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OneEye

The Grand 文言文 Reading Project

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Humblegeoff

Some vocab items from the first session reading this text (feedback welcome!):

寒微

hán wéi

To rise from humble beginnings, be of lowly origins

出身微賤。(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

翬翟

huī dí

Fan made of long-tailed pheasant feathers, a symbol of the status of primary Empress (元后); > shorthand for that status.

(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

Envy, be jealous of, hate

妒忌(王力古漢語字典)

痛恨(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

臨朝

lín cháo

To control and administer the imperial court and government

指治理朝政(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

shì

To murder someone to whom one owes filial respect; regicide in the case of a minister, murder of a parent in the case of everyone else.

臣殺君,子殺父母曰弒。(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

wěi (TW wèi)

Derogatory term for one who usurps the throne

對僭竊者的貶稱(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

xiàn

To show, appear, reveal, display (like 現)

通「現」,顯現。(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

掩袖工讒

yǎnxiù gōngchán

be good at framing or slandering others (slandering hidden behind the sleeve)

掩袖佯差,善於進讒。(古文觀止 • 唐 • 駱賓王 • 為徐敬業討武曌檄)

豺狼成性

cháilángchéngxìng

F.E. wolfish; rapacious and ruthless

包藏禍心[--祸-]

bāocáng huòxīn

V.O. harbor evil intentions

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HusbandOfWuhan

I found the passage in simplified characters from Baidu and pasted it below.

讨武瞾檄文全文

  伪临朝武氏者,性非和顺,地实寒微。昔充太宗下陈,曾以更衣入侍。洎乎晚节,秽乱春宫。潜隐先帝之私,阴图后房之嬖。入门见嫉,蛾眉不肯让人;掩袖工谗,狐媚偏能惑主。践元后于翚翟,陷吾君于聚麀。加以虺蜴为心,豺狼成性。近狎邪僻,残害忠良。杀姊屠兄,弑君鸩母。神人之所共嫉,天地之所不容。犹复包藏祸心,窥窃神器。君之爱子,幽之于别宫;贼之宗盟,委之以重任呜呼!霍子孟之不作,朱虚侯之已亡。燕啄皇孙,知汉祚之将尽。龙漦帝后,识夏庭之遽衰。

  敬业皇唐旧臣,公侯冢子。奉先帝之成业,荷本朝之厚恩。宋微子之兴悲,良有以也;袁君山之流涕,岂徒然哉!是用气愤风云,志安社稷。因天下之失望,顺宇内之推心。爰举义旗,以清妖孽。

  南连百越,北尽三河;铁骑成群,玉轴相接。海陵红粟,仓储之积靡穷;江浦黄旗, 匡复之功何远!班声动而北风起,剑气冲而南斗平。喑呜则山岳崩颓,叱吒则风云变色。 以此制敌,何敌不摧?以此图功,何功不克?

  公等或居汉地,或协周亲;或膺重寄于话言,或受顾命于宣室。言犹在耳,忠岂忘 心。一抔之土未干,六尺之孤何托?倘能转祸为福,送往事居,共立勤王之勋, 无废大君之命,凡诸爵赏,同指山河。若其眷恋穷城,徘徊歧路,坐昧先几之兆,必贻 后至之诛。请看今日之域中,竟是谁家之天下!

  移檄州郡,咸使知闻。

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HusbandOfWuhan

An official call to arms to eradicate Empress Wu Zetian for the revival of the Tang dynasty. Before researching the title and the author,

I didn't even know what it was about and who the author was. Now I know and found it very interesting reading indeed. Good choice to start

off the Classical Chinese Reading Project.

A declaration of civil war / revolt / restoration of the Li family's Tang Dynasty?

Much harsher than merely an arrest warrant. They wanted to obliterate her. It was stated that even the gods(God) and all people abhorred her; heaven, and earth could not stand her. Wow, her crimes must have been really serious. Or did the plotters just wanted to find good excuses to get rid of her?

Sure she became corrupt with power, as Orwell proposes: "absolute power corrupts absolutely". But aren't most people who attain such high authority corrupt and in some ways forced to do "bad" things? In this light, Wu Zetian would have been no different from any other corrupt leader in China's history. It wasn't totally her fault that she was brought into the palace. She wasn't the one who had initially chose to do this. She had been chosen by court representatives. So it wasn't all fair that they dumped all the blame on her.

