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OneEye

Grand 文言文 Reading Project #9: 《垓下之圍》 from 史記

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OneEye

We will be meeting again next Wednesday (September 5). That's the first day of class at the MTC, so I'm not expecting a huge turnout. The flyer is posted on the 7th floor bulletin board as of yesterday evening, so hopefully we'll have a few people at least.

This week's text is a passage from the 項羽本記 section of 《史記》. It isn't part of the 《古文觀止》, but what the hey. I'm reading it from Shadick's A First Course in Literary Chinese lesson 17 (PDF below, fair use and all that). Another version is below, copied and pasted from here. There are some minor discrepancies between the two.

項王軍壁垓下,兵少食盡,漢軍及諸侯兵圍之數重。夜聞漢軍四面皆楚歌,項王乃大驚曰:「漢皆已得楚乎?是何楚人之多也!」項王則夜起,飲帳中。有美人名虞,常幸從;駿馬名騅,常騎之。於是項王乃悲歌慨,自為詩曰:「力拔山兮氣蓋世,時不利兮騅不逝。騅不逝兮可柰何,虞兮虞兮柰若何!」歌數闋,美人和之。項王泣數行下,左右皆泣,莫能仰視。

於是項王乃上馬騎,麾下壯士騎從者八百餘人,直夜潰圍南出,馳走。平明,漢軍乃覺之,令騎將灌嬰以五千騎追之。項王渡淮,騎能屬者百餘人耳。項王至陰陵, 迷失道,問一田父,田父紿曰「左」。左,乃陷大澤中。以故漢追及之。項王乃復引兵而東,至東城,乃有二十八騎。漢騎追者數千人。項王自度不得脫。謂其騎 曰:「吾起兵至今八歲矣,身七十餘戰,所當者破,所擊者服,未嘗敗北,遂霸有天下。然今卒困於此,此天之亡我,非戰之罪也。今日固決死,願為諸君快戰,必 三勝之,為諸君潰圍,斬將,刈旗,令諸君知天亡我,非戰之罪也。」乃分其騎以為四隊,四向。漢軍圍之數重。項王謂其騎曰:「吾為公取彼一將。」令四面騎馳 下,期山東為三處。於是項王大呼馳下,漢軍皆披靡,遂斬漢一將。是時,赤泉侯為騎將,追項王,項王瞋目而叱之,赤泉侯人馬俱驚,辟易數里與其騎會為三處。 漢軍不知項王所在,乃分軍為三,復圍之。項王乃馳,復斬漢一都尉,殺數十百人,復聚其騎,亡其兩騎耳。乃謂其騎曰:「何如?」騎皆伏曰:「如大王言。」

於是項王乃欲東渡烏江。烏江亭長檥船待,謂項王曰:「江東雖小,地方千里,眾數十萬人,亦足王也。願大王急渡。今獨臣有船,漢軍至,無以渡。」項王笑曰: 「天之亡我,我何渡為!且籍與江東子弟八千人渡江而西,今無一人還,縱江東父兄憐而王我,我何面目見之?縱彼不言,籍獨不愧於心乎?」乃謂亭長曰:「吾知 公長者。吾騎此馬五歲,所當無敵,嘗一日行千里,不忍殺之,以賜公。」乃令騎皆下馬步行,持短兵接戰。獨籍所殺漢軍數百人。項王身亦被十餘創。顧見漢騎司 馬呂馬童,曰:「若非吾故人乎?」馬童面之,指王翳曰:「此項王也。」項王乃曰:「吾聞漢購我頭千金,邑萬戶,吾為若德。」乃自刎而死。

And without punctuation, for the masochists:

項王軍壁垓下兵少食盡漢軍及諸侯兵圍之數重夜聞漢軍四面皆楚歌項王乃大驚曰漢皆已得楚乎是何楚人之多也項王則夜起飲帳中有美人名虞常幸從駿馬名騅常騎之於是項王乃悲歌慨自為詩曰力拔山兮氣蓋世時不利兮騅不逝騅不逝兮可柰何虞兮虞兮柰若何歌數闋美人和之項王泣數行下左右皆泣莫能仰視於是項王乃上馬騎麾下壯士騎從者八百餘人直夜潰圍南出馳走平明漢軍乃覺之令騎將灌嬰以五千騎追之項王渡淮騎能屬者百餘人耳項王至陰陵迷失道問一田父田父紿曰左左乃陷大澤中以故漢追及之項王乃復引兵而東至東城乃有二十八騎漢騎追者數千人項王自度不得脫謂其騎曰吾起兵至今八歲矣身七十餘戰所當者破所擊者服未嘗敗北遂霸有天下然今卒困於此此天之亡我非戰之罪也今日固決死願為諸君快戰必三勝之為諸君潰圍斬將刈旗令諸君知天亡我非戰之罪也乃分其騎以為四隊四向漢軍圍之數重項王謂其騎曰吾為公取彼一將令四面騎馳下期山東為三處於是項王大呼馳下漢軍皆披靡遂斬漢一將是時赤泉侯為騎將追項王項王瞋目而叱之赤泉侯人馬俱驚辟易數里與其騎會為三處漢軍不知項王所在乃分軍為三復圍之項王乃馳復斬漢一都尉殺數十百人復聚其騎亡其兩騎耳乃謂其騎曰何如騎皆伏曰如大王言於是項王乃欲東渡烏江烏江亭長檥船待謂項王曰江東雖小地方千里眾數十萬人亦足王也願大王急渡今獨臣有船漢軍至無以渡項王笑曰天之亡我我何渡為且籍與江東子弟八千人渡江而西今無一人還縱江東父兄憐而王我我何面目見之縱彼不言籍獨不愧於心乎乃謂亭長曰吾知公長者吾騎此馬五歲所當無敵嘗一日行千里不忍殺之以賜公乃令騎皆下馬步行持短兵接戰獨籍所殺漢軍數百人項王身亦被十餘創顧見漢騎司馬呂馬童曰若非吾故人乎馬童面之指王翳曰此項王也項王乃曰吾聞漢購我頭千金邑萬戶吾為若德乃自刎而死

垓下之圍 Shadick.pdf

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skylee

What an excellent story. A must-read.

