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

p. 89




  Tama no o yo
Taenaba taene
Shinoburu koto no
Yowari mo zo suru.

THE ailments of advancing years
  Though I should try to hide,
Some day the thread will break, the pearls
  Be scattered far and wide;
  Age cannot be defied.

The Princess was the daughter of the Emperor Goshirakawa, who reigned A.D. 1156-1158. In this short reign, however, the country suffered from a very severe earthquake and a devastating civil war.

The second line is a play upon the two verbs tae, which are both pronounced the same, but which are written with different ideographic characters. The first couplet, taken literally, reads, 'If the string of pearls (i.e. my life) break, I must bear it.'

The illustration seems to show the Princess sitting down with a nobleman in attendance.

Next: 90. The Chief Vice-Official in Attendance on the Dowager Empress Impu: Impu Mon-in no Ōsuke