Author: Guan Hanqing
About: Containing eight plays by the magnificent Guan Hanqing, the "Shakespeare of China." Hanqing lived in the 13th century, at the height of the Yuan Dynasty. An actor himself, he is said to have written more than 60 plays for the traveling theater groups which flourished on the mainland in those days.
His works concerned history, deception, treachery, men, women, and the abuse of official power. Also of note are the powerful and resourceful women he gives in such comedies as "Rescued by a Coquette," the portrayals of middle-class life back then, and not a bit of bawdy humor.
Plays in this volume:
- SNOW IN MIDSUMMER
- THE WIFE-SNATCHER
- THE BUTTERFLY DREAM
- RESCUED BY A COQUETTE
- THE RIVERSIDE PAVILION
- THE JADE MIRROR-STAND
- LORD GUAN GOES TO THE FEAST
- DEATH OF THE WINGED-TIGER GENERAL
Copyright 2007, Silk Pagoda.
Ebook Version released under Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 by permission of rights-holder. Can also be downloaded from Munsey's without a log-in or account requirement.
ZHANG and SERVANT (echoing him):
What are you two doing?
Joining in the fun.
shall have a pearl-decked head-dress,
Bright silks, gay canopy,
And maids to wait on me!
My bones ache from rowing a boat,
But now I shall enjoy a comfortable carriage.
Let us compose a couplet together, ma'am.
Her silk sleeve overturns the cockatoo cup.
My slender fingers fold the phoenix bedding.
SERVANT and ZHANG (banging the table):
I suppose you can read and write?
Then let's compose another couplet.
The cock-head* seed cannot stretch its neck.
The dragon-eye** fruit cannot turn its glance.
* A kind of water-lily.
** A fruit also known as Longan.
ZHANG and SERVANT (banging the table):
Zhang Shao, let me make a couplet with you.
Of course! We'd make a fine couple.
Hold your tongue!
Storks fly in pairs through the sky —
Lovers sleep together on earth.
Your Honour, may I ask you to write a poem?
All right. Zhang Shao, bring pen, paper and ink.
ZHANG (bringing them):
Here they are, sir.
It is done. This is to the tune “Moonlight on the Western River.”
Do read it to me, Your Honour!
The chill dew falls, the moonlight gleams,
The autumn wind sweeps lakes and streams.
Let lovely maid a blossom hold,
My inmost thoughts cannot be told;
Descended from the sky by night,
She knows my heart — for her I write.
What genius! I shall reply with another poem to the tune of
“Sailing at Night.”
Read it to me, ma'am.
Two birds beneath the blooms are better than a lonely phoenix:
This sudden romance of ours was surely predestined,
Like the fish and water we,
The lake is cold but, with the moon as companion,
We sail our boat through the night.
Wonderful, wonderful! Let's drink a few more cups, ma'am.
Why do you want to kill Bai Shizhong, Your Honour?
You mustn't ask me that.