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李商隱 隋宮 translation: The Sui Palace, by Li Shangyin


This is a translation and annotation of the poem 隋宮 (Suí Gōng), by the Tang dynasty poet 李商隱 (Li Shangyin). The poem is #301 in the collection 300 Tang Poems, and is also known by its first line: 乘興南遊不戒嚴 (Chéngxìng Nán Yóu Bù Jièyán).

 

乘興南遊不戒嚴,
Chéngxìng nán yóu bù jiè yán,
[ride] [feeling] [south] [tour] [not] [guard against] [strict]
On an impulse, touring the South without taking precautions;

九重誰省諫書函。
jiǔ chóng shéi xǐng jiàn shūhán.
[nine] [repeat] [who] [perceive] [admonish] [letter] [letter]
those in the Palace who saw [the danger] were admonished with letters.

春風舉國裁宮錦,
Chūnfēng jǔguó cái gōng jǐn,
[spring] [wind] [whole country][] [trim] [palace] [embroidery]
In spring winds, the whole country cut royal brocades,

半作障泥半作帆。
bàn zuò zhàngnì bàn zuò fān.
[half] [made] [saddle blanket][] [half] [made] [sail]
half made of blankets, half made of sails.

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.

 

Notes

戒嚴 in the first line is not the binome meaning “martial law”. Here it means “to guard against” or “to prepare for”.

九重 in the second line is the name of the inner quarters of the palace, and is a metonym for the Emperor’s closest advisers. 省 here is read xǐng, and means “to be aware of” or “to perceive clearly”.

障泥 in the last line means “saddle blanket”, i.e. a soft cover that was used to make riding more comfortable.

Source: 隋宫 – 百度百科

 

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