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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

陶淵明詩講錄(續)
Lectures on Tao Yuanming's Poems (continued)

葉嘉瑩教授講 By Professor Yeh Chia-ying
郇若慧‧王隆琴 英譯 English translation by Josey Shun and Linda Wang

在晉安帝的義熙元年,劉牢之的兒子劉敬宣,做過建威將軍的職務。他不僅做過建威將軍,也做過江州刺史。他又把陶淵明請了出來。陶淵明又在劉敬宣的幕下做參軍,這是他第四次出來做官,那一年他四十一歲了。後來不久,劉敬宣自己也辭職了。陶淵明也就不做了,而這一次又是很短暫的。

陶淵明的最後一次出仕是做彭澤縣令。義熙元年三月,陶淵明隨著劉敬宣一起辭職。這一年的八月,陶淵明第五次出來做官。他做的是彭澤縣令,這一次他只做了八十幾天就決志不做了。他寫了一篇表示徹底告別官場之決心的文章〈歸去來兮辭〉。在這篇作品裡,他表示要回去種田,再也不出來做官了。而且,從此以後,果然陶淵明到死也沒有出來做官。

後來劉裕當上皇帝後,曾經多少次請他,任聘他出來做官,他都沒有出來。在〈歸去來兮辭〉的前邊有一篇序文,說到他出任彭澤縣令的原因,辭職回家的因由。序文中說「幼稚盈家」,家裡邊的小孩子太多,家裡貧窮,無以為生。從陶淵明的詩裡看他至少有五個兒子,還沒有算女兒,因為中國古代只重視男孩子。

陶淵明先後結過兩次婚。第一個妻子大約在他三十多歲時就死去了。他又結了第二次婚。他的兩個妻子一共生下來的男孩有五個。在這樣沉重的家庭負擔下,他自己表示願意出來做官。所以宋朝的著名文學家蘇軾說陶淵明是「欲仕則仕,不以求之為嫌;欲隱則隱,不以隱之為高」,意思是說陶淵明非常真誠坦率,他要出來做官就自己親口說希望有一個機會,不把求官做看成是應該避嫌的事情;如果他覺得不合適做了就辭職歸去,也不把隱逸看成是什麼高雅脫俗的事情。在〈歸去來兮辭〉的前邊,他就說我家裡很窮,小孩子又多,所以親戚都勸我出來找點官職做。我也正好有了想出來的念頭,於是考慮到彭澤縣這個地方離家不算太遠;「去家百里」,不過只有百里左右了。至於他後來怎麼又不做了呢?他的傳記記載是由於兩個方面的原因。一是他自己在〈歸去來兮辭〉的序文中曾經提到的,說他有一個嫁給姓程的人家的妹妹;「程氏妹」突然在武昌死了,他要趕去奔喪因此辭職了。這是他自己能夠公開向外人說出的理由。

其實,歷史上的傳記中還記載著另外的一個原因。以前我說過,不僅〈晉書〉、〈宋書〉、〈南史〉上有他的傳記。在他死後,第一個給他整理作品集子的梁朝昭明太子,也就是後來編選中國最早的一部詩文選輯——〈文選〉的昭明太子蕭統,也寫過陶淵明的傳記。在他所寫的陶淵明的傳記中說,陶淵明辭去彭澤縣令是因為這樣的緣故:當時「郡遣督郵至」。彭澤是一個縣,比縣更高一級的是郡;當時比縣更高一級的政府派遣了一個督郵——「督郵」就是政府派下來的督察,來考察地方上的政治得失利弊,訪查地方官吏治績行為的。

本來政府派人下來實地考察政情民風是失好事,可是要知道,在官僚腐敗的社會裡,上邊派下來的並非都是清廉公正的人民公僕。他們其中絕大多數人到了下面就置公務於不顧,只知道勞民傷財、喝酒、吃飯、索賄、受禮。你如果侍奉得令他滿意,那他回去後就說你什麼都好;如果你不請客送禮,遠接高迎地讓他滿意而歸,盡管你把當地治理得再好,他也會說你的壞話。

總之在陶淵明的彭澤縣令任上,曾經是有這樣一個上邊派來的官吏,到他所在的治所考察。當時人家就提醒陶淵明,一定要好好地款待他。歷史上記載說「應束帶見之」。「帶」就是腰帶。在中國的京城裡我們經常可以看到,凡是上面欽差、上司來了,下級的官吏都要穿上非常正式的官服,束好佩飾腰帶前來拜見。

