Women Songsters from Early China:

In this fresh translation from the Chinese script, I have selected  poems/songs from the earliest section of the ancient Book of Songs or Shijing 诗经.

What struck me as I worked at this, during the long nights of last winter, was how many were sung be women, how many concerned themselves with a woman’s view of the world.  This is decidedly not the case with the rest of the book – no way!!  And had no-one seen this before?!

Sample Page See Below. But also on Facebook link.

I’ll try to get a preview of a dozen pages up soon, here.

 

Missing her Man

喓喓草虫,趯趯阜螽。未见君子,忧心忡忡。
亦既见止,亦既觏止,我心则降。
陟彼南山,言采其蕨。未见君子,忧心惙惙。
亦既见止,亦既觏止,我心则说。
陟彼南山,言采其薇。未见君子,我心伤悲。
亦既见止,亦既觏止,我心则夷。

 

 

Yāo yāo cǎochóng, tì tì fù zhōng.
Wèi jiàn jūnzǐ, yōuxīnchōngchōng. 
Yì jì jiàn zhǐ, yì jì gòu zhǐ, wǒ xīn zé jiàng. 
Zhì bǐ nánshān, yán cǎi qí jué. 
Wèi jiàn jūnzǐ, yōuxīn chuò chuò. 
Yì jì jiàn zhǐ, yì jì gòu zhǐ, wǒ xīn zé shuō. 
Zhì bǐ nánshān, yán cǎi qí wēi. 
Wèi jiàn jūnzǐ, wǒ xīn shāng bēi. 
Yì jì jiàn zhǐ, yì jì gòu zhǐ, wǒ xīn zé yí.

 

THE CRICKETS, they chirrup, chirrup,

The Grasshoppers, they spring and fly!

But I cannot find my Man,

And stressed at Heart am I.

O to see Him again!

To meet Him, once again!

But I must no longer try!

 

Yonder I climbed the Southern Hill,

Plucking the sweet Fern as I went.

Alas my Man I still not saw,

Sadness ruined the Day I spent.

O to see Him again!

To meet Him, once again!

Then at last to be content!

 

Yonder I climbed the Southern Hill,

Plucking, as I went, the King’s Fern.

Yet my Man I still not saw,

And my Heart must pine and yearn.

O to see Him again!

To meet Him, once again!

That our Joy might yet return!

 

Again a wife is missing her husband. Grasshoppers suggest late summer. Picking the ferns implies the next spring, and several months have passed. A simple heart-felt plea. The last two lines speak of meeting again!