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).
Chéngxìng nán yóu bù jiè yán,
[ride] [feeling] [south] [tour] [not] [guard against] [strict]
On an impulse, touring the South without taking precautions;
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.
Chūnfēng jǔguó cái gōng jǐn,
[spring] [wind] [whole country] [trim] [palace] [embroidery]
In spring winds, the whole country cut royal brocades,
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.
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
- 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 隋宮 into English by 曾培慈
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