Classics  
Chinese    699 - 759   
Wang Wei (王维) was a Tang Dynasty Chinese poet, musician, painter, and statesman. He was one of the most famous men of arts and letters of his time. His paintings survive only in later copies by other artists, but numerous poems are preserved and some were included in the highly ... Read more
Wang Wei (王维) was a Tang Dynasty Chinese poet, musician, painter, and statesman. He was one of the most famous men of arts and letters of his time. His paintings survive only in later copies by other artists, but numerous poems are preserved and some were included in the highly ... Read more

In a happy reign there should be no hermits;
The wise and able should consult together....
So you, a man of the eastern mountains,
Gave up your life of picking herbs
And came all the way to the Gate of Gold --
But you found your devotion unavailing.
...To spend the Day of No Fire on one of the southern rivers,
You have mended your spring clothes here in these northern cities.
I pour you the farewell wine as you set out from the capital --
Soon I shall be left behind here by my bosomfriend.
In your sail-boat of sweet cinnamon-wood
You will float again toward your own thatch door,
Led along by distant trees
To a sunset shining on a far-away town.
...What though your purpose happened to fail,
Doubt not that some of us can hear high music.

When those red berries come in springtime,
Flushing on your southland branches,
Take home an armful, for my sake,
As a symbol of our love.

I sit along in the dark bamboo grove,
Playing the zither and whistling long.
In this deep wood no one would know -
Only the bright moon comes to shine.

A morning-rain has settled the dust in Weicheng;
Willows are green again in the tavern dooryard....
Wait till we empty one more cup --
West of Yang Gate there'll be no old friends.

Sitting alone
in the hush of the bamboo grove
I thrum my lute
and whistle lingering notes.
In the secrecy of the wood
no one can hear --
Only the clear moon
comes to shine on me.

My heart in middle age found the Way.
And I came to dwell at the foot of this mountain.
When the spirit moves, I wander alone
Amid beauty that is all for me....
I will walk till the water checks my path,
Then sit and watch the rising clouds --
And some day meet an old wood-cutter
And talk and laugh and never return.

A cold rain mingled with the river
at evening, when I entered Wu;
In the clear dawn I bid you farewell,
lonely as Ch'u Mountain.
My kinsfolk in Loyang,
should they ask about me,
Tell them: "My heart is a piece of ice
in a jade cup!"

With its three southern branches reaching the Chu border,
And its nine streams touching the gateway of Jing,
This river runs beyond heaven and earth,
Where the colour of mountains both is and is not.
The dwellings of men seem floating along
On ripples of the distant sky --
These beautiful days here in Xiangyang
Make drunken my old mountain heart!

As the years go by, give me but peace,
Freedom from ten thousand matters.
I ask myself and always answer:
What can be better than coming home?
A wind from the pine-trees blows my sash,
And my lute is bright with the mountain moon.
You ask me about good and evil fortune?....
Hark, on the lake there's a fisherman singing!

Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire,
How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home? --
Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake --
And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north:
Lowly one day, no different from the others,
The next day exalted, everyone praising her.
No more would her own hands powder her face
Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.
And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked,
Blinding him away from wisdom.
...Girls who had once washed silk beside her
Were kept at a distance from her chariot.
And none of the girls in her neighbours' houses
By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.

Autumn hill gather surplus shine
Fly bird chase before companion.
Colour green moment bright,
Sunset mist no fixed place.


The autumn hill gathers remaining light,
A flying bird chases its companion before.
The green colour is momentarily bright,
Sunset mist has no fixed place.

In the slant of the sun on the country-side,
Cattle and sheep trail home along the lane;
And a rugged old man in a thatch door
Leans on a staff and thinks of his son, the herdboy.
There are whirring pheasants, full wheat-ears,
Silk-worms asleep, pared mulberry-leaves.
And the farmers, returning with hoes on their shoulders,
Hail one another familiarly.
...No wonder I long for the simple life
And am sighing the old song, Oh, to go Back Again.

I'm idle, as osmanthus flowers fall,
This quiet night in spring, the hill is empty.
The moon comes out and startles the birds on the hill,
They don't stop calling in the spring ravine.

Wingceltis goldenrain shine empty bend
Fresh and green ripple ripples ripples
Secret enter Shang hill road
Woodcutter not able know


Wingceltis and goldenrain shine at the empty bend,
Fresh and green, rippling ever onward.
A secret road leads up to Shangshan hill,
Even the woodcutter does not know.

Weicheng morning rain moisten light dust
Visitor house green green willow colour new
Urge gentleman further finish one cup alcohol
West outside Yang Pass no friend person


At Weicheng morning rain has dampened light dust,
By the hostel, the willows are all fresh and green.
I urge my friend to drink a last cup of wine,
West of Yang Pass, there will be no friends.

I dwell apart by the River Qi,
Where the Eastern wilds stretch far without hills.
The sun darkens beyond the mulberry trees;
The river glistens through the villages.
Shepherd boys depart, gazing back to their hamlets;
Hunting dogs return following their men.
When a man's at peace, what business does he have?
I shut fast my rustic door throughout the day.

White rocks jutting from Ching stream
The weather's cold, red leaves few
No rain at all on the paths in the hills
Clothes are wet with the blue air.

Down horse drink gentleman alcohol
Ask gentleman what place go
Gentleman say not achieve wish
Return lie south mountain near
Still go nothing more ask
White cloud not exhaust time


Dismounting, I offer my friend a cup of wine,
I ask what place he is headed to.
He says he has not achieved his aims,
Is retiring to the southern hills.
Now go, and ask me nothing more,
White clouds will drift on for all time.

Narrow path sunless temple locust tree
Deep dark much green moss
Should gate except meet sweep
In case have hill monk come


A narrow, sunless path to the temple tree,
Deep and dark; abundant green moss.
Wait by the gate when finished sweeping the yard,
In case a monk should come down from the hill.

The red-capped Cock-Man has just announced morning;
The Keeper of the Robes brings Jade-Cloud Furs;
Heaven's nine doors reveal the palace and its courtyards;
And the coats of many countries bow to the Pearl Crown.
Sunshine has entered the giants' carven palms;
Incense wreathes the Dragon Robe:
The audience adjourns-and the five-coloured edict
Sets girdle-beads clinking toward the Lake of the Phoenix.

 
To comment on this poem, please log in or create a free account
Log in or register to comment