Bai Juyi Poem: Grass on the Ancient Plain in Farewell to a Friend – 白居易《赋得古原草送别》













[1] 赋得:凡是指定、限定的诗题,按惯例要在题目上加“赋得”二字。

[2] 古原:古原野。也有人认为是乐游原,是汉宣帝修建的游览地,在陕西长安城南。

[3] 离离:青草茂盛的样子。

[4] 远芳:春草的芳香播散得很远。

[5] 晴翠:阳光下翠绿的野草。

[6] 王孙:本指贵族子弟,后来成为对他人的尊称。这里指即将远游的友人。

[7] 萋萋:青草长得茂盛的样子。

Grass on the Ancient Plain in Farewell to a Friend

Bai Juyi

Wild grasses spread over ancient plain;

With spring and fall they come and go.

Fire tries to burn them up in vain;

They rise again when spring winds blow.

Their fragrance overruns the way;

Their green invades the ruined town.

To see my friend going away,

My sorrow grows like grass overgrown.

The poet compares his friendship to the overgrown grass on the ancient plain.


The poem “Grass on the Ancient Plain in Farewell to a Friend” is a famous poem by Bai Juyi of the Tang Dynasty. Through the depiction of the weeds on the ancient plain, the poem expresses the feeling of farewell to a friend. It can be seen as an ode to weeds, and thus an ode to life. The first four lines focus on the beauty of the life of the weeds through time, while the second four lines focus on their beauty through time. The poem is a masterpiece in the genre of “fudai”, with a strict chapter style, natural and fluent language, neat counterpoint, and a blend of scenes and emotions. The poem “The wildfire cannot be burnt out, the spring breeze blows and grows again” is a kind of “toughness” and has been recited for thousands of years.
This poem is the author’s practice work for the examination. According to the rules of the examination, all the designated and limited poetry questions must be preceded by the word “fude”, and the method of composition is similar to that of chanting, and the meaning of the question must be clear, the beginning and the end must be clear, the couplets must be well-written, and the whole piece must be ethereal and mellow in order to be considered decent. The constraints are so strict that there are few good works in this genre. According to the record, the author began to enter the capital from Jiangnan this year, when he visited the famous scholar Gu Lang, he submitted this work in the poem. At first, Gu Lang looked at the young scholar and said, “Rice is expensive, and living is not easy.” Although he was joking about Juyi’s name, he also meant something more than that, saying that the capital was not a good place to make a living. And read the two lines of “wildfire can’t be burned”, can’t help but greatly contemplate the appreciation, said: “Road to a language, living is also easy.” And it was widely praised. (See Zhang Ku’s “Leisurely Drumming” in Tang Dynasty.) It can be seen that this poem was praised at that time.

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