Du Fu: Watching Daniang Gongsun

Watching Daniang Gongsun

观 公 孙 大 大 娘 弟 子 舞 剑 器 行
昔 有 佳 人 公 孙 氏
一 舞 剑 器 动 四 方。
观 者 如 山 色 据 丧
天 地 为 之 久 低 昂。
*)如 羿 射 九 日 落
矫 如 群 蒂 骖 龙 翔。
来 如 雷 霆 收 震 怒
罢 如 江 海 凝 清 光。
绛 唇 珠 袖 两 寂 寞
晚 有 弟 子 传 芬 芳。
临 颍 美 人 在 白 帝
妙 舞 此 曲 神 扬 扬。
与 佘 问 答 既 有 以
感 时 抚 事 增 惋 伤。
先 帝 侍 女 八 干 人
公 孙 剑 器 初 第 一。
五 十 年 间 似 反 掌
风 尘 澒 洞 昏 王 室。
梨 园 子 弟 散 如 烟
女 乐 余 姿 映 寒 日。
金 粟 堆 南 木 已 拱
瞿 唐 石 城 草 萧 瑟。
玳 筵 急 管 曲 复 终
乐 极 哀 来 月 东 出。
老 夫 不 知 其 所 往
足 茧 荒 山 转 愁 疾。
Guan Gong Sun Da Niang Di Zi Wu Jian Qi Xing

Xi you jia ren gong sun shi
Yi wu jian qi dong si fang.
Guan zhe ru shan se ju sang
Tian di wei zhi jiu di ang.

Yao ru yi she jiu ri luo
Jiao ru qun di can long xiang.
Lai ru lei ting shou zhen nu
Ba ru jiang hai ning qing guang.

Jiang chun zhu xiu liang ji mo
Wan you di zi chuan fen fang.
Lin ying mei ren zai bai di
Miao wu ci qu shen yang yang.

Yu she wen da ji you yi
Gan shi fu shi zeng wan shang.
Xian di shi nu ba qian ren
Gong sun jian qi chu di yi.

Wu shi nian jian si fan zhang
Feng chen hong dong hun wang shi.
Li yuan zi di san ru yan
Nu yue yu zi ying han ri.

Jin su dui nan mu yi gong
Qu tang shi cheng cao xiao se.
Dai yan ji guan qu fu zhong
Le ji ai lai yue dong chu.
Lao fu bu zhi qi suo wang
Zu jian huang shan zhuan chou ji.


Watching Daniang Gongsun Dance with Long and Short Swords

In the past saw beautiful Gongsun perform
One sword dance moved in all four directions.
Audience in layers startled and in awe
From sky to earth, held high and hanging down for a long time.

Shiny reflections like archer Yi shooting down the nine suns
Powerful like a group of imperial horses circling in the air.
Arriving like gathered and furious thunderbolts
When finished, clear light like the oceans and rivers.

Someday crimson lips and pearl sleeves no longer perform
Later have disciples pass on some of the fragrance.
Baidi city has hosted these clever and pretty women
With great satisfaction I watch this wonderful song and dance spirit.

Later had a dialogue with her
Felt this time period expresses the sorrows of many things.
Emperor Xuanzong had eight thousand palace performers
The sword dance of Gongsun is ranked number one.

Last fifty years like turning over one’s hand
The dust storm casts vast and dark shadows over the royal family.
Pear Garden performers scattered like the mists
This one woman’s dance appearances like our cold days.

Mt. Jinsu burial plot surrounded by piled up timbers
Qutang rock city wall with withered grasses.
Covered plate banquet and wind instruments finished
Extreme happiness gives way to sorrow like a rising winter moon.
I don’t know where this wanderer can go next
Callous feet from walking through the mountains trying to relieve
pain and melancholy.


Daniang Gongsun:  Master female sword dancer in the court of Emperor Xuanzong during the Tang Dynasty.

Archer Yi:  Mythological and immortal archer who shot out nine of the ten suns to save the world. His wife was Chang’E, the goddess of the moon.

Baidi city:  Also known as the White Emperor City, located on the northern shores of the Changjiang near modern day city of Chongqing.

Xuanzong:  (685-762) (r. 713-756) Long serving emperor during the Tang Dynasty.

Pear Gardens performers:  The first imperial music school in China within the court of Emperor Xuanzong. Also a palace center for opera and dance.

Qutang:  The first of three famous gorges on the Changjiang and just downriver from Baidi City.

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