Written for Chen Xiang at the Scenic Hall (The Beautiful Lady Yu)
- Poetry of Su Shi

《虞美人·有美堂赠述古》

- Last updated: 2024-03-23 17:10:43

Written for Chen Xiang at the Scenic Hall (The Beautiful Lady Yu) by Su Shi
中文原文

湖山信是东南美。

一望弥千里。

使君能得几回来。

便使尊前醉倒、且徘徊。

沙河塘里灯初上。

水调谁家唱。

夜阑风静欲归时。

惟有一江明月、碧琉璃。


English Translation

How fair the lakes and hills of the Southeast land are,

With plains extending wide and far!

How oft, wine-cup in hand, have you been here 

That you can make us linger though drunk we appear?


By Sandy River Pond the new-lit lamps are bright.

Who is singing “the water melody” at night?

When I come back, the wind goes down, the bright moon paves

With emerald glass the river waves.

Su Shi (1037-1101)has been regarded by many as the greatest of Song pocts.This poem was written for Chen Xiang,governor of Hangzhou who feasted his subordinate officials in the Scenic Hall built on Mount Wu by the side of the West Lake,before he was going to leave office in 1074.

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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