Japanese Text Initiative
1st Editionpp. 134-141
Prepared for the University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center.
I am a courtier at the Palace of Kinomaru in the country of Chikuzen. You must know that in this place there is a famous pond called the Laurel Pond, where the royal ones often take their walks; so it happened that one day the old man who sweeps the garden here caught sight of the Princess. And from that time he has loved her with a love that gives his heart no rest.
Some one told her of this, and she said, "Love's equal realm knows no divisions," 1 and in her pity she said, "By that pond there stands a laurel-tree, and on its branches there hangs a drum. Let him beat the drum, and if the sound is heard in the Palace, he shall see my face again."
I must tell him of this.
Listen, old Gardener! The worshipful lady has heard of your love and sends you this message: "Go and beat the drum that hangs on the tree by the pond, and if the sound is heard in the Palace, you shall see my face again." Go quickly now and beat the drum!
With trembling I receive her words. I will go and beat the drum.
Look, here is the drum she spoke of. Make haste and beat it!
They talk of the moon-tree, the laurel that grows in the Garden of the Moon. . . . But for me there is but one true tree, this laurel by the lake. Oh, may the drum that hangs on its branches give forth a mighty note, a music to bind up my bursting heart.
I would speak with you, madam.
The drum made no sound, and the aged Gardener in despair has flung himself into the pond by the laurel tree, and died. The soul of such a one may cling to you and do you injury. Go out and look upon him
In the Kwanze School this play is replaced by another called The Burden of Love, also attributed to Seami, who writes (Works, p. 166): "The Burden of Love was formerly The Damask Drum." The task set in the later play is the carrying of a burden a thousand times round the garden. The Gardener seizes the burden joyfully and begins to run with it, but it grows heavier and heavier, till he sinks crushed to death beneath it.