大招: The Great Summons

When Ch‘ü Yüan had been exiled from the Court for nine years, he became so despondent that he feared his soul would part from his body and he would die. It was then that he made the poem called "The Great Summons," calling upon his soul not to leave him.

Stanza 1.

青春受谢,白日昭只。

春气奋发,万物遽只。

冥凌浃行,魂无逃只。

魂魄归来!无远遥只。

Translate:

Green Spring receiveth the vacant earth; The white sun shineth;

Spring wind provoketh to burst and burgeon each sprout and flower.

In those dark caves where Winter lurketh, hide not, my Soul!

O Soul come back again! O, do not stray far away!

Notes:

  1. 1. 谢, wither. 受谢, The Green Spring receives the vacant earth when the winter left.
  2. 2. 遽, compete, meaning all flowers and sprouts flourish like competing with each other.

Comparison with David Hawkes’ translation: ‘Green spring follows the old year and the bright sun shines, And the breath of spring stirs, quickening all creation.’

  1. 3. 冥, dim, dark or gloomy; 凌, ice; Mr. Waley translated 浃 by cave. This character belongs to phono-semantic category, the氵 radical denotes something damp, and wet. This line seems to call the soul not to wander in the dark, cold, and wet places, come back from hiding.

I understand that the subject of 行 is the soul, who wanders in the dark, cold and wet places, but in Hawkes’ translation, 行 means ‘frost melt away,’ the subject is ice or frost instead of soul: ‘Dark winter's frosts melt away.’

Stanza 2.

魂乎归来!无东无西,无南无北只。

东有大海,溺水浟浟(yōu)只。

螭龍并流,上下悠悠只。

雾雨淫淫,白皓胶只。

魂乎无东!汤谷(暘穀)寂寥只。

O Soul come back again and go not east or west, or north or south!

For to the East a mighty water drowneth Earth's other shore; Tossed on its waves and heaving with its tides

The hornless Dragon of the Ocean rideth:

Clouds gather low and fogs enfold the sea

And gleaming ice drifts past.

O Soul go not to the East,

To the silent Valley of Sunrise!

Notes:

St. 2. L.2. 浟(yōu), the appearance of flowing water.

L.3. – 4. 螭, chī, hornless dragon. Hawkes translates this by water dragon: ‘In the east is the great sea, where the swelling waters billow endlessly, And water-dragons swim side by side, swiftly darting above and below. It is clammy with rain and fog, that glister white and heavy.’

Stanza 3.

魂乎无南!南有炎火千里,蝮蛇蜒只。

山林险隘,虎豹蜿只。

鰅鱅(yúyōnɡ)短狐,王虺(huǐ)骞只。

魂乎无南!蜮(yù)伤躬只。

O Soul go not to the South

Where mile on mile the earth is burnt away

And poisonous serpents slither through the flames;

Where on precipitous paths or in deep woods

Tigers and leopards prowl,

And water-scorpions wait;

Where the king-python rears his giant head.

O Soul, go not to the South

Where the three-footed tortoise spits disease!

Notes:

St. 3. L.1. 炎火, Kwo P’u Hsuan (郭璞, Chin dyn.) in his Hsüan Chong Chi (玄中记, Stories from the mid of mystery ), said, ‘South to the Fu Nan state, there is a Flaming Mountain, on which fire starts burnig in the 4th month, and distinguishes in the 12th month, in other months, it covered by by cloud and mist.’ (扶南國東有炎山,四月火生,十二月滅,餘月俱出雲氣)

Hawkes translate: ‘In the south are a hundred leagues of flaming fire and coiling cobras;’

L.2. 鰅鱅, Wang Yi said, it’s a kind of ‘short fox 短狐’ ; Hong Xingzu appended his comment here, saying, ‘with appearance of farm buffalo.’ Waley translated by ‘water scorpion.’ Apparently a scorpion doesn’t look like a cow or an ox, so Hawkes translated it as ‘cow-fish’. 

