Yang Yu-huan and the famous poem
長 恨 歌
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The well-known poem ODE OF EVERLASTING WOES (or some
people translated it as Song of Everlasting Sorrow or Song of
Unending Sorrow, or Song of Eternal Sorrow). It was written by a
Tang poet Bai Ju-yi (772-846), describing the Tang Emperor Xuan-
zong’s love for Yang Yu-huan , or often known as Yang Gueifei
and perpetual grief at her loss.

Yang Guifei was born in 719. In 736, she was hand picked to marry
a prince, son of Emperor Xuan-zong. However, the marriage did
not last long, as she caught the attention of her father-in-law. Yang
was then made a Taoist priest and given the name Tai Zhen. This
was a process designed to assist her transition from the wife of a
prince to the reigning Emperor’s concubine. The Emperor was so
indulged in the beauty of Yang Guifei that he did not attend to his
court duties, and spent all his time with Yang Guifei, singing and
dancing all day long. Yang became so favored by the Emperor that
a hot spring was built in Chang An, today’s Xian, so that she could
spend the cold spring months there. Yang’s favourite fruit was
lychee, and during the lychee season, the emperor ordered relay
horses to transport fresh lychees from Guangdong which was the
southern most province in China to Chang An for her pleasure. Her
family received great honours from the court and her cousin Yang
Guo Zong was made Prime Minister.

Yang Guifei had an adopted son An Lu Shan, a descent from
Turkey, who was in constant conflict with Yang Guo Zhong. This
led to An’s rebellion in 755. The royal guards, instead of blaming
the Emperor for being infatuated with Yang Guifei and not
grabbling with the problems of the country, accused Yang Guifei of
indulging the Emperor in singing, dancing and dinking all the time,
thus overlooking his imperial duties. They refused to fight and
defend the throne, and demanded that unless Yang Guifei was
ordered to die, they would surrender to the rebels. As the Emperor
had to keep the throne, he had no choice but to order that a piece
of white silk be presented to Yang Guifei, so that she could hang
herself. Yang was 38 years old when she died in 756. The
Emperor wept bitterly. He was so upset that he later abdicated and
was succeeded by his son.
TOLD by Hani Law  
Copyright © 2009
All rights reserved
Ode of Everlasting Woes                                        Bai Ju-yi

TRANSLATED by YK Kwan copyright© 2009

All copyrights are reserved for the author. The use of any part of this publication produced,
transmitted in any form or by   any  means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, or
stored in a retrieval system, without the prior consent of the publisher or writer is in infringement
of the copyright law.

The Han Emperor longed for a supreme beauty with his mind set,
Despite ruling the entire Kingdom, he failed to get.
The Yang family had a daughter who bloomed at home,
In her secluded chamber, she remained unknown.
With divine beauty, she couldn't be denied,
One day she was elected at the Emperor's side.
With a smile of her radiant gaze,
Her enchantment carried everything away.
All consorts in the harem lost their grace,.
Left unnoticed, and pale in their face.

In the early spring chill she was brought,
To the Emperor's hot-spring palace resort.
The water was warm and smooth like silk,
Soothing her skin, fair as lard congealed.
Out of the pool the maids lent her a hand,
But she was even too feeble to stand.
She was given all pleasure and charm there and then,
By an Emperor who never failed to condescend.
Her hair was whirly like clouds,
And visage glamorous like flowers.
With strings of pearls and jade, her gold hairpin graced,
Jingling music followed every step she paced.
In the warmth of the floral net they spent their nights,
The nights were too short and the sun too bright.
From then on the Emperor would not
Rise early anymore for his morning Court.

Apart from feasts and reveling,
There was hardly time for anything.
Night after night in passion,
And Spring parties throughout Spring.
Three thousand beauties were forsaken,
Three thousand-folds of love all merged on one.
In sublime make-up and late hours,
Nested in golden palace, she waited upon the King.
With the banquet over, the jade tower
Was still filled with air of wine and spring.
Sisters and brothers became ladies and dukes,
Her house shone on by lights of lustrous hues.
The hearts of parents were no longer vexed,
By the thought of having a child of the weaker sex.

The palace in Lishan  was in the clouds, out of sight,
But wafting in the wind was fairy music in flight.
Leisurely dance and soft songs,
Performed amid flutes and strings.
The Emperor watched all day long,
And not for a moment felt it tiring.
Out of the blues and shaking the ground,
Battle drums suddenly came from Yuyang .
The playing of his tune  was rudely stopped,
And the Emperor was in complete shock.
The Capital watchtowers engulfed in burning smoke,
Ten thousand calvary regressed to countries remote .
Emperor's carriage in emerald shade
Moved in fits and starts in its escapade.
A hundred “li”  west of the capital gate,
The imperial garrison refused to obey ,
And no command could change the day.
By the soldiers the pitiful beauty met her fate;

Hairpins set with emerald, gold and jade,
Strewed the ground and were left to fade.
The Emperor powerless, only covered his face,
While tears of blood from his eyes raced.

