A HUNDRED VERSES FROM OLD JAPAN - 100 verses with notes from the Hyaku-nin-isshiu - Various Unknown - ebook
Opis

THE Hyaku-nin-isshiu, or 'Single Verses by a Hundred People', were collected together in A.D. 1235. They are placed in approximate chronological order, and range from about the year 670. Perhaps what strikes one most in connection with the Hyaku-nin-isshiu is the date when the verses were written; most of them were produced before the time of the Norman Conquest (AD 1066), and one cannot but be struck with the advanced state of art and culture in Japan at a time when Europe was still in a very elementary stage of civilization.The Collection consists almost entirely of love-poems and what the editor calls picture-poems, intended to bring before the mind's eye some well-known scene in nature; and it is marvellous what effect little thumbnail sketches are compressed within thirty-one syllables. Some show the cherry blossoms which are doomed to fall, the dewdrops scattered by the wind, the mournful cry of the wild deer on the mountains, the dying crimson of the fallen maple leaves, the weird sadness of the cuckoo singing in the moonlight, and the loneliness of the recluse in the mountain wilds; while those verses which appear to be of a more cheerful type are rather of the nature of the 'Japanese smile', described by Lafcadio Hearn as a mask to hide the real feelings.Japanese poetry differs very largely from anything we are used to in the West. It has no rhyme or alliteration, and little, if any, rhythm, as we understand it. The verses in this Collection are all what are called Tanka which has five lines and thirty-one syllables, arranged thus: 5-7-5-7-7 which is an unusual metre for Western ears. For this translation the editor has adopted a five-lined verse of 8-6-8-6-6 metre, with the second, fourth, and fifth lines rhyming, in the hope of retaining at least some resemblance to the original form, while at the same time making the sound more familiar to English readers.33% of the publisher’s profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charity.YESTERDAY’S BOOKS raising funds for TODAY’S CHARITIESwww.AbelaPublishing.com 

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A HUNDRED VERSES

FROM OLD JAPAN

being a translation of the Hyaku-nin-isshiu

by

William N. Porter

Originally published by

The Clarendon Press, London

[1909]

* * * * * * *

Resurrected by

Abela Publishing, London

[2009]

A Hundred Verses from Old Japan

Typographical arrangement of this edition

© Abela Publishing 2009

This book may not be reproduced in its current format in any manner in any media, or transmitted by any means whatsoever, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, or mechanical ( including photocopy, file or video recording, internet web sites, blogs, wikis, or any other information storage and retrieval system) except as permitted by law without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Abela Publishing,

London

United Kingdom

2009

ISBN-13: 978-1-907256-19-6

email [email protected]

www.AbelaPublishing.com/100Verses.html

Acknowledgements

The Publisher acknowledges the work that

William N. Porter

did in compiling this unique collection of Japanese poetry

in a time well before any electronic media was in use.

* * * * * * *

A percentage of the net sale from this book

will be donated towards education scholarships

for the underprivileged.

Publisher’s Note

Each poem in this volume is accompanied by a short set of notes which give context to the poem and the author. The notes in this volume are arranged so that they are on the page preceding the poem they address.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