L. 3. 蜮, The Shuo wen 說文 defines it as短狐 'a short fox,' so both鰅鱅and蜮are belonged ‘short-fox’ family. Du Yu gives the same name, and adds: 'It spurts out sand on men from its mouth.' The Ben cao 本草 calls it 'the archer 射工.' The Kangxi dictionary quotes another account of it, that it is like a turtle, has three feet, is produced in the southern Yue, and is also called 'the shadow-shooter 射影,' because, being in the water and a man being on the shore, it can kill him by darting at his shadow. The same account adds that, acc. to some, it spurts sand on people, which penetrates their skin, and produces such an irritation, that it becomes quite a plague. James Legge thinks this could be ‘a kind of fly, produced from the water, and inflicting a painful bite’, but he couldn’t tell what exactly what it was or is.

David Hawkes’ translation: ‘The mountain rise sheer and steep; tigers and leopards slink; The cow-fish is there, and the spit-sand, and rearing python.’

Stanza 4.

魂乎无西!西方流沙,漭洋洋只。

豕首纵目,被发鬤(nánɡ)只。

长爪踞牙,诶(xī)笑狂只。

魂乎无西!多害伤只。

O Soul go not to the West

Where level wastes of sand stretch on and on;

And demons rage, swine-headed, hairy-skinned,

With bulging eyes;

Who in wild laughter gnash projecting fangs.

O Soul go not to the West

Where many perils wait!

Note:

L.1. 流沙: Moving Sands, in The Journey to the West, one of disciples of the Monk of T’ang, Sandy lived in the Flowing Sand River, who wore a necklace by tying his nine skulls, which later turned into a makeshift raft.

L.2. 鬤, the appearance of shaggy, dishevelled hair.

L.3. 踞牙, jagged fangs or tusks.

Hawkes translation: ‘In the west are the Moving Sands stretching endlessly on and on, And beasts with heads like swine, slanting eyes and shaggy hair, Long claws and serrated teeth and wild, mad laughter.’

Stanza 5.

魂乎无北!北有寒山,趠(chuò)龙赩(xì)只。

代水不可涉,深不可测只。

天白颢颢,寒凝凝只。

魂乎无往!盈北极只。

O Soul go not to the North,

To the Lame Dragon's frozen peaks;

Where trees and grasses dare not grow;

Where a river runs too wide to cross

And too deep to plumb,

And the sky is white with snow

And the cold cuts and kills.

O Soul seek not to fill

The treacherous voids of the north!

Note:

L.1 趠(chuò)龙, is another form of 燭龍, which is a legendary creature with a human face and serpent body. Hawkes translate it by “Torch Dragon.’

L.2. 代水: the name of a River in ancient Myth.

‘In the north are the Frozen Mountain, and the Torch Dragon, glaring red; And the Dai River that cannot be crossed, whose depths are unfathomable; And the sky is white and glittering, and all is congealed with cold.’

Stanza 6.

魂魄归来!闲以静只。

自恣荆楚,安以定只。

逞志究欲,心意安只。

穷身永乐,年寿延只。

魂乎归来!乐不可言只。

O Soul come back to idleness and peace.

In quietude enjoy

The lands of Ching and Ch‘u.

There work your will and follow your desire

Till sorrow is forgot,

And carelessness shall bring you length of days.

O Soul come back to joys beyond all telling!

Stanza 7

五谷六仞,设菰(ɡū)梁只。

鼎臑(ér)盈望,和致芳只。

内鶬(cānɡ)鸽鹄,味豺羹只。

魂乎归来!恣所尝只。

Where thirty cubits high at harvest-time

The corn is stacked;

Where pies are cooked of millet and bearded-maize.

Guests watch the steaming bowls

And sniff the pungency of peppered herbs.

The cunning cook adds slices of bird-flesh,

Pigeon and yellow-heron and black-crane.

They taste the badger-stew.

O Soul come back to feed on foods you love!

Notes:

L.2. 臑, boil in a tripod.

L.3. 内: is a phonetic loan of 肭, meaning ‘fat.’

Stanza 8

鲜蠵(xī)甘鸡,和楚酪只。

醢(hǎi)豚苦狗,脍苴蒪(jūbó)只。

吴酸蒿蒌,不沾薄只。

魂兮归来!恣所择只。

Next are brought

Fresh turtle, and sweet chicken cooked in cheese

Pressed by the men of Ch‘u.

