Ise Shū 9

At around this time, there came a message from the palace of the consort who had borne His Majesty children, and her father said to her, ‘Leave matters alone and go up to the palace! I thought I had sent you into Imperial service. Did I send you to His Lordship? No, I did not!’, and she felt so ashamed she felt she would die.

So, she went up to the palace and, when she was performing her duties, the man sent her many letters suggesting that they meet, but she would have none of it; the man’s elder brother said, ‘Is he now requesting to become your husband? Oh, how immature of him! Think of me, instead!’, but only letters went back and forth between them. They did not meet. While this was going on, the original man heard about how things were. The woman had a beautiful garden before her residence and, as a diversion was twining miscanthus grass around her fingers; seeing this, the first man composed:

花薄我こそ深くたのみしか穂に出でゝ人に結ばれにける

Fana susuki
ware koso Fukaku
tanomishika
Fo ni idete Fito ni
musubarenikeru
As miscanthus grass
Deeply did I
Court her;
Now, ’tis plain to see that with another
Is she entwined.

When he said to her, ‘I’ve heard there’s something going on,’ she replied, ‘Why should something like that occur to a miserable creature like me? Were it to be anything, I should think it would be with you!’, with such a relaxed air about her that he was deeply moved. However, she would not meet with him and sent him on his way.

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