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HomeTang Poetry and Chinese Calligraphy权希军 行书:罗隐《黄河》

权希军 行书:罗隐《黄河》

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权希军 行书:罗隐《黄河》


【释文】莫把阿胶向此倾,此中天意固难明。解通银汉应须曲,才出昆仑便不清。高祖誓功衣带小,仙人占斗客槎轻。三千年后知谁在,何必劳君报太平。

【款识】黄河,罗隐诗,权希军。

【简析】

  这首《黄河》,不是真要赋咏黄河,而是借事寓意,抨击和讥讽唐代的科举制度。

  一开头,作者就用黄河无法澄清作比喻,暗示当时的科举考试的虚伪性,揭露官场正和黄河一样混浊,即使把用来澄清浊水的阿胶都倾进去,也无济于事。接着又用“天意难明”四字,矛头直指最高统治者。

  下面两句,作者进一步描画科举场中的黑暗。李白诗有“君不见黄河之水天上来”之句。黄河古来又有九曲之称,如刘禹锡《浪淘沙》词:“九曲黄河万里沙”。诗人巧妙地把这两层意思联系起来,驰骋想象,写道:“解通银汉应须曲”。表面上是说黄河所以能够通到天上去,是因为它河道曲折。可是“银汉”在古人诗词又常用来指代皇室或朝廷,所以这句的真实意思是说,能够通到皇帝身边去的(指通过科举考试取得高官显位),必是使用“曲”的手段,即不正当的手段。唐代科举考试,特别是到晚唐,主要不是在考查学问,而是看士子有没有投靠巴结当权人物的本领,正直的人肯定是要失败的。

  古人误以为黄河发源于昆仑山,所以作者说它“才出昆仑便不清”。这也是有寓意的。“昆仑”同“银汉”一样,是指朝廷豪门贵族甚至当朝皇帝。因为那些被提拔荐引做了官的士子,都是与贵族、大臣私下里勾结,一出手就不干不净,正如黄河在发源地就已经混浊了一样。

  五、六两句,包含了两个典故。第五句是指汉高祖在平定天下、大封功臣时的誓词,誓词里说:“使河如带,泰山若砺。”翻译出来就是:要到黄河象衣带那么狭窄,泰山象磨刀石那样平坦,你们的爵位才会失去(那意思就是永不失去)。第六句说的是汉代张骞奉命探寻黄河源头。据说他坐了一只木筏,溯河直上,不知不觉到了一个地方,看见有个女子正在织布,旁边又有个放牛的男子。张骞后来回到西蜀,拿这事请教善于占卜的严君平。君平说,你已经到了天上牛郎织女两座星宿的所在了。

  作者借用这两个典故,同样也有寓意。上句是说,自从汉高祖大封功臣以来(恰巧,唐代开国皇帝也叫“高祖”),贵族们就世代簪缨,富贵不绝,霸占着朝廷爵禄,好象真要等到黄河细小得象衣带时才肯放手。下句又说,封建贵族霸占爵位,把持朝政,有如“仙人占斗”。(天上的北斗,古代天文学属于紫微垣,居于天北极的周围。古人用以象征皇室或朝廷。)他们既然占据了“北斗”,那么,要到天上去的“客槎”(指考试求官的人),只要经他们的援引,自然飘飘直上,不须费力了。

  由此可见,诗人虽然句句明写黄河,却又是句句都在暗射封建王朝,骂得非常尖刻,比喻也十分贴切。这和罗隐十次参加科举考试失败的痛苦经历有着密切的关系。

  传说“黄河千年一清,至圣之君以为大瑞”(见王嘉《拾遗记·高辛》),所以诗人说,三千年(应是一千年)黄河才澄清一次,谁还能够等得着呢?于是笔锋一转,不无揶揄地说:既然如此,就不劳驾您预告这种好消息了!换句话说,黄河很难澄清,朝廷上的乌烟瘴气同样也是改变不了的。这是对唐王朝表示绝望的话。此后,罗隐果真回到家乡杭州,在钱镠幕下做官,再不到长安考试了。

  这首诗艺术上值得称道的有两点:第一,诗人拿黄河来讽喻科举制度,这构思就很巧妙;其次,句句紧扣黄河,而又句句别有所指,手法也颇为高明。诗人对唐王朝科举制度的揭露,痛快淋漓,切中要害,很有代表性。诗中语气激烈,曾有人说它是“失之大怒,其词躁”(见刘铁冷《作诗百法》),即不够“温柔敦厚”。这是没有理解罗隐当时的心情才作的“中庸之论”。

【Simple Translation】

  This song “Yellow River” is not really about the Yellow River, but about the allegorical meaning of the matter, attacking and ridiculing the imperial examination system of the Tang Dynasty.

