Cen Shen Poem: Song of the Running Horse River in Farewell to General Feng on His Western Expedition – 岑参《走马川行奉送封大夫出师西征》











[1] 走马川:又名左末河,即今新疆车尔成河。

[2] 封大夫:封常清。天宝十三年受命为北庭都护、伊西节度、瀚海军使,奏请岑参为节度判官。这年冬,封长清西征播仙部族,岑参写此诗送行。

[3] 西征:一作“西行”。

[4] 雪海:《新唐书·西域传下》:“行度雪海,春夏常雨雪。”泛指西北苦寒之地。

[5] “平沙”句:莽莽,无边无际。黄入天,形容黄沙弥漫,与天相接。

[6] 轮台:在今新疆米泉县境。

[7] 金山:今新疆阿尔泰山。

[8] 汉家大将:指封常清。

[9] 拨:撞击。

[10] 蒸:蒸发。

[11] “五花”句:五花,开元天宝年间,社会上最考究马的装饰,常把马的鬣毛剪成花瓣形,剪三瓣的叫三花马,剪五瓣的叫五花马。连钱,《尔雅·释畜》:“色有深浅,斑驳隐粼,今之连钱骢。”旋,马上。

[12] 草檄(xí):起草声讨敌人的檄文。

[13] 虏骑:指播仙部族的骑兵。

[14] “料知”句:短兵,指刀、剑类的短武器。接,接战、交战。

[15] 车师:一作“军师”。车师为唐安西都护府所在地,在今新疆吐鲁番县。

Song of the Running Horse River in Farewell to General Feng on His Western Expedition

Cen Shen

Do you not see the Running Horse River flow

Along the sea of snow

And the sand that’s yellowed sky and earth high and low?

In the ninth moon at Wheel Tower winds howl at night;

The river fills with boulders fallen from the height;

With howling winds they run riot as if in flight.

When grass turns yellow and plump Hunnish horses neigh,

West of Mount Gold dusts rise, the foe in proud array.

Our general leads his army on his westward way.

He keeps his iron armor on the whole night long,

Spears dang at midnight when his army march along,

Their faces cut by winds that blow so sharp and strong.

Their sweat and snow turn into steam on horse’s mane,

Which soon on horse’s back turns into ice again;

Ink freezes when challenge’s written before campaign.

On hearing this, the foe with fear should palpitate.

Dare they cross swords with our brave men in iron plate?

We’ll wait for news of victory at the western gate.

This song glorifies General Feng in praise of his heroism against wind and snow.


The poem “Song of the Running Horse River in Farewell to General Feng on His Western Expedition” is a poem written by the poet Cen Shen in the Tang Dynasty. The poem captures the hardships of the environment with the scenery of the borderlands, thus setting off the heroic and fearless spirit of the soldiers. The poem begins with a description of the harsh environment and the wind and sand that cover the sky; it continues with a description of the invasion of Xiongnu on the occasion of the strong grass and horses, and General Feng’s defiance of the cold weather and the freezing ground; it ends with a description of the enemy’s fear and wishes for the triumph of the Tang army. Although the poem is about the battle, it is mainly about the cold, implying the greatness of the battle in the snow. The poem is as bold as the wind and the fountain of water, and is truly moving. The poem is unique in that it uses rhyme in every verse, and the rhythm is urgent and powerful with three turns of phrase.

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