Tears - (2010)
Wang Seng-Ju (6th Century) translated by Herbert Allen Giles
medium voice and piano
o'er the hill the moon barque steers.
The lantern lights depart.
Dead springs are stirring in my heart;
And there are tears . . . .
But that which makes my grief more deep
Is that you know not when I weep.
page, circa 1' 10" ]
Herbert Allen Giles
English text (1901) is among many translated from the Chinese by scholar H.
A. Giles, and is more popularly known for having been included in the
anthology, A Lute of Jade, edited by by L. Cranmer-Byng.
Herbert Allen Giles (1845-1935), was English scholar of Chinese language and
culture, professor of Chinese at the University of Cambridge, succeeding Sir
Thomas Francis Wade, who together systematized the transliteration of
Chinese languages by their so-called Wade-Giles method. The small form in
poetry is much akin to the small form in song settings, in which the
miniature in scope and length is its aesthetic aim. As with the text, the
song setting is of an arch, coming to its dark conclusion from a beginning
in lighter imagery. The notion of translating poetry across centuries and
languages is complex, which to my taste often is a matter of poetry layered
onto poetry, thereby making an artist like Giles a "contributor" to Wang
Seng-Ju, the poet from the Tang Dynasty.
The score for
Tears is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial
performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement
with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.