The Master-Singers of Japan, by Clara A. Walsh, , at sacred-texts.com
Known as the Prince of the Manyôshiu poets. Was said to be descended either from the Mikado Kōshō (B.C. 475-393), or the Mikado Bidatsu (B.C. 572-83). He served under the Queen-regnant Jito—A.D. 694-6—and the Mikado Mommu (697-707). He travelled with Prince Nihitabe over a large part of Japan, and composed many poems—A.D. 673-86. He died at Ihami.
(From the "Manyôshiu")
When hand in hand, we two did wend
Adown the paths of Life our way,
And from the dike's ridge yonder, gazed
On the dense elm-trees' green array,
From out whose leafy canopy,
Glimpsed here and there, our cottage eaves;
Then were our tender thoughts of love,
Frequent as are the fresh spring leaves
Upon the tangled boughs.
Leaning on thee; my very soul
Rested in perfect trust on thee.
Sad is the doom that none may shun,
Mournful the fate that none may flee!
Over the far-flung purple moor,
'Midst the white funeral banners borne,
Slowly they take thee, thou who rose
With the wild-fowl at break of dawn,
And they must hide thee far away,
As sunset-hills hide out the day.
Thy little son, a memory
Of thy dear self, weeps bitter tears,
And seeks for comfort in my arms.
I fondle him, to soothe his fears;
But with a man's unskilful hand,
Lacking the tender touch that cheers.
Our chamber, now so desolate,
Where once all close our pillows lay!
The night is filled with loneliness,
And sorrow darkens all the day.
I know thou sleepest on the hill
Of the cock-crowing, but in vain
I climb its steep and stony heights,
Nor one dim moment shall again
On her, who living, I loved best
These eyes of mine adoring rest!
Homewards I turn, and in our lonely room,
Without the alcove, in the silent gloom
My gaze falls on thy pillow!
Still the fair moon illumes the Autumn night,
As when last year we marvelled at its light,
But between thee and me, a year's whole space,
That one past year divideth!
My Prince, who rules in peaceful power,
Child of the Sun-orb shining high,
Hath ta’en his horses and his men
To where the stag and wild-fowl lie.
On wild Kariji's grassy moor,
He setteth forth to chase the deer.
As the stag boweth—knees to ground,
So do I, bowing low, revere;
As the quail creepeth through the grass,
I tender service to my Lord,
Lifting mine eyes as to the sky,
Sun-bright and shining as a sword—
Eyes like a polished mirror bright,
Loyal and true—reflect the light.
Is he not brave, my Prince! and fair
As the Spring-blossoms, debonair!
See how the Hunter's Moon, full-orbed,
Crosseth the heavens with shining light;
We will draw down the moon with cords,
To form his canopy to-night.
(From the "Manyôshiu "—Lay 12)
He, Heaven-descended of the Shining One
Who dwells divine, bright Goddess of the Sun!
He hath forsaken circumstance and state
Of royal cities, and, unhesitate,
Hitsusé's hill-encircled wilds reviews,
The pathless steeps, the forest ways pursues—
When morning dawns, with waking wild-birds’ cry,
When in the West the burning sun-fires die,
Faring; till on the moor of Aki, white
With fallen snow, the grasses tall and slight
Of plumed susuki, brusheth he aside,
To sleep on the grass-pillow, there to bide.
And, far from pageantry and regal state
On the past days to muse and meditate!
Not yet, O Hill! high hill of Autumn scatter
Red leaves and gold athwart the distant view.
Let me gaze on, a little instant longer,
Where she I love leans toward me through the blue!
(From the "Manyôshiu "—Lay 27)
By Karu's road, where high the mallard fly,
In her own home-place did my love abide,
And all my soul with deep desire did sigh
To see her and to linger by her side.
But prying eyes too constant visits barred,
And eyes too many made our meetings few.
Yet did I trust—tho’ long the ways and hard,
Endless as trailing creepers—yet anew
To meet my love. All hopeful did I trust,
As to his tall ship trusteth seaman bold,
While still our love was hid, as deep pool thrust
’Mid rocks whose hearts hold fire, tho’ outward cold.
* * * * *
Alas! the sun is darkened in my sky!
The moon that lit my heav’n is hid from view.
Graceful as sea-fronds that in green deeps lie,
My love, like Autumn's pride of leaf and hue,
Out of my world has vanished, as the dew!
* * * * *
Such are the tidings that the runner brings,
White-wanded messenger whose words I hear—
They pierce me, as the arrows from the strings
Of white-wood bows—the words that sting and sear!
* * * * *
Nor answer find I, neither comfort gain.
Yet, to assuage a thousandth part my woe,
Karu-wards wending, full of grief and pain,
I listen for her accents sweet and low,
Her voice I list for—but alone I hear
The wild-fowl screaming as they take their flight
Across Unebi, to the shining mere.
No form with sleeves uplifted greets my sight—
The thronging folk upon the way I meet,
Scanning their faces, but I never see
A face like hers—and so with weary feet
I stumble on in hopeless misery.
Onward I wend, and can but cry again
The loved one's name, and wave my sleeve in vain!
ENVOY ON DEATH OF HIS WIFE
Fain would I seek among the winding hill paths,
Where ruddy clouds of foliage hide the ways,
Her whom I love, who wanders ever further;
But all unknown. the pathway where she strays!