1 TENCHI TENNŌ

2 JITŌ TENNŌ

3 KAKI-NO-MOTO NO HITOMARO

4 YAMABE NO AKAHITO

5 SARU MARU TAIU

6 CHŪ-NAGON YAKAMOCHI

7 ABE NO NAKAMARO

8 KIZEN HŌSHI

9 ONO NO KOMACHI

10 SEMI MARU

11 SANGI TAKAMURA

12 SŌJŌ HENJŌ

13 YŌZEI IN

14 KAWARA NO SADAIJIN

15 KWŌKŌ TENNŌ

16 CHŪ-NAGON ARIWARA NO YUKI-HIRA

17 ARIWARA NO NARI-HIRA ASON

18 FUJIWARA NO TOSHI-YUKI ASON

19 ISE

20 MOTO-YOSHI SHINNŌ

21 SOSEI HŌSHI

22 BUNYA NO YASUHIDE

23 ŌYE NO CHISATO

24 KWAN-KE

25 SANJŌ UDAIJIN

26 TEI-SHIN KŌ

27 CHŪ-NAGON KANESUKE

28 MINAMOTO NO MUNE-YUKI ASON

29 ŌSHI-KŌCHI NO MITSUNE

30 NIBU NO TADAMINE

31 SAKA-NO-UYE NO KORENORI

32 HARUMICHI NO TSURAKI

33 KINO TOMONORI

34 FUJIWARA NO OKI-KAZE

35 KINO TSURA-YUKI

36 KIYOWARA NO FUKA-YABU

37 BUNYA NO ASAYASU

38 UKON

39 SANGI HITOSHI

40 TAIRA NO KANEMORI

41 NIBU NO TADAMI

42 KIYOWARA NO MOTO-SUKE

43 CHŪ-NAGON YATSU-TADA

44 CHŪ-NAGON ASA-TADA

45 KEN-TOKU KO

46 SŌ NE-YOSHI-TADA

47 YE-KEI HŌSHI

48 MINAMOTO NO SHIGE-YUKI

49 ŌNAKATOMI NO YOSHI-NOBU ASON

50 FUJIWARA NO YOSHITAKA

51 FUJIWARA NO SANEKATA ASON

52 FUJIWARA NO MICHI-NOBU ASON

53 UDAISHŌ MICHI-TSUNA NO HAHA

54 GIDŌ-SANSHI NO HAHA

55 DAI-NAGON KINTŌ

56 IZUMI SHIKIBU

57 MURASAKI SHIKIBU

58 DAINI NO SAMMI

59 AKAZOME EMON

60 KO-SHIKIBU NO NAISHI

61 ISE NO TAIU

62 SEI SHŌ-NAGON

63 SAKYŌ TAIU MICHIMASA

64 GON CHŪ-NAGON SADA-YORI

65 SAGAMI

66 DAISŌJŌ GYŌSON

67 SUWO NO NAISHI

68 SANJŌ IN

69 NŌ-IN HOSHI

70 RIYŌ-ZEN HOSHI

71 DAI-NAGON TSUNE-NOBU

72 YŪSHI NAISHINNŌ KE KII

73 GON CHŪ-NAGON MASAFUSA

74 MINAMOTO NO TOSHI-YORI ASON

75 FUJIWARA NO MOTOTOSHI

76 HŌSHŌ-JI NYŪDŌ SAKI NO KWAMBAKU DAIJŌDAIJIN

77 SUTOKU IN

78 MINAMOTO NO KANEMASA

79 SAKYŌ NO TAIU AKI-SUKE

80 TAIKEN MON-IN HORIKAWA

81 GO TOKUDAI-JI SADAIJIN

82 DŌ-IN HOSHI

83 KWŌ-TAI-KŌGŪ NO TAIU TOSHI-NARI

84 FUJIWARA NO KIYO-SUKE ASON

85 SHUN-YE HŌSHI

86 SAIGYŌ HŌSHI

87 JAKU-REN HŌSHI

88 KWŌKA MON-IN NO BETTO

89 SHIKISHI NAISHINNŌ

90 IMPU MON-IN NO ŌSUKE

91 GO-KYŌ-GOKU SESSHŌ SAKI NO DAIJŌDAIJIN

92 NIJŌ IN SANUKI

93 KAMAKURA UDAIJIN

94 SANGI MASATSUNE

95 SAKI NO DAISŌJŌ JIYEN

96 NYŪDŌ SAKI DAIJŌDAIJIN

97 GON CHU-NAGON SADA-IYE

98 JŪNII IYE-TAKA

99 GOTOBA NO IN

100 JUN-TOKU IN

INTRODUCTION

THE Hyaku-nin-isshiu, or 'Single Verses by a Hundred People', were collected together in A.D. 1235 by Sadaiye Fujiwara, who included as his own contribution verse No. 97. They are placed in approximately chronological order, and range from about the year 670 to the year of compilation. The Japanese devote themselves to poetry very much more than we (in the West) do; and there is hardly a home in Japan, however humble, where these verses, or at least some of them, are not known. They are, and have been for many years, used also in connection with a game of cards, in which the skill consists in fitting parts of the different verses together.

