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Sexual Obligation of the Chinese Husband ?

 
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Bobby Yeoh



Joined: 26 Oct 2002
Posts: 23
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 11:32 am    Post subject: Sexual Obligation of the Chinese Husband ? Reply with quote

Dear Ming and Friends:

Please allow me to throw another brick into the Forum to solicit your thoughts on the poem 采綠 from 詩經 Book of Songs. I append below for your convenience the poem in question and also commentaries by three Scholars- James Legge, Arthur Waley, and Anne Birrell:

(Please excuse the line spacings; in trying to place the translation side-by-side, I cannot seem to get them aligned correctly.)


采綠
(Mao Number 226; Waley Number 59)

( Translation by James Legge )
終朝采綠、不盈一匊。 All the morning I gather the king-grass ,
予髮曲局、薄言歸沐。 And do not collect enough to fill my hands .
My hair is in a wisp ; --
I will go home and wash it .

終朝采藍、不盈一擔。 All the morning I gather the indigo plant ,
五日為期、六日不儋。 And do not collect enough to fill my apron .
我不見兮、我心不說。 Five days was the time agreed on ; --
It is the sixth , and I do not see him .

彼都人士、充耳琇實。 When he went a hunting ,
彼君子女、謂之尹吉。 I put the bow in its case for him .
我不見兮、我心苑結。 When he went to fish ,
I arranged his line for him .

彼都人士、垂帶而厲。
彼君子女、卷髮如蠆。
我不見兮、言從之邁。 What did he take in angling ?
匪伊垂之、帶則有餘。 Bream and tench ; --
匪伊卷之、髮則有旟。 Bream and tench ,
我不見兮、云何盱矣。 While people [looked on] to see .

Arthur Waley comments that " In this poem, a girl about to be married goes to gather plants (perhaps arthraxon and some form of indigo) with which to make green and blue dyes for her trousseau-dresses. She fails to fill her basket which is a bad omen. Sure enough the man does not turn up on the wedding day. She recalls the happy days of their courtship and the time when the omens were still good. When he was fishing he caught a great deal of bream and tench which meant that they would be married and have many children. "

Anne Birrell makes an interesting observation: " According to an ancient book of rites, a husband must make love to his wife at least once in five days until she reaches the age of fifty. This custom is alluded to in this poem. "

I presume that Anne Birrell is referring to this passage from 禮 記 Book of Rites:

夫婦之禮.唯及七十.同藏無間.故妾雖老.年未滿五十.必與五日之御.將御者.齊.漱.澣.慎衣服.櫛.縰.笄.總角.拂髦.衿纓.綦屨.雖婢妾.衣服飲食.必後長者.妻不在.妾御莫敢當夕.

(Translation by James Legge)
" As between husband and wife, it was not until they were seventy, that they deposited these things in the same place without separation. Hence though a concubine were old, until she had completed her fiftieth year, it was the rule that she should be with the husband (once) in five days. When she was to do so, she purified herself, rinsed her mouth and washed, carefully adjusted her dress, combed her hair, drew over it the covering of silk, fixed her hair-pins, tied up the hair in the shape of a horn, brushed the dust from the rest of her hair, put on her necklace, and adjusted her shoe-strings. Even a favourite concubine was required in dress and diet to come after her superior. If the wife were not with the husband, a concubine waiting on him, would not venture to remain the whole night. "

Dear friends, I have only hunted for these lines and picked out words so that I can ask you to share your thoughts, and thereby clear up some confusion in mine, on this poem. Thank you

Bobby Yeoh
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2002 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Bobby
:
You raised a subject which has been on my mind also: There are few reviews about these
early translations by James Legge, etc, so people often take for granted that the translations are perfect and without errors.

Let me make just one comment about the 1898 translation of this song in Shi Jing you quoted.

This is a song of a young maiden lamenting about her lost love. Her deep sorrow is reflected by repeating four times at the end of the song the exact phrase

我不見兮

which are in the lines:

我不見兮、我心不說。

我不見兮、我心苑結。

我不見兮、言從之邁。

我不見兮、云何盱矣。

For some strange reasons James Legge did not translate these powerful lines.
Instead, he wrote something entirely different which he invented himself!
It ruined everything.

Let me continue. These exact four lines also appear in another of Shi Jing 's Song #255, which
just preceded this song. Here are the four lines in #255.

225. 都人士 DU REN SHI


我不見兮、我心不說。

我不見兮、我心苑結。

我不見兮、言從之邁。

我不見兮、云何盱矣。

And here are James Legge's translation:

I do not see them [now] ,
And my heart is dissatisfied .

I do not see them [now] ,
And my heart grieves with indissoluble sorrow .

I do not see them [now] ,
[If I could] , I would walk along after them .


I do not see them [now] ,
And how do I long for them !

This is closer to the original text. Why did Legge not copy these
as his translation for Song #256? It would be a natural thing
for him to do. It's a mystery to me.

Reference:
http://etext.virginia.edu/chinese/shijing/

I will leave further comments for another day.
Perhaps S.L. will give us a more accurate modern translation of this poem?

Ming
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Aolung



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
Posts: 1037

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2002 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange enough, my Hungarian version also ends with the lines on angling.

