Tang Shi Introduction Table of content – 300 Tang poems

An anthology of 320 poems. Discover Chinese poetry in its golden age and some of the greatest Chinese poets. Tr. by Bynner (en).

Tangshi VIII. 1. (261)

He Zhizhang
Coming Home

I left home young. I return old;
Speaking as then, but with hair grown thin;
And my children, meeting me, do not know me.
They smile and say: "Stranger, where do you come from?"

Bynner 261

very interesting
Patricia – 2007/12/06

Tangshi VIII. 1. (262)

Zhang Xu
Peach-blossom River

A bridge flies away through a wild mist,
Yet here are the rocks and the fisherman's boat.
Oh, if only this river of floating peach-petals
Might lead me at last to the mythical cave!

Bynner 262

Tangshi VIII. 1. (263)

Wang Wei
On the Mountain Holiday Thinking of my Brothers in Shandong

All alone in a foreign land,
I am twice as homesick on this day
When brothers carry dogwood up the mountain,
Each of them a branch-and my branch missing.

Bynner 263

Tangshi VIII. 1. (264)

Wang Changling
At Hibiscus Inn Parting with Xin Jian

With this cold night-rain hiding the river, you have come into Wu.
In the level dawn, all alone, you will be starting for the mountains of Chu.
Answer, if they ask of me at Loyang:
"One-hearted as ice in a crystal vase."

Bynner 264

Tangshi VIII. 1. (265)

Wang Changling
In Her Quiet Window

Too young to have learned what sorrow means,
Attired for spring, she climbs to her high chamber....
The new green of the street-willows is wounding her heart –
Just for a title she sent him to war.

Bynner 265

Tangshi VIII. 1. (266)

Wang Changling
A Song of the Spring Palace

Last night, while a gust blew peach-petals open
And the moon shone high on the Palace Beyond Time,
The Emperor gave Pingyang, for her dancing,
Brocades against the cold spring-wind.

Bynner 266

Tangshi VIII. 1. (267)

Wang Han
A Song of Liangzhou

They sing, they drain their cups of jade,
They strum on horseback their guitars.
...Why laugh when they fall asleep drunk on the sand ? –
How many soldiers ever come home?

Bynner 267

Tangshi VIII. 1. (268)

Li Bai
A Farewell to Meng Haoran on his Way to Yangzhou

You have left me behind, old friend, at the Yellow Crane Terrace,
On your way to visit Yangzhou in the misty month of flowers;
Your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky,
Till now I see only the river, on its way to heaven.

Bynner 268

Wait... what, huh?!?!?!
Oh, this must be a comment board
Baobao – 2007/12/06

Tangshi VIII. 1. (269)

Li Bai
Through the Yangzi Gorges

From the walls of Baidi high in the coloured dawn
To Jiangling by night-fall is three hundred miles,
Yet monkeys are still calling on both banks behind me
To my boat these ten thousand mountains away.

Bynner 269

Tangshi VIII. 1. (270)

Cen Can
On Meeting a Messenger to the Capital

It's a long way home, a long way east.
I am old and my sleeve is wet with tears.
We meet on horseback. I have no means of writing.
Tell them three words: "He is safe."

Bynner 270

Tangshi VIII. 1. (271)

Du Fu
On Meeting Li Guinian Down the River

I met you often when you were visiting princes
And when you were playing in noblemen's halls.
...Spring passes.... Far down the river now,
I find you alone under falling petals.

Bynner 271

Tangshi VIII. 1. (272)

Wei Yingwu
At Chuzhou on the Western Stream

Where tender grasses rim the stream
And deep boughs trill with mango-birds,
On the spring flood of last night's rain
The ferry-boat moves as though someone were poling.

Bynner 272

Tangshi VIII. 1. (273)

Zhang Ji
A Night-mooring Near Maple Bridge

While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost;
Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch;
And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,
Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell.

Bynner 273

Tangshi VIII. 1. (274)

Han Hong
After the Day of No Fire

Petals of spring fly all through the city
From the wind in the willows of the Imperial River.
And at dusk, from the palace, candles are given out
To light first the mansions of the Five Great Lords.

Bynner 274

Tangshi VIII. 1. (275)

Liu Fangping
A Moonlight Night

When the moon has coloured half the house,
With the North Star at its height and the South Star setting,
I can fed the first motions of the warm air of spring
In the singing of an insect at my green-silk window.

