Liu Yuxi Poem: The Town of Stone – 刘禹锡《石头城》









[1] 石头城:曾是战国时楚国的金陵古城。三国时期东吴孙权在此地建起石头城,位于今江苏南京清凉山一带。

[2] 故国:曾在这里建都的王朝。

[3] 女墙:刘师培在《左盦外集·物名溯源续补》中认为“女墙”就是指城上的小墙,城垛。

The Town of Stone

Liu Yuxi

The changeless hills round ancient capital still stand;

Waves heating on ruined walls, unheeded, roll away.

The moon which shone by riverside on flourished land

Still shines at dead of night over ruined town today.

The town of stone refers to Jinling capital of six dynasties(220—604).

刘禹锡写作这首诗时,大唐帝国已日趋衰败。朝廷里大臣相互排挤;地方上藩镇割据势力又有所抬头。所以,这首诗并不只是发思古之幽情,诗人感慨深沈, 实寓有引古惜兴亡之意,希望君主能以前车之覆为鉴。

The poem “The Town of Stone” is the first poem in Liu Yuxi’s group of five poems entitled “Five Questions of Jinling”. The poem focuses on the geographical environment around the Stone City, highlighting the desolation and loneliness of the ancient city in the mountains, the tide of the river, the water of Huai and the moonlight.
When Liu Yuxi wrote this poem, the Tang Empire was already declining. Ministers in the court were crowding each other out, and the local clans and towns were rising again. Therefore, this poem is not just a poem about thinking of the past, but also a poet’s deep and profound emotion, with the intention of citing the past and cherishing the rise and fall of the empire, hoping that the ruler would learn from the mistakes of the past.
The poem is unique in that it avoids all the historical facts related to Jinling and the Six Dynasties, and weaves the lines of emotion into the seemingly unrelated surrounding scenery, implying the past prosperity and present desolation of the ancient capital of the Six Dynasties in a structure of inner contrast.

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