Du Fu: Government Agents in Xia An

Government Agents in Xia An

新 安 吏
客 行 新 安 道
喧 呼 闻 点 兵。
借 问 新 安 吏:
“县 小 更 无 丁?”
“府 帖 昨 夜 下
次 选 中 男 行。“
“中 男 绝 短 小
何 以 守 王 城?“
肥 母 有 男 送
瘦 男 独 伶 俜。
白 水 暮 东 流
青 山 犹 哭 声。
莫 自 使 眼 枯
收 汝 泪 纵 横。
眼 枯 即 见 骨
天 地 终 无 情。
我 军 取 相 州
日 夕 望 其 平。
岂 意 贼 难 料
归 军 星 散 菅。
就 粮 近 故 垒
练 卒 似 旧 京。
掘 壕 不 到 水
牧 马 役 亦 轻。
况 乃 王 师 顺
抚 养 甚 分 明。
送 行 勿 泣 血
仆 射 如 父 兄。

 

Xin An Li

Ke xing xin an dao
Xuan hu wen dian bing.
Jie wen xin an li:
“Xian xiao geng wu ding?”

“Fu tie zuo ye xia
Ci xuan zhong nan xing.”
“Zhong nan jue duan xiao
He yi shou wang cheng?”

Fei mu you nan song
Shou nan du ling ping.
Bai shui mu dong liu
Qing shan you ku sheng.

Mo zi shi yan ku
Shou ru lei zong heng.
Yan ku ji jian gu
Tian di zhong wu qing.

Wo jun qu xiang zhou
Ri xi wang qi ping.
Qi yi zei nan liao
Gui jun xing san jian

Jiu liang jin gu lei
Lian zu si jiu jing
Jue hao bu dao shui
Mu ma yi yi qing.

Kuang nai wang shi shun
Fu yang shen fen ming
Song xing wu qi xue
Pu she ru fu xiong.

 

Government Agents in Xin An

Visitors travel along the Xin An highway
Noisy, loud shouts call for new conscripts.
May I ask the Xin An government agents
“This small prefecture still has eligible men?”

“Late last night a new government proclamation was issued.
This second call seeks men not taken in the first round.”
“Aren’t these mediocre men too short and small
How can they guard an imperial city?”

Momma-boys have to be sent off
Single, thin men have to go as well.
Sunset on the clear river flowing to the east
Green mountains echo their crying sounds.

Do not cry too much, eyes may run out of tears
I can feel their sorrows and tears everywhere.
In the distance eyes can see bones of the dead
Heaven and earth without emotion or compassion.

Our army goes out to capture Xiangzhou
In the future, from one dawn to dusk may it all be accomplished.
Who knew this would to be so difficult
These new recruits will be used for logistical support only.

You will carry local grain to the nearby troops around the enemy forts
Some of you will be trained to guard our capital.
Some will dig lines of horse traps
Others to shepherd and tend to our horses.

Our general compares favorably, and treats his troops well
Most of the time he rewards bravery and military efforts.
So send them off without weeping and wailing
They will be treated with fatherly care like sons and brothers.

 

Notes:

Xin An: A section of the eastern capital city of Luoyang.

Xiangzhou: A district of the city of XiangyangHubei Province.

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