The Tale of Kieu (Day 01)

1.In the hundred-year span of a human life.
Trăm năm trong cõi người ta.

Talent and fate are always apt to strife.

Through experience of a harrowing change.

What we witnessed filled our hearts with tearing pain.

5.’Tis (it is) not a wonder that Heaven gives then takes,
Trời xanh quen thói má hồng đánh ghen.

And with the fair sex He used to be jealous.

Let’s open the scented book under the lamp.

And old love saga transmitted in history.

That in the Chia-Ching regin of Ming dynasty.

10. All was in peace and to capitals stable.

There once lived a man of the Vuong family.

A middle-class bourgeois of that society.

His only son and last-born child was Quan Vuong.

Who he hoped would maintain his line of scholar.

15. His first births were two magnificent daughters,

Of them Thuy Kieu elder and Thuy Van younger

Both with apricot bodies and snow spirits,

Each had their unique style and perfect beauty.

Van looked gentle with a decent elegance,

20. Her face a full moon, her eyebrows two long arcs,

Her smile a flower and her voice sounds of jade,

Clouds yielded her hair and snow ceded her skin,

Kieu was even more attractive and charming,

Surpassing her sister in talent and beauty.

25. Eyes pure like fall lake, brows bold like spring hill,

Flowers grudged her fresh and willows craved her green,

Her glances would make a king bequeath this throne,

Her talent, like her beauty, was second to none.

Endowed with an inherent intelligence

30. She excelled in poetry, chanting, and painting.

Well versed pitches and fine tones of music,

She was peerless with her art of lute playing.

She herself composed the song for song her singing,

A heart-tearing lyric of woman’s sufferings.

35. As refined and noble as the sisters were,

And though they’d reached the age of nubility,

They did stay at home behind drapes and curtains,

Without care of flirting butterflies and bees