Li Shangyin Poem: Homage to the Mountain – 李商隐《谒山》








[1] 欲就麻姑买沧海:典故取自晋代道学家葛洪所著的《神仙传·麻姑》:“麻姑自说云:’接侍以来,已见东海三为桑田。’”

Homage to the Mountain

Li Shangyin

Since olden days there is no rope to bind the sun.

How could we stop the cloud and water on the run?

I’d like to buy the vast sea from the goddess nice,

But a cup of spring dew soon turns as cold as ice.


The poem “Homage to the Mountain” is a poem written by Li Shangyin, a poet of the Tang Dynasty, when he climbed a high mountain and saw the water going back to the clouds at sunset. The poem uses bold imagery and exaggeration to reveal the phenomenon of the universe, life and society that the years are hard to recapture and the world is unpredictable, expressing the poet’s helplessness at the relentless passing of the years and his implied lament at his own misfortune of not being able to meet his talent and ambition. The whole poem is fantastical and romantic in style.

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