Han Yu: Send As a Gift to Hou Xi

Send As a Gift to Hou Xi

赠 侯 喜
吾 党 侯 生 字 叔 杞
呼 我 持 竿 钓 温 水。
平 明 鞭 马 出 都 门
尽 日 行 行 荆 棘 里。
温 水 微 茫 绝 又 流
深 如 车 辙 阔 容 辀。
虾 蟆 跳 过 雀 儿 浴
此 纵 有 鱼 何 足 求。
我 为 侯 生 不 能 已
盘 针 擘 粒 投 泥 滓。
晡 时 坚 坐 到 黄 昏
手 倦 目 劳 方 一 起。
暂 动 还 休 未 可 期
虾 行 蛭 渡 似 皆 疑。
举 竿 引 线 忽 有 得
一 寸 才 分 鳞 与 鳍。
是 时 侯 生 与 韩 子
良 久 叹 息 相 看 悲。
我 今 行 事 尽 如 此
此 事 正 好 为 吾 规。
半 世 遑 遑 就 举 选
一 名 始 得 红 颜 衰。
人 间 事 势 岂 不 见
徒 自 辛 苦 终 何 为。
便 当 提 携 妻 与 子
南 人 箕 颖 无 还 时。
叔 迄 君 今 气 方 锐
我 言 至 切 君 勿 嗤。
君 欲 钓 鱼 须 远 去
大 鱼 岂 肯 居 沮 洳。
Zeng Hou Xi

Wu dang hou sheng zi shu qi
Hu wo chi gan diao wen shui.
Ping ming bian ma chu dou men
Jin ri xing xing jing ji li.

Wen shui wei mang jue you liu
Shen ru che zhe kuo rong zhou.
Ha ma tiao guo que er yu
Ci zong you yu he zu qiu.

Wo wei hou sheng bu neng yi
Pan zhen bo li tou ni zi.
Bu shi jian zuo dao huang hun
Shou juan mu lao fang yi qi.

Zan dong huan xiu wei ke qi
Xia xing zhi du si jie yi.
Ju gan yin xian hu you de
Yi cun cai fen lin yu qi.

Shi shi hou sheng yu han zi
Liang jiu tan xi xiang kan bei.
Wo jin xing shi jin ru ci
Ci shi zheng hao wei wu gui.

Ban shi huang huang jiu ju xuan
Yi ming shi de hong yan shuai.
Ren jian shi shi qi bu jian
Tu zi xin ku zhong he wei.

Bian dang ti xie qi yu zi
Nan ren ji ying wu huan shi.
Shu qi jun jin qi fang rui
Wo yan zhi qie jun wu chi.
Jun yu diao yu xu yuan qu
Da yu qi ken ju ju ru.


Send As a Gift to Hou Xi

Our faction includes Mr. Hou, who has the writing name of Shu Qi
He calls me out to join him in holding our fishing poles in the Luo River.
At dawn we urge our horses on and out of the city gate
Most of the day spent tramping through the brambles.

Luo River low and cut off from the bigger flows
Deep pockets of stranded water reveal wheel tracks and stuck axles.
Places that frogs jump over and sparrow chicks bathe
These waterholes without fish of any size that barely survive.

Mr. Hou and I are unable to find a place to fish
Have to twist and modify our hooks to try our luck.
Here we sat for a long time waiting for the onset of dusk
Hands and eyes tired from looking at each other.

Temporarily move about, then rest before going home
Only have seen walking crayfish and crawling leeches.
Lift our poles, one of us has got one
One inch long whopper, cannot separate the scales from the fins.

This time for Mr. Hou and I just sigh
For a long time good people cease discussions, look at each other in sorrow.
Today’s activities express our pathetic and sad circumstances
These results should tell us that we are wasting our time with small fish.

First half of life a time for haste, now is the time for careful choices
After the sorrows of past youthful faces, we should begin to determine priorities.

We did not notice how power and discord are sown by humans
Naturally, at the end of toils and labor, what do we have to show for it.
We should take a hold of our wives and children and move on
Go south to Mt. Qi and the Ying River, to never come back.

Mr. Hou, you still think you are strong and sharp
Do not let these words meet with a sneer from you.
You want to catch some fish, but you would need to go far from here
Large fish do not live in places like this that are full of bogs.



Luo River:  Tributary to the Yellow River that runs east from Mt. Hua in Shaanxi Province, through the ancient eastern capital of Luoyang, and then in the Yellow River in Henan Province.

Mt. Qu:  Located in western Shaanxi Province, the first capital of the Zhou Dynasty was nearby. Site of a famous battle in 231 AD when the Shu state invaded the Wei.

Ying River:  Largest tributary to the Huai River. Originates in Henan and then flows through Anhui Province.

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