Bynner 275

Tangshi VIII. 1. (276)

Liu Fangping
Spring Heart-break

With twilight passing her silken window,
She weeps alone in her chamber of gold
For spring is departing from a desolate garden,
And a drift of pear-petals is closing a door.

Bynner 276

Tangshi VIII. 1. (277)

Liu Zhongyong
A Trooper's Burden

For years, to guard the Jade Pass and the River of Gold,
With our hands on our horse-whips and our swordhilts,
We have watched the green graves change to snow
And the Yellow Stream ring the Black Mountain forever.

Bynner 277

Tangshi VIII. 1. (278)

Gu Kuang
A Palace Poem

High above, from a jade chamber, songs float half-way to heaven,
The palace-girls' gay voices are mingled with the wind –
But now they are still, and you hear a water-clock drip in the Court of the Moon....
They have opened the curtain wide, they are facing the River of Stars.

Bynner 278

Tangshi VIII. 1. (279)

Li Yi
On Hearing a Flute at Night from the Wall of Shouxiang

The sand below the border-mountain lies like snow,
And the moon like frost beyond the city-wall,
And someone somewhere, playing a flute,
Has made the soldiers homesick all night long.

Bynner 279

Tangshi VIII. 1. (280)

Liu Yuxi
Blacktail Row

Grass has run wild now by the Bridge of Red-Birds;
And swallows' wings, at sunset, in Blacktail Row
Where once they visited great homes,
Dip among doorways of the poor.

Bynner 280

Tangshi VIII. 1. (281)

Liu Yuxi
A Spring Song

In gala robes she comes down from her chamber
Into her courtyard, enclosure of spring....
When she tries from the centre to count the flowers,
On her hairpin of jade a dragon-fly poises.

Bynner 281

Tangshi VIII. 1. (282)

Bai Juyi
A Song of the Palace

Her tears are spent, but no dreams come.
She can hear the others singing through the night.
She has lost his love. Alone with her beauty,
She leans till dawn on her incense-pillow.

Bynner 282

Tangshi VIII. 1. (283)

Zhang Hu
Of One in the Forbidden City

When the moonlight, reaching a tree by the gate,
Shows her a quiet bird on its nest,
She removes her jade hairpins and sits in the shadow
And puts out a flame where a moth was flying.

Bynner 283

Tangshi VIII. 1. (284)

Zhang Hu
On the Terrace of Assembled Angels I

The sun has gone slanting over a lordly roof
And red-blossoming branches have leaned toward the dew
Since the Emperor last night summoned a new favourite
And Lady Yang's bright smile came through the curtains.

Bynner 284

Tangshi VIII. 1. (285)

Zhang Hu
On the Terrace of Assembled Angels II

The Emperor has sent for Lady Guoguo.
In the morning, riding toward the palace-gate,
Disdainful of the paint that might have marred her beauty,
To meet him she smooths her two moth-tiny eyebrows.

Bynner 285

Tangshi VIII. 1. (286)

Zhang Hu
At Nanjing Ferry

This one-story inn at Nanjing ferry
Is a miserable lodging-place for the night –
But across the dead moon's ebbing tide,
Lights from Guazhou beckon on the river.

Bynner 286

Tangshi VIII. 1. (287)

Zhu Qingyu
A Song of the Palace

Now that the palace-gate has softly closed on its flowers,
Ladies file out to their pavilion of jade,
Abrim to the lips with imperial gossip
But not daring to breathe it with a parrot among them.

Bynner 287

Tangshi VIII. 1. (288)

Zhu Qingyu
On the Eve of Government Examinations to Secretary Zhang

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.

Bynner 288

Tangshi VIII. 1. (289)

Du Mu
I Climb to the Leyou Tombs Before Leaving for Wuxing

Even in this good reign, how can I serve?
The lone cloud rather, the Buddhist peace....
Once more, before crossing river and sea,
I face the great Emperor's mountain-tomb.

Bynner 289

Tangshi VIII. 1. (290)

Du Mu
By the Purple Cliff

On a part of a spear still unrusted in the sand
I have burnished the symbol of an ancient kingdom....
Except for a wind aiding General Zhou Yu,
Spring would have sealed both Qiao girls in CopperBird Palace.

Bynner 290

Tangshi VIII. 1. (291)

Du Mu
A Mooring on the Qin Huai River

Mist veils the cold stream, and moonlight the sand,
As I moor in the shadow of a river-tavern,
Where girls, with no thought of a perished kingdom,
Gaily echo A Song of Courtyard Flowers.

