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陶淵明詩講錄 《續》
Lectures on Tao Yuan-ming’s Poems (continued)


葉嘉瑩教授 講 by Professor Yeh Chia-ying
劉年聰、楊維光 英譯 English Translation by Liew Yen Chong and Yong Wei Kwong of BBDC, Singapore

不過,陶淵明這首詩卻不是追求長壽的意思,他只是表示他對菊花的喜愛。因為菊花不但有外在的佳色,而且有內在的精神品德,是「懷此貞秀姿,卓為霜下傑」 (《和郭主簿》)。他說「泛此忘憂物」,就「遠我遺世情」。「遠」在這裏用作動詞,是「使我遠」;「遺世」是把世間那些得失利害的計較都拋下。陶淵明他本來就有一種遺世的感情,本來就是「栖栖失群鳥,日暮猶獨飛」的。陶淵明的文法有時候看起來好像不太通,但是你要知道,「淵明不為詩,寫其胸中之妙耳」(陳師道《后山詩話》),他是表現他內心之中非常幽微深細的一種感受,所以有時候就不甚注意文法的細膩。

不過盡管如此,陶詩裏有一些表示說話口吻的字,用得也很細微。他說「汎此忘憂物,遠我遺世情。一觴雖獨進,杯盡壺自傾。」後兩句裏的「獨」字,「自」字,用得都很妙,襯托出了他在生活中那種幽微深細的感受。他對他現在的這個選擇也更堅定了。可是誰了解他的選擇??陶淵明的妻子兒女知道他的感受嗎?不知道。你怎麼曉得他們不知道? 因為陶淵明在一封信裏說了: 「但恨鄰靡二仲,室無萊婦,抱茲苦心,良獨內愧。」(《與子儼等疏》)他的妻子,並不像老萊子的妻子那樣理解和支持丈夫的隱居。那麼,他的兒子了解他嗎?陶淵明在一首詩裏也說了:「雖有五男兒,總不好紙筆。」(《責子》) 他的五個男孩子,沒有一個愛念書的。所以,當他「汎此忘憂物,遠我遺世情」的時候,雖然有一種能夠按照自己理想來生活了的安定的感覺,可是別人不能了解他,他也感到一種寂寞。「一觴雖獨進,杯盡壺自傾」就是寫這種自得的喜樂,和孤獨的寂寞結合起來的感情。   


當他就這樣自得其樂的時候,「日入群動息,歸鳥趨林鳴」;太陽漸漸落下去了,所有生物都停止了牠們的活動。古人說,「日出而作;日入而息。」越是在農村生活的人,對這個越有體會。不像在繁華的都市,有的人白天睡覺,晚上跑出來又唱歌又跳舞;農民白天是要勞動的,晚上就要休息了。這個時候他所看到的自然景物,就是「日入群動息,歸鳥趨林鳴。」「趨林」就是投林,鳥巢在樹林裏邊, 所以到了黃昏,鳥兒們都投向自己的鳥巢。這兩句寫得很簡單,我們一看就都懂了。



However, in this poem, Tao Yuanming was not talking about his pursuit of longevity. Rather, he was just expressing his fondness for chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums do not only possess external beauty but also symbolizes the inner quality of virtue, just as in "Bearing this virtuous and elegant nature, they are heroes in the frost" [In Response to Secretary Guo]. He said, "And float them in this Carefree Drink, which encourages me to leave the world." Here, the character 'yuan' is used as a verb, as in 'to enable me to be apart from something.' 'To leave the world' means to leave behind all worldly gains and losses, benefits and disadvantages. Tao Yuanming, in fact, had the notion of leaving the world just like how "a distressed bird strayed from the flock, still flies alone at dusk." His grammar seems inconsistent but then you should know that "Tao Yuanming did not write for the sake of writing poetry; he simply expressed the wonders in his mind" [Chen Shidao in Houshan's Comments on Poetry]. He expressed his innermost sentiments which were very subtle, yet profound and that's why, at times, he did not adhere strictly to the grammatical rules of writing.

Regardless of this, certain characters in Tao's poems that express speech tones convey a very subtle meaning. He said, "And float them in this Carefree Drink, which encourages me to leave the world. I drink my cup in solitude, and when it's empty, I refill it from my flask." In the last two lines, the characters 'du' [solitude] and 'zi' [I] are used in an ingenious way because they portray his subtle and profound feelings about life. What he is saying is that his present choice is firmer. But then, who would understand his choice? Who would know his feelings? Did his wife and children know his feelings? They didn't. How can you tell that they didn't know? It's because Tao Yuanming once said in a letter, "My only regret is not having neighbors such as the two Zhong, nor a wife such as Lai's. I uphold a life of principle, but feel really lonely and guilty" [Letter To My Son Yan etc]. Unlike Lao Laizi's wife, Tao Yuanming's wife did not understand or support her husband's decision to retreat into seclusion. And what about his sons? Did they understand him? Tao Yuanming lamented in one of his poems: "Although I have five sons, none of them is fond of brush and paper" [Reproaching My Sons]. Amongst his five sons, not one of them was fond of studying. That's why when he “floated them in this Carefree Drink, which encouraged him to leave the world,” he had gained certain bliss akin to that he could actually live his life according to his ideals. However, nobody understood him and he felt a certain sense of isolation. The line, I drink my cup in solitude, and when it's empty, I refill it from my flask, expresses his mixed feelings of self-satisfaction and loneliness.

Tao Yuanming was adept at expressing this type of feelings. You may consider the emotion evoked by the characters 'du' and 'zi' [alone]. Will you be happy only when others understand you? Tao Yuanming once said, "Although I don't have any bosom friends, there is no remorse on my part" [In Praise of Impoverished Gentlemen]. Even though there is not a single person in the world who understands me, what does it matter? In fact, the character 'zi' denotes a feeling that is rather appealing.  

While he was self-contented, at sunset, everything quietens down. Chirping birds head back to the woods. As the sun gradually sets, the activities of all living things come to a halt. The ancients said, "Work when the sun rises; rest when the sun sets." This is especially so for people living in the farms, unlike in the bustling city where there are people who sleep during the day and come out at night to enjoy life. Farmers have to work in the day and rest in the night. At that time, the natural scenery that he saw was: At sunset, everytbing quietens down. Chirping birds head back to the woods. The phrase 'qu lin' means to head towards the woods. The birds' nests are inside the woods and that's why at sunset, all the birds head back to their nests. These two lines are very simple and easy to understand.  

~ To be continued  



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