Song of a Southern Country
- Poetry of Wang Anshi


- Last updated: 2024-03-22 20:54:35

Song of a Southern Country by Wang Anshi






English Translation

The capital was ruled by Kings since days gone by.

There rich green and lush gloom breathe a majestic sigh.

Like dreams has passed the reign of four hundred long years,Which calls forth tears:

Modern laureates are buried like their ancient peers.

Along the river I go where I will,Up city-walls and watch-towers I gaze my fill.

Do not ask what has passed without leaving a trail!

To what avail?

The endless river rolls in vain beyond the rail.

After the failure of his reforms,Wang An-shi resigned from the premiership and lived in seclusion at Jinling,ancient capital during nearly four hundred years(221-280;317-389;937-975).In this lyric he gives vent to his discontent about the actual state of things in the court.

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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