Liu Yuxi Poem: Temple of the King of Shu – 刘禹锡《蜀先主庙》












[1] 蜀先主庙:蜀先生,就是刘备。先主庙在夔州(今重庆奉节)。

[2] 三足鼎:三国时期魏、蜀、吴三国鼎立的局势。

[3] 五铢钱:汉武帝元狩五年铸造的钱币,后来王莽新朝将五铢钱废掉。在原诗的题注中,刘禹锡写道:“汉末章谣:’黄牛白腹,五铢当复。’”这里五铢钱代指刘备兴复汉室的希望。

[4] 得相:指刘备三顾茅庐邀请诸葛亮出山,并任命为蜀国丞相。

[5] 生儿:指刘备的儿子刘禅,后来做了蜀国后主。

[6] 象贤:学习先祖治国的贤才。《礼记·士冠礼》中说:“继世以立诸侯,象贤也。”象,即法,就是学习的意思。

Temple of the King of Shu

Liu Yuxi

Your heroism under the sky

From year to year spread far and nigh.

Like tripod did three kingdoms reign;

Old royal coins were used again.

Your premier struck your kingdom’s root;

But your son did not follow suit.

Even Western dancers felt sad

To make Northern conquerors glad.

The Han Empire was divided into three kingdoms: Wei in the north, Wu in the east and Shu in the west where coins of the Han Dynasty were used. After the death of the King of Shu, his son surrendered to the King of Wei and enjoyed the Western dance as if he were not a captive of the Northern Kingdom, and even dancers of Shu were grieved.


“Temple of the King of Shu” is a work by Liu Yuxi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. This poem is intended to praise the heroes and despise the mediocre, praising Liu Bei’s achievements, lamenting the lack of successors in the Shu Han cause, and summarizing the historical lessons of the fall of the Shu Han. The first couplet is about the powerful temple of the late lord; the second couplet praises Liu Bei’s heroic performance; the neck couplet sighs for Liu Bei’s unsuccessful career and the unworthiness of his heirs; and the last couplet laments the death of the latter. The first half of the poem is about merit and the second half is about decay, which is a warning to the world.

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