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揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 18

This is Part 18 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 17 · Part 18 · Part 19 →

老嫗者鄭姓也,疑予與紅衣者為親,因謬慰之,謂子必返。 The old woman was surnamed Zheng, and was suspicious that the man in red clothes and I were relatives, and because of this was deceptively comforting [to us?], saying that her son would certainly come back.

天已暮,予內弟復為一卒劫去,不知存亡? The sky darkened, and my brother-in-law had again been captured and taken away by a soldier - I didn't know if he had survived or died.

婦傷之甚。 My wife was grieving deeply.

少頃,老嫗搬出魚飯食予; Soon after, Old Mrs Hong brought out some fish and rice to feed us;

宅去洪居不遠,予取魚飯食吾兄,兄喉不能咽,數箸而止,予為兄拭發洗血,心如萬磔矣! our house was not far from the Hong residence, so I took the fish and rice to feed my elder brother; my brother's throat could not swallow, and after a few chopsticks he stopped; I wiped my brother's hair and washed his bloody wounds, my heart broken into ten thousand pieces!

是日,以紅衣告予語遍告諸未出城者,眾心始稍定。 That day, what the man in red clothes had told me was told to all those who had not left the city, and the hearts of the masses began to settle somewhat.

次日為五月朔日,勢雖稍減,然亦未嘗不殺人,未嘗不掠取; The next day was first day of the fifth month, and although the violence had lessened somewhat, the kill had still not ended, the plundering had still not ended;

而窮僻處或少安; but the poor rural areas may have been a little safer;

富家大室方且搜括無馀,子女由六七歲至十馀歲搶掠無遺種。 the remainders of the rich families in large houses still were still being searched for; their sons and daughters between six or seven years old and ten years old had been seized without trace.

是日,興平兵復入揚​​城,而寸絲半粟,盡入虎口,前梳後篦,良有以也。 That day, the soldiers of Xingping again entered the Yangzhou city walls, and even the tiniest of items were taken back to their hideout, combing and sweeping in front and behind, taking everything. (寸絲半粟 means “the tiniest of items”.)

初二日,傳府道州縣已置官吏,執安民牌遍諭百姓,毋得驚懼。 On the second, official words were passed on that in every prefecture and county they had placed [Qing] officials, and they were using placards to assuage all the common people, telling them not to be afraid.

又諭各寺院僧人焚化積尸; They also ordered that the monks of every Buddhist temple and cloister cremate the piled up bodies;

而寺院中藏匿婦女亦復不少,亦有驚餓死者,查焚屍簿載其數,前後約計八十萬馀,其落井投河,閉戶自焚,及深入自縊者不與焉。 there were many women hiding in the temples and cloisters, and some of them had been frightened or starved to death; checking the count in the book of cremated bodies, from back to front there are roughly more than eight hundred thousand, leaving out those who had fallen into wells or thrown themselves into rivers, those who had shut themselves in their houses and been immolated, those who had died in captivity and those who had hanged themselves.

是日,燒綿絮灰及人骨以療兄創; That day, I burnt some silk, cotton and human bones to treat my brother's wounds;

至晚,始以仲兄季弟之死哭告予兄,兄頷之而已。 that night I tearfully told my elder brother about the death of our younger brother for the first time; my elder brother nodded and was still.

初三日,出示放賑,偕洪嫗至缺口關領米; On the third, they announced relief measures, and we accompanied Old Mrs Hong to Quekou Gate to get rice;

米即督鎮所儲軍糧,如丘陵,數千石轉瞬一空。 the rice was from the army provision store of the Regional Military Supervisor; it was like a hill, and several thousand _shi_ was shifted in the blink of an eye.

其往來負戴者俱焦頭爛額,斷臂折脛,刀痕遍體,血漬成塊,滿面如燭淚成行,碎爛鶉衣,腥穢觸鼻,人扶一杖,挾一蒲袋,正如神廟中竄獄冤鬼; those coming and going carrying loads were all beaten black and blue, with broken arms and fractured legs, blade wounds all over their bodies, and blood clotted in chunks; their whole faces were lit up with tears as they set off, their clothes were broken and shabby, and a rank stench reached one's nose; people supported themselves with staffs, and it was like ghosts fleeing hell in a temple.

稍可觀者猶是卑田院乞兒也。 A considerable amount of them were lowly farmers and beggars.

奪米之際,雖至親知交不顧,強者往而復返,弱者竟日不得升斗。 When they grabbed the rice, they had no regard for their own friends and relatives; the strong went and came back again, and the weak were unable to get a scoop all day.

← Part 17 · Part 18 · Part 19 →

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
  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 (this article)
  19. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 19

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