost their colour in the fading sunlight....
But as waters of Shu are always green and its mountains always blue,
So changeless was His Majesty's love and deeper than the days.
He stared at the desolate moon from his temporary palace.
He heard bell-notes in the evening rain, cutting at his breast.
And when heaven and earth resumed their round and the dragon car faced home,
The Emperor clung to the spot and would not turn away
From the soil along the Mawei slope, under which was buried
That memory, that anguish. Where was her jade-white face?
Ruler and lords, when eyes would meet, wept upon their coats
As they rode, with loose rein, slowly eastward, back to the capital.
...The pools, the gardens, the palace, all were just as before,
The Lake Taiye hibiscus, the Weiyang Palace willows;
But a petal was like her face and a willow-leaf her eyebrow
And what could he do but cry whenever he looked at them?
...Peach-trees and plum-trees blossomed, in the winds of spring;
Lakka-foliage fell to the ground, after autumn rains;
The Western and Southern Palaces were littered with late grasses,
And the steps were mounded with red leaves that no one swept away.
Her Pear-Garden Players became white-haired
And the eunuchs thin-eyebrowed in her Court of PepperTrees;
Over the throne flew fire-flies, while he brooded in the twilight.
He would lengthen the lamp-wick to its end and still could never sleep.
Bell and drum would slowly toll the dragging nighthours
And the River of Stars grow sharp in the sky, just before dawn,
And the porcelain mandarin-ducks on the roof grow thick with morning frost
And his covers of kingfisher-blue feel lonelier and colder
With the distance between life and death year after year;
And yet no beloved spirit ever visited his dreams.
...At Lingqiong lived a Taoist priest who was a guest of heaven,
Able to summon spirits by his concentrated mind.
And people were so moved by the Emperor's constant brooding
That they besought the Taoist priest to see if he could find her.
He opened his way in space and clove the ether like lightning,
Up to heaven, under the earth, looking everywhere.
Above, he searched the Green Void, below, the Yellow Spring;
But he failed, in either place, to find the one he looked for.
And then he heard accounts of an enchanted isle at sea,
A part of the intangible and incorporeal world,
With pavilions and fine towers in the five-coloured air,
And of exquisite immortals moving to and fro,
And of one among them-whom they called The Ever True-
With a face of snow and flowers resembling hers he sought.
So he went to the West Hall's gate of gold and knocked at the jasper door
And asked a girl, called Morsel-of-Jade, to tell The Doubly- Perfect.
And the lady, at news of an envoy from the Emperor of China,
Was startled out of dreams in her nine-flowered, canopy.
She pushed aside her pillow, dressed, shook away sleep,
And opened the pearly shade and then the silver screen.
Her cloudy hair-dress hung on one side because of her great haste,
And her flower-cap was loose when she came along the terrace,
While a light wind filled her cloak and fluttered with her motion
As though she danced The Rainbow Skirt and the Feathered Coat.
And the tear-drops drifting down her sad white face
Were like a rain in spring on the blossom of the pear.
But love glowed deep within her eyes when she bade him thank her liege,
Whose form and voice had been strange to her ever since their parting
Since happiness had ended at the Court of the Bright Sun,
And moons and dawns had become long in Fairy-Mountain Palace.
But when she turned her face and looked down toward the earth
And tried to see the capital, there were only fog and dust.
So she took out, with emotion, the pledges he had given
And, through his envoy, sent him back a shell box and gold hairpin,
But kept one branch of the hairpin and one side of the box,
Breaking the gold of the hairpin, breaking the shell of the box;
"Our souls belong together," she said, " like this gold and this shell
Somewhere, sometime, on earth or in heaven, we shall surely
And she sent him, by his messenger, a sentence reminding him
Of vows which had been known only to their two hearts:
"On the seventh day of the Seventh-month, in the Palace of Long Life,
We told each other secretly in the quiet midnight world
That we wished to fly in heaven, two birds with the wings of one,
And to grow together on the earth, two branches of one tree."
Earth endures, heaven endures; some time both shall end,
While this unending sorrow goes on and on for ever.

 

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