If that is true, it is all the more interesting that some apparently enjoyed reading Chinese poetry in Manchu, when they could presumably have read it equally well or better in Chinese. Jakdan’s own translations of Chinese poetry are an example of this, as is the poem below from Grebenshchikov 45. I think this type of translation must have been appreciated as an art form of its own.
As I have been reading through G45 I have been struck by the fact that the poetry does not conform to the metrical and rhythmic conventions of Jakdan and the Staatsbibliothek poet(s), and that had caused me some angst. I have previously used syllabic meter and the unique Manchu rhyme scheme as a way to tell autochthonous poetry apart from translated poetry, but in G45 this distinction seemed to break down, since the poetry did not appear to be metrical, and yet I could not find Chinese originals.
In the case of the poem below, since it listed a tune (sumozhe 蘇莫遮), I was able to track down the original Ming poem and confirm that it is indeed a translation.
This is both heartening and disheartening. On the one hand, I don’t feel like I know enough about Manchu intellectual culture to understand how a translation “works” as an art form. On the other hand, it underscores the value of using syllabic meter and Manchu rhyme categories to identify autochthonous poetry.
Here are the G45 poem and the Ming original, side-by-side.
|šanggiyan tugi-i alin,||白云山，|
|fulgiyan abdaha-i moo,||红叶树，|
|mukdehe gukuhe be akūmbume,||阅尽兴亡、|
|duwali tede ofi geli yamjire adali,||一似朝还暮。|
|tuhere šun amtangga orho|
wajihangge ai ton,
|furgin hekceme, furgin cilciname||潮落潮生，|
|niyalma be amasi julesi fudembi,||还送人来去。|
|žuwan gung-ni jugūn,|
yang dzy-i tala,
|honin duha-i gese|
uyun mudan-i bade,
|sejen-i muheren be tookabume|
kemuni ejehengge singgiyan,
|šunehe morin incara bade||记得寒芜嘶马处，|
|saikan ficako, menggun-i yatuhan,||翠管银筝|
|dobori dari uculeme|
taktu de gerembumbihe,
|su mo je mudan,||to the tune Sumozhe|