Du Fu Poem: For Minister Wei – 杜甫《奉赠韦左丞丈二十二韵》

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奉赠韦左丞丈二十二韵

杜甫

纨绔不饿死[1],儒冠多误身。

丈人试静听[2],贱子请具陈:

甫昔少年日[3],早充观国宾。

读书破万卷,下笔如有神。

赋料扬雄敌[4],诗看子建亲。

李邕求识面[5],王翰愿卜邻。

自谓颇挺出[6],立登要路津。

致君尧舜上[7],再使风俗淳。

此意竟萧条,行歌非隐沦。

骑驴十三载,旅食京华春。

朝扣富儿门,暮随肥马尘。

残杯与冷炙,到处潜悲辛。

主上顷见征[8],欻然欲求伸。

青冥却垂翅[9],蹭蹬无纵鳞。

甚愧丈人厚,甚知丈人真。

每于百僚上,猥诵佳句新。

窃效贡公喜[10],难甘原宪贫。

焉能心怏怏,只是走踆踆[11]

今欲东入海[12],即将西去秦。

尚怜终南山,回首清渭滨。

常拟报一饭[13],况怀辞大臣。

白鸥没浩荡[14],万里谁能驯!

注释:

[1] “纨绔”二句:纨绔,指富贵子弟。不饿死,不学无术却无饥饿之忧。儒冠多误身,满腹经纶的儒生却穷困潦倒。

[2] “丈人”二句:丈人,对长辈的尊称,这里指韦济。贱子,年少位卑者自谓,这里是杜甫自称。

[3] “甫昔”二句:这两句是指开元二十三年(735),杜甫以乡贡(由州县选出)的资格在洛阳参加进士考试的事。杜甫当时才二十四岁,就已是“观国之光”(参观王都)的国宾了,故曰“早充”。“观国宾”语出《周易·观卦·象辞》:“观国之光尚宾也。”

[4] “赋料”二句:扬雄,字子云,西汉辞赋家。料,差不多。敌,匹敌。子建,曹植的字,曹操之子,建安时期著名文学家。看,比拟。亲,接近。

[5] “李邕(yōnɡ)”二句:李邕,唐代文豪、书法家,曾任北海郡太守。杜甫少年在洛阳时,李邕奇其才,曾主动去结识他。王翰,当时著名诗人,《凉州词》的作者。

[6] “自谓”二句:挺出,杰出。立登要路津,很快就要得到重要的职位。

[7] “致君”二句:这两句说,如果自己得到重用的话,可以辅佐皇帝实现超过尧舜的业绩,使已经败坏的社会风俗再恢复到上古那样淳朴敦厚。这是当时一般儒者的最高政治理想。尧舜,传说中上古的圣君。

[8] “主上”二句:主上,指唐玄宗。顷,不久前。见征,被征召。歘(xū)然,忽然。欲求伸,希望表现自己的才能,实现致君尧舜的志愿。

[9] “青冥”二句:青冥却垂翅,飞鸟折翅从天空坠落。蹭蹬,行进困难的样子。无纵鳞,本指鱼不能纵身远游,这里是说理想不得实现。

[10] “窃效”二句:贡公,西汉人贡禹。他与王吉为友,闻吉显贵,高兴得弹冠相庆,因为知道自己也将出头。杜甫说自己也曾自比贡禹,并期待韦济能荐拔自己。难甘,难以甘心忍受。原宪,孔子的学生,以贫穷出名。

[11] 走踆踆(cūn):且进且退的样子。

[12] “今欲”二句:东入海,指避世隐居。孔子曾言:“道不行,乘桴浮于海”(《论语》)。去秦,离开长安。

[13] “常拟”二句:报一饭,报答一饭之恩。春秋时灵辄报答赵宣子(见《左传》宣公二年),汉代韩信报答漂母(见《史记·淮阴侯列传》),都是历史上有名的报恩故事。辞大臣,指辞别韦济。

[14] “白鸥”二句:没浩荡,投身于浩荡的烟波之间。谁能驯,谁还能拘束我呢?

For Minister Wei

Du Fu

The rich of hunger never die;

The poor of their misfortune sigh.

Minister Wei, would you please hear

What I would confide to your ear?

While young, I was a candidate

In Civil Exams of the State.

Having ten thousand volumes read,

I wrote as if by God I was led.

In prose I was second to none;

In verse I vied with the best one.

Ministers would like to know me,

And poets my neighbors would be.

I thought, outstanding as was I,

A job was not hard to come by.

I would help the crown in my strife

To purify the ways of life.

I could not do what I desired;

Singing, I would not be retired.

Riding a donkey thirteen years,

I suffered the capital’s sneers.

I knock at the mansions by day;

At dusk I hear dusty steeds neigh.

I eat leftovers of a meal;

In vain I suffer a great deal.

The Crown showed his favor and love;

I saw a chance to rise above.

In the sky the roe folds its wings;

On the sea swim no scaly kings.

I thank you for your kindness tuee,

Knowing you’re kind in what you do.

Whenever you meet a good friend,

It’s my new verse you recommend.

Though glad of your prosperity,

How could I bear my poverty?

I’m not unhappy in my place;

But it’s a dilemma I face.

Should I go seaward for my rest,

Or to the capital in the west?

I love the Southern Mountains high

And the clear River flowing by.

I can’t forget what I owe you,

Nor what to ministers is due.

Like a white gull on the vast sea,

I’d fly for miles and miles, carefree.

The poet thanks Minister Wei for his kind help but he would be free like a gull.

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