Li Yi Poem: On Hearing a Flute at Night atop the Victor’s Wall – 李益《夜上受降城闻笛》









[1] 受降城:在灵州(今宁夏回族自治区灵武县西南)州治所在地回乐县。在唐代,这里是防御突厥、吐蕃的前线。贞观二十年,唐太宗曾经亲临灵州接受突厥一部的投降,故称灵州为“受降城”。

[2] 回乐峰:烽火台名,当在回乐县境内。

[3] 芦管:题中之“笛”。

On Hearing a Flute at Night atop the Victor’s Wall

Li Yi

Before the beacon tower sand looks white as snow;

Beyond the Victor’s Wall like frost cold moonbeams flow.

None knows from where a flute blows a nostalgic song,

All warriors lie awake homesick the whole night long.

Hearing a flute song, the warriors on the frontier are drowned in homesickness.


The poem “On Hearing a Flute at Night atop the Victor’s Wall” is a seven-line poem written by Li Yi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The most characteristic feature of this poem is that it is subtle and implicit, and the feelings to be expressed are embedded in the description of scenery and emotions. The first two lines of the poem are about the view under the moon while climbing the city. The frosty moonlight and the snowy desert under the moon are the typical environment that triggers the homesickness of the conqueror. The description of the environment reveals the feelings of the characters. In the silent night, the night breeze sends the bleak and sorrowful sound of the reed flute, which further arouses the conqueror’s homesickness. “The character’s feelings are not about homesickness, but rather about the character’s behavior, which shows his psychological state and his endless nostalgia.

Previous articleDu Fu Poem: Song of the Frontier (Ⅵ) – 杜甫《前出塞(其六)》
Next articleCen Shen Poem: Song of White Snow in Farewell to Secretary Wu Going Back to the Capital – 岑参《白雪歌送武判官归京》
Discover the wonders of China through studying abroad - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand your horizons, immerse yourself in a rich and diverse culture, and gain a world-class education.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here