This is a translation and annotation of the poem 辛丑十一月十九日，既與子由別于鄭州西門之外，馬上賦詩一篇寄之, by the Song dynasty poet 蘇軾 (Su Shi). The poem was written to Su Shi’s brother upon his departure, and is also known by its first line 不飲胡為醉兀兀.
Xīnchǒu shíyīyuè shíjiǔrì,
[1061AD] [November] [19th]
November 19th 1061,
jì yǔ Zǐyóu bié yú Zhèngzhōu xīmén zhī wài,
[since] [with] [Zi] [You] [part] [at] [Zheng] [Zhou] [west] [gate] ['s] [outside]
After Parting with Ziyou outside Zhengzhou’s West Gate,
mǎshàng fù shī yī piān jì zhī
[horse] [on] [write poetry] [one] [piece] [send] [him]
I Write this Poem to Send to him
Bù yǐn hú wèi zuì wù wù,
[not] [drink] [what] [for] [drunk] [muddled]
I have not been drinking, so why am I light headed?
cǐ xīn yǐ zhú guī ān fā.
[this] [heart] [already] [chase] [return] [saddle] [set off]
This heart has saddled up with you and returned.
Guī rén yóuzì niàn tíng wéi,
[return] [person] [still] [self] [think of] [hall] [quarters]
The one returning still misses the halls of his home,
jīn wǒ héyǐ wèi jìmò.
[now] [I] [what] [with] [console] [solitary] [lonely]
but how will I console myself in loneliness now?
Dēng gāo huíshǒu pō huí gé,
[climb] [high] [return] [head] [slope] [-] [separate]
I climb high, and look back from the slope – we are separated;
dàn jiàn wū mào chū fù méi.
[but] [see] [black] [hat] [leave] [again] [not have]
but I see your black hat leaving, then again, then not.
Kǔhán niàn ěr yī qiú báo,
[bitter] [cold] [remember] [you] [clothes] [coat] [thin]
In the bitter cold, I remember your clothes are thin;
dú qí shòu mǎ tà cányuè.
[alone] [ride] [thin] [horse] [tread] [cruel] [moon]
alone you ride a thin horse, treading beneath a cruel moon.
Lùrén xíng gē jū rén lè,
[journey] [person] [travel] [sing] [reside] [person] [joy]
The traveler sings of the joy of those who live there;
tóngpú guàiwǒ kǔ qī cè.
[child] [servant] [wonder] [my] [bitter] [mournful] [sorrowful]
the child servant wonders why I am so bitterly sad.
Yì zhī rénshēng yào yǒu bié,
[also] [know] [person] [life] [must] [have] [separation]
I know, too, that life must have its farewells,
dàn kǒng suìyuè qù piāohū.
[but] [fear] [year] [month] [pass] [float] [overlook]
but fear the months and years slipping by, unnoticed.
Hán dēng xiāngduì jì chóuxī,
[cold] [lamp] [each other] [face] [remember] [past]
In the cold lamplight, I remember our time together;
yè yǔ héshí tīng xiāosè?
[night] [voice] [what] [time] [hear] [rustle]
in the night, when will I hear the sound of your voice?
Jūn zhī cǐ yì bùkě wàng,
[sir] [know] [this] [wish] [not] [can] [forget]
You know that this wish cannot be forgotten;
shèn wù kǔ ài gāoguānzhí.
[careful] [do not] [bitter] [love] [high] [official] [office]
be careful not to fall in love with your high office.
I make 辛丑 in the title to be 1061AD, as it’s the only 辛丑 year during Su Shi’s lifetime (1037 – 1101).
胡為 in the first line is 何为.
庭幃, in the third line, refers to the living quarters of one’s parents.
The line “但見烏帽出復沒” seems to refer to the writer seeing the black hat bobbing up and down between slopes; one moment it is visible, the next it is not.
疇昔 is 往昔.
雨 in the fourteenth line seems to be 語.
- Word, Image and Deed in the Life of Su Shi – Amazon
- 蘇軾《辛丑十一月十九日，既與子由別于鄭州西門之外，馬上賦詩一篇寄之。》 – cognitiohk.edu.hk
- Original text at Wikisource
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