Dance of the Cavalry-Written for Chen Liang
- Poetry of Xin Qiji


- Last updated: 2024-03-23 10:29:22

Dance of the Cavalry-Written for Chen Liang by Xin Qiji






English Translation

Drunken,I lit my lamp to see my glaive:

Awake,I heard the horns from tents to tents 

Under the flags,beef grilled 

Was eaten by our warriors brave

And martial airs were played by fifty instruments 

'Twas an autumn manoeuvre in the field.

On gallant steed 

Running full speed,

We'd shoot with twanging bows.

Recovering the lost land for the sovereign,

'Tis everlasting fame that we would win.

But alas!white hair grows!

In this lyric written for his friend Chen Liang who visited him in 1143,the poet recollected their life in the anti-Jurchen army,encouraged his younger friend to fight against the foe and regretted that he himself was growing old.

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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