Li Bai Poem: Drinking Alone under the Moon – 李白《月下独酌四首》


















[1] 独酌:一个人饮酒。

[2] 成三人:明月和我以及我的影子恰是三人。

[3] 既:且。

[4] 不解:不懂。

[5] 将:和。

[6] 交欢:一起欢乐。

[7] 无情:忘却世情。

[8] 相期:相约。

[9] 邈:遥远。

[10] 云汉:银河。

Drinking Alone under the Moon (Ⅰ)

Li Bai

Among the flowers, from a pot of wine

I drink without a companion of mine.

I raise my cup to invite the Moon who blends

Her light with my Shadow and we’re three friends.

The Moon does not know how to drink her share;

In vain my Shadow follows me here and there.

Together with them for the time I stay,

And make merry before spring’s spent away.

I sing and the Moon lingers to hear my song;

My Shadow’s a mess while I dance along.

Sober, we three remain cheerful and gay;

Drunken, we part and each may go his way.

Our friendship will outshine all earthly love;

Next time we’ll meet beyond the stars above.

The lonely poet thinks it happy to drink with the moon and his own shadow. His loneliness reveals his discontent with his actual life.


Four Poems on “Drinking Alone under the Moon” is a group of poems by Li Bai, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. These four poems are about the poet’s lonely scene of drinking alone under the flowers on a moonlit night with no one close to him. The poem shows that the poet is sad and sorrowful, so he takes the moon as his friend, sings to the wine and has fun in time. The poem uses rich imagery to express the poet’s complex feelings from loneliness to not-so-loneliness and then from not-so-loneliness to loneliness. On the surface, it seems that the poet can really enjoy himself, but deep down, there is infinite desolation. The poem’s delicate strokes and peculiar ideas reflect the poet’s loneliness and solitude in the absence of talent, and his wild and optimistic personality in spite of his disappointment.

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