"An Invocation" (Jae Moo) from Curing the Pain of Jealousy

Qao Shao Ching: Liang Guyin

I offer you this toast of wine at your tomb.
Sister Su, are you listening?

(Sings Aria - Tune Title "San Ma Kai")
Slowly I prostrate before you; softly I call unto you.
I drip this wine to wake you from your long sleep.

(Recitative)
Sister Su, can you hear me?
Can you hear my pleading?
Alas, my repeated calls are not answered.
Ah . . . a beauteous woman interred in the dirt --
All her charm and talent faded away.
This likewise must be my fate.

(Continues Aria "San Ma Kai")
The laments of the Autumn butterflies are to no avail.

(Recitative)
Many a gifted beauty has been claimed by the dirt.

(Continues Aria "San Ma Kai")
Like so many green pearls tumbling in strong gale,
Jade amulets washed in torrential rain,
Amethyst rings etched by noxious fume.

(Recitative)
Sister Su, Sister Su . . .
What is my love?
I cannot control my obsession, I cannot let go.
Here I am, pondering every thought,
whispering every word.
Except for you - here entombed -
by whom else can my gnawing pain be heard?
I will write a poem
to mark my musings at your tomb:
By emissary on horseback the Autumn grasses were told,
Preen your Spring luster: so the Emperor commands.
Such was my entreaties to you, Sister Su.
Forgive the impertinence in baring my soul.

(Finale)
My sorrow, my tears commingled in the wine.
Powerless to penetrate the depths of the earth.
Where, alas, can my feelings be heard?


--Translation by T. K. Chu