The River All Red
- Poetry of Yue Fei


- Last updated: 2023-12-21 23:30:35

The River All Red by Yue Fei









English Translation

By the railing I stand,

Showers have stopped,

I bristle with wrath, my hair uncaging.

My eyes towards the sky,

To arms! Long I cry,

To war, for a heavenly cause! I’m raging.

My decade of deeds, as dust I deem, short of the final victory,

O’er thousands of miles, day or night, been in battle engaging.

So take it to heart, get set!

Lest, in vain, we’ll regret,

Turned grey, our youthful heads, on aging.

Held captive still, our sovereigns,

Unavenged, this burning shame;

When? Why now is the hour

To burn out our vengeful flame.

O charge, you columns of chariots!

Crash that gap at Helan-Shan! Crush it in heaven’s name!

In hunger we eat their body, in thirst, drink their blood!

We’ll so boast of our bravery, as if them tartars were game.

All over again, in rally we stand:

Our homeland of old, to recapture,

Our emperor, “All hail!” to acclaim.

Yue Fei (1103-1141)was a famous patriotic general who repelled the Jurchen invasion in order to recapture the lost thousand-mile land.

This well-known lyric has an inspiriting and invigorating influence on the Chinese people.

· PreMonologue
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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