On Reading History
- Poetry of Gao Shi

《咏史》

- Last updated: 2024-04-11 19:37:45

On Reading History by Gao Shi
中文原文

尚有綈袍赠,应怜范叔寒。

不知天下士,犹作布衣看。


English Translation

The envoy gave a silken gown

To one on whom he looked down,

Mistaking the prime minister

For a poor plain-clothed commoner.

By Gao Shi

· PreAutumn Comes
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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