Wang Wei: By Imperial Edict, Borrow Qiwang’s Jiu Cheng Gong

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By Imperial Edict, Borrow Qiwang’s Jiu Cheng Gong, To Avoid the Hot Weather

 

 

敕 借 岐 王 九 成 宫 避 暑 应 教
帝 子 远 辞 丹 凤 阙
天 书 遥 借 翠 微 宫。
隔 窗 云 雾 生 衣 上
卷 幔 山 泉 入 镜 中。
林 下 水 声 喧 语 笑
岩 间 树 色 隐 房 栊。
仙 家 未 必 能 胜 此
何 事 吹 笙 向 碧 空?
Chi Jie Qi Wang Jiu Cheng Gong Bi Shu Ying Jiao

Di zi yuan ci dan feng que
Tian shu yao jie cui wei gong.
Ge chuang yun wu sheng yi shang
Juan man shan quan ru jing zhong.

Lin xia shui sheng xuan yu xiao
Yan jian shu se yin fang long.
Xian jia wei bi neng sheng ci
He shi chui sheng xiang bi kong ?

 

By Imperial Edict, Borrow Qiwang’s Jiu Cheng Gong To Avoid the Hot Weather

From afar Qiwang took leave through the red phoenix palace watchtower gate
By imperial proclamation we can borrow the remote emerald-green mountain scenery palace.
Through the partition window, clouds and mist settle on my clothes
Mountain spring water falls in circles, like a curtain rolling up and down, the scene enters the eyes as if centered in a pictorial composition.

Underground water through the forest like words of noisy laughter
Opening between rock cliffs, trees’ profile conceals the building’s windows.
The immortal’s houses in Heaven, certainly not able to better this place
Whose task was it to play the sheng towards the pale blue sky?

 

Notes:

Jiu Cheng Gong: Jiu means the best; cheng means success or achievement and gong is a palace. So this summer palace can only be used by the Emperor, or special family and friends with his written permission.

Red phoenix: Refers to the Empress, and as such, this gate reserved only for imperial VIPs.

Imperial proclamation: This document used not only for safe passage, but as proof of imperial favor.

Sheng: An ancient Chinese, reed piped, musical instrument.

Pale blue sky: Emperor Xuangong’s first son, Jin, was noted for his love of playing the sheng at the imperial court. It was also believed that the Immortals liked to play it as well. One day Jin traveled into the mountains with some Buddhist monks. Not coming back, the monks reported that he ascended into Heaven upon a white crane. Wang Wei probably believed this story to be bogus, and so discreetly hints that maybe Jin met his death through foul play, as how can anyone want to die and go to Heaven in such a beautiful place as the Jiu Cheng Gong.

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