On the Eve of Government Examinations to Secretary Zhang
- Poetry of Zhu Qingyu

《近试上张籍水部》

- Last updated: 2024-05-15 10:33:38

On the Eve of Government Examinations to Secretary Zhang by Zhu Qingyu
中文原文

洞房昨夜停红烛,待晓堂前拜舅姑。

妆罢低声问夫婿,画眉深浅入时无?


English Translation

Out go the great red wedding-chamber candles.

Tomorrow in state the bride faces your parents.

She has finished preparing; she asks of you meekly

Whether her eyebrows are painted in fashion.

Seven-character-quatrain

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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