Tao Yuanming: Imitate the Ancients: Nine Poems: No. 8

Imitate the Ancients: Nine Poems: No. 8

拟 古: 九 首
少 时 壮 且 厉
抚 剑 独 行 游。
谁 言 行 游 近
张 掖 至 幽 州。
饥 食 首 阳 薇
渴 饮 易 水 流。
不 见 相 知 人
惟 见 古 时 丘。
路 边 两 高 坟
伯 牙 与 庄 周。
此 士 难 再 得
吾 行 欲 何 求?
Ni Gu: Jiu Shou


Shao shi zhuang qie li
Fu jian du xing you
Shei yan xing you jin
Zhang ye zhi you zhou.

Ji shi shou yang wei
Ke yin yi shui liu.
Bu jian xiang zhi ren
Wei jian gu shi qiu.

Lu bian liang gao fen
Bo ya yu zhuang zhou.
Ci shi nan zai dei
Wu xing yu he qiu ?


Imitate the Ancients: Nine Poems: No. 8

When I was young my temperament was strong and upright
Holding a sword, traveled the country alone.
Who said these travels were not too far away
From the west in Zhangye to the frontier at Youzhou.

When hungry, I ate wild berries and grasses
And also drank local water.
Did not see any intimate friends
Only saw old burial mounds.

Along the road, two tall graves
In my mind, one was BoYa and the other was Zhuangzi.
Very difficult to find someone who understands me
Where would I travel to satisfy my desires?



Zhangye: A prefecture-level city in Gansu Province.  Famous now as a tourist destination for the Rainbow Mountains.  Back then it was an important and strategic border stronghold against the northern nomads.

Youzhou: One of the nine original provinces of ancient China.  Located between the Yellow and Han Rivers.

Bo Ya: Famous qin player during the Spring and Autumn period.  He performed his music at the Lute Platform in present day Wuhan.  Noted for the guqin pieces of Gao Shan (High Mountains) and Liu Shui (Flowing Waters).  Story has it that when his best friend, Zhong Ziqi died, he broke the strings on his guqin and never played again because no one else could understand or appreciate his playing.

Zhuangzi: (369-286 BC) Famous second pillar of Daoism after Laozi.

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