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A Tune of Crows Roosting Before the Eve
By Li Bai (701 - 762 AD)
Vocabulary and Notes
Line 1: 姑蘇臺 Gusu Terrace, 上 on, 烏 crow, 棲 roosting,
時 at the time
Line 2: 吳王 King of We, 宮 palace, 裏 inside, 醉 drunk, 西施 Xishi
Line 3: 吳 Wu, 歌 song, 楚 Chu, 舞 dance, 歡 joy, 未毕 end
Line 4: 青山 Mount Qing, 猶 to desire, 銜 to hold in mouth, 半邊 half, 日 the Sun
Line 5: 銀 silver, 箭 arrow, 金 gold, 壺 vase, 漏 to drip, 水 water
Line 6: 看 to see, 秋 autumn, 月 moon, 墜 to fall, 江 river, 波 waves
Line 1: 東 east, 漸 gradually, 高 high, 奈 how, 樂 joyful 何 exclamation
- Gusu Terrace is on Mount Gusu, a small range about 15 km southwest of present day Suzhou City, which was called Gusu in ancient times.
- The belle Xishi refers to a concubine of Fuchai (夫差, ? - 473 BC), king of the State of Wu in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). Xishi was used by the King's enemy, the State of Yue (越) as part of a successful plot to overthrow the State of Wu. According to the critic Zhan Ying, this was a warning from Li Bai to his Tang Emperor regarding one of his concubines.
- The silver arrow and golden vase (银箭金壶漏水) refers to a water dripping timepiece.
Source: Complete Tang Poems, Scroll 21, 全唐詩 卷二十一 -. English translation by Sun Dayu, 1983. References
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