On the Plain of Imperial Tombs
- Poetry of Li Shangyin

《乐游原》

- Last updated: 2024-04-16 21:24:37

On the Plain of Imperial Tombs by Li Shangyin
中文原文

向晚意不适,驱车登古原。

夕阳无限好,只是近黄昏。


English Translation

At dusk my heart is filled with gloom;

I drive my cab to ancient tomb.

The setting sun seems so sublime,

But it is near its dying time.

The Merry-making Plain was also called Plain of Imperial Tombs for emperors were buried there.

The language of the poem is clear and unadorned, and the rhythm is bright and clear, with a deep and philosophical feeling.

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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