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揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 10

This is Part 10 in an annotation of 揚州十日記(‘Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou’). Like 吳城日記, it’s a daily log from the year 1645, a year after the Manchus took Beijing, marking the end of the Ming dynasty and the beginning of the Qing (明末清初).

This diary covers the Yangzhou massacre (also known as “The Ten Days of Yangzhou”) , and was written by 王秀楚(Wang Xiuchu). You can read about these events, as well as see more translations of the text, in Lynn A. Struve’s book on the topic.

As always, if you notice a mistake or have any suggestions, please share them in the comments at the end of the page.

吳城日記

← Part 9 · Part 10 · Part 11 →

廿七日,問婦避所,引予委曲至一柩後,古瓦荒磚,久絕人跡,予蹲腐草中,置彭兒於柩上,覆以葦席,婦僂居於前,我曲附於後; On the 27th I asked my wife about where she'd hidden, and she took me on a winding route to a spot behind a coffin; there were old tiles and abandoned bricks, and for a long time there had been no sign of people; I crouched down in the rotten grass, and put our son Peng on the coffin, covering him with a woven mat; my wife crouched down in front, and I twisted myself into the back;

揚首則露頂,展足則踵見,屏氣滅息,拘手足為一裹,魂少定而殺聲逼至,刀環響處,愴呼亂起,齊聲乞命者或數十人或百馀人; If we lifted our heads then the tops would be revealed, and if we stretched out our legs then our heels could be seen; we took shallow breaths and tucked in our hands and feet; our spirits settled a little and then the sound of killing reached us; where the sound of swords echoed, wretched shouting sprung up chaotically, all in a chorus begging for their lives, several dozen people or more than a hundred.

遇一卒至,南人不論多寡,皆垂首匐伏,引頸受刃,無一敢逃者; Whenever a soldier arrived, the southerners would say very little, all lowering their heads and prostrating themselves, extending their necks to receive the blade, with not one daring to run away;

至於紛紛子女,百口交啼,哀鳴動地,更無論矣! this was such that one after another there were boys and girls, a hundred mouths crying, the sound of wailing shaking the earth - it goes without saying!

日向午,殺掠愈甚,積尸愈多,耳所難聞,目不忍視,婦乃悔疇昔之夜,誤予言未死也。 By afternoon, those who had been killed and plundered were especially many, and the piled corpses were even greater in number; our ears couldn't bear to listen, our eyes couldn't bear to see; my wife *[???]*

然幸獲至夕,予等逡巡走出,彭兒酣臥柩上,自朝至暮,不啼不言,亦不欲食,或渴欲飲,取片瓦掬溝水潤之,稍驚則仍睡去,至是呼之醒,抱與俱去; We were lucky to survive until evening, and we hesitantly came out; our song Peng had lain contentedly on the coffin and from morning to evening had not cried out or spoken, and likewise had not wanted food; when he was thirsty for a drink, we took a piece of tile and held it to the gutter to give him some water; he'd been a little frightened but had then gone back to sleep, and then we called him to wake him, and carrying him we both left.

洪嫗亦至,知吾嫂又被劫去,吾侄在襁褓竟失所在,嗚呼痛哉! Old Mrs Hong also arrived and informed me that my sister-in-law had also been seized, and that my nephew, still in swaddling clothes, had also been lost; alas, what pain!

甫三日而兄嫂弟侄已亡其四,煢煢孑遺者,予伯兄及予婦子四人耳! In just three days my elder brother, my sister-in-law, younger brother, nephew - four people - had all perished; we sole survivors - my second elder brother, my wife and son and I - just four of us!

相與覓臼中馀米,不得,遂與伯兄枕股忍飢達旦。 Together we looked in the mortar to see if there was any remaining rice, but there was none, so my second elder brother and I lay resting on each other's legs enduring hunger till daybreak.

是夜予婦覓死幾斃,賴洪嫗救得免。 That night my wife tried to kill herself again, and it was only because of Old Mrs Hong saving her that she didn't die.

← Part 9 · Part 10 · Part 11 →

Sources

Series: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou

  1. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 1
  2. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 2
  3. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 3
  4. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 4
  5. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 5
  6. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 6
  7. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 7
  8. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 8
  9. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 9
  10. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 10 (this article)
  11. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 11
  12. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 12
  13. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 13
  14. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 14
  15. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 15
  16. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 16
  17. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 17
  18. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 18
  19. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 19

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