Sunday, September 24, 2006

Remembering Dad

This post is dedicated to my beloved dad who passed away in 1996.


In Chinese literature, the Tang period (618-907) is considered the golden age of Chinese poetry

Tang Shi San Bai Shou [300 Tang Poems] is a compilation of poems from this period made around 1763 by Heng-tang-tui-shi [Sun Zhu] of the Qing dynasty.

Sun's motivation for compiling the collection sprang from his dissatisfaction with the then popular textbook, the Qian Jia Shi [Poems by A Thousand Poets], an earlier collection from the Tang and Sung (960-1279) periods .

Sun made his own selection of Tang poems based on their popularity and effectiveness in cultivating character. Because it represented equally well each of the classical poetic forms and because it represented the best works by the most prominent Tang poets, Sun's collection became a "best seller" soon after its publication. It has been used for centuries since to teach elementary students to read and write, and also in cultivating character.

Sun's collection is still a classic today, its popularity undiminished. Nearly every Chinese household owns a copy of Tang Shi and poems from it are still included in textbooks and to be memorized by students.

We would like to make this World Wide Web version of the poems as a testimony to its compiler's intent :

" Learning Tang poems three hundred by heart, you can chant poems though you know not the art ."




花間一壺酒, 獨酌無相親;
舉杯邀明月, 對影成三人。
月既不解飲, 影徒隨我身;
暫伴月將影, 行樂須及春。
我歌月徘徊, 我舞影零亂;
醒時同交歡, 醉後各分散。
永結無情遊, 相期邈雲漢。

Li Bai


From a pot of wine among the flowers
I drank alone. There was no one with me --
Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three.
Alas, the moon was unable to drink
And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
But still for a while I had these friends
To cheer me through the end of spring ...
I sang. The moon encouraged me.
I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
... Shall goodwill ever be secure?
I watch the long road of the River of Stars.


Acknowledgment: The Chinese version of this Tang Shi is edited by UVa based on Mr. Wei-chang Shan's electronic version. English translations are primarily from Witter Bynner's Jade Mountain: A Chinese Anthology, New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1929.



Blogger desiderata said...

ha, fella poet quoting Mandarin lines Woot, Woot
mGf yan and Mr Coww would drink with thee
Red wine lines sublime?
I'd settle for A&W rut bir
Still it's Hear! Hear!
Wisdom from ancient Chinoserie
Civilization from a moon smilin' dowm a willow tree?

24/9/06 20:30  
Blogger Helen said...

You know Chinese?

That's a sad poetry. :-)

24/9/06 20:53  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

wah, I didn't know your chinese literature so keng ah. I am illiterate oh!

24/9/06 23:11  
Blogger Kenny Ng said...

I know read chinese, but I can't understand the meaning until ur explaination in English... very nice n meaningful Tang Shi.

25/9/06 10:43  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Sorry to disappoint you guys but I'm (unfortunately) as illiterate as Mave rgd Chinese letters.

(That was a wholesale C&P thingy but I like the translation so much I figured those who appreciate would love the original version.) Glad u all enjoyed it.

25/9/06 15:54  

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