Li Bai: Imitate the Ancients: Twelve Poems: No. 10


Imitate the Ancients: Twelve Poems: No. 10

拟 古: 十 二 首
仙 人 骑 彩 凤
昨 下 阆 风 岑。
海 水 三 清 浅
桃 源 一 见 寻。
遗 我 绿 玉 杯
兼 之 紫 琼 琴。
杯 以 倾 美 酒
琴 以 闲 素 心。
二 物 非 世 有
何 论 珠 与 金?
琴 弹 松 里 风
杯 劝 天 上 月。
风 月 长 相 知
世 人 何 倏 忽?
Ni Gu: Shi Er Shou


Xian ren qi cai feng
Zuo xia lang feng cen.
Hai shui san qing qian
Tao yuan yi jian xun.

Yi wo lu yu bei
Jian zhi zi qiong qin.
Bei yi qing mei jiu
Qin yi xian su xin.

Er wu fei shi you
He lun zhu yu jin?
Qin tan gong li feng
Bei quan tian shang yue.
Feng yue chang xiang zhi
Shi ren he shu hu?


Imitate the Ancients: Twelve Poems: No. 10

Immortals ride multi-colored phoenixes
Yesterday they arrived on the Langfeng hills.
They noticed that the ocean water was shallow in several places
One can now find the peach blossom watersource.

They left behind a green jade cup for me
Also an exquisite, sandalwood qin.
This cup can pour out excellent wine
Along with the qin, one can achieve a simple and leisurely heart-mind.

These two things society cannot have
How can pearls or gold buy them?
I play the qin inside windy pine trees
Cups of wine elicit the moon above heaven.
Wind and moon for a long time know each other
How quickly do society’s people ignore them?



Peach Blossom Watersource: Literary allusion to a famous poem with this as a title by Tao Yuanming. It can be found on this website. Other poets and writers throughout history have also used this poem as a metaphor for people living inside an earthly paradise.

Qin:  Four-stringed ancient musical instrument



A simple and leisurely heart-mind:  These common and often used words in ancient Chinese poems refers to a state of mind and consciousness that is a precursor to artistic creativity.  The high regard for wine and qin under the moon is a hallmark for much of Li Bai’s work.

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