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Unformatted text preview: ugh the small wooden torii or gateway—the
only prop used in The Shrine in the Fields—and thus symbolically departs
the world and achieves salvation.
Perhaps the best-loved nò play is Matsukaze, also a woman play, which
was written by Kan’ami and revised by Zeami. It tells the sad tale of the
ghosts of two sisters—Matsukaze (“Wind-in-the-pines”) and Murasame
(“Autumn rain”)27—who when alive had spent their days in the lowly
occupation of gathering brine to make salt at their native place of Suma
on the Inland Sea. Once, many many years earlier, a courtier named
Yukihira had spent some time in exile at Suma; and even after his return
to the capital and his death shortly thereafter, the girls remained sunk in
grief over the love they had both felt for him. In the final scene of the
play, as a gale howls and breakers crash at Suma, Matsukaze and Murasame vow that they will continue to await Yukihira’s promised return;
but, with the aid of prayers by the priest who has visited them, they are
finally released from their tormented existence, and in the end all that
remains is the memory of their names in the form of “autumn rain” and
“wind in the pines”:
Matsukaze: So we await him. He will come,
Constant ever, green as a pine. Murasame: Yes, we can trust
his poem: Chorus: “I have gone away Matsukaze: Into the mountains of Inaba,
Covered with pines,
But if I hear you pine,
I shall come back at once.”
Those are the mountain pines
Of distant Inaba,
And these are the pines
On the curving Suma shore.
Here our dear prince once lived.
If Yukihira comes again,
I shall go stand under the tree
Bent by the sea-wind,
And, tenderly, tell him
I love him still! Chorus: Madly the gale howls through the pines,
And breakers crash in Suma Bay;
Through the frenzied night
We have come to you 118 The Canons of Medieval Taste In a dream of deluded passion.
Pray for us! Pray for our rest!
Now we take our leave. The retreating waves
Hiss far away, and a wind sweeps down
From the mountain to Suma Bay.
The cocks are crowing on the barrier road.
Your dream is over. Day has come...
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- Spring '13