Li Sao (離騷)(Encountering Sorrow or Encountering Trouble) is a Chinese poem dating from the Warring States (戰國時代) of ancient China. The poem ‘Li Sao’ is the lead poem the Chuci (楚辭) collection. This famous piece was written by Qu Yuan (屈原)( c 340–278 BCE), an aristocrat of the Kingdom of Chu (楚國). In Li Sao, Qu Yuan manifested himself as a poetic character and despaired that he had been plotted against by evil factions at the King’s Court with his resulting rejection. He was an upright and loyal person and he compared himself to the purity of the flowers and fragrant herbs. He persuaded the KIng to take his advice and get back on track. The King refused. The capital city Ying () of the State of Chu (楚) was later captured. In 278 BCE, Qu Yuan drowned himself at Miluo River (汨羅江) in protest against the corruption of the era. His social idealism and unbending patriotism have served as the model for Chinese intellectuals.

Li Sao written by Mi Fu (米芾書離騷經) is now kept in the National Palace Museum, Taipei (國立故宮博物院).

 

1-6
1-6

 

1 帝高陽之苗裔兮,朕皇考曰伯庸

我原是古帝高陽氏的後裔, 先父的號叫做伯庸。

(古時上下都可稱朕, 至秦以後, 惟獨天子稱朕。)

Scion of the high lord Gāo Yáng,

Bó Yōng was my father’s name.

 

3 攝提貞於孟陬兮,惟庚寅吾以降。

太歲在寅的那一年的元月, 庚寅那一天是我的生辰。

When Shè Tí pointed to the first month of the year,

On the day of gēng yín I was born.

 

5 皇覽揆餘初度兮,肇錫餘以嘉名。

先父看到我初生時不凡的器度, 於是賜我很好的名字。

My father, seeing the aspect of my nativity,

Give me a virtuous name.

 

6 - 13
6 – 13

 

7 名余曰正則兮,字余曰靈均。

替我取名為正則, 替我取名號為靈均。

The name he gave me was Zhèng Zé (True Exemplar),

The alternate name he gave me was Líng Jūn (Divine Balance).

 

9  紛吾既有此內美兮,又重之以修能。

我既有如此眾多的內在美質,又著重於修養才能。

Having from birth this inward beauty,

I added to it fair outward adornment:

 

11 扈與闢芷兮,紉秋蘭以為佩。

披帯著江離蘼蕪和生於幽僻地方的白芷鮮花, 串結著秋蘭織成的佩飾。

I dressed in Ligusticum and Angelica which grow in secluded places,

And twined autumn orchids to make a garland.

 

13 汨餘若將不及兮,恐年歲之不吾與。

我匆忙地像將趕不上,恐怕年歲不待我而消逝。

Swiftly I sped as in frightful pursuit,

Afraid time would race on and leave me behind.

 

13 - 20
13 – 20

 

15 朝搴阰之木蘭兮,夕攬洲之宿莽。

清早採摘阰山上之木蘭,黃昏又採摘洲畔的宿莽。

In the morning I gathered the Magnolia on the mountains;

In the evening I plucked the sedges of the islets.

 

17 日月忽其不淹兮,春與秋其代序。

日子飛快地過去而不能挽留住,春天與秋天更迭而來。

The days and months hurried on, never slowing down;

Springs and autumns sped by in endless alternations.

 

19 惟草木之零落兮,恐美人之遲暮。

草木都會凋零落,唯恐美人也會隨將衰老。

And I thought how the trees and flowers were fading and falling.

And feared that my Fairest’s beauty would fade too.

 

21-27
21 – 27

 

21 不撫壯而棄穢兮,何不改乎此度?

為什麽不趁壯年時除去惡, 為什麽不改變這種態度?

When will you not cast out the impurity when you are fit and strong ?

Why will you not change the erroneous ways ?

 

23 乘騏驥以馳騁兮,來吾道夫先路!

駕著駿馬正想奔馳,來吧, 我在前面為開路。

I have harnessed brave courses for you to gallop forth with:

Come, let me go ahead and show the way!

 

25 昔三後之純粹兮,固眾芳之所在。

從前三王(禹、湯、文王) 所以有完備的美德,當然是羣賢所聚會的緣故。

The three kings of old (Yǔ, Tāng, Wénwáng) were most pure and perfect,

Then indeed people of virtue had their proper place.

 

27 雜申椒與菌桂兮,豈維紉夫蕙茝!

申椒和菌桂都可以雜佩著,那裏不限於串結着蕙草和白芷!

They brought together pepper and cinnamon;

All the most-prized blossoms were woven in their garlands.

 

28 - 34
28 – 34

 

29 彼堯、舜之耿介兮,既遵道而得路。

那堯和舜真是光明正大,他們已經遵循天地之道的正途。

Glorious and great were those two, Yáo and Shùn,

Because they had kept their feet on the right path.

