Li Yi Poem: Song of River Bian – 李益《汴河曲》









[1] 汴河:唐人习惯上用汴河指隋炀帝所开的通济渠的东段,也就是运河从板渚(今河南荥阳北)到盱眙县进入淮河的一段。

[2] 隋家宫阙:指汴水边上的隋炀帝行宫。唐代刘禹锡《杨柳枝》中有“炀帝行宫汴水滨”。

[3] 长堤:隋堤。隋炀帝为了游览江都(今江苏扬州),驱使百万民工开凿通济渠,沿岸堤上种植柳树,被称为“隋堤”。

[4] 杨花愁杀人:唐代朱放《赠魏校书》诗中有“扬花撩乱扑流水,愁杀人行知不知”,这里是李益化用朱放的诗句。

Song of River Bian

Li Yi

The River Bian flows eastward, overwhelmed with spring;

To dust have gone ruined palaces and their king.

Don’t gaze afar from the long bank of willow trees!

The willow down will grieve your heart when blows the breeze.

The River Bian refers to the canal built by the pleasure-making Emperor Yong of the Sui Dynasty(581—618), which was soon overthrown by the up-rising armies.


“Song of River Bian” is a seven-part poem written by Li Yi in Tang Dynasty. This poem describes the scenery around Bianhe River, and the whole poem draws out the feelings of hanging from the Bianhe River and the vicissitudes of history from the Bianhe River in front of us, with euphemisms and twists and deep feelings. The poet uses the contrast technique to contrast the spring color of Bian River with the dust of Sui Palace to make the history lesson of Emperor Yang’s self-destruction more profound, and the feeling of the rise and fall of Sui dynasty is a symbol of the worry of the prosperity and decline of Tang dynasty, which is far-reaching.

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