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Classical Chinese

106 杜甫 春望 translation: Spring View, by Du Fu

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 春望 (Chūn Wàng), “Spring View”, by the Tang dynasty poet Du Fu (杜甫). It aims to be fairly literal and close to the imagery of the original.

The poem was written in 757, when Du Fu was in the city of Chang’an (长安), now known as Xi’an (西安), and remains extremely popular in China to this day. It is #106 in the collection 300 Tang Poems (唐詩三百首).

春望 Chūn Wàng [spring] [view] Spring View

國破山河在 guó pò shānhé zài [nation] [broken] [mountain] [river] [exist] The nation is broken, though mountains and rivers remain.

城春草木深 chéng chūn cǎomù shēn [city] [spring] [grass] [tree] [deep] In cities in the Spring, the grass and trees grow deeply.

感時花濺淚 gǎn shí huā jiàn lèi [feel] [time] [flower] [splash] [tears] Sensing the moment, flowers shed tears.

恨別鳥驚心 hèn bié niǎo jīng xīn [hate] [separate] [bird] [startle] [heart] Hating the separation, birds are fearful at heart.

烽火連三月 fēnghuǒ lián sān yuè [beacon] [flame] [continously] [three] [month] The beacons have burnt continuously for three months. _This is a reference to the signal fires used by Chinese garrisons in times of emergency; the implication is that the situation has been chaotic for this time._

家書抵萬金 jiā shū dǐ wàn jīn [home] [letter] [balance] [ten thousand] [gold] A letter from home is worth ten-thousand pieces of gold.

白頭搔更短 bái tóu sāo gèng duǎn [white] [hair] [scratch] [more] [lack] My white hair is even scarcer from scratching.

渾欲不勝簪 hún yù bù shēng zān [at all] [want] [not] [hold] [hairpin] And can barely hold a hairpin.

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