To My Daughter on Her Marriage Into the Yang Family
- Poetry of Wei Yingwu

《送楊氏女》

- Last updated: 2024-03-24 17:21:03

To My Daughter on Her Marriage Into the Yang Family by Wei Yingwu
中文原文

永日方慼慼, 出行復悠悠。

女子今有行, 大江泝輕舟。

爾輩苦無恃, 撫念益慈柔;

幼為長所育, 兩別泣不休。

對此結中腸, 義往難復留。

自小闕內訓, 事姑貽我憂;

賴茲託令門, 仁卹庶無尤。

貧儉誠所尚, 資從豈待周!

孝恭遵婦道, 容止順其猷。

別離在今晨, 見爾當何秋?

居閑始自遣, 臨感忽難收。

歸來視幼女, 零淚緣纓流。


English Translation

My heart has been heavy all day long

Because you have so far to go.

The marriage of a girl, away from her parents,

Is the launching of a little boat on a great river.

...You were very young when your mother died,

Which made me the more tender of you.

Your elder sister has looked out for you,

And now you are both crying and cannot part.

This makes my grief the harder to bear;

Yet it is right that you should go.

...Having had from childhood no mother to guide you,

How will you honour your mother-in-law?

It's an excellent family; they will be kind to you,

They will forgive you your mistakes --

Although ours has been so pure and poor

That you can take them no great dowry.

Be gentle and respectful, as a woman should be,

Careful of word and look, observant of good example.

...After this morning we separate,

There's no knowing for how long....

I always try to hide my feelings --

They are suddenly too much for me,

When I turn and see my younger daughter

With the tears running down her cheek.

Five-character-ancient-verse

Why Chinese poems is so special?
The most distinctive features of Chinese poetry are: concision- many poems are only four lines, and few are much longer than eight; ambiguity- number, tense and parts of speech are often undetermined, creating particularly rich interpretative possibilities; and structure- most poems follow quite strict formal patterns which have beauty in themselves as well as highlighting meaningful contrasts.
How to read a Chinese poem?
Like an English poem, but more so. Everything is there for a reason, so try to find that reason. Think about all the possible connotations, and be aware of the different possibilities of number and tense. Look for contrasts: within lines, between the lines of each couplet and between successive couplets. Above all, don't worry about what the poet meant- find your meaning.

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