Du Fu Poem: Temple of Emperor Yu – 杜甫《禹庙》












[1] 禹庙:位于忠州临江的山崖上(今重庆忠县),是为了纪念古代君王大禹治水而建造的。

[2] 橘柚:《尚书·禹贡》记载,大禹治理洪水成功后,天下百姓能够安定生产生活,百姓们对大禹都十分感激,于是东南的一个部落就把丰收的橘柚包好,献给大禹以报答他的恩情。

[3] 龙蛇:《孟子·滕文公》记载,大禹将兴风作浪的龙蛇赶入水草丰盛的大泽中,龙蛇有了归宿,也就不再祸害人民了。

[4] 四载:传说大禹治水时一直奔波在外,水中乘舟,陆地乘车,泥路乘輴,山路乘樏,所以称为“四载”。

[5] 三巴:指巴郡、巴东、巴西,也就是今天的重庆忠县、云阳及南充的阆中。传说这一带古时是沼泽之地,后来大禹凿通三峡,这里变成了陆地。

Temple of Emperor Yu

Du Fu

Your temple stands in empty hills,

The autumn breeze with sunset fills.

Oranges still hang in your courtyard;

Dragons on your old walls breathe hard.

Over green cliff float clouds in flight;

The river washes the sand white.

On water as on land you’d go

To dredge the streams and make them flow.

Emperor Yu was said to have stemmed the flood about 2000 BC.


“Temple of Emperor Yu” is a poem written by Du Fu, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first couplet of the poem specifies the place and time of year of the visit and introduces the allusion to Dayu’s water control; the jaw couplet describes the interior of Dayu’s temple from afar to near; the neck couplet describes the surroundings and atmosphere of Dayu’s temple, with clouds steaming inside the temple and the sound of the river below, a majestic scene that alludes to the merits of Dayu’s water control; the last couplet remembers Dayu’s great achievements in water control because of his temple. The poem’s language is concise, its mood profound, its emotions undulating, its strokes pensive and powerful, its writing style rigorous, and its overall meteorological grandeur, and the combination of real and imaginary, anthropomorphic and evocative techniques through the shift in perspective between distant and near views, which has the artistic effect of blending scenes and long rhymes.

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