This is a translation and annotation of the poem 賦得古原草送別 (Fùde Gǔ Yuáncǎo Sòngbié), by the Tang dynasty poet 白居易 (Bai Juyi). The poem is #152 in the collection 300 Tang Poems, and is also known by its first line: (Lí lí yuán shàng cǎo).
Fùde Gǔ Yuáncǎo Sòngbié
[poetic essay] [ancient] [open plains] [grass] [see off] [depart]
Farewells on Grassland
yī suì yī kū róng.
[one] [year] [one] [wither] [thrive]
in one year, withers and thrives once each.
Yěhuǒ shāo bù jìn,
[wild] [fire] [burn] [not] [exhaust]
Wildfire does not burn it completely;
chūn fēng chuī yòu shēng.
[spring] [wind] [blow] [again] [live]
when spring winds blow, it lives again.
Yuǎn fāng qīn gǔdào,
[far] [fragant] [invade] [ancient] [road]
Afar, fragrance occupies ancient roads;
qíng cuì jiē huāngchéng.
[fine] [jade-green] [connect] [deserted] [city]
a fine jade-green stretches to a ruined city.
Yòu sòng wángsūn qù,
[again] [see off] [king] [descendant] [leave]
Once more I see off a nobleman;
qī qī mǎn bié qíng.
[lush] [lush] [full] [depart] [emotion]
the lush grasses full of the emotion of departure.
If you notice a mistake or disagree with the translation, please comment below to improve this resource. You might want to have a read of this, as well.
賦得 refers to using the work of previous writers as a topic. The titles of such poems are prefixed with 賦得 to indicate this.
原 in the poem is 原野 – ‘plains’ or ‘open country’.
离离 in the first line is a compound for describing the appearance of lush grass.
晴翠 refers to the vivid green of the grass in the sunlight.
王孫 in the seventh line refers to the friend, something like “King of Friends” or “Noblest of Friends”.
Source: 赋得古原草送别 – 百度百科
- 300 Tang Poems (Waters, Farman, Lunde)
- Fifty Five T’ang Poems (Hugh M. Stimson)
- Poems of the Late T’ang (A. C. Graham)
- Translation of 賦得古原草送別 into English at China Page
- Translation of 賦得古原草送別 into English by 曾培慈