Liu Zongyuan Poem: Farewell to My Younger Brother – 柳宗元《别舍弟宗一》












[1] 舍弟宗一:指诗人的堂弟柳宗一。

[2] 残魂:残余的魂魄。

[3] 黯(àn)然:心情沮丧的样子。

[4] 越江:粤江。这里指代柳江。

[5] 万死:经历了无数的艰难和磨砺。

[6] 投荒:指被贬到边远地区。

[7] 桂岭:在今广西贺县东北。这里指柳州一带的山岭。

[8] 瘴:瘴气。

[9] 洞庭:洞庭湖,是柳宗一去江陵的必经之地。

[10] 荆门:荆门山,今在湖北省宜都县西北。

[11] 郢(yǐnɡ):春秋时期楚国的都城,在今湖北省江陵市西北,这也是柳宗一必经之地。

Farewell to My Younger Brother

Liu Zongyuan

Lonely, I feel more gloomy when I part with you;

Standing by riverside, we shed tears of adieu.

I am banished from home thousands of miles away;

Not dead for twelve long years, in the west land I stay.

Miasmic clouds darken the southern mountains high;

When spring ends on East lake, water blends with the sky.

From now on I would think of you and you of me;

I’d haunt in dreams our native land from tree to tree.

The poet reveals his homesickness while parting with his younger brother.


The poem “Farewell to My Younger Brother” is a poem written by the Tang Dynasty writer Liu Zongyuan. The poem is a farewell to his cousin Liu Zongyi, a poem of sadness and self-sorrow. It expresses the flesh and blood love between brothers, and at the same time expresses the author’s anger and sorrow when he was deported to the south because of his participation in the Yongzhen Revolution. The first couplet is about sending off his brother to the Yuejiang River with tears and reluctance; the first couplet is about his own political encounter, expressing his injustice and indignation; the third couplet is about scenery, using simile to render and contrast the brothers’ situation with each other; the last couplet shows that he is in a bad situation and his brother is far away, so he can only send his dream of longing for each other with the appearance of the smoke and trees of Jingmen. The whole poem is pale and robust, majestic and far-reaching, with deep emotions and strong feelings, neat counterpoint, and a seamless blend of scenery and lyricism, which was deeply appreciated by later poetry critics.

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