On Passing Jia Yi's House in Changsha
- Poetry of Liu Changqing

《长沙过贾谊宅》

- Last updated: 2024-04-25 12:07:09

On Passing Jia Yi's House in Changsha by Liu Changqing
中文原文

三年谪宦此栖迟,万古惟留楚客悲。

秋草独寻人去后,寒林空见日斜时。

汉文有道恩犹薄,湘水无情吊岂知?

寂寂江山摇落处,怜君何事到天涯!


English Translation

Here, where you spent your three years' exile,

To be mourned in Chu ten thousand years,

Can I trace your footprint in the autumn grass --

Or only slanting sunlight through the bleak woods?

If even good Emperor Wen was cold-hearted,

Could you hope that the dull river Xiang would understand you,

These desolate waters, these taciturn mountains,

When you came, like me, so far away?

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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