Wang Wei: Journey to the Source of the Peach Blossom River

Journey to the Source of the Peach Blossom River

桃 源 行
渔 舟 逐 水 爱 山 春
两 岸 桃 花 夹 去 津。
坐 看 红 树 不 知 远
行 尽 青 溪 不 见 人。
山 口 潜 行 始 隈 奥
山 开 旷 望 旋 平 陆。
遥 看 一 处 攒 云 树
近 入 千 家 散 花 竹。
樵 客 初 传 汉 姓 名
居 人 未 改 秦 衣 服。
居 人 共 住 武 陵 源
还 从 物 外 起 田 园。
月 明 松 下 房 栊 静
日 出 云 中 鸡 犬 喧。
惊 闻 俗 客 争 来 集
竟 引 还 家 问 都 邑。
平 明 闾 巷 扫 花 开
薄 暮 渔 樵 乘 水 入。
初 因 避 地 去 人 间
及 至 成 仙 遂 不 还。
峡 里 谁 知 有 人 事
世 中 遥 望 空 云 山。
不 疑 灵 境 难 闻 见
尘 心 未 尽 思 乡 县。
出 洞 无 论 隔 山 水
辞 家 终 拟 长 游 衍。
自 谓 经 过 旧 不 迷
安 知 峰 壑 今 来 变。
当 时 只 记 入 山 深
青 溪 几 度 到 云 林。
春 来 遍 是 桃 花 水
不 辨 仙 源 何 处 寻。


Tao Yuan Xing

Yu zhou zhu shui ai shan chun
Liang an tao hua jia qu jin.
Zuo kan hong shu bu zhi yuan
Xing jin qing xi bu jian ren.

Shan kou qian xing shiwei ao
Shan kai kuang wang xuan ping lu.
Yao kan yi chu cuan yun shu
Jin ru qian jia san hua zhu.

Qiao ke chu chuan han xing ming
Ju ren wei gai qin yi fu.
Ju ren gong zhu wu ling yuan
Huan cong wu wai qi tian yuan.

Yue ming song xia fang long jing
Ri chu yun zhong ji quan xuan.
Jing wen su ke zheng lai ji
Jing yin huan jia wen dou yi.

Ping ming lu xiang sao huo kai
Bo mu you qiao cheng shui ru.
Chu yin bi di qu ren jian
Ji zhi cheng xian sui bu huan.

Xia li shui zhi you ren shi
Shi zhong yao wan kong yun shan.
Bu yi ling jing nan wen jian
Chen xin wei jin si xiang xian.

Chu dong wu lun ge shan shui
Ci jia zhong ni chang you yan.
Zi wei jing guo jiu bu mi
An zhi feng he jin lai bian.

Dang shi zhi ji ru shan shen
Qing xi ji du dao yun lin.
Chun lai bian shi tao hua shui
Bu bian xian yuan he chu xun.


Journey to the Source of the Peach Blossom River

Fisherman and his boat follows the river water through springtime mountains
Moist peach blossoms along two narrowing river banks.
From his seat, so intent to view these red-tipped trees, does not know how far he has gone
Traveling to the end of this now small green stream, he sees no people.

Into a narrow, hidden mountain opening, he resumes his journey
Mountain cave opens up, gazing into the distance, empty and vast circle of level land.
Far away sees one place where clouds and trees gather together
Near the entrance, a thousand houses scattered amid flowers and bamboo.

Meeting a firewood gatherer, whose surname comes from the early Han dynasty
People living here still wearing clothes from the Qin dynasty.
Together here at this water source, these people are bold and fierce
Having come back from the real world to their fields and gardens.

Moonlit pines below house windows still and quiet
Sunrise clouds, noisy chickens and hunting dogs.
Surprised to hear of his customs, the people gather around him to listen
Follow him around, competing to invite him over to talk about his hometown.

Alleyways at dawn, clear away the flower blossoms
At dusk, fishermen and wood gatherers take advantage of the flowing water.
In the beginning seeking to avoid this earthly existence, having left its’ disorder
Later as established celestial beings, happy never to return.

Inside these gorges, they are unaware of our human world
To us in the real world, we can gaze into the mountains and clouds and see only emptiness.
No doubt their level of consciousness difficult to find and see
Thoughts of worldly affairs and his hometown not yet done.

Emerging from the mountain hole, he cannot see back through the other world’s curtain
No matter what, he intends the long return back here again.
Thinks to himself that he can find this path back without getting lost or confused
But then realizes that these mountain peaks and deep pools seemed to have changed.

At that time can only remember how to enter the deep mountains
Several green streams extend up into the clouds and forest.
Everywhere spring has arrived, numerous full seasonal streams with peach blossoms
Cannot find these celestial beings’ water source where they live.



Han Dynasty: (206 BC-220 AD)

Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)



This excellent retelling is Wang Wei’s version of a story first expressed by the famous Jin Dynasty poet Tao Yuanming (365-427). The translation and notes of the original poem, as well biographical information about Tao Yuanming, can also be found on this website.  This allegory has often been alluded to by other writers since Tao Yuanming.  It appears to me to related to chapter 80 of Laozi’s Dao De Jing.  This too can be found on this website under the category Artistic and Philosophical Foundations.

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