Reading The Chronicle of Shu
- Poetry of Wang Anshi

《读蜀志》

- Last updated: 2024-04-11 19:41:58

Reading The Chronicle of Shu by Wang Anshi
中文原文

千载纷争共一毛,可怜身世两徒劳。

无人语与刘玄德,问舍求田计最高。


English Translation

For a thousand years the world has fought

over things as trivial as a feather—

What a pity!—

squandering lives for nothing.

Why has nobody told that Liu the truth:

his bet is to purchase some land,

And to farm

an easy living in the country?

By Wang Anshi

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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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