Poem: Ballad of a Trader’s Wife – 李白《长干行》

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长干[1]

李白

妾发初覆额,

折花门前剧[2]

郎骑竹马来,

绕床[3]弄青梅。

同居长干里,

两小无嫌猜。

十四为君妇,

羞颜未尝开。

低头向暗壁,

千唤不一回。

十五始展眉,

愿同尘与灰。

常存抱柱[4]信,

岂上望夫台[5]

十六君远行,

瞿塘滟滪堆。

五月不可触,

猿声天上哀。

门前迟行迹,

一一生绿苔。

苔深不能扫,

落叶秋风早。

八月蝴蝶黄,

双飞西园草。

感此伤妾心,

坐愁红颜老。

早晚下三巴[6]

预将书报家。

相迎不道远,

直至长风沙[7]

注释:

[1] 长干:古金陵(南京)里巷名。

[2] 剧(jù):游戏。

[3] 床:古代的一种坐具。

[4] 抱柱:《庄子·杂篇·盗跖》:“尾生与女子期(约会)于梁(桥)下,女子不来,水至不去,抱梁柱而死。”

[5] 望夫台:在忠州南数十里。

[6] 三巴:巴东、巴郡、巴西。汉献帝时分巴地为三郡。是今天重庆、夔州、合州一带。

[7] 长风沙:在今安徽省安庆市东长江边上。

Ballad of a Trader’s Wife

Li Bai

My forehead barely covered by my hair,

Outdoors I plucked and played with flowers fair.

On hobby horse he came upon the scene;

Around the well we played with mumes still green.

We lived close neighbors on Riverside Lane,

Carefree and innocent, we children twain.

At fourteen years old I became his bride;

I often turned my bashful face aside.

Hanging my head, I’d look on the dark wall;

I would not answer his call upon call.

I was fifteen when I composed my brows;

To mix my dust with his were my dear vows.

Rather than break faith, he declared he’d die.

Who knew I’d live alone in tower high?

I was sixteen when he went far away,

Passing Three Gorges studded with rocks grey,

Where ships were wrecked when spring flood ran high,

Where gibbons’ wails seemed coming from the sky.

Green moss now overgrows before our door;

His footprints, hidden, can be seen no more.

Moss can’t be swept away, so thick it grows,

And leaves fall early when the west wind blows.

In yellow autumn butterflies would pass

Two by two in west garden over the grass.

The sight would break my heart and I’m afraid,

Sitting alone, my rosy cheeks would fade.

“O when are you to leave the western land?

Do not forget to tell me beforehand!

I’ll walk to meet you and would not call it far

Even to go to Long Wind Beach where you are.”

This ballad describes the love of a merchant’s wife for her husband.

《长干行二首》是唐代诗人李白的组诗作品。这两首爱情叙事诗以商妇独白自述的手法,反映古代商人妻子的生活与情感。第一首诗描绘了商妇各个生活阶段的各个生活侧面,展现了一幅幅鲜明生动的画面,塑造出了一个对理想生活执着追求和热切向往的商贾思妇的艺术形象;第二首诗从商妇望夫不归说起,一层一层,直到自怜自恨而止,抒写了她对远出经商的丈夫的挚爱和思念,凄切幽怨,缠绵感人。全诗熔叙事、状景、抒情于一炉,形象鲜明饱满,风格深沉柔婉。

Two Poems “Ballad of a Trader’s Wife” is a group poem by Li Bai, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. These two narrative love poems reflect the lives and emotions of ancient merchant wives in the form of monologues by merchant women. The first poem depicts various aspects of a merchant woman’s life at different stages, showing a vivid picture and creating an artistic image of a merchant woman who is persistent in pursuing and eagerly aspiring for an ideal life; the second poem starts from the merchant woman’s hope that her husband will not return and ends with self-pity and self-hatred, expressing her love and longing for her husband who is away on business, which is poignant, sorrowful and touching. The whole poem is a combination of narrative, scenery and lyricism, with a clear and full image and a deep and tender style.

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