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Ode to the Autumn Sound (秋声赋) -- By Ouyangcius (欧阳修)
05-30-2011, 11:21 AM (This post was last modified: 05-30-2011 11:22 AM by chris.)
Post: #1
Ode to the Autumn Sound (秋声赋) -- By Ouyangcius (欧阳修)
Brief Introduction:
Ode to the Autumn Sound was a good model of the article with the ode style in the Song Dynasty. In the first paragraph the author wrote that he heard the autumn sound in his night reading, thus he spread out the description of the autumn sound in detail. The second paragraph described further the autumn sound and commented on the sough autumn air. From "the grass and trees are heartless" to "the black hair turns to hoary", the author compared the heartless grass and trees with the intelligent human being and then pushed forward the subject of this article: "The people's bodies are not made up of metal and stone, why they compete with grass and trees for glory? One should consider who is injuring himself, therefore there is no need to hate the autumn sound again.'' In this paragraph, the author, on the base of making every effort to dramatize how the autumn sound ravaged extremely the plants in nature, and then pointed out that the injury to human being due to anxiety and exhaustion is more critical than the plants destroyed. Therefore, if considering of who is injuring people themselves, they need not hate the autumn sound again. This was the main subject of this article, which the author wanted to express. The full text of this article grasped tightly this subject with the artistic conception and the atmosphere of unity so as to move the readers deeply by his solitary feeling at the end of the text. "The injury due to anxiety and exhaustion by the human affairs to people is the more critical than the plants destroyed by the autumn sound''. It was the author's sigh with regret to people lives when he was after the experience of several decades in his ups and downs of officialdom.

The Text
While I, the Ouyangcius, read at night, there was the sound come from Southwest. I listened horrifyingly to it, and said, “How strange it is!” At the beginning, the sound was just like the pattering rain and the soughing wind; suddenly, it became surging forward and rolling around, as if people were frightened by the huge waves in the terrible night and the violent storm would come soon. When touching objects, it sent out the tone of "Congcong" and "Zhengzheng", just like the sound of colliding between metals. The sound was also like the trotting soldiers, who hold the gags in the mouths and go to fight the enemy. I could not hear the orders but only heard the sound of the marching troops. I asked my young servant, "Where the sound comes from? Go out and see around!" Soon He returned, and answered, "The stars and the Moon are still bright and clear; the Milky Way is still in the sky. Nobody is around; the sound comes between the trees!"

I said, "Alas! And also, lackaday! It is the autumn sound, why it comes here now?" Yet, the state of the autumn: the scenery is gloomy; the colors fade amid gathering steam and drifting clouds; the appearance is clear and bright; the sky is high and the Sun is brilliant; the breath is extremely cold even to cut people's bone; the prospect is desolate and the landscape is silent and lonely. So the autumn sound is mournful and wails with anger. Originally, the abundant grass was green and luxuriant to strive for luxuriance, and the nice and beautiful trees were verdant and delighted by the people. However the grass touched with the autumn sound slightly, it would change their color; and the trees met the autumn sounds but only a while, they would drop their leaves. Why can the autumn sound urge objects to damage, bare trees and wither the grass? It is because of the residual strength of the autumn sound's breath. Autumn is a punishment officer, who belongs to the Feminine or Negative in time. Autumn is also the symbol of the military affairs, which belong to the Metal in the five basic elements. So the breath of autumn is harsh and raw, always taking stern punishment as its aim of action. All objects in the world treated by the heaven almost grow up in the spring and are harvested in autumn. So, in music, the tone of "Shuang" primarily takes charge of the Western and "Yi" is the tonality of the seventh month. "Shuang" expresses injury. Therefore, when the objects already become old, and then the sadness will come into being. "Yi" is also being slaughtered: when the objects are excess,then the surplus will be killed.

"Alas! The grass and trees are heartless, sometimes become faded and fallen. People being animals are the most intelligent of all objects in the world. Numerous anxieties would affect their hearts and all things would tire of their bodies; shaking in the heart surely would injure their energy. Moreover, thinking what is beyond their power and worrying about what is unable to be gotten by their intelligence, certainly make the rosy facial features becomes faded and the black hair turns to hoary. The people's bodies are not made up by metal and stone, why they compete with grass and trees for glory? One should think who is injuring him, so there is no need to hate the autumn sound again.''

The young servant was silent, lowered down his head and fell asleep. Then I only heard the chirps of the insect sound on walls like helps to my sigh of sorrow!

欧阳子方夜读书,闻有声自西南来者。悚然而听之,曰:“异哉!” 初淅沥以萧飒,忽奔腾而砰湃,如波涛夜惊,风雨骤至。其触于物也, 鏦鏦铮铮,金铁皆鸣;又如赴敌之兵,街枚疾走,不闻号令,但闻人马之行声。余谓童子:"此何声也? 汝出视之。“童子曰:"星月皎洁,明河在天,四无人声,声在树间。”

余曰:“噫嘻悲哉!此秋声也,胡为而来哉?”盖夫秋之为状也:其色惨淡,烟霏云敛;其容清明,天高日晶;其气慄冽,砭人肌骨;其意萧条,山川寂寥。故其为声也,凄凄切切,呼号愤发。丰草绿缛而争茂,佳木葱茏而可悦;草拂之而色变,木遭之而叶脱;其所以摧败零落者,乃其一气之余烈。夫秋,刑官也,于时为阴;又兵象也,于行用金;是谓天地之义​气,常以肃杀而为心。天之于物,春生秋实。故其在乐也,商声主西方之音;夷则为七月之律。商,伤也,物既老而悲伤;夷,戮也,物过盛而当杀。

"嗟乎!草木无情,有时飘零。人为动物,惟物之灵,百忧感其心,万事劳其形,有动于中,必摇其精。而况思其力之所不及,忧其智之所不能,宜其渥然丹者为槁木,黟然黑者为星星。奈何以非金石之质,欲与草木争荣。念谁为之戕贼,亦何恨乎秋声!"

童子莫对,垂头而睡。但闻四壁虫声唧唧,如助余之叹息。

[Image: ouyangxiu_poem_05.jpg]
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