Feasting in the Peach-plum Garden in Spring Night
- Poetry of Li Bai (Li Po)

《春夜宴从弟桃花园序》

- Last updated: 2024-06-04 10:51:49

Feasting in the Peach-plum Garden in Spring Night by Li Bai (Li Po)
中文原文

夫天地者,万物之逆旅;光阴者,百代之过客,而浮生若梦,为欢几何?古人秉烛夜游,良有以也。

况阳春召我以烟景,大块假我以文章。会桃李之芳园,序天伦之乐事。群季俊秀,皆为惠连;吾人咏歌,独惭康乐。

幽赏未已,高谈转清。开琼筵以坐花,飞羽觞而醉月。不有佳作,何伸雅怀?如诗不成,罚依金谷酒数。


English Translation

The world is aninn for all creatures and time is a passing traveler of endless generations.The floating life is like a dream, and how brief the enjoyment is! Indeed, itwas with good reason that the ancients made nocturnal excursions by bearingcandle lights.

It should beindeed more so with us now that the sunny spring invites me with vapouryscenes, the big earth provides me with such a beautiful picture. Here we gatherin the beautiful garden of peach and plum, and enjoy fraternal love. Youyounger brothers are all men of refinement and elegancy like Hwai Lien, butamidst singing and chanting I myself feel ashamed to be compared with Kang Lo.

Before silentappreciation comes to the end, our lofty chat turns to puretalk. The ambrosianbanquet is served amid the flowers, and the flight of the winged goblet makesus drunk under the moon. Without fine poems how can our refined taste besatisfied? If anyone fails to produce a poem, let him be punished according tothe rule of the Gold Valley Garden.

By Li Bai

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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