What do others think? Please continue the discussion...

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OneEye

Actually, the official first text for the project is the 《蘭亭集序》 by 王羲之, though of course we can discuss the 駱賓王 here if people want. I put that text up as an example of the sort of thing we'll be reading, and because (as you pointed out) it's very interesting and will hopefully pique people's interest. It seems that a lot of 文言文 classes tend to consist of reading some pretty dry, esoteric material, so I think it's a good idea to try to stick with more colorful, interesting reading if we can.

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Daan

So, I think that was pretty successful today. We were a bit slow in the beginning but then picked up the pace and towards the end it all came together quite nicely, I think. I'd definitely encourage anyone reading along who's also in Taipei and who wasn't there today to join the reading group next week!

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OneEye

Thanks for coming by, Daan! Sorry I had to leave early, this move has made things a bit hectic.

It was a little slow at first, but partly because our group was twice the size it was last week (we had six people altogether), which was great. Thanks to Geoff for putting up a poster. If you're in Taipei and want to join us, we meet in front of the 博愛 Building at 師大 (that's the MTC building) on Wednesdays at 5.

Our text for next week is 《祭鱷魚文》 by 韓愈.

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Humblegeoff

Yes, thanks Daan! That was a great meeting. I hope you enjoy cycling the coast, and can come back in a couple of weeks.

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Humblegeoff

After reading Luo Binwang in class and in the study group, I got excited and drafted a vague and loose translation of sorts. Here it is - feedback and rotten tomatoes welcomed...

駱賓王 為徐敬業討武曌檄

Luo Binwang

Call to arms against Wu Zhao

偽臨朝武氏者,性非和順,地實寒微。

That one called Wu who has usurped the running of court affairs, whose nature is not amiable, whose origins are humble indeed.

昔充太宗下陳,曾以更衣入侍。

Formerly serving Taizong in the front palace, eventually entered his favour through assisting him in changing clothes.

洎乎晚節,穢亂春宮。

Once [Taizong] had reached his dotage, [Wu] indulged in wanton behaviour in the Spring Palace [i.e., with the Crown Prince].

潛隱先帝之私,陰圖後房之嬖。

When the late emperor's personal staff went into seclusion, [Wu] secretly entertained plans [to enter] the walls of the rear palace [the private quarters].

入門見嫉,蛾眉不肯讓人;掩袖工讒,狐媚偏能惑主。

Once inside the gates, [Wu's] envy became manifest; beauty does not yield to others. Using skill to entice, flatter and bias, [Wu] seduced the ruler [高宗 Gao Zong].

踐元后於翬翟,陷吾君於聚麀。

Trampling on the Principal Empress, [Wu] grasped the pheasant feather fan [a symbol of the status of Principal Empress], trapping our Emperor into sharing a woman [with his late father, thereby giving rise to accusations of incest].

加以虺蜴為心,豺狼成性。 近狎邪僻,殘害忠良;殺姊屠兄,弒君鴆母。

To this can be added [Wu's] serpent heart and ruthless nature, bringing dishonest people close while persecuting the loyal and virtuous, murdering sisters and slaughtering brothers, committing regicide and poisoning the mother of the nation.

神人之所共嫉,天地之所不容。

This is something that gods and men hate, that heaven and earth cannot endure.

猶復包藏禍心,窺竊神器,君之愛子,幽之於別宮;賊之宗盟,委之以重任。

Still harbouring evil intentions, secretly eyeing the imperial throne; the Emperor's precious son is imprisoned in a distant palace; a bandit's alliance of crooked relations has been appointed to all the most important posts.

嗚呼!霍子孟之不作,朱虛侯之已亡。

Alas! Huo Zi Meng cannot act; Zhu Xu Hou is no more.

鷰啄皇孫,知漢祚之將盡;龍漦帝后,識夏庭之遽衰。

[As with] Yan Zhuo Huang Sun, all knew the fortunes of the Han would soon fail; the Long Li Empress signalled the rapid decline of the Xia [*it seems that this latter should refer to the Western Zhou].