Yellow dust was swirling in the biting wind,
Winding passage  stilted in the clouds was the only way.
In the rugged terrain, few travelers could be seen,
Streamers were lack-luster and the sun began to fade.
Su mountains were verdant and rivers clean,
But the Emperor had no heart for such scenes.
Moonlight on the tour gave him a heart-breaking time,
Grief in a raining night deepened by ringing-bells' chime .

Fortunes changed and the royal carriage turned around ,
But was languish in its homeward bound.
On this fateful, heart-shattering ground,
No trace of any relics could be found.
An Emperor in tears with his wailing court,
Reentered the city gate with reminiscent thought
Gardens and ponds were as before,
Lilies and willows, the same after all.
Image of her face was like lilies fresh,
And eyebrows like a willow leaf,
How could the Emperor not to grieve?

In spring, the peach and plum flowers bloomed,
In autumn rain, parasol  leaves covered the ground.
The grass in western garden had much over-grown,
Red leaves in the courtyard were left alone.
Young minstrels now turned grey-haired,
Ladies-in-waiting no longer young and fair.
Watching glow-flies outside, his thoughts turned sad,
With a lonely lamp he lied awake in bed.
The more drumming  he counted, longer the night,
The Milky Way stayed high, glowing ever bright.
On the roof tiles frost-flakes load,
Who'd share his emerald quilt now turned cold?
Life and death split them asunder for a year,
In his dream her spirit never appeared.
In his dream her spirit never appeared.

Came a Taoist priest who could meet
Spirits of the underworld with his occult feat.
Because of the Emperor's disconsolate thoughts
This priest was hired to contact the Consort.
Up in the sky, riding the wind and lightning he sought,
Between the azure blue and where Hades ruled,
As to her whereabouts, there was no clue.
Then it was said a fairy mountain appeared in the sea,
Somewhere between the virtual and reality.

Pagoda and towers appeared in mystic fog,
There lived a host of enchanting fairy-folk.
One of them matched Consort’s Taoist name,
Her complexion and visage were almost the same.

At the golden tower, the priest knocked on the door of jade,
And announced his call to the serving maids.
Hearing the envoy of the Emperor  had arrived,
The Consort was awakened from her dream surprised.
She donned her gown in ambivalent mind,
Pushing aside her screen of pearls in silvery lines.
With her chignon askew from her slumber;
Tiara disarrayed, she descended into the antechamber.
A draft caused her fairy-like sleeves to prance,
As if playing the Emperor's favourite  dance.
In privacy, her visage was marked by tear-stains,
Like pear-blossom, adorned with spring-time rain.
With emotion composed, she said with fixed-gaze,
“Tell my King, ever since we parted, I miss his face.
Our endearing love on earth came to an abrupt end,
The days and months are elongating in the Blest land.”
Onto the secular world she cast her gaze,
Only finding the Capital enshrouded in dusty haze.

With the other half, the gold filigree would match.
“Tell him to have his heart set like this gold,
Between heaven and earth one day, our hands will hold.”
Before parting she repeated her words with care,
“This pledge is known only to us, with no one to share.
On the 7th day of the 7th moon, we worshiped at Longevity Hall,
In the middle of the night, unattended, we privately swore:
“In the sky, as love-birds, wing to wing we 'd fly,
On earth, as binary trees with boughs entwined.”
Heaven and earth last long but they may end,
These woes will carry on forever without amends.”

長 恨 歌                                                            白 居 易

漢 皇  重 色 思 傾 國 ,
御 宇  多 年 求 不 得。
楊 家 有 女 初 長 成 ,
養 在 深 閨 人 未 識。
天 生 麗 質 難 自 棄 ,
一 朝 選 在 君 王 側。
回 眸 一 笑 百 媚 生 ,
六 宮 粉 黛  無 顏 色。

春 寒 賜 浴 華 清 池 ,
溫 泉 水 滑 洗 凝 脂。
侍 兒 扶 起 嬌 無 力 ,
始 是 新 承 恩 澤 時。
雲 鬢 花 顏 金 步 搖  ,
芙 蓉 帳 裡 度 春 宵。
春 宵 苦 短 日 高 起 ,
從 此 君 王 不 早 朝。
承 歡 侍 宴 無 閑 暇 ,
春 從 春 游 夜 專 夜。
後 宮 佳 麗 三 千 人 ,
三 千 寵 愛 在 一 身。
金 屋  妝 成 嬌 侍 夜 ,
玉 樓 宴 罷 醉 和 春。
姊 妹 弟 兄  皆 列 土 ,
可 憐 光 彩 生 門 戶。
遂 令 天 下 父 母 心 ,
不 重 生 男 重 生 女。

