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              Home History and Culture The Butterfly Lovers -- Violin Concerto
              The Butterfly Lovers -- Violin Concerto
              Learn Chinese - History and Culture

              ?Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai
              The music of Liang Zhu (liáng zhù 梁祝), or "Butterfly Lovers," is undoubtedly the best-known and most popular in all of China. It is also one of the few Chinese pieces that have often appeared on the international stage. Almost everyone in China can hum a few lines of the violin concerto, which can be traced to a Chinese folk legend "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai"(liáng shān bó yǔ zhù yīng tái 梁山伯與祝英臺).

              According to the legend, Zhu Yingtai assumes a male identity so she may travel to study in Hangzhou (háng zhōu 杭州), a southern city in China, where she meets Liang Shanbo. In the course of their studies, Zhu and Liang become very close friends. From a Confucian perspective, the notion of "Junzi"(jūn zǐ 君子, gentleman) is a well-exemplified ideal in Chinese history and its quality and characteristics are well expounded upon by Confucian scholars. Basically, this implies the highest integrity, morality and demeanor, coupled with well-refined abilities and skills both in martial arts and academia -- the kind of relationship that Zhu and Liang had achieved. When the time came for Zhu to return home, the pair is overcome with much suppressed sadness. Zhu offers her younger sister's hand in marriage and entreats Liang to visit her residence to discuss the issue with her parents. Liang is unaware that Zhu is female nor that she does not have a younger sister. (She is, in fact, offering her own hand in marriage.)

              A year passes before Liang makes his way to Zhu's residence. He is overjoyed to realize Zhu's true identity and that she is in love with him. However, happiness turns into sorrow as the two soon discover that Zhu has been betrothed to another man. In great sadness, the two lovers meet at the tower and lament their great misfortune. Upon his return to Hangzhou, Liang falls ill in his great misery and dies. When Zhu hears of this on her wedding day, she flees to his grave. There, legend has it that her tears move the heavens so much that the clouds themselves shed tears over Zhu's grief. Then, the earth beneath her cracks open and the ill-fated Zhu commits suicide by jumping into the open grave. Miraculously, the pair is transformed into butterflies. Arising into the sky, they flutter and dance side by side among the flowers, never to be separated again.
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              ????? 這一個美麗、凄婉、動人的愛情故事,多少年以來就流傳在上虞的曹娥江畔、流傳在俊美的龍山腳下。

              ????? 東晉時期,浙江上虞縣祝家莊,玉水河邊,有個祝員外之女英臺,美麗聰穎,自幼隨兄習詩文,仰慕班昭、蔡文姬的才學,但家無良師,一心想往杭州訪師求學。祝員外拒絕了女兒的請求,祝英臺求學心切,偽裝賣卜者,對祝員外說:“按卦而斷,還是讓令愛出門的好。”祝父見女兒喬扮男裝,一無破綻,為了不忍使她失望,只得勉強應允。

              ????? 英臺女扮男裝,遠去杭州求學。途中,邂逅了赴杭求學的會稽(今紹興)書生梁山伯,一見如故,相讀甚歡,在草橋亭上撮土為香,義結金蘭。不一日,二人來到杭州城的萬松書院,拜師入學。從此,同窗共讀,形影不離。梁祝同學三年,情深似海。英臺深愛山伯,但山伯卻始終不知她是女子,只念兄弟之情,并沒有特別的感受。祝父思女,催歸甚急,英臺只得倉促回鄉。梁祝分手,依依不舍。在十八里相送途中,英臺不斷借物撫意,暗示愛情。山伯忠厚純樸,不解其故。英臺無奈,謊稱家中九妹,品貌與己酷似,愿替山伯作媒,可是梁山伯家貧,未能如期而至。

              ????? 待山伯去祝家求婚時,豈知祝父已將英臺許配給家住鄮城(今鄞縣)的太守之子馬文才。美滿姻緣,已成滄影。二人樓臺相會,淚眼相向,凄然而別。臨別時,立下誓言:生不能同衾,死也要同穴!后梁山伯被朝廷沼為鄞縣(今寧波市鄞州區)令。然山伯憂郁成疾,不久身亡。遺命葬鄮城九龍墟。英臺聞山伯噩耗,誓以身殉。英臺被迫出嫁時,繞道去梁山伯墓前祭奠,在祝英臺哀慟感應下,風雨雷電大作,墳墓爆裂,英臺翩然躍入墳中,墓復合攏,風停雨霽,彩虹高懸,梁?;癁楹?,在人間蹁躚飛舞。


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