The Beautiful Lady Yang (Three Poems)
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)


- Last updated: 2024-03-20 14:56:29

The Beautiful Lady Yang (Three Poems) by Li Bai (Li Po)










English Translation

Her robe is made of cloud, her face of flowers made,

Caressed by vernal breeze, freshened by morning dew,

Charming as Fairy Queen in her Mountain of Jade 

Or Goddess of the Moon in her palace sky-blue.

A branch of peony with her fragrance impearled,

Sweeter than Mountain Goddess bringing showers in dreams,

Unrivalled by the beauties of the ancient world,

Not even by Flying Swallow in her dress that gleams.

The beauty gazes at the flowers he admires,

Winning the monarch's smiling gaze from hour to hour.

Gratifying Spring wind's insatiable desires,

She leans on balustrade north of the Fragrant Bower.

① The Goddess of Witch Mountain made love with King Xiang of Chu in his dreams.

② Flying Swallow was the favorite of Emperor Cheng of the Han Dynasty (reigned 32-6 B.C.)

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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