52
In those days of apparent peace and prosperity, the pride of the world was the powerful Yang family. The main pillar of the Yang house was the beautiful Yang Yühuan, the imperial consort elevated to the position of kuei-fei, or noble consort. Her cousin, Yang Kuo-chung, had been made prime minister and her two sisters had been ennobled the Princess of Kuo and the Princess of Ch’in. It was the sparkling brilliance of these girls of the Yang family which supplied Tu Fu with the theme of his “Li-jên Hsing” or “The Ballad of the Beauties.”
在國勢鼎盛的時期,最為驕傲的要算是楊家人。主要的臺柱便是美人楊玉環,從宮女晉升為貴妃。他的堂兄楊國忠被立為宰相,兩個妹妹也分別被封為虢國夫人與秦國夫人。這些光鮮亮麗的楊家姊妹們給了杜甫〈麗人行〉的題材:

麗人行 杜甫

53
In satirizing the excessive power of the imperial relatives, the poet clearly maintained large measures of artistic restraint. He could have but did not say more. In spite of the semblance of peace and prosperity latent troubles all along the frontier were already obvious. Disturbances of a political as well as a military nature were being created by the Khitan, His, and Turkic tribes in the north and by the Turfans in the west, each ravaging and plundering frontier towns, periodically necessitating many a punitive expedition. For the year 751 a major military defeat of the Chinese imperial forces was registered in their attempt to quell a rebellion of barbarian tribes in Yünnan. The fatalities involved had mounted to sixty thousand. When imperial rescripts were issued to the citizens of the two metropolitan districts and to Honan and Hopei for volunteers for rebuilding the expeditionary force, popular reaction was completely negative. Consequently the prime minister, Yang Ku-chung, instructed the agencies of the imperial censorate to resort to pressure and violence in obtaining recruits, and injustices and corruption became widespread. The resentment of the common people which Tu Fu had witnessed was well expressed in his “Ballad of the war Chariot.” When we compare this poem with Li Po’s “Fighting Sough of the City” we see clearly that Li Po’s was an imitation of ancient ballads and Tu Fu’s poem was an indictment of current politics. Indictments as bold and unadorned as this were something new since the age of the Book of Song. In this light we might say that Tu Fu was a founder of a new tradition. Even some of the folk songs and literary ballads descriptive of the destructiveness of war do not measure up to the directness and clarity that Tu Fu had exhibited in accusing the government and even the emperor of misrule:
(〈麗人行〉中)雖然杜甫竭盡所能地諷刺皇親國戚,他還是在很大程度上清楚的謹守藝術限制。他可以說得更多,但是沒有。儘管外表看起來和平繁盛,國境一帶的潛在危機早已明顯可知。政治紛擾以及兵戎不斷,起自於北方的契丹、奚、突厥(回紇),以及西方的吐番,他們週而復始的蹂躪、掠奪邊城,使得朝廷必須定期懲罰性地征討。西元751年大唐軍的一場戰役,表現出鎮壓雲南吐番的企圖心,死傷達六萬人。當朝廷的敕令下達長安、洛陽以及河南、河北,招募自願者以重建遠征軍,大眾的反應是非常消極的。結果,宰相楊國忠下令巡察史(刺史?)訴諸脅迫、暴力的手段來徵兵,不公正(黑心)、貪腐廣泛可見。杜甫把親眼所見人民的憤慨之情寫在〈兵車行〉中,把這首詩拿來跟李白的〈戰城南〉相比較,無論是李白對古樂府的模仿,或者杜甫對政治現況的控訴都清晰可見。如此直露無華的控訴乃是自《詩經》以來的一項創新,從這個角度來看,杜甫可說是新傳統的奠基者。即使是某些描寫戰爭慘狀的民歌或文學詩歌,都不如杜甫在譴責統治者亂政時所展現得那般率直、清晰。

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This mention of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty to dull the edges of criticism against the reigning T’ang emperor did not carry boldness to the extreme. In “The Ballad of the Beauties” the Princesses of Kuo and Ch’in were forthrightly mentioned by name.
杜甫用漢武帝來暗指唐代君王並不算非常勇敢。卻在〈麗人行〉裡直率地把虢國夫人、秦國夫人給指了出來。

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