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Classical Chinese

Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 16)

A bamboo mesh with the characters '浮生六記 / 坎坷記愁' superimposed on itThis is a sentence-by-sentence translation from the chapter 坎坷記愁 in Shen Fu’s 浮生六記 (Six Records of a Floating Life). It aims to be literal and close to the original text as far as possible, rather than be an idiomatic conversion to English.

(See the index of 浮生六記 translations)

浮生六記第三卷:坎坷記愁 → Section 16

華家盟姊贈以匪人, Your sworn sister at the Hua’s presented us with a thief;

彼無顏見卿,卿何反謂無顏見彼耶? they lack the face to see you - how can you say the reverse, that you lack the face to see them?

今當一面呈縣立案,以杜後 患可也。」 Now we should take our side and submit it to the county for filing, and that way avoid later troubles.

芸聞余言,意似稍釋。 Yun listened to what I said, and her thoughts seemed somewhat relieved.

然自此夢中囈語,時呼 From then on she spoke in her dreams, sometimes calling out:

「阿雙逃矣 」, “Ah Shuang has run away!”

或呼「憨何負我」, or calling out: “How could Han neglect me?”

病勢日以增矣。 The seriousness of her illness increased daily.

余欲延醫診治,芸阻曰: I wanted to invite a doctor to diagnose and treat her, but Yun stopped me, saying:

「妾病始因弟亡母喪,悲痛過甚, “My illness began because of my younger brother disappearing and from mourning my mother’s death, when my grief became excessive;

繼為情感 ,後由忿激,而平素又多過慮, It continued because of my emotions, and later stemmed from my vehement indignation; normally I am a worrier, and now I am even more anxious than usual;

_The emotions here are Yun's feelings for Hanyuan, and the indignation is at Ah Shuang running away._

滿望努力做一好媳婦,而不能得, All I hoped for was to try hard to make a good daughter-in-law, yet I could not achieve it,

以至頭眩、怔忡諸症畢備,所謂病入膏肓, to the point of my head being dizzy and my having heart palpitations, which are complete and in place; all of these illnesses have entered my vitals;

_怔忡諸症 is a specific condition, something like 'heart palpitations'._

良醫束手,請勿為無益之費 。 A good doctor would be unable to do anything about it - please don’t spend money for something without benefit.

憶妾唱隨二十三年,蒙君錯愛,百凡體恤, I remember these twenty-three years of happy marriage, receiving your misplaced kindness and all kinds of empathy;

_With 唱隨 this is literally "following [you] in song for twenty-three years"._

不以頑劣見棄,知己如君, I have not, on account of my stubbornness, been rejected, and have an understanding friend like you;

_見 here marks a passive._

得婿如此,妾已此生無憾! getting a husband like this, I now have no regrets over this life!

若布衣暖,菜飯飽,一室雍雍, It seems I have had cotton clothes to keep warm, food to eat my fill, and a house that is harmonious;

優游泉石,如滄浪亭、蕭爽樓之處境, I have gone on splendid tours among springs and rocks, such as at the Pavilion of the Waves and the Villa of Serenity;

真成煙火神仙矣。 truly I have become a human Immortal.

_煙火 is an ancient way to refer to people, as where there is smoke and fire there is human habitation._

神仙幾世才能修到,我輩何人,敢望神仙耶? Yet an Immortal only after several lives can become enlightened; who in my generation can dare to hope to be an Immortal?

強而求之,致干造物之忌,即有情魔之擾。 By forcefully seeking it, we end up incurring the anger of the creator; that is, our emotions disturb the spirits.

總因君太多情,妾生薄命耳!」 In the end, because you have felt too strongly, my life is has been ill-fated, and that is that!”

因又嗚咽而言曰: Accordingly she wept and said:

「人生百年, 終歸一死。 “A person with a life of a hundred years, ultimately returns to one death.

今中道相離,忽焉長別,不能終奉箕帚、目睹逢森娶婦, 此心實覺耿耿。」 Now, in the middle of our journey, to leave each other; suddenly from this to be separated far; I can not serve you to the end with broom and basket, or see with my own eyes Feng Sen take a wife; this heart truly feels troubled.”

言已,淚落如豆。 When she stopped speaking, tears fell like beans.

余勉強慰之曰: With difficulty I comforted her, saying:

「卿病八年,懨懨欲絕者屢矣,今何忽作斷腸語耶?」 “You have been ill for eight years, and have been so ill you wished for it to end several times; why now suddenly say these heartbreaking things?”

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