Sacred Texts  Japan  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book on Kindle

A Hundred Verses from Old Japan (The Hyakunin-isshu), tr. by William N. Porter, [1909], at

p. 46




  Yura no to wo
Wataru funabito
  Kaji wo tae
Yukue mo shiranu
Koi no michi kana.

THE fishing-boats are tossed about,
  When stormy winds blow strong;
With rudder lost, how can they reach
  The port for which they long?
  So runs the old love-song.

Nothing is known of the writer of this verse, but he is said to have lived in. the tenth century. The meaning, not very clearly expressed in the translation, is that the course of true love is as uncertain as the course of the rudderless fishing-boats. In the illustration we see the fishing-boat tossing about on a rough sea and the rudder duly floating away astern.

Next: 47. The Priest Ye-kei: Ye-kei Hōshi