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- Qin Shi #78, with Chen Xiuming
包括陳脩明；琴史 #78 2
Images from Cai Wenji's tomb3
The story of Cai Yan's abduction is related in a number of surviving early qin melodies, including Xiao Hujia, Da Hujia, and Hujia Shibapai. The earliest surviving version of this last title has lyrics attributed to Cai Yan herself (see original lyrics and a related comment).6
More reliably attributed to her are the two Poems of Grief and Resentment (悲憤詩二章 Bei Fen Shi, Er Zhang).7 Most of the biography here consists of the entire text of both.
The biography of Cai Yan in Qin Shi is as follows,8
When young, (Wenji) was married to Wei Zhongdao of Hedong. When he died they were childless. The world was then being destroyed by disorder. Hu nomad cavalry abducted her and hid her away with the 左賢王 Left Honorable Prince of the Southern Xiongnu. She was with the Hu nomads for 12 years, giving birth to a child. Cao Cao, who had formerly been on good terms with her father, was unhappy about her having no (Han) heirs, so he sent and ambassador who used gold to ransom her. After she returned she was married again, this time to 董祀 Dong Si of Chenliu. However, she still mourned her period of separation and homelessness. In accord with her sadness and resentment she wrote a poem in two parts (or two poems), which said,
All this mourned the destruction of the House of Han. Alas, the catastrophes grieving the people led to the sufferings at the hands of the Rongdi nomads; returning home caused separation from the natural instincts (of a mother). Listeners can sigh and lament about this. The Hujia (melody) transmitted through generations was created by her, and this is its significance.
(The biography of Cai Yan is then followed by a six-line biography of a woman named Chen Xiuming. There does not seem to be any connection between the two other than their gender and perhaps the period in which they lived.)
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Cai Yan 蔡琰
32581.51; style name 蔡文姬 Cai Wenji.
陳脩明 Chen Xiuming (last 6 of the 54 lines in this entry)
42618.xxx; 22221.xxx; compare Chen Xiu. The last six lines of the entry on Cai Yan (see original) say,
Images from 蔡文姬墓 Cai Wenji's tomb
Copied from the internet. See inparticular www.baike.com/wiki/
|4. Cai Wenji in opera|
Later life and death
Since she is said to have been from Chenliu and to have returned there to marry a local man after being ransomed it is not clear why she is said to have been buried near Chang'an (Xi'an). The supposed gravesite is at 陝西省藍田縣三里鎮 Shanxi Province, Lantian County, Sanli District is a few miles southeast of the center of Xi'an.
胡笳十八拍 Hujia Shibapai lyrics attributed to Cai Yan
These are also included in QSCM #14.
Song of Grief and Resentment, two poems (悲憤詩二章 Bei Fen Shi, Er Zhang)
The original text of these twp poems is below. Both poems are translated in Paul Rouzer, Articulated Ladies, 2001. 11088.95 quotes from the poem, crediting 後漢書，列女董祀妻傳 History of the Latter Han, Exemplary Women, Biography of the wife of Dong Si. The second poem is said to be in the form of a 騷 sao.
The original Chinese for the Cai Yan entry, with that of Chen Xiuming attached, is:
Note Cai Yong's own skill in this regard.
Return to QSCB, or to the Guqin ToC.