Liu Yuxi Poem: The Street of Mansions – 刘禹锡《乌衣巷》









[1] 乌衣巷:位于金陵城南,因三国时为东吴乌衣营的驻地而得名,东晋时为高门大族聚居的地方。

[2] 朱雀桥:原是秦淮河上的浮桥,今已不存。从金陵城去乌衣巷要经过朱雀桥,东晋时桥上曾经建有装饰两只铜雀的重楼,据说是东晋大臣谢安建的。朱雀桥位于金陵城南,也与古代的“东苍龙,北玄武,西白虎,南朱雀”的说法相符。

[3] 王谢:指东晋的高门大族王家和谢家。当时,有种说法:“王与马,共天下”,王就是指开国元勋大将军王导所在的琅玡王氏。而陈郡谢氏也是代代都出高官,取得淝水之战胜利的就是谢氏家族的谢安。

The Street of Mansions

Liu Yuxi

Beside the Bridge of Birds rank grasses overgrow;

Over the Street of Mansions the setting sun hangs low.

Swallows which skimmed by painted eaves in days gone by,

Are dipping now in homes where humble people occupy.

The Street of Mansions were inhabited by the noble and the rich during the Jin Dynasty (280—420).


Wuyi Lane” is one of the masterpieces of the Tang Dynasty poet Liu Yuxi, the second poem in a group of poems entitled “Five Questions of the Golden Lings”. This poem is a reminder of the prosperity of the Zhuque Bridge on the Qinhuai River and the Wuyi Lane on the south bank of Nanjing in the past, but now the weeds are overgrown and desolate, lamenting the vicissitudes of the sea and the changes in life. The author chooses the usual phenomenon that the master’s house where the swallows live is no longer the master of the old days, so that people realize that it is difficult to keep the wealth and glory, and that those dignitaries and noblemen who were once prosperous are like passing clouds of smoke, becoming a relic of history. The poem does not have a word of discussion, but through the description of weeds, sunset, swallows as a witness to the rise and fall of the prosperity, cleverly linking history and reality, leading people to think about the development of the times and social change, containing a profound moral. Although the language is extremely shallow, the taste is infinite.

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