A Short-Song Ballad
- Poetry of Cao Cao

《短歌行》

- Last updated: 2024-04-14 20:00:45

A Short-Song Ballad by Cao Cao
中文原文

对酒当歌,人生几何?

譬如朝露,去日苦多。

慨当以慷,忧思难忘。

何以解忧,唯有杜康。

青青子衿,悠悠我心。

但为君故,沉吟至今。

呦呦鹿鸣,食野之苹。

我有嘉宾,鼓瑟吹笙。

明明如月,何时可掇。

忧从中来,不可断绝。

越陌度阡,枉用相存。

契阔谈宴,心念旧恩。

月明星稀,乌鹊南飞。

绕树三匝,何枝可依?

山不厌高,海不厌深。

周公吐哺,天下归心。


English Translation

The wine, the song, life goes on —

But for how long?

It evaporates, to our dismay,

Like the morning dew, day after day.

Ambition and aspiration sustain me,

But a secret thread of grief worries me.

How can I brush it aside

But by drowning it in wine?

Scholars, scholars, where are you?

Years I have chanted the song of yearning —

But would you ever come over to me?

Deer are calling from the field, grazing

On the tender marsilea.

Let my house be graced with a learned visitor,

I will have music played in his honour.

But he is as bright as the moon,

And how could I make a moon stay?

Here my sorrows surface and swell,

And refuse to go away.

Talented friends, whom I love, I treasure,

For a rendezvous no journey is too long!

Would you mind coming, to our meeting,

To our feast, back to old-days' feeling?

The stars so dim, the moon so bright,

Southbound birds are flying, circling

Round and round over the tree —

On which bough are you alight?

The water can never be too deep,

And the mountain too high.

When an open-minded king calls for talent,

It is him the would must stand by.

By Cao Cao

· PreFish in a Gully
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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