Xu Hun Poem: Royal Pavilion on the Great Canal –许浑《汴河亭》













[1] 汴(biàn)河亭:隋炀帝在汴河之滨建造的行宫。汴河,又称汴水、汴渠、通济渠,自今河南荥阳市北引黄河水东南流,经开封、商丘、夏邑与今安徽宿州市、泗县及江苏泗洪,至盱眙县境入淮河及洪泽湖。

[2] 广陵:今扬州。

[3] 帝:指隋炀帝杨广。

[4] 禁兵:中国古代皇帝的亲兵,即侍卫宫中及护从的军队。

[5] 象阙:这里代指隋宫。

[6] 义师:隋末农民起义军。

[7] 迷楼:隋炀帝建在今扬州纵欲玩乐的宫殿。

[8] 景阳楼:南朝陈后主在今南京所建的宫殿。

Royal Pavilion on the Great Canal

Xu Hun

The emperor went east to see the flowering town;

Mount Kunlun was cleft to let its water flow down.

Royal escorts leaving the palace went afloat;

Three thousand maids of honor mounted the dragon boat.

Drums were beaten to make clouds tremble and stars shiver;

Flags caressed waves, sun and moon floated on the river.

But by revolting armies the empire overthrown,

The emperor in the pavilion lost his crown.

This is a satire against the last emperor of the Sui Dynasty who lost his crown in 618.


Bianhe Pavilion” is a poem written by Xu Hun in the Tang Dynasty. This poem depicts Emperor Yang Guangdong’s visit to Guangling, and it is a poem of remembrance of the monuments, a poem of persuasion and sarcasm, and a poem of emotion. The first three lines are about the extravagance of Emperor Yang’s trip to Jiangdu. The first three couplets are about the luxurious and extravagant scene of Emperor Yang’s visit to Jiangdu, firstly about the excitement of the trip, and then about the splitting of Kunlun and the construction of the canal. The last couplet of the poem concludes with a chapter that reveals the will of the Emperor Yang, whose “Lost House” is just like the “Jing Yang House” of the Empress Chen, pointing out the sad end of his country and body. The poem is powerful, majestic, with beautiful language and a broad mood, and it is deeply emotional and sarcastic. The poet’s scolding of Emperor Yang, the dead spirit of history, is actually directed at the reality of political corruption and extravagant life of rulers in the late Tang Dynasty.

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