Thoughts of Old Time V
- Poetry of Du Fu

《咏怀古迹五首之五》

- Last updated: 2024-05-08 20:06:32

Thoughts of Old Time V by Du Fu
中文原文

诸葛大名垂宇宙,宗臣遗像肃清高。

三分割据纡筹策,万古云霄一羽毛。

伯仲之间见伊吕,指挥若定失萧曹。

运移汉祚终难复,志决身歼军务劳。


English Translation

Zhuge's prestige transcends the earth;

There is only reverence for his face;

Yet his will, among the Three Kingdoms at war,

Was only as one feather against a flaming sky.

He was brother of men like Yi and Lu

And in time would have surpassed the greatest of all statesmen.

Though he knew there was no hope for the House of Han,

Yet he wielded his mind for it, yielded his life.

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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