 

31 何桀紂之猖披兮,夫唯捷徑以窘步。

而桀、紂也太自恣猖狂,總愛貪圖捷徑以至於窘迫於路。

And how great was the folly of Jié and Zhòu,

Who hastened by crooked paths, and so came to grief.

 

33 惟黨人之偷樂兮,路幽昧以險隘。

結黨的小人一味貪圖享樂,使道路幽喑而且險狹。

The fools enjoy their heedless pleasure,

But their way is dark and leads to peril.

 

34 - 41
34 – 41

 

35 豈餘身之憚殃兮,恐皇輿之敗績!

我倒不懼怕已身遭禍殃,我恐怕君王的車子毁敗覆亡。

I have no fear for the peril of my own person,

But only lest the chariot of my lord should be overturned.

 

37 忽奔走以先後兮,及前王之踵武。

我急急忙忙地在你的前後奔走著,輔助你趁上先王的步武。

I hurried around your chariot in attendance,

Leading you in the tracks of the kings of old.

 

39 荃不揆餘之中情兮,反信讒以燚怒。

荃草(指君王)不明白我的真情,反而信任讒言而對我大發脾氣。

The lord does not know my loyalty,

He believes calumny and gets angry at me.

 

41 餘固知謇謇之為患兮,忍而不能捨也。

我本知直言忠諫必會惹禍患,還是要忍耐而不能放棄勸諫。

I know that bluntly loyal admonishment will bring disaster,

Yet I will endure and I cannot give up.

 

41 - 458
41 – 48

 

43 指九天以為正兮,夫唯靈修之故也。

我遙指著九重的青天為我作證,一切都是為了良心(盡忠於君王) 的緣故。

I called on the ninefold heaven to be my witness,

And all for the sake of the Fair One, and no other.

 

(45 曰黃昏以為期兮,羌中道而改路!)These two sentences might be absent in the original text.

約好黃昏來會面,不料反而中途改道路。

I arrange to meet you in the evening,

But you change your route on the way.

 

47 初既與餘成言兮,後悔遁而有他。

當初你既然與我有約定,奈何你反悔而有了他心。

There once was a time when we have reached agreement;

But then he repented and was of another mind.

 

48 - 55
48 – 55

 

49 余既不難夫離別兮,傷靈修之數化。

我對離別已不難過,只是為您的無常變易而傷感。

I do not care, on my own account, about this divorcement,

But it grieves me to find the Fair One so inconsistent.

 

51 余既滋蘭之九畹兮,又樹蕙之百畝。

我已繁殖了蘭花九畹,又培植蕙蘭上百畝。

I had grown many ‘acres’ of orchids.

And planted a hundred’acres’ of melilotus;

 

53 畦留夷與揭車兮,雜杜衡與芳芷

再分種了留荑(香草)和揭車(香草),雜以棠梨和香芷。

I had raised sweet lichens and the fragrant herbs,

And asarums (wild ginger) mingled with fragrant angelica,

 

55 冀枝葉之峻茂兮,願竢時乎吾將刈。

期望它們的枝葉繁茂,願到時我將得收穫。

And hoped that when leaf and stem were in their full prime,

When the time had come, I will reap a fine harvest.

 

55 - 61
55 – 61

 

57 雖萎絕其亦何傷兮,哀眾芳之蕪穢。

我種的香草雖然枯凋但何必傷感, 使我哀痛的是羣芳都要荒殘。

The herbs which I planted die but I need not lament,

But I grieve that all the blossoms wither away.

 

59 眾皆競進以貪婪兮,憑不厭乎求索。

大家都在競逐著財利、進取於貪婪,雖然富有、還不知滿足地去追求。

All others press forward in greed and gluttony,

They never satisfy with their demands:

 

61 羌內恕己以量人兮,各興心而嫉妒。

照自已的想法去推測別人的內心,所以會產生嫉妒的心。

Using one’s own standard to harshly judge others;

Leading to envy and malice.

 

62 - 69
62 – 69

 

63 忽馳騖以追逐兮,非餘心之所急。

瘋狂急速地追逐著權勢,那些都不是我心中所急。

Madly they rush in the greedy chase,

But this is not what I am anxious about.

  

65 老冉冉其將至兮,恐修名之不立。

暮年逐漸來到了,害怕正直廉潔的名聲不能夠樹立。

For old age comes creeping and soon will be upon me,

And I fear I shall not leave behind an enduring name.

 

67 朝飲木蘭之墜露兮,夕餐秋菊之落英

清晨我啜飲著木蘭花上的露珠,黃昏我食用秋菊落下的花瓣。

In the mornings I drank the dew that fell from the magnolia;

At evening ate the petals that dropped from chrysanthemums.

 

69 - 75
69 – 75

 

69 苟餘情其信姱以練要兮,長顑頷亦何傷。

誠然我的內情實在美好而且精練,就是長久地面黃肌瘦又有何妨呢。

If only my mind can be truly beautiful,

It matters nothing that I am pale and feeble.