當時陶淵明很厭惡官場上的這一套虛偽的規矩,所以就隨口說了一句「吾不能為五斗米折腰向鄉里小兒。」我不能為了五斗米的緣故就向一個不值得尊敬仰慕的人把腰彎下來。「折腰」是把腰彎下來,這裡有卑躬屈膝的意思;「小兒」是指學問道德都不好的人。「小」不是指小孩子,是一種輕視的話。

待續


In the first year of the Yixing reign of Emperor An, Liu Jingxuan, Liu Louzhing's son, was the General Jianwei. He had worked as provincial governor of Jianzhou before. He invited Tao Yuanming to join him as his counselor. This was Tao Yuanming's fourth stint as an official. By then, Tao was forty-one years old. Later on, Liu Jingxuan resigned, and so did Tao Yuanming. Their period of governance was also very short.

The last time Tao Yuanming worked for the government was as a magistrate of Penze county. In March of the first year of the Yixing reign, Tao Yuanming resigned, along with Liu Jingxuan. In August of the same year, Tao Yuanming worked as Penze county magistrate, his fifth time working for the government. After only eighty-some days, he decided to resign again. He then wrote an essay — "To Return" — expressing his determination in departing from a governmental career. After that, Tao Yuanming never worked as a government official again for the rest of his life.

Later on, Liu Yu became the emperor and invited Tao to be a government official on several occasions; Tao rejected them all. In the preface of "To Return," Tao explained his reasons for becoming the Penze county magistrate and for later resigning. The preface mentions "a house full of little kids"—he had too many children but lacked the resources to support the family. From reading Tao Yuanming's poems, we know that he had at least five sons. Daughters weren't counted because the ancient Chinese only considered males to be important.

Tao Yuanming married twice. His first wife died when he was in his thirties. He married again. The two wives gave him a total of five sons. Under such heavy financial pressure, he wanted to work for the government. So the famous Song Dynasty writer, Su Shi, described Tao Yuanming as "working for the government when he desired to, without feeling shame in his requests; retiring when he desired to, without thinking himself lofty." His point was that Tao Yuanming was very honest and frank. When he wanted to work for the government, he asked for the opportunity; he did not consider it necessary to avoid seeking a job openly. When he did not feel comfortable about that work, he quit and went home, yet he didn't consider retreating as something lofty.

In the preface of "To Return," he said, "I have a very poor family with many children, so my relatives all suggested that I find a post in the government. I myself also had this idea, therefore I took a position in Penze county close to home, 'which is but a hundred li from home.' Thus I was pleased to accept the job of Penze country magistrate." Why did he resign later? According to his biography, there were two reasons: one, as mentioned in the preface of "To Return," was that his younger sister suddenly died at Wuchang. He had to rush over for the funeral, so he quit. This was the only explanation he could reveal in public.

In fact, there was another reason given in other history books. As I mentioned before, his biography is not found only in The Book of Jin History, The Book of Song History, and The Book of the South. Xiao Tong, Prince Zhaoming of the Liang Dynasty, who had compiled Literary Selections, the first collection of selected poems and articles in Chinese history, was the first to organize Tao's work after his death. Prince Zhaoming also wrote a biography of Tao. According to Xiao Tong, the real reason behind Tao Yuanming's resig­nation as the Penze county magistrate was that "a supervisor from the prefecture was coming." Penze is a county, and a prefecture is superior to a county. The prefecture would send a "supervisor" to audit the political gains and losses and evaluate the county and local officials' performance.

Originally, the government's onsite audits of local admin­istrators were well-intentioned. However, we should know that in a society of corrupt bureaucrats, most officials sent by higher-level authorities were not candid and honest public servants. Most of them went on site and forgot about their du­ties. They squandered working people's money, drank, ate, resorted to blackmail, and accepted gifts. If you satisfied their demands, they would report back on how wonderful you are. If you did not entertain them well and serve them humbly, they would present a negative report, no matter how well you managed the local government.

In short, while Tao Yuanming was the Penze county magistrate, an official was sent to evaluate his administration. It was hinted to Tao Yuanming that he should treat that official well. According to historical records, he should "wear a belt to greet him." This type of belt is often seen in Chinese opera. Whenever higher-level officials and superiors arrive, the subordinate must wear an official's formal robe and a belt to greet them.

Tao Yuanming detested the hypocritical courtesy of the political arena, so he said, "I won't bow to a bucolic boy for the sake of five pecks of rice." "Bow" means to bend from the waist, a gesture of humble subservience. "Boy" indicates a man having little virtue and knowledge. It is used in a derogatory sense.

To be continued

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