Farewell to Vice-prefect Du Setting Out For His Official Post in Shu
- Poetry of Wang Bo

《送杜少府之任蜀州》

- Last updated: 2024-03-25 11:52:20

Farewell to Vice-prefect Du Setting Out For His Official Post in Shu by Wang Bo
中文原文
Simplified Chinese Version

城阙辅三秦,风烟望五津。

与君离别意,同是宦游人。

海内存知己,天涯若比邻。

无为在岐路,儿女共沾巾。

Traditional Chinese Version

城闕輔三秦, 風煙望五津。

與君離別意, 同是宦遊人。

海內存知己, 天涯若比鄰。

無為在歧路, 兒女共沾巾。


English Translation

By this wall that surrounds the three Qin districts,

Through a mist that makes five rivers one,

We bid each other a sad farewell,

We two officials going opposite ways....

And yet, while China holds our friendship,

And heaven remains our neighbourhood,

Why should you linger at the fork of the road,

Wiping your eyes like a heart-broken child?

Five-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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