  At the beginning, the author uses the analogy of the Yellow River not being able to be clarified to imply the hypocrisy of the imperial examinations at that time, revealing that the officialdom was as muddy as the Yellow River, even if the gum used to clarify the turbid water was poured in, it would not help. Then he uses the words “Heaven’s will is hard to understand” to point the finger at the supreme ruler.

  In the next two lines, the author further describes the darkness in the imperial examination hall. Li Bai’s poem has the line “You can’t see the water of the Yellow River coming from the sky”. The Yellow River is also known as the nine curves, such as Liu Yuxi “wave Tao Sha” words: “nine curves of the Yellow River ten thousand miles of sand”. The poet cleverly link these two layers of meaning, galloping imagination, wrote: “solve through the silver Han should be bent”. On the surface, it means that the Yellow River is able to reach the sky because of its winding course. But “Yinhan” in the ancient poetry and often used to refer to the imperial family or court, so the real meaning of this sentence is to say, can pass to the emperor’s side (refers to through the imperial examination to obtain high official position), must be the use of “curved” means, that is, improper means. Tang Dynasty imperial examinations, especially in the late Tang Dynasty, is not mainly in the test of learning, but to see whether the scholar has the ability to join the people in power, the upright people are sure to fail.

  The ancients mistakenly thought that the Yellow River originated from Kunlun Mountain, so the author said that it was “unclear when it comes out of Kunlun”. This also has a moral meaning. “Kunlun” is the same as “Yinhan”, which refers to the noblemen of the court and even the emperor. Because those who were promoted and recommended to become officials of the scholar, are private collusion with the nobility, ministers, once the hand is not clean, just as the Yellow River in the birthplace has been muddy.

  The fifth and sixth sentences contain two allusions. The fifth sentence refers to Han Gaozu’s oath when he pacified the world and made a great feast of meritorious ministers, which said, “Make the river like a belt, and Mount Tai like a sharpening.” Translated, it means: You will not lose your titles until the Yellow River is as narrow as a sash and Mount Tai is as flat as a whetstone (that means never lose). The sixth sentence says that Zhang Qian in the Han Dynasty was ordered to explore the source of the Yellow River. It is said that he took a raft and went up the river, and unknowingly reached a place where he saw a woman weaving cloth and a man herding cattle next to her. Zhang Qian later returned to Xishu and asked Yan Junping, who was good at divination, for advice on this matter. Junping said, “You have arrived at the place where the two star constellations of the Cowherd and the Weaving Maiden are located in the sky.

  The author borrowed these two allusions, which also have a moral meaning. The first line says that ever since the Han Gaozu (coincidentally, the founding emperor of the Tang Dynasty was also called “Gaozu”), the nobles have been holding on to their titles and wealth for generations, as if they would not let go until the Yellow River was as small as a sash. The next sentence also says that the feudal nobles dominated the title and held the imperial government, just like “the immortals occupy the bucket”. (The Big Dipper in the sky, an ancient astronomy belongs to the Ziyewei wall, which lives around the north pole of the sky. Ancient people used to symbolize the royal family or court.) Since they occupy the “Big Dipper”, the “passenger cranes” who want to go to the sky (referring to those who take examinations and seek for official positions) can float straight up without any effort as long as they are invoked by them.

  This shows that although the poet wrote about the Yellow River, he also insinuated the feudal dynasty in every sentence, with very caustic and apt metaphors. This is closely related to Luo Yin’s painful experience of failing the imperial examinations ten times.

  According to the legend, “The Yellow River is cleared once every thousand years, and the most saintly ruler thought it was a great rite of passage” (see Wang Jia’s Gleanings – Gao Xin), so the poet says that the Yellow River is cleared only once every three thousand years (it should be one thousand years), who can wait for it? So the poet turned his brush and said, “In that case, I don’t need to ask you to foretell such good news! In other words, it is difficult to clarify the Yellow River, and the pandemonium at the imperial court is also unchangeable. These were words of despair to the Tang Dynasty. After that, Luo Yin really returned to his hometown Hangzhou and worked as an official under the curtain of Qian Gong, and did not come to Chang’an to take the examination anymore.

  This poem is worthy of praise in two aspects: firstly, the poet uses the Yellow River as a metaphor for the imperial examination system, which is a very clever idea; secondly, the poet’s technique is very clever, as it closely follows the Yellow River and refers to something else in every sentence. The poet’s exposition of the imperial examination system of the Tang Dynasty is very representative. The poem’s fierce tone has been described as “a great anger and fickle words” (see Liu Tieleng’s “A Hundred Ways of Writing Poetry”), which means that it is not “gentle and generous” enough. This is a “middle-of-the-road argument” made by someone who did not understand Luo Yin’s mood at the time.

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