Bai Juyi: Send As a Gift to Yuan Zhen

Send As a Gift to Yuan Zhen

赠 我 从 宦 游
七 年 在 长 安。
所 得 唯 元 君
乃 知 定 交 难。
岂 无 山 上 苗?
径 寸 无 岁 寒。
岂 无 要 津 水?
咫 尺 有 波 澜。
之 子 异 于 是
久 要 誓 不 谖。
无 波 古 井 水
有 节 秋 竹 芋。
一 为 同 心 友
三 及 芳 岁 阑。
花 下 鞍 马 游
雪 中 杯 酒 欢。
衡 门 相 逢 迎
不 具 带 与 冠。
春 风 日 高 睡
秋 月 夜 深 看。
不 为 同 登 科
不 为 同 署 官。
所 合 在 方 寸
心 源 无 异 端。
山 苗 与 涧 松
地 势 随 高 卑。
古 来 无 奈 何
非 君 独 伤 悲。


Zeng Yuan Zhen

Zi wo cong huan you
Qi nian zai chang an.
Suo de wei yuan jun
Nai zhi ding jiao nan.

Qi wu shan shang miao?
Jing cun wu sui han.
Qi wu yao jin shui?
Zhi chi you bo lan.

Zhi zi yi yu shi
Jiu yao shi bu xuan.
Wu bo gu jing shui
You jie qiu zhu yu.

Yi wei tong xin you
San ji fang sui lan.
Hu xia an ma you
Xue zhong bei jiu huan.

Heng men xiang feng ying
Bu ju dai yu guan.
Chun feng ri gao shui
Qiu yue ye shen kan.

Bu wei tong deng ke
Bu wei tong shu guan.
Suo he zai fang cun
Xin yuan wu yi duan.

Shan miao yu jian song
Di shi sui gao bei.
Gu lai wu nei he
Fei jun du shang bei.


Send As a Gift to Yuan Zhen

Naturally I went out to seek an official position
Been in Chang’an for seven years now.
In this place I met you, now we are best friends
I know for sure how difficult it is to find or make good friends.

Did we not have to endure the mountain weed sprouts?
Cold time of the year they disappear from around the few footpaths.
Are not the strategic ferry crossings crowded with weeds?
The corrupt also make waves and ripples.

You are different from these people
For a long time we have not forgotten our solemn oaths to each other.
Ancient well water without waves
We have autumn festivals with bamboo reed instruments.

We have one and the same heart-mind of friendship
After decades we shared fragrant years of late harvests.
In horse and saddles we rode and enjoyed the flowers
Full of joy, drinking cups of wine in the snow.

We met and received each other with the trust and simplicity of unlocked and flimsy doors
Did not care about our hats, belts and the regalia of imperial offices.
Daily slept well in the spring breezes
Watched the autumn moon deep into the night.

Neither because we passed the imperial exams together
Nor did we share the same government official preparations.
The place that houses our hearts are matched
From different directions, yet our heart-minds share the same springhead source.

In a valley between two mountains there are big pine trees
Short grass sprouts near the timberline protect the taller ones.
Since the beginning of time it has been this way
Do not be resigned, we are not alone in our melancholy.



Yuan Zhen: (779-831 AD) One of Bai Juyi’s best friends. They came of age together while serving in the government bureaucracy. This poem was written in the year 805 while they were in the capital city Chang’an. Yuan was also a poet of remarkable renown.

Weed sprouts: The criminal and corrupt officials in government positions.

Bamboo reed instruments: Code words for moral integrity.

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