BLACK CAT POEMS
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The Bride's Lament
translated by W. J. B. Fletcher
Where choked with hemp and weeds the dodder grows
It lowly creeps and hides its drooping head.
Your daughter better to have cast away
Beside the road, than to a soldier wed.
As your young wife I dressed my maiden hair;
Yet had not time, alas, to warm your bed.
At twilight married, Dawn brought sad farewell--
Short hours of hurry that too quickly fled.
Hoyang indeed is not so very far--
That frontier post to which your steps are sped.
But how can I before your parents serve
Ere yet our
rites are finished?
Both day and night my parents kept retired
My tender life; until, the maiden's due,
The time arrived that I should married be.
Then my old pets accompanied me too.
Beside the Realm of
you live--Ah! me!--
My heart is rung with anguish and with rue.
In hesitation trembles all my frame.
And yet I swear I long to go with you.
Upon our recent marriage do not dwell!
Set all your heart your duties stern to do.
For if your wife were with you in the host,
In vain, I fear, would arms or glory sue.
Alas! that I, of humble parents born,
Too long have tender silk and samite worn!
My thoughts no more can silk or samite sway,
As my sad tears wash all my rouge away.
I lift my eyes to see the birds that fly--
Both great and small, all pairing in the sky--
All human things the gales of Fate constrain.
Ah! were I only joined to you again!
poems by Du Fu