Gao Shi Poem: Farewell to Wei, a Military Officer – 高适《别韦参军》















[1] 解书剑:会读书击剑。

[2] 屈指:计算时日。

[3] 负郭:近城的田,最为肥美。

[4] 岁不登:收成不好。

[5] 弹棋:古时两人对局棋,二十四子,红黑各半。

[6] 筑:状如筝的乐器,十三弦,以竹击。

Farewell to Wei, a Military Officer

Gao Shi

I came at twenty with my sword and books

And visited the west capital town.

I gazed at your mansion with longing looks

And thought it easy to attain renown.

The emperor surpassed the ancient kings,

Music and rites were performed up and down.

He lavished on his favorites jade rings,

But unknown talents can’t come near the Crown.

What could I do but come back to my land?

Going east, I could not do what I wish.

I cannot earn a living by the hand,

Nor would I with a hook and line catch fish.

For the world, like a common people I appear;

But for you, I am dear and near as a compeer.

From year to year I thank you for your friendly way;

You’ve not refused a helping hand, not for a day.

We play chess and on lute till day fades into night;

We drink and croon in spring with willows in delight.

We’ll separate when our joy has not come to an end.

How can my heart not be grieved to part with my friend?

But men at parting should not grieve as women do,

So shed no tears at crossroads when we bid adieu!

The poet is recommended by Wei to take part in the civil service examinations.


The poem “Farewell to Wei, a Military Officer” is a poem by Gao Shi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. It is a poem that takes the opportunity of farewell to express his disillusioned feelings. Firstly, he recalls his experience of entering the capital to seek a career, his frustrated ideals, and his travels to Liang and Song, then he writes about his difficult life in the mountains and the deep love and friendship of his friends, and finally he expresses his infinite attachment when he bids farewell. The poem is basically a long soliloquy, with sincere and heartfelt words and heartfelt sentiments, and with many even lines and contrasts.

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