Thursday, October 19, 2017

Elegy for Monggojeje

The 20th of October this year marks the beginning of the ninth lunar month according to the traditional calendar. It was in the ninth lunar month, 416 years ago, that Nurhaci’s young wife Monggojeje died. The following passage from the Manju-i yargiyan kooli tells of her death, and its effect on Nurhaci.

In describing Monggojeje the text departs from the usual narrative style of the Yargiyan kooli and adopts instead a poetic form with vivid imagery, ragged short lines, and a kind of rhyme involving the repeated use of verbs ending in -kū. I believe this may be the oldest surviving Manchu poem, though it has probably suffered at the hands of a few editors between the time that it was originally composed and when it was printed in its final version.

The prose section following the poem is raw and brutal. Nurhaci has Monggojeje’s four handmaidens “follow her” in death, and over seven days he sacrifices a hundred horses and a hundred cattle. He wages war on Yehe because they refused to allow Moggojeje’s mother to visit her when she was sick, captures two walled towns and seven villages, and brings back two thousand captives.

tere aniya bolori uyun biya de manju gurun i taidzu sure beilei dulimbai amba fujin nimeme urihe.

In the ninth month of that year, the middle principal wife of the Wise Prince Taizu became sick and died.

    fujin-i hala nara    The lady’s clan was Nara,
    gebu monggojeje    Her name was Monggojeje,
    yehei gurun-i yangginu beilei sargan jui,    The daughter of Prince Yangginu of Yehe,
    juwan duin se de,    when she was fourteen
    taizu sure beile de holboho,    she married the Wise Prince Taizu.
    banjin fiyan saikan    Lovely in appearance,
    jaluka biyai adali hojo bime,    beautiful like the full moon,
    banin mujilen onco urgun,    generous of heart and happy,
    ujen ginggun    respectful of what is important 
    sure mergen gisun dahasu,    obedient to wise words,
    saišaha seme balai urgunjerakū    not vainly pleased by praise.
    ehe gisun be donjiha seme,    On hearing slander
    da banin i urgun i fiyan be gūwaliyandarakū,    her happy countenance was undisturbed. 
    angga ci ehe gisun tucirakū.    wicked words never left her mouth,
    haldaba saišabukū be yebelerakū.    displeased with flattery and admiration,
    acuhiyan koimali be saišarakū,    she never praised sycophancy and deceit,
    hetu weile, facuhūn gisun be donjirakū.    she never listened to gossip and insubordinate talk,
    mujilen be wacihiyame taidzu sure beilei gūnin de acabume.     she completely harmonized her mind with the Wise Prince Taizu’s thoughts,
    daci dubentele sain be akūmbufi.    from beginning to end she strove to do good,
    ufaraha endebuhe ba akū.    she had neither fault nor flaw.

taidzu sure beile haji fujin ofi delheme yadame fujin i takūraha duin sain hehe be dahabuha.

Because the beloved lady had passed away, the Wise Prince Taizu had the four good women who were employed by the lady follow her.

morin tanggū ihan tanggū wame nadan waliyaha.

He made seven sacrifices, killing one hundred horses and one hundred cattle.

taidzu sure beile emu biya funceme arki nure omirakū. yali jeterakū. inenggi dobori akū songgome.

For more than a month, the Wise Prince Taizu drank neither liquor nor wine, ate no meat, and wept day and night.

giran be hūwai dolo sindafi sinagalame ilan aniya oho manggi. giran be hūwa ci tucibufi niyaman alin gebungge munggan de eifu be sindaha.

He placed her body in the courtyard, and after three years of mourning, had her body taken out of the courtyard and placed in the mausoleum called Heart Mountain.

tereci taidzu sure beile haji fujin, eme be acaki seci unggihe akū de korsofi niowanggiyan muduri aniya, aniya biyai ice jakūn i inenggi, yehe be dailame cooha jurafi, juwan emu de, yehei jang, akiran gebungge juwe hoton be afame gaifi, tere goloi nadan gašan be gaiha.

The Wise Prince Taizu was angry that they had not sent the beloved lady’s mother to see her when she asked, and so on the eighth day of the first month of the Green Dragon Year he set out with an army to wage war on Yehe. On the eleventh day they attacked and captured the cities of Yehe called Jang and Akiran, and seized the seven villages of that district.

juwe minggan olji be bahafi cooha bederehe.
They took two thousand captives, and the army returned.

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