The Empress Sang In Reply

Empress Iwanohime

In the first month of spring, in the twenty-second year of his reign, the Emperor spoke to the Empress saying, "I intend to bring Princess Yata into the palace as my consort." But the empress would not allow it. And so the Emperor sang a song pleading with the Empress that went:

Oath of a noble,
Hear the words now lifted high:
For an extra string
To string my bow in case of need
I'd lay her in beside you.

The Empress sang in reply, saying:

To have your wardrobe
Double layered would be fine,
No doubt of that --
But you frighten me, my lord,
Who would line up beds at night!

The Emperor sang again, saying:

Out on the cape
Of far-shining Naniwa
The double dunes:
To be doubled up with you
Must be why that child was born.

The Empress sang in reply, saying:

Summer crawlers,
Silkworms that make double clothes:
Wearing two layers,
Sleeping snug and bundled up --
Oh, no, that can't be right!

The Emperor sang again saying:

Puffing her way,
Sniffing up the Hika slope
At Asazuma --
Of a morning a wife'd be
Better off with company.

The Empress was silent and did not reply again,
for she had no intention of ever giving in.

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