Yuan Hongdao: Tiger Hillock ~ 袁宏道 《虎丘记》with English Translations

小编导读:《虎丘记》是明代文学家袁宏道创作的作品。本文记述了中秋夜苏州人游虎丘的盛况。最精彩的是有关唱歌的场面。从开始“唱者千百”到最后“壮士听而下泪”,层层深入,情景交融,把读者引入到一个若有所失,但更有所得、充满了艺术美的境界里。

袁宏道 《虎丘记》

虎丘去城可七八里,其山无高岩邃壑,独以近城,故箫鼓楼船,无日无之。凡月之夜,花之晨,雪之夕,游人往来,纷错如织,而中秋为尤胜。

每至是日,倾城阖户,连臂而至。衣冠士女,下迨蔀屋,莫不靓妆丽服,重茵累席,置酒交衢间。从千人石上至山门,栉比如鳞,檀板丘积,樽罍云泻,远而望之,如雁落平沙,霞铺江上,雷辊电霍,无得而状。

布席之初,唱者千百,声若聚蚊,不可辨识。分曹部署,竟以歌喉相斗,雅俗既陈,妍媸自别。未几而摇手顿足者,得数十人而已;已而明月浮空,石光如练,一切瓦釜,寂然停声,属而和者,才三四辈;一箫,一寸管,一人缓板而歌,竹肉相发,清声亮彻,听者魂销。比至夜深,月影横斜,荇藻凌乱,则箫板亦不复用;一夫登场,四座屏息,音若细发,响彻云际,每度一字,几尽一刻,飞鸟为之徘徊,壮士听而下泪矣。

剑泉深不可测,飞岩如削。千顷云得天池诸山作案,峦壑竞秀,最可觞客。但过午则日光射人,不堪久坐耳。文昌阁亦佳,晚树尤可观。而北为平远堂旧址,空旷无际,仅虞山一点在望。堂废已久,余与江进之谋所以复之,欲祠韦苏州、白乐天诸公于其中;而病寻作,余既乞归,恐进之之兴亦阑矣。山川兴废,信有时哉。

吏吴两载,登虎丘者六。最后与江进之、方子公同登,迟月生公石上。歌者闻令来,皆避匿去。余因谓进之曰:“甚矣,乌纱之横,皂隶之俗哉!他日去官,有不听曲此石上者,如月!”今余幸得解官称吴客矣。虎丘之月,不知尚识余言否耶?

Tiger Hillock
Yuan Hongdao

Tiger Hillock is about seven to eight li from the city. It has neither high cliffs nor deep gullies, but because it is near town, the music from pleasure-boats can be heard there every day. Moonlit nights, flowery mornings and snowy evenings attract endless streams of visitors to and fro, especially during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

On that day, every family in the city flocks there. All, from officials, young scholars and young ladies, down to shanty-dwellers, are decked out and dressed in their best. They spread several layers of mats along the highway and sit there feasting and drinking in crowded ranks all the way from the Thousand Men Rock to the gate of the monastery, their musical clappers piled up in heaps, their wine vessels like floating clouds. From a distance it seems that a flock of wild geese has alighted on a sandbank or rosy clouds have overspread a great river. The uproar and flashing colours defy description.

When the feasting starts, thousands of people begin to sing, their voices as indistinguishable as the droning of swarms of mosquitoes. Then they divide into groups and arrange a singing contest. Their songs suit either refined or popular tastes and one can easily tell which are the best. Before long, only several dozens of singers are left, wagging their heads and beating time with their feet. When the bright moon sails up the sky and the rocks gleam like silk, the rustic songs stop abruptly and only a few people continue singing. Then a man beats a pair of clappers slowly and sings to the accompaniment of a flute and a piccolo. The clarion fluting and singing leave all listeners transported with joy. When the night is deep and slanting moonlight makes the flowers and trees cast chequered shadows on the water, the instruments are set aside and a solo is sung to which all present listen with bated breath. The singer’s voice, fine as a thread, carries up to the skies, each word on a long-drawn-out note, inducing birds to hover above and moving heroes to tears.

Sword Spring is unfathomably deep, the cliffs soaring above it as if sliced by a sword. Cloud Garden is set off by the Heavenly Pool and other hills, where the cliffs and gullies rival each other in beauty; and this is the best place for a drinking party to enjoy the scenery. But after noon the sunlight is too strong for you to sit there for long.

Wenchang Pavilion is lovely too, its trees in the evening especially enchanting. To the north is the site of the old Pingyuan Hall, a vast open expanse with Yushan Mountain looming in the distance. The hall has long been derelict and Jiang Jinzhi and I had planned to have it repaired as a shrine for Wei Yingwu and Bai Juyi. But then I fell ill. Since I retired and returned home, perhaps Jinzhi has lost interest in this scheme. I believe that mountains and rivers have a time to flourish or to be left desolate.

I served as an official in Suzhou for two years and have climbed Tiger Hillock six times. The last time was with Jiang Jinzhi and Fang Zigong, and we enjoyed the moon on Monk Zhu Daosheng’s Rock till late at night. On hearing that the magistrate had come, all the singers made themselves scarce. So I said to Jinzhi, “It’s too bad, the overbearing conduct of officials and the vulgarity of the yamen runners! After my retirement I shall come back to enjoy the singing on this rock. The moon may bear witness to this!” Now I’ve retired and come to settle in Suzhou. But I don’t know if the moon over Tiger Hillock still remembers my pledge or not.

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