Anonymous: South of the Walls We Fought (From Chinese)

South of the Walls We Fought
Anonymous (Han-era)
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

"South of the wall we fought 
North of the city we died 
Dead in the wastes unburied for crows to eat — we rot 

Call to the crows for us 
Say — cry for these strangers brave and true 
Dead in the wastes to go unburied 
Their rotting flesh has no escape from you"  

The water is deep  roiling and moiling
The reeds in darkness  spread and sway 
Here fearless horsemen  fought to the death
Their weary mounts  still pace and neigh 

"They've built guardposts at the bridge 
Now the people can't go north 
And the people can't go south 
We want to be loyal — but how?  
How can we harvest the grain how can our master eat? 
We hoped to be loyal subjects but what can we do now?" 

"I think of you — my faithful subjects 
My faithful men — how could I not? 
At dawn — you set off to attack 
Night fell — you never came back" 

The Original, with transcription of Late Han pronunciation:


戰城南     tɕanh dʑeŋ nǝm 
死郭北     siɁ kuɑk pək
野死不葬烏可食 jaɁ siɁ pu tsɑŋh Ɂɑ kʰɑiɁ ʑiǝk

為我謂烏    wɑih ŋɑiɁ wǝs Ɂɑ
且為客豪    tsʰiaɁ wɑih kʰak gɑu
野死諒不葬   jaɁ siɁ liɑŋh puh tsɑŋh
腐肉安能去子逃 puoɁ ɲuk Ɂɑn nəŋ kʰiɑh tsiəh dɑu

水深激激    ɕuiɁ ɕim kǝk kǝk
蒲葦冥冥    bɑ wuiɁ meŋ meŋ
梟騎戰鬥死   keu giɑih tɕanh toh siɁ
駑馬裴回鳴   nɑ maɁ pui ɣuəi mieŋ

梁築室     liɑŋ ʈuk ɕit 
何以南     gɑi jəɁ nəm 
北     gɑi jǝɁ pǝk
禾黍而穫君何食 guɑi ɕɑɁ ɲə ɣuɑk kun gɑi ʑiǝk
願為忠臣安可得 ŋionh wɑih ʈuŋ gin Ɂɑn kʰɑiɁ tək

思子良臣    siə tsiəh liɑŋ gin
良臣誠可思   liɑŋ gin dʑeŋ kʰɑiɁ siə
朝行出攻    ʈɑu gɑŋ tɕʰus koŋ
莫不夜歸    mɑk pu jas kui

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