Monday, June 1, 2015

The Classics - Opening Lines: The Tale of the Heike

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Timeless_Books.jpg/320px-Timeless_Books.jpg The temple bell echoes the impermanence of all things. The colors of the flowers testify to the truth that those who flourish must decay. Pride lasts but a little while, like a dream on a spring night. Before long the mighty are cast down, and they are as dust before the wind. (Published 12th century, author unknown; as translated by Fuki Wooyenaka Uramatsu in 1956). 

(This Japanese epic about warrior clans has been compared to the Iliad).


I love the classics and plan to share some "opening lines" over the coming months. Comment if you like, or read for inspiration.
Writing styles were different then, but were they really?


18 comments:

  1. Never heard of The Tale of the Heike before, but wow, that opening is so gorgeous and poignant...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Heather. I agree. Another bogger (Alex) suggested this ancient classic. Some day I hope to read.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Yes, isn't it though? Thanks Stephanie :)

      Delete
  3. I love Japanese stories! :) I don't know this one, though. The writing was beautiful...poetic and wise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's opens up a whole new world of reading. Was happy to discover this classic. Hope you get a chance to read. Thanks Chrys!

      Delete
  4. Interesting. A rather poetic opening for a warrior story. Sounds good to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be great to read on vacation. Not one to skim read or race through :) Thanks Cindy!

      Delete
  5. Never heard of that story, but the writing is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. New to me too. I hope we can all read. Thanks Cherdo!

      Delete
  6. Great opening line about all things that never last-great writing and philosophy in the first sentence

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly one to digest slowly. Makes me curious about the ending lines. Thanks Birgit!

      Delete
  7. Is't it supposed to be that the samarai most worthy of emulation are often artists and poets? Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dennis. I know little about Japanese lit. Also found it beautiful. Thanks!

      Delete
  8. Most evocative of the impermanence of all things and life ... and from so long ago! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, very true. Was surprised to discover this. Thanks Susan!

      Delete
  9. :D It makes me happy to see this here!! Yes, it is beautiful, and a majority of the story is REAL historical fiction, embellished in small places, of course. It is a bit dense and hard to get through, but there are certain scenes (like the fate of the baby emperor) that stick with you forever.

    ReplyDelete
  10. And thanks for suggesting this Alex!

    ReplyDelete

"Stay" is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary
(A.B. Alcott). Stay and visit awhile. Your comments mean a lot to me.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...