Bynner 291

Tangshi VIII. 1. (292)

Du Mu
A Message to Han Cho the Yangzhou Magistrate

There are faint green mountains and far green waters,
And grasses in this river region not yet faded by autumn;
And clear in the moon on the Twenty-Four Bridges,
Girls white as jade are teaching flute-music.

Bynner 292

Tangshi VIII. 1. (293)

Du Mu
A Confession

With my wine-bottle, watching by river and lake
For a lady so tiny as to dance on my palm,
I awake, after dreaming ten years in Yangzhou,
Known as fickle, even in the Street of Blue Houses.

Bynner 293

Tangshi VIII. 1. (294)

Du Mu
In the Autumn Night

Her candle-light is silvery on her chill bright screen.
Her little silk fan is for fireflies....
She lies watching her staircase cold in the moon,
And two stars parted by the River of Heaven.

Bynner 294

Tangshi VIII. 1. (295)

Du Mu
Parting I

She is slim and supple and not yet fourteen,
The young spring-tip of a cardamon-spray.
On the Yangzhou Road for three miles in the breeze
Every pearl-screen is open. But there's no one like her.

Bynner 295

Tangshi VIII. 1. (296)

Du Mu
Parting II

How can a deep love seem deep love,
How can it smile, at a farewell feast?
Even the candle, feeling our sadness,
Weeps, as we do, all night long.

Bynner 296

Tangshi VIII. 1. (297)

Du Mu
The Garden of the Golden Valley

Stories of passion make sweet dust,
Calm water, grasses unconcerned.
At sunset, when birds cry in the wind,
Petals are falling like a girl s robe long ago.

Bynner 297

Tangshi VIII. 1. (298)

Li Shangyin
Note on a Rainy Night to a Friend in the North

You ask me when I am coming. I do not know.
I dream of your mountains and autumn pools brimming all night with the rain.
Oh, when shall we be trimming wicks again, together in your western window?
When shall I be hearing your voice again, all night in the rain?

Bynner 298

Tangshi VIII. 1. (299)

Li Shangyin
A Message to Secretary Linghu

I am far from the clouds of Sung Mountain, a long way from trees in Qin;
And I send to you a message carried by two carp:
– Absent this autumn from the Prince's garden,
There's a poet at Maoling sick in the rain.

Bynner 299

Tangshi VIII. 1. (300)

Li Shangyin
There Is Only One

There is only one Carved-Cloud, exquisite always-
Yet she dreads the spring, blowing cold in the palace,
When her husband, a Knight of the Golden Tortoise,
Will leave her sweet bed, to be early at court.

Bynner 300

Tangshi VIII. 1. (301)

Li Shangyin
The Sui Palace

When gaily the Emperor toured the south
Contrary to every warning,
His whole empire cut brocades,
Half for wheel-guards, half for sails.

Bynner 301

Tangshi VIII. 1. (302)

Li Shangyin
The Jade Pool

The Mother of Heaven, in her window by the Jade Pool,
Hears The Yellow Bamboo Song shaking the whole earth.
Where is Emperor Mu, with his eight horses running
Ten thousand miles a day? Why has he never come back?

Bynner 302

Tangshi VIII. 1. (303)

Li Shangyin
To the Moon Goddess

Now that a candle-shadow stands on the screen of carven marble
And the River of Heaven slants and the morning stars are low,
Are you sorry for having stolen the potion that has set you
Over purple seas and blue skies, to brood through the long nights?

Bynner 303

Tangshi VIII. 1. (304)

Li Shangyin

When the Emperor sought guidance from wise men, from exiles,
He found no calmer wisdom than that of young Jia
And assigned him the foremost council-seat at midnight,
Yet asked him about gods, instead of about people.

Bynner 304

Tangshi VIII. 1. (305)

Wen Tingyun
She Sighs on Her Jade Lute

A cool-matted silvery bed; but no dreams....
An evening sky as green as water, shadowed with tender clouds;
But far off over the southern rivers the calling of a wildgoose,
And here a twelve-story building, lonely under the moon.

Bynner 305

Tangshi VIII. 1. (306)

Zheng Tian
On Mawei Slope

When the Emperor came back from his ride they had murdered Lady Yang –
That passion unforgettable through all the suns and moons
They had led him to forsake her by reminding him
Of an emperor slain with his lady once, in a well at Jingyang Palace.

