Cen Shen Poem: Song of Wheel Tower in Farewell to General Feng on His Western Expedition – 岑参《轮台歌奉送封大夫出师西征》













[1] 封大夫:封常清,当时任安西、北庭节度使。

[2] 旄(máo)头:星名,即昴星,二十八宿之一。《史记·天官书》中记载:“昴为旄头,胡星也。”古人认为旄头跳跃预示胡兵大起,而旄头落则预示着胡兵覆灭。

[3] 羽书:军用紧急文书,有急事通报时用鸟羽插之,表示速疾。

[4] 渠黎:渠犁,地名,在今新疆吉木萨尔县和米泉县之间。

[5] 单于(chán yú):汉代时匈奴称其君主为单于,这里借指唐代西域少数民族首领。

[6] 汉兵:指唐朝军队。唐诗中多以汉代唐。

[7] 旄:古代出征的大将或出使的使臣,都以旌节为凭信,为皇帝所赐,是军权的象征。旌节用金属或竹子做成,而以牦牛尾装饰在端部,称旄。

[8] 阴山:地名,在今内蒙古自治区境内,泛指边城。

[9] 亚相:这里指封常清,封常清以节度使摄御史大夫,次于丞相,故称亚相。

[10] 静边尘:使边患平定。

Song of Wheel Tower in Farewell to General Feng on His Western Expedition

Cen Shen

At night the horn blows on Wheel Tower walls;

The Tartar Star north of Wheel Tower falls.

Feathered dispatch passed southeast of the town:

West of Mount Gold Tartar chiefs settled down.

From the lookout we see dust raised by horses;

North of Wheel Tower camp the royal forces.

Our general with flags will westwards go;

At dawn the army march when bugles blow.

Frozen waves surge when drams are booming out;

The Shady Mountain trembles at soldiers’ shout.

Over Tartar forts clouds shiver at war cry;

On battleground white bones with grass roots lie.

Over Sword Stream swirling wind drives clouds on flake;

On frozen stone at Sand Mouth horsehoofs break.

Deputy commander, you bear all pain;

You swear to pacify, the border plain.

Have you not read the history of yore?

We love not ancients less, but moderns more.

The poet imagines a battle between the Tartar forces and the royal army led by General Feng.


The poem “Song of Wheel Tower in Farewell to General Feng on His Western Expedition” is a poem by the Tang Dynasty poet Cen Shen. It is a poem about the war in the border area. It is a straightforward poem about the military situation and warfare, the danger of the battle and the harshness of the weather, and the high morale and prestige of the Tang army’s vow to march. The first six lines are about the tension between the two armies before the war; the next four lines are about the daytime battle; then about the cold and sacrifice, eulogizing the soldiers’ defiance of the enemy; the last four lines correspond to the title, wishing for the triumph and ending with praise. The whole poem is full of descriptions, underplaying, imagination and exaggeration, with various techniques, strict structure, intonation and staccato, and exciting mood, full of romantic passion and the atmosphere of frontier life, vividly reflecting the vigorous spirit of the times during the Sheng Tang period.

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