Lament of the Newly Wed
- Poetry of Du Fu


- Last updated: 2024-02-25 15:33:55

Lament of the Newly Wed by Du Fu

















English Translation

The creeper clinging to the flax is wrong,

For it can’t be expected to grow long.

If a maiden to a soldier is tied

In wedlock, better forsake her by roadside.

My hair dressed up, to you I’m newly wed,

But we have not yet warmed our nuptial bed.

Married last night, at dawn we bid adieu.

Why should I part in such hurry with you?

Though you may not be very far away,

Only in Heyang garrison you’ll stay.

I have not performed the rites of a wife.

How can I serve your parents all my life?

Bred by my parents, I was told it’s right

To hide indoors every day and night.

Oh, I am destined to go to your spouse.

Now you go to a place in face of death,

How can I not utter my painful breath?

I would follow you wherever you go,

But I fear it would bring less weal than woe.

So forget the bride in your family then,

But do your duty as all army men.

If there were women in the camp, I fear,

It’s no good for morale on the frontier.

As a daughter of a poor family,

It’s difficult to get silk robe for me.

But I fear I could not wear it again,

Rougeless and powderless I would remain.

Looking up, I see hundreds of birds fly,

Big or small, all of them in pairs on high.

Why different should be our human fate?

O how long, how long should I for you wait!

By Du Fu

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 Famous Chinese Poems in English