Tao Yuanming: End of the Year, Send to Imperial Attendant Zhang

End of the Year, Send to Imperial Attendant Zhang

岁 暮 和 张 常 侍
市 朝 凄 旧 人
骤 骥 感 悲 泉。
明 旦 非 今 日
岁 暮 余 何 言!
素 颜 敛 光 润
白 发 一 己 繁。
阔 哉 秦 穆 谈
旅 力 岂 未 愆。
向 夕 长 风 起
寒 云 没 西 山。
冽 冽 气 遂 严
纷 纷 飞 鸟 还。
民 生 鲜 长 在
矧 伊 愁 苦 缠。
屡 阙 清 酤 至
无 以 乐 当 年。
穷 通 靡 攸 虑
憔 悴 由 化 迁。
抚 己 有 深 怀
履 远 增 慨 然!

 

Sui Mu He Zhang Chang Shi

Shi zhao qi jiu ren
Zhou ji gan bei quan.
Ming dan fei jin ri
Sui mu yu he yan !

Su yan lian guang run
Bai fa yi ji fan.
Kuo zai qin mu tan
Lu li qi wei qian.

Xiang xi chang feng qi
Han yun mei xi shan.
Lie lie qi sui yan
Fen fen fei niao huan.

Min sheng xian chang zai
Shen yi chou ku chan.
Lu que qing gu zhi
Wu yi yue dang nian.

Qiong tong mi you lu
Qiao cui you hua qian.
Fu ji you shen huai
Lu yuan zeng kai ran!

 

End of the Year, Send to Imperial Attendant Zhang

[Zhang was one of the four always-present attendants to the emperor. Now he and the emperor were put under house arrest due to a military coup by the general Liu Yu.  Zhang was a hometown friend of Tao Yuanming]

In the palace at dawn, sad people from the old regime
Like the quick fine horses, this coup happened, the feelings and tears of sorrow like a setting sun.
The sun that shines tomorrow is not the same as today’s
What can I say at the year’s end?

My face ashen and pale from worry
One hair after another turning white.
So vast ! The reverent words of the Qin emperor
But isn’t it true: a man past his prime is without the strength to bend a bow.

Near sunset, strong winds begin to blow
Cold clouds cover the western mountains.
Everyday the weather gets heavier and colder
One after another of the birds fly away.

Very few people can live a long life
Even if wealthy, we all must deal with the melancholy and suffering.
Again and again, cannot make or buy even poor wine
Gone are the happy days in the prime of life.

When I was poor, when I was wealthy, I did not think about this
Being ill and withered is a part of a natural transformation.
Thinking of the past brings deep feelings
One year gone, more and more sighs of emotion.

 

Notes:

Qin emperor: Qin, the emperor in 628 BC, united seven separate and warring city-states. The armies of the Zheng and Jin ambushed his army in the mountains, and very few made it back. Even though he was white-haired, Qin vowed to rally and return, which he did to create the Qin Dynasty. Tao Yuanming now says that the current state of affairs is not like this Qin story. No recovery is possible.

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