Zu Yong Poem: Gazing on Northern Gate – 祖咏《望蓟门》













[1] 蓟门:今北京德胜门外西北,传当年其树木葱茏,晴烟拂空,故名之“蓟门烟树”,为燕京八景之一。

[2] 燕台:幽州台。

[3] 三边:古称幽、并、凉为三边。天宝末,安禄山兼领三镇(平卢、范阳、云中),皆重镇。

Gazing on Northern Gate

Zu Yong

My mind is startled when I’ve left the Northern town,

To hear horns and drums in General’s camp up and down.

For miles and miles cold light grows out of piled-up snow;

In twilight on frontier flags flutter high and low.

The beacon fire brightens the moon on battleground

And clouds over the seaside town, mountains surround.

While young, I did not give up the pen for the sword;

To do a feat, I would capture the Tartar lord.

Gazing on the Norther frontier, the poet wishes to do a feat.


“Gazing on Northern Gate” is a poem written by Zu Yong, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. This poem is about the poet’s visit to the borderlands and the magnificent scenery he sees, expressing his ambition to serve his country with merit. The poem begins with the word “frightened” to express the poet’s worry about the state affairs; then it goes on to write about the constant sound of drums and horns coming from the army, which makes people feel the strong atmosphere of war; the middle four lines further depict the tense situation seen on the platform, thus inspiring the poet’s ambition to devote himself to the army, to pacify the border and to serve the country. The whole poem is majestic and majestic, full of masculine beauty, with a strong generosity of the Tang Dynasty, and the poet’s love for the mountains and rivers of the motherland and his ambition to devote himself to the frontier for national success are implied in the description of the scene.

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