Shall we identify the chengyu and set phrases in/from/related to this story? There is the poem. And then there is 四面楚歌. Others can identify the rest.

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OneEye

Hm...the Shadick copy has 柰, as does the scan 中華書局 edition that one of the members sent me. I think I remember that the last time we did something from 史記, one of our members, a PhD student working on 漢朝 historiography, saying that the 中華書局 edition is considered to be the most authoritative. Perhaps it was an acceptable variant (or even the more common one) at the time. These things do have a way of changing over time, and I'm not the person to know where to start with this one.

Actually, maybe I do. 王力 tells me in his 王力古漢語字典 that 奈 is "本作柰" (first thing in the entry, apart from notes on pronunciation). Then the entry in 康熙字典 for 奈 is "同柰詳木部柰字註".

I'd agree that 奈 might be more acceptable today, but then when reading something I'd rather read it in the original or as close to the original as I can, so we'll inevitably run into some 異體字 questions.

Interesting stuff, thanks skylee!

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OneEye

This has been a really fun text to read. Unfortunately, I've not had anyone email me yet about the group, but I still plan on showing up in case someone else does too. I think with the beginning of a new academic year, it may take some time for people to get settled into their new life in Taiwan, so it might be slow going at first. In any case, I've taken advantage of not having class by studying this in much more detail than I usually do, which has been hugely beneficial.

Anyway, here are a few of my notes so far:

The text comes from 項羽本紀. The 本紀 section of the 《史記》 contains the annals of the emperors, beginning with the legendary Five Emperors (黃帝、顓頊、嚳、堯、舜), through 漢武帝. The section entitled 項羽本紀 is interesting in that it is the only section whose titular character was never emperor. Here's a wikipedia article on this particular battle, and some background reading on 劉邦, the other party involved.

1. 兵少食盡: The reason they had no food can be well summed up in a 成語:破釜沉舟. This comes from earlier in the same text (section 12 on the ctext site): 項羽乃悉引兵渡河,皆沈船,破釜甑,燒廬舍,持三日糧,以示士卒必死,無一還心。 That's serious business. We're going to our deaths, so let's commit to it!

2. 於是項王乃悲歌慨: In the Shadick version of the text, it's ...乃悲歌忼慨, which looks like a variant of 慷慨. The 中華書局 edition also has 忼慨. Shadick glosses it here as "with the air of a tragic hero; to sigh or groan with anguish or despair or bitterness. This usually expresses the indignation of a heroic personage. Alliterative binome."

3. 力拔山兮氣蓋世,時不利兮騅不逝。騅不逝兮可柰何,虞兮虞兮柰若何!: Coincidentally, I was reading a book on historical phonology today by 竺家寧 called 《古音之旅》 and he talked about this passage. He compares this poem to 劉邦's poem in 高祖本紀:「大風起兮雲飛揚,威加海內兮歸故鄉,安得猛士兮守四方!」 and says, 「我們不必看內容,先從音韻上就能感到一個是英雄失意的感慨傷懷,韻腳顯得音短而迫促。一個是英雄得意的慷慨高歌,韻腳宏亮高昂。聲韻上正流露出作者不同的情懷。」 I don't know nearly enough about historical phonology to know for myself if this is the case or not, but I thought it was interesting.

4. 美人和之: I had some trouble with this one at first. At first sight, it didn't seem right to me, because I don't think I had seen 之 used like that before. For it to work in my mind, 和 needed to be a verb. My knowledge of grammar in Classical Chinese is admittedly shaky, so please let me know if I'm wrong about that. Well anyway, according to 《王力古漢語字典》, 和 can mean 「跟著唱」 (pronunciation gloss: 「hè 胡卧切,去,過韻,匣。歌部。」), and was from the 周易, so I'll go with that. As it turns out, Nienhauser translates that line as "the Fine Lady sang with him", and adds a footnote: "Some scholars have read ho 和 here as in ho shih 和詩, to compose a matching song. Indeed, a song attributed to Fine Lady Yü is recorded in the Ch'u Han ch'un ch'iu 楚漢春秋...and the "Cheng-yi," but its pentasyllabic lines suggest a later provenance."

5. I personally enjoyed the imagery of this line: 項王瞋目而叱之,赤泉侯人馬俱驚,辟易數里。 But interestingly, both Shadick and Nienhauser cut it off there and seem to read it as though 項羽 is the one regrouping with his troops, while both the ctext and 中華書局 editions both read (due to differing punctuation) as though it's 赤泉侯 who regroups with his troops. Thoughts?

That's all for now.

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OneEye

As expected, the turnout was low (zero) due to it being a new semester, new academic year, etc. So there was no meeting this week, unfortunately. But it seems like interest is picking up, so we should have at least a few people next week.

I'd love to hear suggestions for texts to read in this thread.

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古文奇才

This is my favorite part of 史記。 "I lost because of fate, not my own fault!" (slits throat)

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mokushiroku

您需要哪一方面的幫助?我絕得您能研究到《史記》真的是很驚人,但也許我可以就我所知道的,針對您想要了解的問題和您做切磋。

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古文奇才

我沒有什麼需要的,我只是喜歡跟別人分享對於古文學習的心得。記得當時跟老師學,『垓下之圍』是我們史記裡選出的第一篇,印象深刻。

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