Li Shangyin’s Poetry – – 李商隐《无题·何处哀筝随急管》

无题

(四首其四)

何处哀筝[1]随急管,

樱花永巷垂杨岸。

东家老女[2]嫁不售,

白日当天三月半。

溧阳公主[3]年十四,

清明暖后同墙看。

归来展转到五更,

梁间燕子闻长叹。

此诗先写东家老女婚嫁失时,自伤迟暮;与之对比,贵家女子生活得得意美满。同样是阳春三月,丽日当天,一边是年长难嫁,形单影只;一边却是少年得志,夫妇同游。东家老女归来后在漫长的深夜中辗转难眠,哀叹命运。

注释:

[1]哀筝:高亢清亮的筝声。

[2]东家老女:宋玉《登徒子好色赋》:“臣里之美者,莫若臣东家之子。”此处暗示这位老女是容华美艳的姑娘,之所以不嫁,并非貌不美,只是家境贫寒。

[3]溧阳公主:梁简文帝的女儿。这里泛指贵家女子。

Unnamed

(IV)

From where come happy song and lyric full of gloom?

From willowy shore and long lane where cherries bloom.

The eastern villager’s poor beauty is not wed.

Though like the sun of late spring shining overhead.

The rich and noble princess is only fourteen;

Suitors on mourning day break walls and willow screen.

How could the old maid not toss in bed deep in night?

Even swallows on the beam would sigh for her plight.

Note:This untitled poem contrasts a lonely poor old maid with a rich young princess who had many suitors.