Song on the Wild Goose’s Tomb, to the Tune of “Snatching a Fish” by Yüan Hao-wen 元好問《摸魚兒-雁丘詞》

[金] 元好問

乙丑歲赴試幷州,道逢捕雁者雲:“今旦獲一雁,殺之矣。其脫網者悲鳴不能去,竟自投於地而死。” 予因買得之,葬之汾水之上,壘石爲識,號曰“雁丘”。同行者多爲賦詩,予亦有《雁丘詞》。舊所作無宮商,今改定之。



Song on the Wild Goose’s Tomb, to the Tune “Snatching a Fish” by Yüan Hao-wen

I went to Bing County for the civil service examination in the year 1205. On my way there I met a geese-catcher saying, “I caught and killed a wild goose this morning. The other one that fled the trammel couldn’t let itself go, but crying in woe and eventually crushed itself to death on the ground.” So I bought this goose and buried it along the Fen River. I piled up stones to locate the spot which I named “the Wild Goose’s Tomb.” Many of my fellow travelers wrote poems for it; I also have one titled Song on the Wild Goose’s Tomb. It was previously composed without a certain tune pattern, now I have revised and finalized it.

I ask: what is Love in this world, that alters not even to the edge of death and life?
The pair flying together to south and north, with their old wings several winters and summers.
Joy of staying together, and bitter when part- among which more impassioned lovers are trapped.
You may wonder: this ten thousand miles of layered clouds, vast snow on mountains and mountains in the dusk,
To whom shall I bring my lonely figure?

This road across Fen River, flutes and drums there used to be, but now desolated.
Left only bleak smoke and vast woods.
The Ch’u tunes of Summoning the Soul are all in vain; the mountain spirit weeps in wind and rain.
Even heaven envies this pair of geese: don’t they believe that they are nothing,
Like orioles and swallows, but yellow dust at the end?
But see: for a thousand years and generations, this place will remain, awaiting poets raving and quaffing,
To have an audience with the wild goose’s tomb.


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