Thoughts of Old Time III
- Poetry of Du Fu

《咏怀古迹五首之三》

- Last updated: 2024-05-08 20:01:36

Thoughts of Old Time III by Du Fu
中文原文

群山万壑赴荆门,生长明妃尚有村。

一去紫台连朔漠,独留青冢向黄昏。

画图省识春风面,环佩空归夜月魂。

千载琵琶作胡语,分明怨恨曲中论。


English Translation

Ten thousand ranges and valleys approach the Jing Gate

And the village in which the Lady of Light was born and bred.

She went out from the purple palace into the desertland;

She has now become a green grave in the yellow dusk.

Her face ! Can you picture a wind of the spring?

Her spirit by moonlight returns with a tinkling

Song of the Tartars on her jade guitar,

Telling her eternal sorrow.

Seven-character-regular-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.

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