Du Mu Poem: Ruined Splendor – 杜牧《题宣州开元寺水阁阁下宛溪夹溪居人》












[1] 宣州开元寺:宣州,今安徽省宣城。开元寺,始建于东晋,初名永安寺,后改为景德寺,唐开元二十六年(738)又改名开元寺。

[2] 宛溪:源于安徽省宣城东南峄山,东北流也叫九曲河,向西流过城东,称为宛溪,又名东溪,与青弋江汇合后注入长江。

[3] 六朝:历史上把三国时的吴、东晋和南朝的宋、齐、梁、陈合称为六朝。

[4] 天澹云闲:这里用以形容六朝遗迹的祥和宁静。澹,宁静。闲,闲适。

[5] 范蠡(lǐ):春秋时期越国的大夫,曾帮助勾践报仇雪耻,灭吴之后,泛舟而去。《国语·越语下》记载范蠡在灭吴之后:“遂乘轻舟,以浮于五湖,莫知其所终极。”

[6] 五湖:太湖及周围的四个湖泊,合称为五湖。这里泛指太湖一带。

Ruined Splendor

Du Mu

Rank grasses grow, six dynasties’ splendors no more;

The sky is lightly blue and clouds free as of yore.

Birds come and go into the gloom of wooded hills,

And songs and wails alike merge in murmuring rills.

Like countless window curtains falls late autumn rain:

High towers steeped in sunset, wind and flute’s refrain.

O how I miss the lakeside sage of bygone days!

I see but ancient trees loom rugged in the haze.

The poet describes the ruins to show his regret for the past splendor. The lakeside sage refers to General Fan who was said to have retired by the lakeside with the beautiful Lady of the West after his victory over the King of Wu in 473 BC.


The poem titled “Ruined Splendor” is a seven-line poem written by Du Mu, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first six lines of the poem contrast the disappearance of the relics of the Six Dynasties with the still bright water of the sky, expressing a feeling of the impermanence of human affairs and the eternity of nature. In the last two lines, he suddenly thinks of Fan Li and laments that he has no chance to meet him and can only pay homage to his legacy with admiration.

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