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HomeTang Poetry and Chinese Calligraphy萧娴 隶书:张敬忠《边词》

萧娴 隶书:张敬忠《边词》

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萧娴 隶书:张敬忠《边词》


【释文】五原春色旧来迟,二月垂杨未挂丝。即今河畔冰开日,正是长安花落时。

【款识】萧娴时年八十于南京。

【简析】

  张敬忠是初唐一位不大出名的诗人,《全唐诗》仅录存其诗二首。据《新唐书·张仁愿传》记载,中宗神龙三年( 707),张仁愿任朔方军总管时,曾奏用当时任监察御史的张敬忠分判军事。这首《边词》,大约就是他在朔方军幕任职时的作品。

  首句中的“五原”,就是现在内蒙古自治区的五原县。张仁愿任朔方总管时为防御突厥而修筑的着名的三受降城之一──西受降城,就在五原西北。这一带地处塞漠,北临大碛,气候严寒,风物荒凉,春色姗姗来迟,所以说“五原春色旧来迟”。着“旧来”二字,不但见此地的荒寒自古迄今如斯,而且表明诗人对此早有所闻。这一句是全篇总冒,以下三句即对春色之来迟进行具体描绘。

  “二月垂杨未挂丝。”仲春二月,内地已经是桃红柳绿,春光烂漫,这里却连垂杨尚未吐叶挂丝。柳色向来是春天的标志,诗人们总是首先在柳色中发现春意,发现春天的脚步、声音和身影。抓住“垂杨未挂丝”这个典型事物,便非常简括地写出边地春迟的特点,令人宛见在无边荒漠中,几株垂柳在凛烈的寒风中摇曳着光秃秃的空枝,看不到一点绿色的荒寒景象。

  三四两句仍紧扣“春迟”写边地风物,却又另换一副笔墨。通过五原与长安不同景物的对照,来突出强调北边的春迟。第二句与三四两句之间,包含着一个时间的差距。河畔冰开,长安花落,暗示时令已值暮春。在荒寒的北边,到这时河冰刚刚解冻,春天的脚步声虽已隐约可闻,春天的身影、春天的色彩却仍然未能望见,而皇都长安,这时早已姹紫嫣红开过,春事阑珊了。这个对照,不仅进一步突出了边地春迟,而且寓含了戍守荒寒北边的将士对帝京长安的怀念。

  面对五原春迟、北边荒寒的景象,诗人心里所唤起的并不是沉重的叹息与忧伤,也不是身处穷荒绝域的孤寂与凄凉。这里是荒寒的,但荒寒中又寓有它所特具的辽阔与壮美;这里是孤寂的,但孤寂中又透露出边地的宁静和平,没有刀光剑影、烽火烟尘;这里的春天来得特别晚,但春天毕竟要降临。“河畔冰开”,带给人的是对春天的展望,而不是“莫言塞北无春到,纵有春来何处知”(李益《度破讷沙》)这样沉重的叹息。刘永济说:“此边词而不言边塞之苦。但用对比手法将河畔与长安两两相形而意在言外,且语意和平,可想见唐初国力之盛”(《唐人绝句精华》)。这是深解诗味的精到评论。沈德潜评道:“不须用意。”(《唐诗别裁》)说的也正是此诗于不经意中见诗人气度与时代风神的特点。如果我们把这首诗和王之涣的《凉州词》对照起来读,便不难发现它们的声息相通之处:尽管都写了边地的荒寒,流露的思想感情却是对边塞风物的欣赏。在这一点上,《边词》可以说是开盛唐风气之先的。

  这首诗散起对结,结联又用一意贯串、似对非对的流水对,是典型的“初唐标格”。这种格式,对于表现深沉凝重的思想感情可能有一定局限,但却特别适合表现安恬愉悦、明朗乐观的思想感情。诗的风调轻爽流利,意致自然流动,音律和婉安恬,与它所表现的感情和谐统一,让人感到作者是用一种坦然的态度对待“春色旧来迟”、“垂杨未挂丝”的景象。特别是三四两句,在“河畔冰开日”与“长安花落时”的工整对仗之前,分别用“即今”、“便是”这样轻松流易的词语勾连呼应,构成了一种顾盼自如的风神格调。“治世之音安以乐”(《毛诗序》),这首诗可以作为一个典型的例证。不妨说,它是初唐标格与盛唐气象的结合。

【Simple Translation】

  Zhang Jingzhong was a lesser-known poet in the early Tang Dynasty, and only two of his poems are recorded in The Complete Tang Poems. According to the New Book of Tang (Xin Tang Shu-Zhang Renwan), when Zhang Renwan was the governor of the Shuofang Army in the third year of the divine Dragon of King Zhongzong (707), he had recommended Zhang Jingzhong, who was then the imperial historian, to subcontract the military. This “Border Lyrics” was written around the time he was serving in the Shuofang army.

