A Song of Wheel Tower in Farewell to General Feng of the Western Expedition
- Poetry of Cen Shen

《轮台歌奉送封大夫出师西征》

- Last updated: 2024-03-25 09:59:40

A Song of Wheel Tower in Farewell to General Feng of the Western Expedition by Cen Shen
中文原文

轮台城头夜吹角,轮台城北旄头落。

羽书昨夜过渠黎,单于已在金山西。

戍楼西望烟尘黑,汉军屯在轮台北。

上将拥旄西出征,平明吹笛大军行。

四边伐鼓雪海涌,三军大呼阴山动。

虏塞兵气连云屯,战场白骨缠草根。

剑河风急雪片阔,沙口石冻马蹄脱。

亚相勤王甘苦辛,誓将报主静边尘。

古来青史谁不见,今见功名胜古人。


English Translation

On Wheel Tower parapets night-bugles are blowing,

Though the flag at the northern end hangs limp.

Scouts, in the darkness, are passing Quli,

Where, west of the Hill of Gold, the Tartar chieftain has halted

We can see, from the look-out, the dust and black smoke

Where Chinese troops are camping, north of Wheel Tower.

...Our flags now beckon the General farther west-

With bugles in the dawn he rouses his Grand Army;

Drums like a tempest pound on four sides

And the Yin Mountains shake with the shouts of ten thousand;

Clouds and the war-wind whirl up in a point

Over fields where grass-roots will tighten around white bones;

In the Dagger River mist, through a biting wind,

Horseshoes, at the Sand Mouth line, break on icy boulders.

...Our General endures every pain, every hardship,

Commanded to settle the dust along the border.

We have read, in the Green Books, tales of old days-

But here we behold a living man, mightier than the dead.

Seven-character-ancient-verse

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.

© 2024 CN-Poetry.com Famous Chinese Poems in English