2019年4月23日 星期二

三字經 The Three Character Poem 5

The first part of the Three-Character Poem can be found here.  The second part can be found here.  The third part, with an introduction, can be found here.  The fourth part can be found here.  The Three-Character Poem (or "Three-Character Classic") consists of 1071 characters arranged in three-character sentences.

What you see below is the last part of the poem.




三字經 The Three Character Poem (5)

道咸間
In the time of Ching emperors "Dao" and "Shuan," (1)
變亂起
Rebels rose up.
始英法
England and France arrived,
擾都鄙
Menacing from afar.
同光後
After "Tong" and "Guang," (2)
宣統弱
Came Puyi the weak. (3)
十二傳
Twelve emperors,
滿清歿
And the Ching Dynasty was finished.
革命興
The revolution came, (4)
廢帝制
And ended the reign of emperors.
立憲法
A constitution was written,
建民國
Establishing the Republic.
古今史
The old and new histories
全在茲
All end here.
載治亂
[Times of] war and peace are recorded,
知興衰
[So that we can] understand the rise and fall [of empires].
史雖繁
Although there are many works of history,
讀有次
They should be studied in order.
史記一
Study the "Shr Ji" first, (5)
漢書二
And the "Han Shu" second.
後漢三
The "Hou Han" third,
國志四
The "Guo Jr" fourth.
兼證經
At the same time check what you read,
參通鑑
Using the "Tong Jian."
讀史者
Those who study history,
考實錄
Should study from accurate sources.
通古今
Understanding ancient and modern things,
若親目
Is like witnessing them yourself.
口而誦
Attentiveness in study,
心而惟
With all one's being.
朝於斯
From the early morning,
夕於斯
To the evening.
昔仲尼
Before Confucius,
師項橐
Taught Shiang Tuo.
古聖賢
This ancient scholar's,
尚勤學
Devoted study should be emulated.
趙中令
Jhao Jong Ling,
讀魯論
Studied the Confucian Analects.
彼既仕
He was already an official, (6)
學且勤
And studied diligently.
披蒲編
Opening a scroll made of fronds, (7)
削竹簡
Or carving characters into bamboo.
彼無書
They had no books,
且知勉
But they were diligent.
頭懸梁
With their head suspended from the roof beams, (8)
錐刺股
Or an awl poking their legs.
彼不教
They were not taught,
自勤苦
But they forced themselves to study.
如囊螢
Like fireflies in a sack, (9)
如映雪
Like light-reflecting snow.
家雖貧
Although one's family is poor,
學不輟
One studies continually.
如負薪
Like those who carry wood, (10)
如掛角
Like those who hang [books] from horns.
身雖勞
Although their bodies were tired from labor,
猶苦卓
They still excelled in study.
蘇老泉
Su Lao-chuan, (11)
二十七
Twenty seven years old.
始發憤
When he finally began in earnest,
讀書籍
To study literature.
彼既老
He was already old,
猶悔遲
And started too late.
爾小生
But you younger generation,
宜早思
Can learn [the value of study] early.
若梁顥
Like Liang Hao,
八十二
At eighty two years old.
對大廷
Advised the imperial court,
魁多士
And inspired many others.
彼既成
He achieved his goal,
眾稱異
And everyone reveres him.
爾小生
You the younger generation,
宜立志
Should have similar aspirations.
瑩八歲
When Ying was eight years old,
能詠詩
He could recite poems.
泌七歲
When Mi was seven years old,
能賦碁
Could play Go. (12)
彼穎悟
These talented people,
人稱奇
Everyone thinks are special.
爾幼學
But those beginning study,
當效之
Can aspire to their achievements.
蔡文姬
Tsai Wen-ji,
能辨琴
Could distinguish notes on a zither.
謝道韞
Shie Dao-yun,
能詠吟
Could recite poetry.
彼女子
These two girls,
且聰敏
Had agile minds.
爾男子
And you young men,
當自警
Should take heed [of them].
唐劉晏
Liou Yan of the Tang Dynasty,
方七歲
When he was seven years old.
舉神童
Was considered a brilliant child,
作正字
And was appointed an official. (13)
彼雖幼
Although he was young,
身已仕
He was already a minister.
有為者
He had the ability,
亦若是
And so it was.
犬守夜
With the dog guarding the door at night,
雞司晨
And the rooster announcing the dawn.
苟不學
If you don't study hard,
曷為人
How can you develop as a person? (14)
蠶吐絲
Silkworms make silk,
蜂釀蜜
And bees make honey.
人不學
He who doesn't study,
不如物
Isn't even as good as an animal.
幼而學
To study in youth,
壯而行
Ensures a forceful middle age.
上致君
Revere those above you, (15)
下澤民
Respect those below.
揚名聲
Honor others' stations,
顯父母
Glorify your parents.
光於前
[Also] glorify your ancestors,
裕於後
For the good of your descendants.
人遺子
People leave behind for offspring,
金滿籝
A great fortune.
我教子
But I teach students,
惟一經
There is only this Three Character Poem. (16)
勤有功
Diligence is rewarded,
戲無益
Games are without merit.
戒之哉
So take heed,
宜勉力
And work your way to the top.

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Notes:

1. These are abbreviations of their names, referring to the years in which they took power.

2. More abbreviations.

3. This is Puyi from Bernardo Bertolucci's film "The Last Emperor."  He is referred to in this poem as "Shuan Tong," which is an abbreviation like those above.

4. This part refers to the founding of the Republic of China (R.O.C.) in 1911.  I can't quite call it "the end of the reign of emperors" given the fact that Xi Jinping was recently elected President (cough cough emperor) for life.

5. These are the names of books/treatises.  Their names also have dynastic connotations.

6. An official in the sense of being a member of the mandarin or gentry class.

7. This is a reference to historical figures during the Eastern Han dynasty.  These figures were so poor they had to construct learning materials out of leaves and bamboo.

8. More historical references.  One person during the Jin Dynasty tied their hair to a roof beam as a means of staying awake, while the other poked their own thigh with an awl.  Good thing we have coffee now, huh?

9. These two lines refer to two separate historical figures.  One was so poor he had to fill a sack with fireflies in order to have light to study by.  Another used the moonlight reflected off snow.

10. More historical figures.  One cut wood for a living, and had to hang his books from the ends of firewood.  The other was a shepherd, and hung his books from the horns of an ox.

11. Refers to both a famous scholar and his descendants during the Song Dynasty.

12. Pretty sure this is what it means.  A little confused by this line and don't feel like looking into the historical anecdote.

13. There's actually more to it than this.  His post had to do with the curating of documents and called for a deep understanding of ancient and contemporary literature.

14. More literally, "become a person."  This is a pervasive belief in classical Chinese culture, that education makes you into a person.

15. Confucian concepts.  If the correct relationships are observed between people, social harmony will be the result.  "All will be well under heaven."

16. What the author means is the precepts set out in this poem, not the poem itself.  His point being is that a fortune left behind for future generations is not as useful as the wisdom contained in this poem.

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