驪 宮  高 處 入 青 雲 ,
仙 樂 風 飄 處 處 聞。
緩 歌 謾 舞 凝 絲 竹 ,
盡 日 君 王 看 不 足。
漁 陽  鼙 鼓 動 地 來 ,
驚 破 霓 裳 羽 衣 曲 。
九 重 城 闕  煙 塵 生 ,
千 乘 萬 騎 西 南 行。
翠 華 搖 搖 行 復 止 ,
西 出 都 門 百 餘 里 。
六 軍  不 發 無 奈 何 ,
宛 轉 娥 眉 馬 前 死 。

花 鈿 委 地 無 人 收 ,
翠 翹 金 雀 玉 搔 頭 。
君 王 掩 面 救 不 得 ,
回 看 血 淚 相 和 流。

黃 埃 散 漫 風 簫 索 ,
雲 棧  縈 紆 登 劍 閣。
峨 嵋 山 下 少 人 行 ,
旌 旗 無 光 日 色 簿。
蜀 江 水 碧 蜀 山 青 ,
聖 主 朝 朝 暮 暮 情。
行 宮 見 月 傷 心 色 ,
夜 雨 聞 鈴  腸 斷 聲。

天 旋 地 轉  迴 龍 馭 ,
到 此 躊 躇 不 能 去。
馬 嵬 坡 下 泥 土 中 ,
不 見 玉 顏 空 死 處。
君 臣 相 顧 盡 沾 衣 ,
東 望 都 門 信 馬 歸。
歸 來 池 宛 皆 依 舊 ,
太 液  芙 蓉 未 央  柳。
芙 蓉  如 面 柳 如 眉 ,
對 此 如 何 不 淚 垂。

春 風 桃 李 花 開 日 ,
秋 雨 梧 桐 葉 落 時。
西 宮 南 內  多 秋 草 ,
落 葉 滿 階 紅 不 掃。
梨 園  弟 子 白 髮 新 ,
椒 房 阿 監  青 娥 老。
夕 殿 螢 飛 思 悄 然 ,
孤 燈 挑 盡 未 成 眠。
遲 遲 鐘 鼓 初 夜 長 ,
耿 耿 星 河 欲 曙 天。
鴛 鴦 瓦  冷 霜 華 重 ,
翡 翠 衾 寒 誰 與 共。
悠 悠 生 死 別 經 年 ,
魂 魄 不 曾 來 入 夢。

臨 邛  道 士 鴻 都 客  ,
能 以 精 誠 致 魂 魄。
為 感 君 王 輾 轉 思 ,
遂 教 方 士 殷 勤 覓。
排 雲 馭 氣 奔 如 電 ,
升 天 入 地 求 之 徧。
上 窮 碧 落  下 黃 泉 ,
兩 處 茫 茫 皆 不 見。
忽 聞 海 上 有 仙 山 ,
山 在 虛 無 縹 緲 間。

樓 閣 玲 瓏 五 雲 起 ,
其 中 綽 約 多 仙 子。
中 有 一 人 字 太 真  ,
雪 膚 花 貌 參 差 是。
金 闕 西 廂 叩 玉 扃 ,
轉 教 小 玉 報 雙 成 。
聞 道 漢 家 天 子 使
九 華 帳 裡 夢 魂 驚。
攬 衣 推 枕 起 徘 徊 ,
珠 箔  銀 屏 迤 邐 開。
雲 髻 半 偏 新 睡 覺 ,
花 冠 不 整 下 堂 來。
風 吹 仙 袂 飄 飄 舉 ,
猶 似 霓 裳 羽 衣 舞。
玉 容 寂 寞 淚 闌 干 ,
梨 花 一 枝 春 帶 雨。
含 情 凝 睇 謝 君 王 ,
一 別 音 容 兩 渺 茫。
昭 陽 殿 裡 恩 愛 絕 ,
蓬 萊 宮  中 日 月 長。
回 頭 下 望 人 寰 處 ,
不 見 長 安 見 塵 霧。

惟 將 舊 物  表 深 情 ,
鈿 合 金 釵 寄 將 去。
釵 留 一 股  合 一 扇  ,
釵 擘 黃 金 合 分 鈿 。
但 教 心 似 金 鈿 堅 ,
天 上 人 間 會 相 見。
臨 別 殷 勤 重 寄 詞 ,
詞 中 有 誓 兩 心 知。
七 月 七 日 長 生 殿  ,
夜 半 無 人 私 語 時。
在 天 願 為 比 翼 鳥  ,
在 地 願 為 連 理 枝。
天 長 地 久 有 時 盡 ,
此 恨 綿 綿 無 絕 期。