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14. About to Return Melody
- Standard tuning:2 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
 
將歸操 1
Jiang Gui Cao
Confucius turns back at the Yellow River 3        
Like numbers
13, 15 and perhaps 16, this melody connects to an episode in the life of Confucius. The picture at right illustrates the present story, as recounted in his family biography, Section 47 of the Records of the Grand Historian.4

Confucius, once again unemployed, was on his way west to see Zhao Jianzi of Jin. However, when he arrived at the banks of the Yellow River he heard that Zhao's advisers Dou Mingdu and Shen Hua had been executed. Confucius sighed, saying that it was a beautiful river, but he was not fated to cross it. That if you kill young animals, the unicorn will not come. If you kill fish by emptying their ponds, the dragon will not come. If you destroy the eggs in a nest, the phoenix will not come. How could he then go on to Jin? So he returned to the village of Zou, where he composed Zou Cao. Zou Cao is given as an alternate title for Jiang Gui Cao.

The preface in Taigu Yiyin relates a shortened version of this story, but does not identify the source of the lyrics. Yuefu Shiji5 identifies them as by Han Yu (768-824), who wrote using the voice of Confucius.

This title is also found in five later handbooks to 1828.6 All have the same lyrics set to different melodies, except Huiyan Mizhi (1647), which has a melody in three sections with no lyrics.

 
Original preface>7

As Confucius' wheeltracks circled the earth, the Dao was not following. He headed west to see Zhao Jianzi, but heard of the death of Dou Mingdu. By the river he sighed and said, "Beautiful are the waters, and vast. As for my crossing it, that is (not my) fate." Later someone fixed this as a song and spread it as a Qin Melody (Qin Cao). Its meaning is still relevant.

 
Music and Lyrics: One section 8 (translation tentative)
A largely syllabic setting, following the structure of the Han Yu lyrics:
([4+4] x 4, then [5+4] x 1, then ([2+2] x 1, then [5+4] x 1)

秋之水兮,其色幽幽。
Qiu zhi shui xi, qi se you you.
Water in autumn, its color is dark.

我將濟兮,不得其由。
Wo jiang ji xi, bu de qi you.
I was about to cross, but did not have the motive.

涉其淺兮,石齧我足。
She qi qian xi, shi nie wo zu.
Ford it when it is shallow, and stones bite my feet.

乘其深兮,龍入我舟。
Cheng qi shen xi, long ru wo zhou.
Ride where it is deep, and dragons come into my boat.

我濟而悔兮,將安歸尤。
Wo ji er hui xi, jiang an gui you.
If I cross and then regret it, then returning is my fault.

歸乎,歸乎。
Gui hu, gui hu.
Return! Return!

無與石鬥兮,無應龍求。
Wu yu shi dou xi, wu ying long qiu.
No fighting with the rocks, no obligations to the dragon's entreaties. (?)

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Jiang Gui Cao 將歸操
7599.117 relates the stories from Shi Ji and Yuefu Shiji. The illustration can be found in several collected illustrations of the life of Confucius.
(Return)

2. Taigu Yiyin does not indicate mode.
(Return)

3. From a reprint of a collection of Qing dynasty prints illustrating the life of Confucius.
(Return)

4. Translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang in Records of the Historian; Hong Kong, Commercial Press, 1974, p.14.
(Return)

5. p.841
(Return)

6. Tracing 將歸操 Jiang Gui Cao (see tracing chart)
The chart below is based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 13/136/242.
(Return)

7. Chinese original not yet online.
(Return)

8.
Original lyrics
Han Yu's original lyrics without translation are as follows,

秋之水兮其色幽幽,我將濟兮不得其由。
涉其淺兮石齧我足,乘其深兮龍入我舟。
我濟而悔兮將安歸尤。
歸乎歸乎,無與石鬥兮無應龍求。
(Return)

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Appendix: Chart Tracing 將歸操 Jiang Gui Cao
Further comment
above; based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 13/136/242

      琴譜
    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1. 謝琳太古遺音
      (1511; I/289)
1; lyrics
 
  2. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/149)
1; same lyrics but different music
 
    . 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #29)
Same as 1585?
 
  3. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/409)
1; same lyrics; another new melody
 
  4. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/69)
3; shang mode; no lyrics; unrelated to previous
No commentary;
    . 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; fac.)
Presumably identical to 1649
 
  5. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/)
1; zhi yin; lyrics and music same as 1585
 
  6. 琴學軔端
      (1828; XX/454)
1; seems to be same as 1585
"尹芝僊" (Yin Zhixian compiled 1647!???)

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