Third Rank Lay Priest [Minamoto no Yorimasa] summoned his retainer, Watanabe Chōjitsu.
‘Take my head,’ he ordered, but overcome with the sorrow of taking his master’s life, Chōjitsu cried, overcome with tears, ‘Such a service is unthinkable. I would only dare to do it afterwards, should my Lord take his own life.’
‘I see,’ Yorimasa replied, then faced the west and chanted the name of Amida Buddha ten times in a loud voice, before reciting:
umoregi no hana saku koto mo nakarishi ni mi no naru hate zo aware narikeru
On a drowned tree Blossoms flower Not a one— To reach the end of life Is sad, indeed!
With these as his last words, he ran the tip of his great sword through his belly, collapsing over it and died. At such a time, one would not normally be able to compose a poem, but Yorimasa had loved the Way of Waka extravagantly since he was young, so at the last he did not forget it.
ware kikite hito ni wa tsugeku hototogisu omou shiruku mazu koko ni nake
I listen, and To folk will tell, O, cuckoo, so Where I am lost in thoughts of you, Sing here first!
kataoka no ashita no hara o toyomu made yamahototogisu ima zo nakunaru
Until in Kataoka The plain of Ashita Does resound The mountain cuckoos Are singing now!
When ‘Until in Kataoka / The plain of Ashita / Does resound’ had been recited, His Majesty laughed, saying, ‘It would be impossible for it to resound,’ so the final part of the poem was not recited and it lost.