Xue Tao Poem: To the Peony Flower – 薛涛《牡丹》












[1] 巫峡:指宋玉《高唐赋》中楚襄王梦中与巫山神女相会的故事。

[2] 武陵期:指陶渊明《桃花源记》中的武陵渔人误入桃花源的故事和刘晨、阮肇天台山遇仙女的故事。据《幽明录》载,东汉时,刘、阮二人入天台山来采药,曾因饥渴,登山食桃,就溪饮水,于溪边遇到两位仙女,相爱成婚。半年以后,二人思家求归。直到出山,才知道已经过去三百多年了。古典诗歌中常用天台故事来比拟这种由于轻易和情人分别而产生的追悔之情。

To the Peony Flower

Xue Tao

Petal by petal you fell in late spring last year;

Since you are gone, my paper’s wet with tear on tear.

I am afraid you’d vanish like cloud in a dream.

How can I wish to see you on Peach Blossom Stream?

Your fragrance sweet reveals you have a loving heart;

Your silence shows we know each other far apart.

By the side of your balustrade I’d only sleep;

To tell you how I long for you when night is deep.

This poems shows how deep the poetess loves the flower.


“To the Peony Flower” is a seven-line poem written by Xue Tao, a poetess of the Tang Dynasty. The poem anthropomorphizes the peony, treating it as her lover in love. The first couplet describes the scene of last year’s separation from the peony; the first couplet uses two allusions to the Goddess of Wushan and the fisherman of Wuling, which implicitly and deeply expresses the poet’s longing for the peony and the surprise and delight of the unexpected meeting; the neck couplet reproduces the deep and long love with the peony, and we will never forget each other; the last couplet brings the poet’s love for her lover, the peony, to the climax. The poem is full of ups and downs, with delicate and twisted strokes and endless charm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *