Li Qi Poem: Seeing Wei Wan off to the Capital – 李颀《送魏万之京》













[1] 云山:指令人向往的风景。

[2] 关城:指从洛阳西去要经过的古函谷关与潼关。

[3] 御苑:特指长安城内御苑清华的景致。

Seeing Wei Wan off to the Capital

Li Qi

At dawn I hear the roamer’s farewell song;

Last night a thin frost crossed the river long.

Are you not grieved to hear the wild geese cry?

Can you bear clouds and mountains passing by?

Yellow leaves hasten the cold to come near.

Could washerwomen’s song reach their men’s ear?

Don’t make merry in the capital town

And waste the prime of your life up and down!

The poet advises his friend to think more of the hardship than of the pleasure in the capital.

The poem “Seeing Wei Wan off to the Capital” is a work by Li Yi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. This poem is intended to express the emotion of parting. The first couplet is written in an inverted manner, pointing out that before the departure, the frost is falling and the late autumn is sluggish; the first couplet is about the sorrow of leaving, and the wanderer faces the clouds and mountains and is gloomy; the neck couplet introduces the autumn color of Chang’an, implying that this place cannot be stayed for a long time; the last couplet, in the manner of an elder, instructs Wei Wan that although Chang’an is happy, he should not waste time and should hurry to achieve something. The poet blends narrative, landscape writing and lyricism together, envisioning and experiencing the hardships of his friend’s trek with his own mood, expressing the deep friendship between the poet and his friend, expressing the poet’s emotion and timely exhortation to his friend. The whole poem is natural and sincere, with deep and long feelings, and the phrasing is especially praised by later generations.

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