A Song of the Palace
- Poetry of Bai Juyi


- Last updated: 2024-05-15 10:17:34

A Song of the Palace by Bai Juyi
Simplified Chinese Version



Traditional Chinese Version

淚濕羅巾夢不成, 夜深前殿按歌聲。

紅顏未老恩先斷, 斜倚薰籠坐到明。

A Song of the Palace

English Translation

Her tears are spent, but no dreams come.

She can hear the others singing through the night.

She has lost his love. Alone with her beauty,

She leans till dawn on her incense-pillow.


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Why Chinese poems is so special?
The most distinctive features of Chinese poetry are: concision- many poems are only four lines, and few are much longer than eight; ambiguity- number, tense and parts of speech are often undetermined, creating particularly rich interpretative possibilities; and structure- most poems follow quite strict formal patterns which have beauty in themselves as well as highlighting meaningful contrasts.
How to read a Chinese poem?
Like an English poem, but more so. Everything is there for a reason, so try to find that reason. Think about all the possible connotations, and be aware of the different possibilities of number and tense. Look for contrasts: within lines, between the lines of each couplet and between successive couplets. Above all, don't worry about what the poet meant- find your meaning.

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