Meng Haoran: Xian Mountain Pond

Xian Mountain Pond

岘 潭 作
石 潭 傍 隈 隩
沙 搒 晓 夤 缘。
试 垂 竹 竿 钓
果 得 查 頭 鳊。
美 人 骋 金 错
織 手 膾 红 鲜。
因 谢 陆 内 史
蓴 羹 何 足 傅。
Xian Tan Zuo

Shi tan bang wei ou
Sha bang xiao yin yuan.
Shi chui zhu gan diao
Guo de cha tou bian.

Mei ren cheng jin cuo
Zhi shou kuai hong xian.
Yin xie lu nei shi
Chun geng he zu fu.


Xian Mountain Pond

Drawing close to a deep, rocky pool within a riverbend
Small, shallow, wooden boat at dawn, lucky enough to go fishing.
Bamboo fishing pole with a line hanging down
As expected, caught a tasty Han River fish.

Excellent cook gave free rein to her sharp knife
With a weaver’s hand, finely sliced the fresh, red meat.
Government worker Mr. Lu became thankful
Describing what deserves a reputation better than your leaf soup.



Han River fish: A type of fish that was especially rare and prized, usually not caught and eaten by commoners, but rather saved for the emperor and high government officials’ consumption. This particular pond fills up with water on a seasonal and periodic basis, bringing with it some highly sought after fish.

Mr. Lu: He was a palace service worker during the Jin Dynasty. He came from the ancient nation of Wu. One day some food arrived at the palace from the Mongols in the north. The emperor asked Mr. Lu if he has any food from Wu that can compare with the Mongolian lamb and cheese dishes. Mr. Lu describes a very famous and delicious soup made from lotus leaves near his hometown of Hangzhou. This he tells the emperor is much better than the Mongolian lamb.
Meng Haoran is in effect saying that his fish is that much better than Mr. Lu’s leaf soup, and that he has caught and eaten a fish usually reserved for the palace table.

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