Japanese poetry differs very largely from anything we are used to; it has no recognisable rhyme or alliteration, and little, if any, rhythm, as we understand it. The verses in this Collection are all what are called Tanka, which was for many years the only form of verse known to the Japanese. A tanka verse has five line and thirty-one syllables, arranged thus: 5-7-5-7-7 as this is an unusual metre in our ears, I have adopted for the translation a five-lined verse of 8-6-8-6-6 metre, with the second, fourth, and fifth lines rhyming, in the hope of retaining at least some resemblance to the original form, while making the sound more familiar to English readers.

I may perhaps insert here, as an example, the following well-known tanka verse, which does not appear in the Hyaku-nin-isshiu collection:—

Idete inabaNushinaki yado to  Narinu tomo  Nokiba no ume yoHaru wo wasuruna.

Though masterless my home appear,  When I have gone away,Oh plum tree growing by the caves,  Forget not to display  Thy buds in spring, I pray.

This was written by Sanetomo Minamoto on the morning of the day he was murdered at Kamakura, as related in the note to verse No. 93.

It is necessarily impossible in a translation of this kind to adhere at all literally to the text; more especially as Japanese poetry abounds in all sorts of puns, plays upon words, and alternative meanings, which cannot be rendered into English. For example, a favourite device with Japanese verse-writers is to introduce what Professor Chamberlain calls a 'pivot-word', which they consider adds an elegant touch to the composition. An instance of this will be found in verse No. 16, where the word matsu, though only appearing once, must be understood twice with its two different meanings. It is almost as if we should say, 'Sympathy is what I needless to say I never get it.' Other peculiarities of Japanese verse, as Professor Chamberlain points out, are the 'pillow-word', or recognized conventional epithet (see verse No. 17), and the 'preface', where the first two or three lines appear to have only the slightest connection with the main idea, and simply serve as an introduction (see verse No. 27).

The Hyaku-nin-isshiu, like all Japanese classical poetry, contains no Chinese words, such as are so extensively introduced into the modern spoken language; it consists of poetical ideas clothed in poetical language, compressed within the regulation metre, embellished with various elegant word-plays, and is absolutely free from any trace of vulgarity. In the old days it was only the nobles, court officials, and church dignitaries, who wrote verses; or at all events only their verses have been handed down to our time, and the lower classes were not supposed to know anything at all about the art.

Thus, it is related that long ago Prince Ota Dokwan was hunting with his retinue on the mountains; and, a storm of rain coming on, he stopped at a mountain inn, to request the loan of a rain-coat; a girl came at his call, and retired into the hut, coming back again in a few minutes looking rather confused, and without saying a word she humbly presented the Prince with a yamabuki blossom (a kind of yellow rose) on an outstretched fan. The Prince, much incensed at being trifled with like this, turned on his heel, and went off in high dudgeon; until one of his attendants reminded him of a well-known verse, which runs:—

Nanae yaeHana wa sake domo  Yamabuki noMi no hitotsu daniNaka zo kanashiki.

The yamabuki blossom has  A wealth of petals gay ;But yet in spite of this, alas  I much regret to say,  No seed can it display.

The words as printed in the last couplet mean, 'I am very sorry that it has not a single seed; but, if mino is taken as one word, it would mean, 'I am very sorry that (the yamabuki, i.e. herself, the mountain flower) has not any rain-coat'. And this was the maiden's delicate apology. The Prince, we are told, was astonished to find such culture and learning in a peasant girl!

Perhaps what strikes one most in connection with the Hyaku-nin-isshiu is the date when the verses were written; most of them were produced before the time of the Norman Conquest, and one cannot but be struck with the advanced state of art and culture in Japan at a time when England was still in a very elementary stage of civilization.