Yu Xuanji: Rhyming with a Friend ~ 鱼玄机·《和友人次韵》 with English Translations







Rhyming with a Friend

Yu Xuanji

What can melt away the melancholy of lodging at an inn?

When I open the red notepaper, I see the fine lines of your writing.

Rain sprinkles Penglai all other peaks grow small,

The wind blows in Xie Valley myriad leaves touched by autumn. 1

In the morning I read word after word, more precious than green jade,

And at night beneath my coverlets I recite page after page.

I’ll pack your poem away in a fragrant casket,

But for now I’ll take it in hand and chant it.

1. Penglai Mountain, beyond the eastern sea, was the abode of the immortals; the Xie Valley to the remote west was held to be the place of origin of musical pipes.

(Jennifer Carpenter 译)

Matching Rhymes with a Friend

Yu Xuanji

What can dispel the sadness

of a traveler’s inn?

Opening a crimson letter,

I find elegant writing within.

When rain washes over

The mystic mountains,

the thousand peaks seem small;

when wind blows through

the northern ravines,

myriad leaves sense fall.

Every word I read by day

makes emerald jade worth less;

each poem I recite by night

is done in my bed as I rest.

Reaching for a fragrant box

to put your letter away,

I take this precious time to sing

of receiving it today.

(Bannie Chow, Thomas Cleary 译)

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