And pickled sucking-pig

And flesh of whelps floating in liver-sauce

With salad of minced radishes in brine;

All served with that hot spice of southernwood

The land of Wu supplies.

O Soul come back to choose the meats you love!

Stanza 9

煎鰿(jí)臛(Huò)雀,遽爽存只。

魂乎归来!丽以先只。

Roasted daw, steamed widgeon and grilled quail—

On every fowl they fare.

Boiled perch and sparrow broth, —in each preserved

The separate flavour that is most its own.

O Soul come back to where such dainties wait!

Stanza 10

四酎(zhòu)并孰,不涩嗌(sèyì)只。

清馨冻饮,不歠(chuò)役只。

吴醴白櫱(niè),和楚沥只。

魂乎归来!不遽惕只。

The four strong liquors are warming at the fire

So that they grate not on the drinker's throat.

How fragrant rise their fumes, how cool their taste!

Such drink is not for louts or serving-men!

And wise distillers from the land of Wu

Blend unfermented spirit with white yeast

And brew the li of Ch‘u.

O Soul come back and let your yearnings cease!

Notes:

L. 1. 孰 is a phonetic loan of "熟", meaning ‘mature’.

Hawkes translation: ‘Four kinds of wine have been subtly blended, not rasping to the throat; Clear, fragrant, ice-cool liquor, not for base men to drink; And white yeast has been mixed with must of Wu to make the clear Chu wine. O soul, come back and do not be afraid.’

Stanza 11

代秦郑卫,鸣竽张只。

伏戏驾辩,楚劳商只。

讴和扬阿,赵萧倡只。

魂乎归来!定空桑只。

Reed-organs from the lands of T‘ai and Ch‘in

And Wei and Chēng

Gladden the feasters, and old songs are sung:

The "Rider's Song" that once

Fu-hsi, the ancient monarch, made;

And the harp-songs of Ch‘u.

Then after prelude from the flutes of Chao

The ballad-singer's voice rises alone.

O Soul come back to the hollow mulberry-tree!

Note:

L.2伏戏, also written as 伏羲, is the legendary Emperor Fu Xi,

Stanza 12

二八接舞,投诗赋只。

叩锺调磬,娱人乱只。

四上竞气,极声变只。

魂乎归来!听歌譔(zhuàn)只。

Eight and eight the dancers sway,

Weaving their steps to the poet's voice

Who speaks his odes and rhapsodies;

They tap their bells and beat their chimes

Rigidly, lest harp and flute

Should mar the measure.

Then rival singers of the Four Domains

Compete in melody, till not a tune

Is left unsung that human voice could sing.

O Soul come back and listen to their songs!

Stanza 13

朱唇皓齿,嫭(hù)以姱姱(kuā)只。

比德好闲,习以都只。

丰肉微骨,调以娱只。

魂乎归来!安以舒只。

Then women enter whose red lips and dazzling teeth

Seduce the eye;

But meek and virtuous, trained in every art;

Fit sharers of play-time,

So soft their flesh and delicate their bones.

O Soul come back and let them ease your woe!

Stanza 14

嫮嫮(hù)目宜笑,娥眉曼只。

容则秀雅,稚朱颜只。

魂乎归来!静以安只。

Then enter other ladies with laughing lips

And sidelong glances under moth-eye brows;

Whose cheeks are fresh and red;

Stanza 15

姱修滂浩,丽以佳只。

曾颊倚耳,曲眉规只。

滂心绰态,姣丽施只。

小腰秀颈,若鲜卑只。

魂乎归来!思怨移只。

Ladies both great of heart and long of limb,

Whose beauty by sobriety is matched.

Well-padded cheeks and ears with curving rim,

High-arching eyebrows, as with compass drawn,

Great hearts and loving gestures—all are there;

Small waists and necks as slender as the clasp

Of courtiers' brooches.

O Soul come back to those whose tenderness

Drives angry thoughts away!

Stanza 16

易中利心,以动作只。

粉白黛黑,施芳泽只。

长袂拂面,善留客只。

魂乎归来!以娱昔只。

Last enter those

Whose every action is contrived to please;

Black-painted eyebrows and white-powdered cheeks.

They reek with scent; with their long sleeves they brush

The faces of the feasters whom they pass,

Or pluck the coats of those who will not stay.