  The “Wuyuan” in the first line refers to the present Wuyuan County in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. One of the famous three surrendered cities, the West Surrendered City, was built by Zhang Renwan when he was the governor of Shuo Fang to defend against the Turkic forces, and is located northwest of Wu Yuan. This area is located in the desert, north of the moraine, the climate is cold, desolate, late spring, so that “Wuyuan spring old late”. The word “old” not only shows that the coldness of this place has been like this since ancient times, but also shows that the poet has heard about it. The following three lines are a specific description of the late arrival of spring.

  ”In February, the poplars are not yet hanging.” In mid-spring, February, the mainland is already green with peach and willow, and spring is in full bloom, but here even the weeping poplar has not yet put up its leaves and silk. The color of willow has always been the symbol of spring, and poets always find spring in the color of willow first, discovering the footsteps, sound and figure of spring. Seizing the typical thing of “the weeping poplar has not yet hung its silk”, the poem can write the characteristics of the late spring in the border area very briefly, and people can see the cold scene of a few weeping willows swaying in the bitter cold wind with bare and empty branches and no green in the boundless desert.

  The third and fourth lines still focus on the “late spring” to write about the frontier landscape, but with another set of ink. The contrast between Wuyuan and Chang’an highlights the late spring in the north. Between the second and the third and fourth lines, there is a time gap. The ice by the river opens and the flowers in Chang’an fall, implying that the season is already in late spring. In the cold and desolate north, the river ice has just thawed by this time, and although the footsteps of spring can be vaguely heard, the figure and color of spring are still not visible, while the imperial capital, Chang’an, has long since seen the beautiful flowers and the spring events. This contrast not only further highlights the late spring in the borderlands, but also implies the nostalgia of the generals who guarded the cold northern border to the imperial capital Chang’an.

  In the face of the late spring in the five plains and the desolation in the north, what the poet evokes in his heart is not a heavy sigh and sorrow, nor the loneliness and desolation of being in a poor and desolate place. It is lonely, but the loneliness reveals the tranquility and peace of the borderlands, without the shadow of swords, beacons and smoke; the spring here comes particularly late, but spring will come after all. The “ice on the river” brings people the prospect of spring, not such a heavy sigh as “I do not say that there is no spring in the north of the country, even if there is spring, where can I know” (Li Yi, “Du Broken Nesha”). Liu Yongji said, “This is a border song without talking about the suffering of the border. But the contrast between the river and Chang’an is beyond the meaning of the words, and the meaning of the words is peaceful. This is an excellent commentary that understands the flavor of the poem. Shen Deqian commented, “There is no need to use meaning.” (Tang Poems in a Different Style). This poem is also characterized by the poet’s poise and the spirit of the times, which can be seen in the unconsciousness of the poem. If we read this poem and Wang Zhilan’s “Liangzhou Lyrics” together, it is not difficult to find the similarity of their voices: although they both write about the desolation of the borderlands, the thoughts and feelings they reveal are the appreciation of the frontier scenery. In this regard, the “Border Lyrics” can be said to be the first to pioneer the style of the Sheng Tang Dynasty.

  The poem starts with a scattered couplet and ends with a running couplet that seems to be a pair, which is typical of the “early Tang standard”. This format may be limited in expressing deep and serious thoughts and feelings, but it is particularly suitable for expressing peaceful, happy, bright and optimistic thoughts and feelings. The poem’s light and fluent tone, natural flow of meaning, and peaceful rhythm are in harmony with the feelings it expresses, giving the impression that the author treats the scenes of “old spring colors” and “the hanging poplar” with an open attitude. In particular, in the third and fourth lines, before the neat pairing of “the day the ice opens on the river” and “when the flowers fall in Chang’an”, the author uses such easy words as “that is now” and “that is” respectively. The two lines, “the day the ice opens on the river” and “when the flowers fall in Chang’an”, are preceded by the easy words “is now” and “is”, respectively, which form a kind of elegant style. The poem “The sound of the ruling world is to be happy” (Mao Shi Preface) can serve as a typical example. It may be said that it is a combination of the standard style of the early Tang Dynasty and the meteorology of the Sheng Tang Dynasty.

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