Ouyang Xiu
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Ouyang Xiu
- Qin Shi #145
歐陽修 1
琴史 #145 2  
Ouyang Xiu at Chuzhou 3  
Ouyang Xiu (1007 - 1072) one of China's foremost writers of poetry and prose (guwen free-style prose). He was also an historian, statesman and epigrapher. He had numerous style names and pen names including Yongshu, Mr. One of Six,4 and the Old Toper.5 As a poet he is most closely associated with his contemporaries Mei Yaochen and Su Shunqin, as well as with his "successor" Su Dongbo (1037-1101).

Although Ouyang Xiu's family, from Luling (Ji'an in today's Jiangxi province), was relatively poor, Ouyang Xiu himself was able to pass the civil service examination of 1030 and join the government service. Early in his government career be became an important official in the reform faction, but after the reformers lost power he was relegated to less important postings, including one in 1149 at Chuzhou in eastern Anhui province, about 100 km northwest of Nanjing. While there he apparently had a residence built in the nearby Langya mountains.6 Today this area is a public park with a pavilion named after the original Old Toper's Pavilion (Zuiweng Ting) described by Ouyang (see his poem) and several of his contemporaries. It was particularly interesting to visit this park during the process of learning the related melody Zuiweng Yin.

In A Farewell to Yang Zhi (see below) Ouyang Xiu mentions that he had studied qin with his friend Sun Daozi, including several melodies in the gong mode.7 Xu Jian's History, Chapter 6a2, has related information.

At least two poetic writings by Ouyang Xiu have been set for qin music:

  1. Lang Tao Sha
  2. Qiu Sheng Fu 8

Some of his qin-related writings are in Qinshu Daquan (QQJC V). See

Folio 18,   #70 (V.407; translated by Ronald Egan as A Farewell to Yang Zhi9)
Folio 18,   #81 (V.413; Record of Three Qins; refers to his own instruments.10)
Folio 18,   #83 (V.414; begins with explanation of "Mr. One-of-Six")
Folio 18,   #85 (V.415);
Folio 19A, #20 (V.417/8);
Folio 19B, #67 (V.428)
Folio 19B, #89 (Listening to the Monk Zhi Bai Play Pingrong Cao; V.431)
Folio 19B, #90 (V.431)
Folio 20A, #36-43 (V.445/6; 8 entries, including one in the style of Jia Dao11 and the one translated below).

For another article connected to him in Qinshu Daquan see:

Folio 19A, #52 (Ouyang's Qin Song; V.420)

Another poem of his that mentions the qin, Recalling Secluded Valley at Chuzhou, is translated in Michael Fuller, The Road to East Slope.12

Folio 20A #37-8 has two poems about qin that Ouyang Xiu sent to Mei Yaochen. The first of these has been translated by Jonathan Chaves as follows:

Sitting at Night and Playing the Qin, I am Deeply Moved: Two Poems Sent to Shengyu (Mei Yaochen)

吾愛陶靖節,     I love Tao Jingjie!
有琴常自隨。     He had a qin and took it everywhere.
無弦人莫聽,     It had no strings so people couldn’t hear:
此樂有誰知。     Such music! Who can possibly understand?
君子篤自信,     The gentleman sincerely trusts himself;
衆人喜隨時。     The masses simply follow with the times.
其中苟有得,     Should there be something found within this silence,
外物竟何為。     What means any outside thing to him?
寄謝伯牙子,     With our apologies to Master Bo Ya:
何須鍾子期。     What need have you of any Zhong Ziqi?

Professor Chaves has also translated the matching-rhyme response by Mei Yaochen.

The original biography in Qin Shi begins as follows:

Imperial Tutor Ouyang Xiu, style name Yongshu, studied widely and richly, wrote correctly and marvelously....

Translation incomplete.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. Ouyang Xiu references
16539.109 歐陽修:廬陵人(今江西吉安縣治 1007 - 1072),觀之子,字永叔,子號醉翁... Ouyang Xiu, (family) from 廬陵 Luling (吉安 Ji'an, about 200 km south of Nanchang in today's Jiangxi province), was a son of (Ouyang) Guan; style name Yongshu, nickname Old Toper.... Also: pen names 六一居士 Mr. One of Six and 歐陽子方 Ouyang Zifang. He was born while his father was serving as an official in Sichuan province.