Bynner 306

Tangshi VIII. 1. (307)

Han Wu
Cooler Weather

Her jade-green alcove curtained thick with silk,
Her vermilion screen with its pattern of flowers,
Her eight- foot dragon-beard mat and her quilt brocaded in squares
Are ready now for nights that are neither warm nor cold.

Bynner 307

Tangshi VIII. 1. (308)

Wei Zhuang
A Nanjing Landscape

Though a shower bends the river-grass, a bird is singing,
While ghosts of the Six Dynasties pass like a dream
Around the Forbidden City, under weeping willows
Which loom still for three miles along the misty moat.

Bynner 308

Tangshi VIII. 1. (309)

Chen Tao

Thinking only of their vow that they would crush the Tartars- -
On the desert, clad in sable and silk, five thousand of them fell....
But arisen from their crumbling bones on the banks of the river at the border,
Dreams of them enter, like men alive, into rooms where their loves lie sleeping.

Bynner 309

Wuding means "un-fixed" or "shifting" and probably refers to the fact the sands in the desert shift, causing rivers to change course.
faux ennui – 2006/11/01
Thinking only of their vow that they would crush the Tartars- -
On the desert, clad in sable and silk, five thousand of them fell....
But arisen from their crumbling bones on the banks of the river at the border,
Dreams of them enter, like men alive, into rooms where their loves lie sleeping.

The above translation was embellished with some "poetic license".

Literally, the words meant:

Pledged to sweep the Xiong-nu away without fear for their own safety;
Five thousand clad in sable and brocade perished in the dust of Hu;
Pity the bones littering the banks of the Wu Ding River,
they were the very people dreamt of in ladies' bedchambers.
fer-de-lance – 2002/11/02

Tangshi VIII. 1. (310)

Zhang Bi
A Message

I go in a dream to the house of Xie
Through a zigzag porch with arching rails
To a court where the spring moon lights for ever
Phantom flowers and a single figure.

Bynner 310

Tangshi VIII. 1. (311)

The Day of No Fire

As the holiday approaches, and grasses are bright after rain,
And the causeway gleams with willows, and wheatfields wave in the wind,
We are thinking of our kinsfolk, far away from us.
O cuckoo, why do you follow us, why do you call us home?

Bynner 311

Tangshi VIII. 1. (312)

Wang Wei
A Song at Weicheng

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.

Bynner 312

Tangshi VIII. 1. (313)

Wang Wei
A Song of an Autumn Night

Under the crescent moon a light autumn dew
Has chilled the robe she will not change –
And she touches a silver lute all night,
Afraid to go back to her empty room.

Bynner 313

Tangshi VIII. 1. (314)

Wang Changling
A Sigh in the Court of Perpetual Faith

She brings a broom at dawn to the Golden Palace doorway
And dusts the hall from end to end with her round fan,
And, for all her jade-whiteness, she envies a crow
Whose cold wings are kindled in the Court of the Bright Sun.

Bynner 314

Tangshi VIII. 1. (315)

Wang Changling
Over the Border

The moon goes back to the time of Qin, the wall to the time of Han,
And the road our troops are travelling goes back three hundred miles....
Oh, for the Winged General at the Dragon City –
That never a Tartar horseman might cross the Yin Mountains!

Bynner 315

Tangshi VIII. 1. (316)

Wang Zhihuan
Beyond the Border

Where a yellow river climbs to the white clouds,
Near the one city-wall among ten-thousand-foot mountains,
A Tartar under the willows is lamenting on his flute
That spring never blows to him through the Jade Pass

Bynner 316

Tangshi VIII. 1. (317)

Li Bai
A Song of Pure Happiness I

Her robe is a cloud, her face a flower;
Her balcony, glimmering with the bright spring dew,
Is either the tip of earth's Jade Mountain
Or a moon- edged roof of paradise.

Bynner 317

Strophes improvisées I1

(Voit-il) des nuages, (il) pense à (sa) robe ; (voit-il) des fleurs, (il) pense à (son) visage2.
Le vent du printemps souffle sur la balustrade embaumée ; la rosée s'y forme abondamment3.
Quand ce n'est pas au sommet du Yu-chan (qu'il l') aperçoit,
C'est dans la tour Yao-taï (qu'il la) retrouve, sous les rayons de la lune4.

