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A Hundred Verses from Old Japan (The Hyakunin-isshu), tr. by William N. Porter, [1909], at

p. 62




  Yo wo komete
Tori no sorane wa
  Hakaru tomo
Yo ni Ausaka no
Seki wa yurusaji.

Too long to-night you've lingered here,
  And, though you imitate
The crowing of a cock, 'twill not
  Unlock the tollbar gate;
  Till daylight must you wait.

The Lady Sei, Shō-nagon being merely a title, was the daughter of the writer of verse No. 42, and the authoress of Makura-no-Sōshi, or 'A story book to keep under one's pillow'; she was, with the writer of verse No. 57, one of the greatest of Japanese authors. She was a lady-in-waiting at Court, and retired to a convent in the year 1000. This verse has reference to the Chinese story of Prince Tan Chu, who was shut up with his retainers in the town of Kankokkan; the city gates were closed from sunset to cockcrow, but during the night one of the Prince's followers so successfully imitated the crowing of a cock, that the guards, thinking it was daybreak, opened the gates, and the fugitives escaped under cover of the darkness. It is related, that the Emperor once noticed Lady Sei admiring the freshly fallen snow, and asked 'How is the snow of Korohō?' She at once raised the window curtain, showing that she recognized the allusion to the verse 'The snow of Korohō is seen by raising the curtain'.

Next: 63. The Shinto Official Michimasa, of the Left Side of the Capital: Sakyō Taiu Michimasa