Dan’ga – “Sacheol-ga” (四節歌 사철가 Song of Four Seasons)

[Performed in the recording above by master singer Kim Su-yeon 김수연]

Dan’ga (短歌 단가 ‘short song’) are performed by pansori artists primarily as ‘warm up’ songs before their main performance. Probably the best known is Sacheol-ga “The Song of Four Seasons.”

In hangul the title is written both as Sacheol-ga 사철가 and Sajeol-ga 사절가 (四節歌).

이산 저산 꽃이 피니 분명코 봄이로구나
i-san jeo-san kkochi-i pi-ni bun-myeong-ko bom-i-ro-gu-na
This mountain, that mountain, flowers bloom: clearly it is spring!

봄은 찾어 왔건마는 세상사 쓸쓸허드라
bom-eun chaj-eo wa-ggeon-ma-neun se-sang-sa sseul-sseul-heo-deu-ra
Spring has come yet the events of this world are lonesome and sad

나도 어제 청춘일러니 오날 백발 한심허구나
na-do eo-je cheong-chun-il-leo-ni o-nal baek-bal han-sim-heo-gu-na
Yesterday, I too was in my spring youth, but today I am white haired and pathetic!

내 청춘도 날 버리고 속절없이 가버렸으니 왔다 갈 줄 아는 봄을 반겨 헌들 쓸데있나
nae cheong-chun-do nal beo-ri-go sok-jeol-eops-i ga-beoryeoss-eu-ni wa-dda gal-jul a-neun bom-eul ban-gyeo heon-deul sseul-de-i-nna?
My spring youth has discarded me and left me without a chance,
so what use is there in welcoming the spring, knowing it will come and go?

봄아 왔다가 갈려거든 가거라. 니가 가도 여름이 되면 녹음방초승화시(綠陰芳草勝花時)라
bom-a wa-dda-ga gal-lyeo-geo-deun ga-geo-ra. ni-ga ga-do yeo-reum-i doe-myeon nok-eum bang-cho seung hwa-si-ra
Spring, if you’re going to come and go, then go! Even if you leave it will be summer when green shade and fragrant grasses win against flowers.

옛부터 일러있고 여름이 가고 가을이 돌아오면
yet-pu-teo il-leo-i-ggo yeo-reum-i ga-go ga-eul-i dor-a-o-myeon
From olden times it has been thus: if summer leaves and autumn returns,

한로삭풍(寒露朔風) 요란해도 제 절개를 굽히지 않는 황국단풍(黃菊丹楓)도 어떠헌고
hal-lo-sak-pung yo-ran-dae-do je jeol-gae-reul gup-hi-ji an-neun hwang-guk dan-pung-do eo-tteo-heon-go
even if cold frosts and northern winds make a racket, what then even of the yellow chrysanthemums and red maples, their honour unyielding?

가을이 가고 겨울이 돌아오면 낙목한천(落木寒天) 찬 바람에 백설만 펄펄 휘날리어
ga-eul-i ga-go gyeo-ur-i dor-a-o-myeon nang-mok-heon-cheon chan-ba-ram-e baek-seol-man peol-peol hwi-nal-li-eo
When autumn goes and winter returns, trees are bare, the sky is cold and in the chill wind only white snow flies around

은세계가 되고보면 월백설백천지백(月白雪白天地白)허니 모두가 백발의 벗이로구나
eun-se-gye-ga doe-go-bo-myeon wol-baek seol-baek cheon-ji-baek heo-ni mo-du-ga baek-bal-ui beos-i-ro-gu-na
The whole world turns silver: the moon white, snow white, and heaven and earth white, all become friends to one with white hair!

무정 세월은 덧없이 흘러가고 이내 청춘도 아차 한 번 늙어지면 다시 청춘은 어려워라
mu-jeong se-wol-eun deot-eops-i heul-leo-ga-go i-nae cheong-chun-do a-cha han beon neulg-eo-ji-myeon da-si cheong-chun-eun eo-ryeo-wo-ra
Heartless time flows quickly on, presently if youth too becomes old once, it is difficult for it to be youthful again!

어화 세상 벗님네들 이네 한 말 들어보소
eo-hwa se-sang beot-nim-ne-deul i-ne han mal deur-eo-bo-so
Oh! Friends of the world, listen to these words!

인생이 모두가 백년을 산다고 해도 병든 날과 잠든 날 걱정근심 다 제허면 단 사십도 못 살 인생,
in-saeng-i mo-du-ga baek nyeon-eul san-da-go hae-do byeong-deun nal-gwa jam-deun nal geok-jeong-geun-sim da je-heo-myeon dan sa-sip-do mot sal in-saeng
Even though they say lifetimes all last a hundred years, if you deduct days of illness, sleep and other worries then it is but forty we can live.

아차 한 번 죽어지면 북망산천(北邙山川)의 흙이로구나
a-cha han beon jug-eo-ji-myeon bung-mang-san-cheon-ui hulk-i-ro-gu-na
Ah, if we die but once we turn to earthen graves as by the streams of Mount Beimang!

사후에 만반진수(滿盤珍羞)는 불여생전(不如生前)의 일배주(一杯酒) 만도 못허느니라
sa-hu-e man-ban-jin-su-neun bur-yeo saeng-jeon-ui il-bae-ju man-do mot-heo-neu-ni-ra
After death even a full plate of the rarest delicacies cannot compare with a single cup of wine whilst still alive!

세월아 세월아 세월아 가지 말어라 아까운 청춘들이 다 늙는다
se-wol-a se-wol-a se-wol-a ga-ji mar-eo-ra a-gga-un cheong-chun-deul-i da neung-neunda
Time! Time! Time! Don’t go! Precious youths are all old.

세월아 가지마라. 가는 세월 어쩔거나.
se-wol-a ga-ji-ma-ra. ga-neun se-wol eo-jjeol-geo-na.
Time! Don’t go! What can be done about the time that goes?

늘어진 계수나무 그 끝 허리에다 대랑 매달아 놓고
neul-eo-jin gye-su-na-mu geu-kkeut heo-ri-e-da dae-rang mae-dar-a no-ko
Hang them  from the end of that dropping cinnamon tree:

국곡투식(國穀偸食) 허는 놈과 부모불효 허는 놈과 형제화목 못허는 놈
guk-gok-tu-sik heo-neun nom-gwa bu-mo-bul-hyo heo-neun nom-gwa hyeong-je-hwa-mok mot-heo-neun nom,
rascals who steel and eat grain from the state, rascals who are not pious to their parents and rascals who cannot live in harmony with their brothers,

차례로 잡어다가 저 세상 먼저 보내버리고 나머지 벗님네들 서로 모아 앉아서
cha-rye-ro jab-eo-da-ga jeo se-sang meon-jeo bo-nae-beo-ri-go na-meo-ji beot-nim-ne-deul seo-ro mo-a anj-a-seo
Catch them in turn and  send them first to the other world, and my friends that remain, let us gather and sit

한 잔 더 먹소 덜 먹게 허면서 거드렁거리고 놀아보세
han jan deo meok-so deol meok-ge heo-myeon-seo geo-deu-reong-geo-ri-go nol-a-bo-se
And drink another glass! While making us drink less, let us go wild in the moment!

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