1. Cette pièce était du nombre de celles que j'avais renoncé à traduire, dans l'impossibilité où je me sentais de leur conserver leur mérite spécial, essentiellement inhérent aux ressources particulières de la langue dans laquelle elles ont été composées ; mais comme je me proposais, d'un autre côté, de chercher à donner du moins une idée de ce genre de mérite très goûté par les Chinois, il m'a paru que celle-ci, en l'analysant avec soin, serait tout à fait propre à servir de spécimen.

Remarquons d'abord la note qui précède cette pièce dans le texte original :

« Durant les années Tien-pao, du règne de Ming-hoang (de 742 à 756 de notre ère), l'empereur se trouvait un soir dans un pavillon, sur le bord d'une pièce d'eau de sa résidence, avec sa favorite Taï-tsun qui contemplait la beauté des pivoines en fleur. L'empereur appelant Li-kouaï-nien, un de ses ministres, lui ordonna de prendre trois feuilles de papier à fleurs d'or et de les présenter à Li-taï-pé, lequel offrit presque aussitôt ces trois pièces. Kouaï-nien les chanta, tandis que l'empereur lui-même l'accompagnait sur une flûte de jade. La favorite souriait, comprenant la chanson. »

On sait déjà que le poète a dû jeter, à dessein, un certain vague dans ses trois pièces. On verra, par les notes qui suivent, quelles ressources sa langue lui offrait pour cela.

2. En exposant, au commencement de ce volume, les principes généraux de la prosodie chinoise, j'ai eu l'occasion de montrer comment les verbes, les substantifs, les adjectifs étaient invariables dans leur forme écrite, comment les pronoms, les conjonctions étaient souvent sous-entendus, certaines règles de position et de construction déterminant à elles seules la valeur relative de chaque mot. Pour faire saisir le caractère particulier de cette pièce, j'ai placé entre parenthèses les liaisons que réclame la construction française, mais je n'ai pu éviter toutefois de donner aux adjectifs comme aux verbes des désinences rendant les allusions plus transparentes encore que dans le texte original.

3. Le vent du printemps est, on l'a vu, synonyme de pensées d'amour ; la rosée indique ici la faveur du prince, et l'on sait déjà que la favorite est comparée aux fleurs.

4. Le mont Yu-chan et la tour Yao-taï étaient des lieux célèbres habités par les immortels. Le poète désigne, en réalité, les jardins et le pavillon au bord du lac de la résidence impériale. Son langage figuré comporte ici une double flatterie que l'on saisit aisément. Si l'empereur voit des nuages qui se meuvent légèrement, il songe aux mouvements gracieux de la favorite ; s'il voit des fleurs, elles lui rappellent aussitôt son visage. Il la voit donc en tout, partout, et constamment.

Voir d'autres traductions françaises.

Hervey 8

Tangshi VIII. 1. (318)

Li Bai
A Song of Pure Happiness II

There's a perfume stealing moist from a shaft of red blossom,
And a mist, through the heart, from the magical Hill of Wu- -
The palaces of China have never known such beauty-
Not even Flying Swallow with all her glittering garments.

Bynner 318

Strophes improvisées II

Une branche, toute chargée de fleurs, acquiert un parfum plus suave encore sous l'influence de la rosée.
La fée des nuages et de la pluie ne saurait éveiller ici des regrets1.
Eh ! je vous le demande, quel souvenir évoquer dans ce palais qui puisse entrer en parallèle ?
La séduisante Fey-yen, peut-être, mais encore après qu'elle eut changé d'habits2.

1. Littéralement : Les nuages et la pluie du Yu-chan ne sauraient inspirer des regrets.

C'est une allusion au trait semi-historique que voici : un des anciens souverains de la Chine, Siang-ouang, s'étant endormi dans le mont Yu-chan, aperçut, en songe, une femme d'une beauté surnaturelle à laquelle il demanda quand il pourrait la revoir. « Me revoir serait impossible, lui dit-elle, le matin je gouverne les nuages et le soir je dirige la pluie. » Siang-ouang songea longtemps à cette fée charmante, non sans un vif regret de ne pouvoir la retrouver. Plus heureux, l'empereur Ming-hoang possède à toute heure la belle Taï-tsun.

