Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.
In judgement: the style of both the Left’s ‘maid at Uji bridge’ (uji no hashihime) and the Right’s ‘Warden of Uji bridge’ (uji no hashimori) is pleasant, and the Left’s ‘Is this how she waits, the maid at Uji bridge’ (kaku ya machiken uji no hashihime) draws on the conception of a tale from long ago, and the configuration also seems deeply moving. Thus, the Left should win.
Both Left and Right state: we find no faults to mention.
In judgement: both poems refer to ‘the bridge of Kazuragi, while the Left has ‘a relationship that’s done’ (taenuru naka). As the bridge, from the very beginning, was never finished, it is not appropriate to say that it is ‘done’. ‘A vow at night’ (yoru no chigiri) seems to be referring to Kodaigimi’s ‘cannot endure’ (taenubeshi). The Right has certainly matched the conception of the bridge. Thus, I make the Right the winner.
The Right state: clichéd from beginning to end. The Left state: the style of the Right’s poem is unattractive.
In judgement: the second and third lines are certainly old-fashioned. I also cannot call the poem tasteful, because the initial line of it is unattractive. The style of the Right’s poem is not particularly elegant, but the Left is old-fashioned, so the Right wins.
The Right state: it is certainly possible to say that the ‘bridge at Nagara’ has ‘rotted’ (kutsu), but there are, we think, no other examples of it ‘ceasing’ (tayu). The Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of saying ‘love not a trace’ (koi ni ato nashi).
In judgement: both poems refer to ‘the bridge at Nagara’ and, as has been mentioned by the Gentlemen of the Right in their criticism, the Left uses ‘has ceased to be, yet’ (taeshikado); there are many poems using ‘rotted’, because this is what happens to the pillars of bridges. After this bridge ceased to be, the pillars would still be rotting away. If you have the bridge ‘being built’ (tsukuru nari), why would you not then have it ‘ceasing’? That being said, I am only accustomed to hearing ‘bridge pillars’ (hashibashira), and having only ‘pillars’ (hashira) sounds completely lacking in logic. The Right’s poem uses ‘love not a trace’ (koi ato nashi): it is entirely natural for a variety of different things not to leave a trace. The current criticism must be due to there not being a prior example of this usage, but it is particularly difficult to say this about the initial section of the poem. The Right wins.
odae no hashi to
nao hito shirezu
To the broken bridge of Odae
Have we come, yet
Still, unknown to all,
Might our love make a crossing?
The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the purpose of ‘fallen leaves swept along’ (ko no ha furishiku) in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.
In judgement: Both the poems of the Left and of the Right use ‘bridge of Odae’ (odae no hashi) which is tasteful. The Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along’ must be following Ise Monogatari. The gentlemen of the Right must surely be pretending ignorance! The poem of the Right, too, has an elegant total configuration, but ‘unknown to all’ (hito shirezu) is at odds with the emotional overtones. Thus the Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along the autumn paths back and forth’ is better. I make it the winner.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder if the Right’s poem does not sound as if it is only the capital which the poet loves?
In judgement: in the Left’s poem, ‘If I am not to meet you, I’ll not cross’ (kimi ni awazu wa wataraji to) is particularly charming, having the conception of the tale of Sima Xiangru in Mengqiu, at the bridge into the commandery of Shu, where he says, ‘If I am not aboard a four-horse carriage, I’ll never cross this bridge again!’, and then later was made a Cavalryman in Permanent Attendance, and entered as an imperial messenger. Metaphorically, it also evokes his meeting with Wenjun, and so seems particularly profound. The poem of the Right commences with ‘His thoughts on the capital’ (miyako omou) and then continues with ‘wet by the waves, cross while lost in love’ (nami ni nurete wa koiwataruran). I do not see how one can say that this poem lacks the conception of Love. However, the conception of the Left’s poem seems rare, indeed. Thus, it wins.