English language references (in addition to Wikipedia) include,

Nienhauser, Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, pp.639-41.
Ronald C. Egan, The Literary Works of Ou-yang Hsiu
J.P. Seaton, Love and Time, The Poems of Ou-yang Hsiu.

2. 19 lines

3. Image
From a stone engraving; Ouyang Xiu had a favorite retreat at Chuzhou. Further details not known

4. 六一居士 Mr. One of Six
Ouyang Xiu once explained to a guest that in his home he had 10,000 folios of books he had collected, 1,000 scrolls with inscriptions dating as early as the Xia-Shang-Zhou, one qin, one chess set, and usually one pot of wine. When the guest said this was just one-of-five, Ouyang said, I am an old man amongst these five; does that not make six? (1477.4 六一居士 has this quote from 六一居士傳.

5. Old Toper (醉翁 Zuiweng)
The nickname Old Toper is discussed in detail in the Qin Shi article; see also Langya Mountains below and under Old Toper's Chant.

6. Langya 琅琊 (site of the Old Toper's Pavilion near 滁州 Chuzhou; see) images
Dictionaries give ye as the pronunciation for 琊, but almost all the geographical references Romanize 琅琊 as Langya or Lang Ya rather than Langye or Lang Ye. Langya is a group of low mountains just west of 滁州 Chuzhou in southeastern Anhui province, about 100 km northwest of Nanjing. Ouyang Xiu's term as an official in Chuzhou was quite short (1049), but he apparently spent more time there in exile. He also died in Anhui province in 1072, but that was near what is today 阜陽 Fuyang in northwestern Anhui; it is thus not clear how much time Ouyang Xiu actually spent at Langya.

7. For Yang Zhi see the poem. For 孫道滋 Sun Daozi (Bio/xxx; 39843.xxx) see also Van Gulik, Lore, p.153; it has a quote in which Ouyang Xiu says that after studying a few melodies in the gong mode from Sun Daozi he enjoyed them for a long time and did not know melancholy.

8. Sounds of Autumn 秋聲賦 (a fu: Ode, Rhapsody, Prose-Poem)
See separate entry.

9. HJAS 57, Ronald Egan, Music, Sadness and the Qin, pp.63/4).

10. 歐陽修,三琴記 Ouyang Xiu, A Record of Three Qins
There have been at least two English translations of this essay:

The essay includes the following passage, of importance to anyone contemplating studying the qin (translation slightly modified from the extract in R. H. Van Gulik, Lore, p.20)

From my youth I did not relish vulgar music, but loved the sounds of the qin. I particularly liked the tune Flowing Streams, in its simpler version. During my life I often was in distress, and I roved over the country from north to south. All the other qin tunes I entirely forgot, only this one tune Flowing Streams remained in my memory during dream and sleep. Now I am old, and I play it only occasionally. For the rest I only know some smaller tunes; yet this is sufficient for my own enjoyment. One need not know many tunes; in studying the qin the most important point is to learn to find satisfaction in playing."

Further regarding "小流水 Xiao Liu Shui" (7632.388), "Flowing Streams, in its simpler version," seems to be quite a good translation, though "Flowing Streams, in a simpler version" also seems quite possible. "Liu Shui" itself has long been one of the grand pieces in the traditional qin repertoire. Today especially it is very much a virtuoso piece, though my own teacher was rather dismissive of what he considered its showiness. So although "Xiao Liu Shui" does not appear on any known surviving lists of ancient titles, it is quite possible there were shorter versions that were also less demanding technically, or even that Ouyang Xiu had his own shorter version.

11 彈琴效賈島體 Playing Qin - (written) in the style of Jia Dao
According to Jonathan Chaves, in this poem (Mei Yao-ch'en, p. 92) "the poet dreams of a dignified gentleman whose zither playing conjures up wind and clouds, and inspires the birds and animals to sing. When the poet awakens and finds that the musician has disappeared, he weeps copiously. The relationship of this poem to Chia Tao's style is obscure, but it does demonstrate an interest in Chia's poetry."

12 p.37 (bi-lingual)

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