2. Fey-yen, l'une des beautés les plus fameuses de la Chine, était de la plus humble extraction. Elle appartint d'abord à un homme riche qui lui avait fait apprendre le chant et la danse pour s'en divertir. L'empereur Han-vou-ti, voyageant incognito, la vit danser sur une terrasse et la trouva si séduisante qu'il l'emmena dans son palais, et que, non content de la posséder, il l'éleva bientôt au rang d'impératrice. Par la façon dont le vers est construit, Li-taï-pé laisse entendre que Taï-tsun, aussi séduisante que Fey-yen, le serait davantage encore sous les habits impériaux. L'insinuation toute naturelle que cette flatterie entraîne montre assez que Li-taï-pé savait faire doublement sa cour.

Voir d'autres traductions françaises.

Hervey 8

Tangshi VIII. 1. (319)

Li Bai
A Song of Pure Happiness III

Lovely now together, his lady and his flowers
Lighten for ever the Emperor's eye,
As he listens to the sighing of the far spring wind
Where she leans on a railing in the Aloe Pavilion.

Bynner 319

Strophes improvisées III

La plus célèbre des fleurs1 et la plus enchanteresse des femmes2 s'unissent pour charmer les regards ;
Elles font qu'un sourire joyeux ne s'efface jamais sur un visage auguste.
Si le printemps s'écoule et s'en va, que (lui) importe ?
Appuyée, du côté du nord, sur la balustrade aux douces senteurs3.

1. Le commentaire prévient que l'on désigne ainsi la fleur appelée en chinois mo-cho-yo ; pivoine-arbre. C'est le pœonia-mou-tan des botanistes, connu dans les jardins de la Chine depuis 1400 ans ; introduit en Europe en 1789. Le commentaire chinois ajoute que cette fleur est, le matin, d'un bleu transparent, jaune dans le courant de la journée, et bleuâtre enfin durant la nuit ; mais de savants botanistes, à qui j'ai soumis ce passage, m'ont assuré que le commentaire était ici plus poétique que digne de foi.

2. King-kouè, littéralement : (celle qui) renverserait un royaume, expression acquise au langage poétique et dont l'étymologie remonte à l'histoire d'une beauté sans rivale du temps des Han, laquelle faisait dire d'elle : d'un premier regard elle renverserait une ville ; d'un second, elle renverserait un royaume. Li-taï-pé ne croyait se servir ici que d'une expression poétique : la fin tragique de l'infortunée Taï-tsun, dont on verra plus loin le récit, dans la pièce intitulée Ma-toui, fit voir qu'elle n'avait malheureusement rien d'exagéré.

3. Pour les Chinois qui ne se réunissent guère aux flambeaux, et surtout pour les Chinoises qui sortent rarement de leurs jardins, le printemps et l'été ont toujours été synonymes de plaisir et de joie, comme automne et hiver de tristesse, d'ennui et d'abandon. Il est donc naturel que le départ du printemps soit l'objet d'un chagrin mêlé d'inquiétude ; mais pour celle qui possédait l'amour exclusif du maître, pour celle dont il était constamment occupé, pour celle, en un mot, qui était appuyée sur la balustrade aux douces senteurs, tous les jours n'étaient-ils point de beaux jours ? que lui importait qu'ils fussent d'hiver ou de printemps ?

Le poète est arrivé à son dernier vers, sans laisser échapper une expression qui puisse déchirer à jour le voile transparent jeté par lui sur cette composition improvisée. Mais le dernier vers contient un caractère très significatif, de la galanterie la plus recherchée, et d'autant plus précieux au point de vue chinois qu'il faut, pour en saisir le trait, s'être bien rendu compte d'une expression employée par l'auteur quelques vers plus haut, et prouver qu'on connaît ses textes autant qu'on en sait faire l'application. Ce caractère, c'est le caractère , nord. Dans la note précédente, j'ai dit l'origine de l'expression king-kouè (qui renverserait un royaume). Or, dans le livre classique d'où cette histoire est tirée, le récit commence précisément par ces mots : Du côté du nord, il est une belle personne, etc. Voilà donc la liaison et, pour ainsi dire, la solidarité établies entre celle qui renverserait un royaume, et celle qui était appuyée sur la balustrade. L'allusion n'est plus douteuse. Aussi la favorite souriait-elle, ayant compris la chanson.

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Hervey 8

Tangshi VIII. 1. (320)

Du Qiuniang
The Gold-threaded Robe

Covet not a gold-threaded robe,
Cherish only your young days!
If a bud open, gather it –
Lest you but wait for an empty bough.

Bynner 320

Tang Shi VIII. 1. Table of content
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Alias Tang Shi San Bai Shou, Three Hundred Poems of the Tang Dynasty, Poésie des Thang.

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