A poem composed in winter in the Eleventh Month, by His Majesty, when the Major Controller of the Left, Prince Kazuragi, and others, were granted the name Tachibana.
mi sape pana sape
sono pa sape
e ni simo puredo
iya toko pa no ki
O, orange tree:
Fruit and flowers both,
And leaves, too,
Even should frost fall on your branches
Evegreen will you be!
The above poem was composed in winter, on the 9th day of the Eleventh Month, after Prince Kazuragi, Junior Third Rank, and Prince Sai, Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade, among others, surrendered their membership of the imperial family and were granted the name of Tachibana. At that time Former Emperor [Genshō], the Emperor [Shōmu], and Empress [Kōmyō], were present in the Empress’ quarters, and hosted a banquet at which poems celebrating the name of Tachibana were composed, and sake was presented to the new members of the family. It is alternatively said, ‘This poem was composed by the Former Emperor. In addition, the Emperor and the Empress each composed a single poem. Those poems were lost and cannot now be located.’ If one seeks copies of the documents now, they say that on the 9th day of the Eleventh Month [Tenpyō] 8 , Prince Kazuragi and other submitted a request to the throne to be granted the name of Tachibana. On the 17th day the request was granted.
The Right state: we cannot admire the Left’s poem. The Left state: in the Right’s poem ‘Has my very life at the hour of snake, its end’ (inochi sae mi no owari) sounds as if it is referring to two different matters.
In judgement: the Left’s poem simply says that after the hour of the snake comes the hour of the horse. It is unnecessary to say such things. The final line certainly seems to have nothing to do with anything. As for the fault of the Right’s poem, ‘life’ and ‘self’ have always had different meanings. Its first line, too, sounds elegant. Once more, the Right should win.