To One Unnamed II
- Poetry of Li Shangyin

《无题之二》

- Last updated: 2024-04-06 19:46:40

To One Unnamed II by Li Shangyin
中文原文

飒飒东风细雨来,芙蓉塘外有轻雷。

金蟾啮锁烧香入,玉虎牵丝汲井回。

贾氏窥帘韩掾少,宓妃留枕魏王才。

春心莫共花争发,一寸相思一寸灰!


English Translation

A misty rain comes blowing with a wind from the east,

And wheels faintly thunder beyond Hibiscus Pool.

...Round the golden-toad lock, incense is creeping;

The jade tiger tells, on its cord, of water being drawn

A great lady once, from behind a screen, favoured a poor youth;

A fairy queen brought a bridal mat once for the ease of a prince and then vanished.

...Must human hearts blossom in spring, like all other flowers?

And of even this bright flame of love, shall there be only ashes?

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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