O Soul come back to pleasures of the night!

Stanza 17

青色直眉,美目媔(mián)只。

靥(yān)辅奇牙,宜笑嘕只。

丰肉微骨,体便娟只。

魂乎归来!恣所便只。

Stanza 18

廈屋广大,沙堂秀只。

南房小坛,觀(ɡuàn)绝溜只。

曲屋步壛(yán),宜扰畜只。

腾驾步游,猎春囿只。

琼轂(ɡǔ)错衡,英华假只。

茞兰桂树,郁弥路只。

魂乎归来!恣志虑只。

A summer-house with spacious rooms

And a high hall with beams stained red;

A little closet in the southern wing

Reached by a private stair.

And round the house a covered way should run

Where horses might be trained.

And sometimes riding, sometimes going afoot

You shall explore, O Soul, the parks of spring;

Your jewelled axles gleaming in the sun

And yoke inlaid with gold;

Or amid orchises and sandal-trees

Shall walk in the dark woods.

O Soul come back and live for these delights!

Stanza 19

孔雀盈园,畜鸾皇只!

鵾鸿群晨,杂鶖鶬只。

鸿鹄代游,曼鷫鸘(sùshuānɡ)只。

魂乎归来!凤凰翔只。

Peacocks shall fill your gardens; you shall rear

The roc and phoenix, and red jungle-fowl,

Whose cry at dawn assembles river storks

To join the play of cranes and ibises;

Where the wild-swan all day

Pursues the glint of idle king-fishers.

O Soul come back to watch the birds in flight!

Stanza 20

曼泽怡面,血气盛只。

永宜厥身,保寿命只。

室家盈廷,爵禄盛只。

魂乎归来!居室定只。

He who has found such manifold delights

Shall feel his cheeks aglow

And the blood-spirit dancing through his limbs.

Stay with me, Soul, and share

The span of days that happiness will bring;

See sons and grandsons serving at the Court

Ennobled and enriched.

O Soul come back and bring prosperity

To house and stock!

Stanza 21

接径千里,出若云只。

三圭重侯,听类神祇。

察笃夭隐,孤寡存只。

魂兮归来!正始昆只。

The roads that lead to Ch‘u

Shall teem with travellers as thick as clouds,

A thousand miles away.

For the Five Orders of Nobility

Shall summon sages to assist the King

And with godlike discrimination choose

The wise in council; by their aid to probe

The hidden discontents of humble men

And help the lonely poor.

O Soul come back and end what we began!

Stanza 22

田邑千畛,人阜昌只。

美冒众流,德泽章只。

先威后文,善美明只。

魂乎归来!赏罚当只。

Fields, villages and lanes

Shall throng with happy men;

Good rule protects the people and make known

The King's benevolence to all the land;

Stern discipline prepares

Their natures for the soft caress of Art.

O Soul come back to where the good are praised!

Stanza 23

名声若日,照四海只。

德誉配天,万民理只。

北至幽陵,南交址只。

西薄羊肠,东穷海只。

魂乎归来!尚贤士只。

Like the sun shining over the four seas

Shall be the reputation of our King;

His deeds, matched only in Heaven, shall repair

The wrongs endured by every tribe of men,—

Northward to Yu and southward to Annam,

To the Sheep's Gut Mountain and the Eastern Seas.

O Soul come back to where the wise are sought!

Stanza 24

发政献行,禁苛暴只。

举杰压陛,诛讥罢只。

直赢在位,近禹麾只。

豪杰执政,流泽施只。

魂乎归来!国家为只

Stanza 25

雄雄赫赫,天德明只。

三公穆穆,登降堂只。

诸侯毕极,立九卿只。

昭质既设,大侯张只。

执弓挟矢,揖辞让只。

魂乎来归!尚三王只。

Behold the glorious virtues of our King

Triumphant, terrible;

Behold with solemn faces in the Hall

The Three Grand Ministers walk up and down,—

None chosen for the post save landed-lords

Or, in default, Knights of the Nine Degrees.

At the first ray of dawn already is hung

The shooting-target, where with bow in hand

And arrows under arm,

Each archer does obeisance to each,

Willing to yield his rights of precedence.

O Soul come back to where men honour still

The name of the Three Kings. 

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