Bai Juyi Poem: The White-haired Palace Maid – 白居易《上阳白发人》

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上阳[1]白发人

白居易

上阳人,上阳人,红颜暗老[2]白发新。

绿衣监使[3]守宫门,一闭上阳多少春。

玄宗末岁初选入,入时十六今六十。

同时采择[4]百余人,零落年深残此身[5]

忆昔吞悲别亲族,扶入车中不教哭。

皆云入内便承恩,脸似芙蓉胸似玉。

未容君王得见面,已被杨妃遥侧目[6]

妒令潜配上阳宫,一生遂向空房宿。

宿空房,秋夜长,夜长无寐天不明。

耿耿残灯背壁影,萧萧暗雨打窗声。

春日迟,日迟独坐天难暮;

宫莺百啭[7]愁厌闻,梁燕双栖老休妒。

莺归燕去长悄然,春往秋来不记年。

唯向深宫望明月,东西四五百回圆。

今日宫中年最老,大家遥赐尚书号[8]

小头鞋履窄衣裳,青黛点眉眉细长。

外人不见见应笑,天宝末年时世妆。

上阳人,苦最多:

少亦苦,老亦苦,少苦老苦两如何?

君不见昔时吕向《美人赋》[9]

又不见今日上阳人白发歌。

注释:

[1] 上阳:唐代别宫名,在东都洛阳西南。

[2] 红颜暗老:人的青春容颜在不知不觉中衰老。

[3] 绿衣监使:唐代管理宫闱事务的宦官,唐时京都诸苑各设监一人,从六品下;副监一人,从七品下。六、七品官服为深、浅绿色。

[4] 采择:选入宫女。

[5] “零落”句:零落,凋谢,这里指宫女死亡。残。剩余、留下。

[6] “已被”句:杨妃,杨贵妃。遥侧目,斜着眼睛看,形容忌恨的样子。

[7] 百啭(zhuàn):鸟婉转地叫。

[8] “大家”句:大家,古代宫中侍从对皇帝的称谓。尚书,女尚书,宫中女官的名称。

[9] 吕向《美人赋》:作者自注云:“天宝末,有密采艳色者,当时号花鸟使,吕向献《美人赋》以讽之。”吕向,字子回,事迹见《新唐书·文艺传》。《美人赋》载《全唐文》卷三零一。

The White-haired Palace Maid

Bai Juyi

The Shangyang Palace maid,

Her hair grows white, her rosy cheeks grow dark and fade.

The palace gate is guarded by eunuchs in green.

How many springs have passed, immured as she has been!

She was first chosen for the imperial household

At the age of sixteen; now she’s sixty years old.

The hundred beauties brought in with her have all gone,

Flickering out through long years, leaving her alone.

She swallowed grief when she left home in days gone by,

Helped into the cab, she was forbidden to cry.

Once in the palace, she’d be favored, it was said;

Her face was fair as lotus, her bosom like jade.

But to the emperor she could never come nigh,

For Lady Yang had cast on her a jealous eye.

She was consigned to Shangyang Palace full of gloom,

To pass her lonely days and nights in a bare room.

In empty chamber long seemed each autumnal night;

Sleepless in bed, it seemed she’d never see daylight.

Dim, dim the lamplight throws her shadow on the walls;

Shower by shower on her windows chill rain falls.

Spring days drag slow;

She sits alone to see light won’t be dim and low.

She’s tired to hear the palace orioles sing and sing,

Too old to envy pairs of swallows on the wing.

Silent, she sees the birds appear and disappear,

And counts nor springs nor autumns coming year by year.

Watching the moon o’er palace again and again,

Four hundred times and more she’s seen it wax and wane.

Today the oldest honorable maid of all,

She is entitled Secretary of Palace Hall.

Her gown is tightly fitted, her shoes like pointed prows;

With dark green pencil she draws long, long slender brows.

Seeing her, outsiders would even laugh with tears;

Her old-fashioned dress has been out of date for years.

The Shangyang maid, to suffer is her fate, all told;

She suffered while still young; she suffers now she’s old.

Do you not know a satire spread in days gone by?

Today for white-haired Shangyang Palace maid we’ll sigh.

The poet pities the place maid who lived the palace from sixteen to sixty without even seeing the emperor’s face.

《上阳白发人》是唐代诗人白居易创作的一首政治讽喻诗。此诗通过描写一位上阳宫女长达四十余年的幽禁遭遇,揭示了“后宫佳丽三千人”的悲惨命运,同时对封建帝王强制征选民间女子以满足自己淫欲的罪恶行径提出强烈的控诉。全诗兼用叙事、抒情、写景、议论等多种表达方式,音韵转换灵活,长短句错落有致,语言浅显,含义深刻,充分揭露了封建社会的黑暗。

The White Haired Woman of Shang Yang” is a political satire written by Bai Juyi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. By describing the forty-year-long confinement of a Shang Yang court lady, the poem reveals the tragic fate of the “three thousand beauties in the harem”, and at the same time makes a strong indictment of the feudal emperor’s sinful practice of forcibly recruiting women from the people to satisfy his own lust. The poem uses a variety of expressions such as narrative, lyricism, landscape writing and argument, with flexible rhyme and rhyme shifts, long and short stanzas, simple language and profound meaning, fully exposing the darkness of feudal society.

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