»  Songs from Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream (2)

 

Songs from Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream (2)

 

•  Background

My 1996 novel Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream made two passing references to Chinese pop songs of the early 1970s, in both cases to songs sung by Frances Yip.

Ms. Yip — her Chinese name is 葉麗儀, Mandarin "Ye Liyi", Cantonese "Yip Leiyi" — is listed in Wikipedia as a Cantopop singer, which is to say, a singer of pop songs in Cantonese (the language of Hong Kong).

Cantopop only really came to prominence from the mid-1970s on, though. In the early stages of her career — the stages relevant to Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream — Frances Yip sang in Mandarin, and so at that point was a Mandopop singer.

The novel mentions two of her songs. This page concerns the second.

In Chapter 12, pages 143-144, the narrator tells us:

Zai jian, she said. Farewell — quite unexpectedly in Mandarin. She hardly ever used Mandarin, and in point of fact did not speak it well. But all educated Cantonese think it the proper language for a grave occasion. Besides, there had been all those Mandarin pop songs to supply her with the vocabulary.

Zai mo-di … She broke off, and dropped her eyes. We had been weeping all day, and neither of us had any tears left. Yet still it was hard to speak. I knew what was coming, anyway. It was one of Francis Yip's songs:
Shuo yi sheng zhen-zheng "zai jian."
Wo zai mo-di zhu fu ni.
Say a real — a lifetime's — "farewell." Now, at the end, I wish you happiness.

(I mis-spelled Frances Yip's name, I know. It's a novel, whaddya want? My version of the words is slightly different, too. It's a novel.)

This one I did find, in Ms. Yip's own lovely and striking voice. The sound clip is followed by the lyrics in Chinese, with a translation by me, then a pinyin transcription of the Chinese lyrics.

(I got the Chinese lyrics from here.)

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•  Play the song

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•  Chinese lyrics


    默默的祝福

就這樣悄悄別離.
就這樣離我遠去.
說一聲珍重再見.
我在默默的祝福你.

把眼淚偷偷擦去.
把深情埋在心底.
說一聲珍重再見.
我在默默的祝福你.

我要寄語白雲,
我要托付流水,
帶給你一點儿消息,
訴一訴離別的情意.

我永遠忘不了你.
我永遠在懷念你
說一聲珍重再見.
我在默默的祝福你.

[Repeat previous eight lines.]

•  Translation

Just like this, sadly depart.
Just like this, leave me far away.
Say one precious farewell.
I am silently wishing you happiness.

Secretly brush away the tears.
Bury the feelings at the bottom of the heart.
Say one precious farewell.
I am silently wishing you happiness.

I will send word to the clouds,
I will confide in the waters,
To bring you news,
Telling of feelings of separation.

I can never forget you.
You are for ever in my heart.
Say one precious farewell.
I am silently wishing you happiness.

[Repeat previous eight lines.]

•  Pinyin transcription

Jiu zhei yang qiao qiao bie li.
Jiu zhei yang li wo yuan qu.
Shuo yi sheng zhen zhong zai jian.
Wo zai mo mo di zhu fu ni.

Ba yan lei tou tou ca qu.
Ba shen qing mai zai xin di.
Shuo yi sheng zhen zhong zai jian.
Wo zai mo mo di zhu fu ni.

Wo yao ji yu bai yun,
Wo yao tuo fu liu shui,
Dai gei ni yi dian-r xiao xi,
Su yi su li bie di qing yi.

Wo yong yuan wang bu liao ni.
Wo yong yuan zai hai nian ni.
Shuo yi sheng zhen zhong zai jian.
Wo zai mo mo di zhu fu ni.

[Repeat previous eight lines.]