The Palace of the Sui Emperor
- Poetry of Li Shangyin


- Last updated: 2024-05-09 11:50:25

The Palace of the Sui Emperor by Li Shangyin





English Translation

His Palace of Purple Spring has been taken by mist and cloud,

As he would have taken all Yangzhou to be his private domain

But for the seal of imperial jade being seized by the first Tang Emperor,

He would have bounded with his silken sails the limits of the world.

Fire-flies are gone now, have left the weathered grasses,

But still among the weeping-willows crows perch at twilight.

...If he meets, there underground, the Later Chen Emperor,

Do you think that they will mention a Song of Courtyard Flowers?


· PreTo One Unnamed
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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