The Right state: the Left’s poem certainly has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no conception of Love.
In judgement: both Gentlemen’s pictures are ‘painted’ (kakitomete), with the Left then using ‘upon my darling’ (imo ga ue ni mo), which certainly has a conception of love. The Right simply draws a picture of a maidenflower and drenches it with dew, so it does not seem as if he is being moved by the sight of a person. Thus, again, the Left seems the superior poem.
ato ni sekioku
taki tsu se o
makoto ni otosu
wa ga namida kana
Traces place a barrier, but
A cataract in torrents
Truly drops –
The Right state: the Left’s poem is rather casual about the person whom he loves. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults we can identify.
In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right have stated that the Left seems somewhat blasé about the object of his affections, and this is certainly true. The Right’s poem, though, says that the poet is looking at a painting on something like a folding screen, where a waterfall is depicted, and he weeps in reality – this seems like he was simply moved by the painting. I feel that there is a stronger conception of love in seeing a painting and fondly recalling the face of one now long gone, than there is in being moved by the sight of a mountain stream.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: ‘tomb’ (tsuka) and ‘cypress’ (kae) are frightening. The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘evergreen’ (kashi) is the same, is it not?
In judgement: What might ‘upon my moss-hung tomb an aged cypress be’ (kokemusu tsuka ni kae furite) mean? Maybe the poet had in mind the part of the Scribe’s Records, where Duke Wen of Jin, on parting from his wife in Di, says, ‘If you wait for me for twenty-five years and I have still not returned, then marry again,’ but his wife laughs and says, ‘After ageing for twenty-five years, a cypress will be growing upon my tomb!’ The Right’s ‘evergreen’ (shirakashi) must simply serve to introduce to ‘you know not; for what hues might I show?’ (shiraji na iro ni ideba koso arame). However, both ‘cypress’ (kae) and ‘evergreen’ (kashi) lack admirable qualities. The round should tie.