敬業皇唐舊臣,公侯冢子。

[Xü] Jing Ye has long served the Great Tang, and is the eldest son of a duke.

奉先帝之成業,荷本朝之厚恩。

Accepting the task of continuing the late emperor's great work, he bears resposibility to uphold the benevolence of the imperial court.

宋微子之興悲,良有以也;袁君山之流涕,豈徒然哉?

Song Wei Zi's lament is truly moving [*良:的確, but 以??*]; can the tears of Yuan Jun Shen have fallen in vain?

[song Wei Zi was apparently the elder brother of the last Shang emperor, and had to watch the decline of his dynasty from the sidelines; Yuan Jun Shen I'm not too sure about]

是用氣憤風雲,志安社稷,因天下之失望,順宇內之推心,爰舉義旗,以清妖孽。

Therefore, as all righteous people are filled with righteous fury, resolved to pacify the nation [symbolized by 社稷], according to the grievance felt by all under heaven, following the outpouring of confidences among all under heaven, the banner of righteouness is borne aloft to remove all traces of the evildoer.

南連百越,北盡三河。

The south is joined even to the three rivers of the north.

鐵騎成群,玉軸相接。

The valiant knights are so numerous that the jade hubs of their chariots are linked as one.

海陵紅粟,倉儲之積靡窮;江浦黃旗,匡復之功何遠!

The grainstores of Hailing [so full that they can let it] rot hold bottomless [provisions]; yellow banners [symbolizing righteousness] [flutter] on the riverbanks, how can the rescue of the nation be far away?

班聲動而北風起,劍氣沖而南斗平。

The neighing of the warhorses brings the north wind; the [brightness] of the clashing blades equals Sagittarius.

喑嗚則山岳崩頹,叱吒則風雲變色。

[such] rage [(?) 喑嗚 , note 46 explains 懷怒氣] would topple mountains; [such a powerful] rebuke would change the very cloud and wind.

以此制敵,何敵不摧?以此圖功,何功不克?

What enemy can face such power unbroken? [Worked with] such design, what successes cannot be achieved?

公等或居漢地,或叶周親,或膺重寄於話言,或受顧命於宣室。

Noble lords, those residing on the Han lands [i.e., those of many families enfeoffed for service], those like the kin of Zhou [i.e., those who are of the imperial family], those who accepted the orders of the late emperor, and those who follow the will of the late emperor's true executors.

言猶在耳,忠豈忘心?

The words still ring in your ears, how can a heart forget this loyalty?

一抔之土未乾,六尺之孤何託?

The 'handful of earth' [i.e., the emperor's grave] has not yet dried, how can a six-chi [i.e., not yet fully grown] orphan shoulder this burden?

倘能轉禍為福,送往事居,共立勤王之勳,無廢大君之命,凡諸爵賞,同指山河。

If sorrow can be turned to triumph, the dead honoured and the living supported; [if] together we serve the throne rather than discarding our great lord's decree; then all shall be awarded, together indicating the mountains and rivers [referring to swearing fealty when accepting rank and position from the emperor].

若其眷戀窮城,徘徊歧路,坐昧先幾之兆,必貽後至之誅。

If you yearn for your mean city [i.e., feel too attached to your current fief], and hesitate at the crossroads, sitting

請看今日之域中,竟是誰家之天下!

Please, look at our country now, to which family will our world belong?

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OneEye

I don't have a text selection yet for this week, because I'm not sure what level the new group members will be at. I'm up for doing something just here in this forum though, if anyone has a suggestion.

I'd also like to hear more suggestions for texts to read. It may very well be that most of the group members this fall are complete beginners in 文言文, in which case it may turn into more of an intro class than a study group, at least for the first several meetings. If that happens, I plan to continue with the Grand Old Project here, but I may also make separate threads for the more basic stuff we cover. Either way, I'm interested in hearing suggestions. A few I had in mind, mostly because they're in both 古文觀止 and the high school reader I have called 《文言文40篇大探索》:

赤壁賦

過秦論

岳陽樓記

醉翁亭記

上樞密韓太尉書

桃花源記

諫逐客書

燭之武退秦師

馮諼客孟嘗君

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