In Nr. 225. ěsęlém DU REN SHI the lines mentioned are given like that:

(Fövárosi Nagyuraknak - to the capital's lords)

(2. stanza last 2 verses)
Mikor nem láthatom öket - When I cannot see them
A szivemet hasogatja - my heart get's torn apart

(3rd stanza last 2 verses)
...
Megáll a szivem verése - the beat of my heart stands still

(4th stanza last 2 verses)
...
A nyomukba bandukolok - I'm waddling in their tracks

(5th stanza last 2 verses)
...
Szivem búbánattal beteg - My heart is sick from sorrow


Aolung


Last edited by Aolung on Fri Nov 29, 2002 3:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2002 7:36 pm    Post subject: Shijing #225 and 226 Reply with quote

The Chinese text are:



Nowhere in either poem is any mention of hunting, bows, fishing, and fishing lines.

James Legge's translation was published in 1871 (1896), whereas those by Arthur Waley was 1937 and by Ezra Pond in 1954. Clearly the later works were re-translations based on James Legge's work, and not new translations of the original Chinese text.

Ezra Pond did not know any Chinese, which he openly admits. I am not sure about Waley, but this is one evidence that he copied from Legge.

I have a wild theory, of which I have no proof whatsoever. That is:
James Legge was upset by many people who copied his work. So he
on purpose laid a trap for them, by putting some nonsense lines in Poem #226. If he is alive today, his lawyer can use this to prove plagiary.
Crying or Very sad Do you buy this theory, Fakuan Aolung? Laughing

Ming
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Aolung



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
Posts: 1037

PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2002 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ming
> Do you buy this theory, Fakuan Aolung?

As a theory - of course! Very Happy Reading the Hungarian version, I was indeed disappointed having the same idea Sad

I once read in its preface that a good deal of the authors knew Chinese, whereas others based their poetical works on translations done by Hungarian sinologists. I'm going to re-read it and have a closer look at. Yet, at least in this case, I'd assume that their 'knowledge' derived from good old Legge... (I think that this 'custom' is pretty old and yet still alive - e.g. in medical science Shocked

Aolung
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2002 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Bobby:

I believe that this song-poem describes the lament of a young country maiden about her requited love.

It is not about married woman's married life with her husband.

Burrel is a Russian who published many articles about Chinese mythology. Her ideas seem to be based on ingenious extrapolations.

Ming
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Bobby Yeoh



Joined: 26 Oct 2002
Posts: 23
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2002 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Ming and Aolung:

Thank you for your insights. Now that you have come so far, would you be kind enough to do a complete translation of the poem and we can all put aside Legge's version. Or did you say that SL would be offering to do that? If you did, please disregard this request.

From what you said, Ming, I am amazed that no-one has commented earlier on Legge's errors. Which just goes to show: eveything is not gold that glitters! It also makes me wonder how many other of his translations are corrupt - do you know?

And Waley too! I was brought up to regard these two as great Scholars of Chinese Literature!

Thank you

Bobby Yeoh
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Aolung



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2002 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to add the following: The Dalok Könyve - Si King (Book of Songs - Shih Ching) was published in 1994 (by Európa Könyvkiadó Budapest) 4-ik kiadás. The poems are composed by 10 known authors (not knowing any Chinese), among them Amy Károlyi who also did #225 and 226.
All the texts are translated by one sinologist Ferenc Tökei and brought into a prose version from the Chinese original (Kinai eredetiböl magyar prózára fordította, és a magyarázó jegyzeteket írta Tökei Ferenc), who also wrote the explanatory notes.

It's hard to imagine that he did not have the original texts (though I'm sure he also used translations, of course - mainly - Legge's).

Since Tökei might still be living, one could do a research after him and simply ask him Smile

I also will look whether or not Prof. Debon has done translations of #226 into German. (I remember he did quite a couple of the 'songs'.)

Aolung
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2002 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Aolung:

I came across this reference in Amazon.com

Die Fčahrte des Herzens : die Lehre vom Herzensbestreben (zhi) im grossen Vorwort zum Shijing
by Hermann-Josef Rčollicke

It appears to be a scholarly book. Amazon says it is out of print.

Ming
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Aolung



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
Posts: 1037

PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2002 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Ming:

Quote:
Die Fčahrte des Herzens : die Lehre vom Herzensbestreben (zhi) im grossen Vorwort zum Shijing
by Hermann-Josef Rčollicke


I do not know this book (the name should be spelled 'Roellicke' - Röllicke?; its titel 'Die Fährte...').
The fact that pinyin is used ('zhi' and 'Shijing') seems to indicate clearly that it is not a very old book.

There's a publisher of scholarly works in the Netherlands (Brill/Leiden), where one is able to get out-of-prints. They're also on the Net. (I even could successfully address someone to it who was searching for Wolfgang Bauer's about 30 years old compilation on "Das Bild in der Weissageliteratur Chinas, - Prophetische Texte im politischen Leben vom Buch der Lieder bis Mao Tse-tung"!)

BTW, I was looking for Debon's translations of the 'Songs': it seems that he did not translate/publish # 225 and # 226 Crying or Very sad Confused

Aolung
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Misano2345



Joined: 10 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a beautiful poem and also may be at the level of the best poets in history. I would like to know where I can read more about this writer or this type of poetry.
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