Friday, September 22, 2017

A lament on the state of the times

This is an anonymous poem included in Staatsbibliothek 34981 Fascicle 4. The title, Doo cing cy ninggun meyen (道情詞), seems like it might be an allusion to another work, but the only other Dao qing ci that I have found is a reference in chapter 44 of 西遊記:
Hand striking the bamboo fish, mouth singing the Dao qing ci, he entered the city gates and met the two Daoist priests. 
From context, it looks like the original may have been a Daoist hymn, but the Manchu poem is clearly a different creation, being a mournful lament on the affairs of the day (erin-i baita de nasarangge).

The poem consists of six stanzas of three quatrains each. The metrical scheme of each stanza is 3/3/3/3 7/7/7/7 3/4/3/4, and the rhyme scheme is AAxA AxAA xxxA. The only inconsistency in this scheme is that the last line of the fifth stanza (ai mohon) should be the first line of the sixth stanza in terms of meter, but belongs with the fifth stanza in terms of rhyme.

agu tuwa,Look, brother
ainara,what should we do?
faijuma,This is serious.

jobocuka ambula,Very worrisome,
gurun forgon icakū,the nation and the times are tense,
niyalmai gūnin gūwaliyaka,the people's minds have changed.
dasarangge weke ya?Who can fix it?

ai teišun,Whatever bronze
jiha eden,and cash is gone.
on kafi,When you go on an errand
bele aba?where is the rice?

agu suwe,Brothers, you
jai bodo,reckon again.
facuhūn,Where does
ai dube,the trouble end?

jalan baita ehe,Worldly affairs are wicked,
menggun seci ekiyehun,and the silver? Gone.
caliyan dembei oyonggo,Provisions are important!
aini cooha ujire,How can we maintain the army?

gurun ejen,are the rulers and nations.
hūlha holo,the robbers and thieves.

agu si,Brother, you
taifin fon,When has there been
atanggi,a season of peace?

yala yala akambi,So we grieve on.
irgen ergen gukuhei,The vitality of the people is extinguished,
hūlhai songko jalupi,the tracks of the bandits proliferate.
mergen jiyangjiyūn ya waci,If only the heroes and generals would kill them.

oyonggoWe value
menggun jiha,silver and cash,
weihuken,and count for little
ejen kesi.the grace of our rulers.

ai agu,Oh, brother,
ambasa officials
baitakū,are useless.

yasa tuwahai hūi uttu,Look now with your eyes,
gurun baitalan eden,the government is empty of useful people,
booi baitalan fulu,households are full of useful people,
tucibure jai akū,no one is appointed anymore.

gūnin tondo,correct thinking
bireteiis exclusively
beyei cisu.for personal benefit.

g'alab ton,The reckoning of ages
esi giyan,of course is proper,
ergenggeand living things
jilakan,are pitiful.

gūnihakū jobolon,Mindless suffering.
cooha ai uttu niyere,Why is the army weak like this?
bata ai tuttu kiyangkiyan,Why are the enemies powerful like that?
jiyangiyūn data ai bodon?What plan do the generals and leaders have?

bi jeke,I have eaten.
caliyan fulun bi waliya,Let me abandon provisions and salary.
golo hoton,The district and town,
ai mohon.such depletion.

ai jempiHow can one bear
mujilenthese thoughts?

wei ondoho facuhūn,Foolishness brings disaster,
irgen banin kokima,the state of the people is poor,
gurun ulin ekiyehun,the coffers of the state are empty,
yala jobocuka suffering is extreme.

ban akū,Without troops
coohai jiyangiyūn,are the army generals,
sui akū,without guilt
niyalmai ergen.the people's spirits.

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