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I'm not as great a fan of Po Chu-i (properly, Bo Juyi/ Bai Juyi/ 白居易)… - Off the Cliff

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Mon Dec 30th, 2013


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08:50 pm
I'm not as great a fan of Po Chu-i (properly, Bo Juyi/ Bai Juyi/ 白居易) as Waley was, but then maybe Bai is one of those Does Not Translate guys. OTOH there are occasional gems like this:
Rising Late and Playing With A-Ts'ui, Aged Two

All the morning I have lain snugly in bed
Now at dusk I rise with many yawns.
My warm stove is quick to get ablaze;
At the cold mirror I am slow doing my hair.
With melted snow I boil fragrant tea;
Seasoned with curds I cook a milk-pudding.
At my sloth and greed there's no one but me to laugh;
My cheerful vigour none but myself knows.
The taste of wine is mild and works no poison;
The notes of my lute are soft and bring no sadness.
To the Three Joys in the book of Mencius
I add the fourth of playing with my baby-boy.
Supposing that he kept the usual way of counting ages, this really was a baby boy and not a two year old. (By our way of counting, Tsui died at two.) Nice domesticity and all, but guy, really? Was the baby in bed with you all the time you were sleeping in? And didn't demand to be fed, not once? That's the part that defies belief.
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[User Picture]
From:i_am_zan
Date:December 31st, 2013 03:45 am (UTC)
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Maybe someone had take the babe and fed and cleaned him up before putting him down again next to Daddy. ^_^

I wasn't even aware that he had any family. But that is one (of the poems) I've not seen.

[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:December 31st, 2013 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Doubtless someone did all that. It's the way the someone doesn't impinge on Bai's sensibilities at all that I find noteworthy. 'Men! said Jessica.'
[User Picture]
From:incandescens
Date:December 31st, 2013 11:27 am (UTC)
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I would suspect a servant who actually did the dirty work...
[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:December 31st, 2013 02:41 pm (UTC)
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All very well to talk about my mountain hermitage, but that doesn't mean I do without *servants*. Or wives. Or, possibly, concubines. Baby boys are not found under cabbage leaves, after all; someone must provide them.

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