 

71 掔木根以結茝兮,貫薜荔之落蕊。

高舉著木根將白芷結繫上, 又串貫了掉下來的薜茘的花心。

I raise the wood decorated with Angelica,

And thread the clusters of fallen petals.

73 矯菌桂以紉蕙兮,索胡繩之纚纚。

我把菌桂(肉桂)弄直, 縛以蕙草,還把結縷草紐成美好的繩索子。

I twisted the Cinnamomum straight and added fragrant herbs onto them,

And tied the lithe, light trails of fragrant herbs (Michelia?) into beautiful knots.

 

75 謇吾法夫前修兮,非世俗之所服。

我效法著前代的賢人, 這一切都不為世俗所慣用。

I follow the ways of old virtuous sages,

Not what the materialistic world cares for;

 

75 - 78 (79 - 82)
75 – 78
(79 – 82)

 

 

77 雖不周於今之人兮,原依彭咸之遺則

雖然明知不合於現世的人心, 但我還願仿傚彭咸的餘風。

Though it may not accord with present-day manners,

I will follow the pattern that Peng Xian has left

(Peng Xian: a figure that many believes to be the God of Sun.)

 

 Some of the plants mentioned in the poem

(Rough English translations of the plant species mentioned in the poem.  It is difficult to find out precisely the species concerned.)

 

2e2eb9389b504fc213323ef8e1dde71191ef6dda
江離 (川芎)

 

 

1c950a7b02087bf4f8c5531df2d3572c11dfcf1d
白芷

 

 

宿莽
宿莽

 

杜衡
杜衡

 

木蘭
木蘭

 

菌桂(肉桂)
菌桂(肉桂)

 

菌桂
菌桂

 

314e251f95cad1c895b64e277f3e6709c93d51a4.jpg留夷
留夷 (芍藥?)

 

秋菊
秋菊

 

芷蘭
芷蘭

 

Mi Fu (米芾) (1051–1107) was a Chinese scholar, calligrapher, artist and poet born in Taiyuan (太原) during the Song Dynasty (宋朝). He is best known for his calligraphy, and he was regarded as one of the four greatest calligraphers of the Song Dynasty. His contributions to calligraphy and painting field are highly valued. Mi Fu died at the age of 56.

 

 

Bibliography and further readings :

傅鍚王, 張孝裕 (2011) 新譯楚辭讀本,三民書局ISBN 978-957-14-0739-5

繆天華(1984) 離騷九歌九章淺釋, 東大書局

David Hawkes (2011) The Songs of the South: An Ancient Chinese Anthology of Poems by Qu Yuan and Other Poets, Penguin Classics. ISBN 9780140443752

http://www.shigeku.org/xlib/lingshidao/hanshi/quyuan.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mi_Fu

http://baike.baidu.com/subview/2411485/12825088.htm (江离,糜芜)

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%9C%A8%E8%98%AD%E5%B1%AC (木蘭

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=%E8%8F%8C%E6%A1%82%EF%BC%88%E8%82%89%E6%A1%82%EF%BC%89&biw=1422&bih=664&tbm=isch&imgil=uW_KhyYsl7XDcM%253A%253B7pAN2YQyhvTgjM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwfzwy.b2b.youboy.com%25252Fshow0sp7474621.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=uW_KhyYsl7XDcM%253A%252C7pAN2YQyhvTgjM%252C_&usg=__5fJbzFJrS-I12hYiO6B0OOJcIdI%3D&ved=0CDUQyjc&ei=QLR0VducJqO8mAWp6oOwCw#imgrc=1sqL8UVQEKwJxM%253A%3BH_fXFIQCsMz9LM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.sheidao.com%252Ffile%252Fupload%252F201408%252F21%252F00-08-56-16-1.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.sheidao.com%252Fnews%252Fshow-899-9.html%3B609%3B488 (玉桂)

http://baike.baidu.com/subview/43103/6816756.htm (杜衡)

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%96%9C%E8%8D%94(薜荔)

http://www.douban.com/photos/photo/267536123/ (菌桂)

http://www.nipic.com/show/163355.html (秋菊)

http://baike.baidu.com/view/1772296.htm(宿莽)

http://baike.baidu.com/picture/2257119/2257119/1331032/95eef01f3a292df586eaa8e1bc315c6034a8731c.html?fr=lemma&ct=cover#aid=1331032&pic=1c950a7b02087bf4f8c5531df2d3572c11dfcf1d (白芷)

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/angelica/propagating-angelica-plants.htm(Angelica)

 

 

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One thought on “Li Sao written by Mi Fu (米芾書離騷) (running script) (Part 1)

  1. Immense gratitude for the interpretation and sharing of the famous poem and calligraphy with us. It is nice to view the photos of the different plants that have been mentioned in the poem. Are the photos taken in Australia, e.g. 白芷, 菌桂 etc.?

    Like

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