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The Rhyme Maker

Du Fu

Theme:  Friends

Du Fu is also known as Tu Fu

Li Bai, to whom this poem is addressed, was a contemporary of Du Fu and a major contributor to

Amy Lowell, the co-translator of this poem with Florence Ayscough, also contributes her own wine poems to this site.
- S. H. Bass  

Translator's Note:
Ko Hung, author of "Biographies of the Gods," lived in the Fourth Century A.D.  Although very poor, he pursued his studies with such zeal that he became an official.  Having heard that the cinnabar, from which the Elixir of Immortality is distilled, came from Cochin China, he begged to be appointed to a magistracy in the South in order that he might obtain a supply for experimental purposes on the spot.  Arrived in Kwangtung, he spent his time on Mount Lo Fo attempting to compound this elixir, and so, working at his experiments, passed into a tranquil sleep.  When his friends went to wake him, they found his clothes empty.  Ko Hung had ascended to the Taoist Paradise to live forever among the Immortals.
– from Fir-Flower Tablets: Poems From The Chinese

Special Note:  The Wine Poems of China

more Du Fu at

A Toast for Mng Yn-ch’ing  (Lowell)
Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup  (Obata)
To Li Bai  (Obata)

Multiple translations:
Thinking Of Li Bai On A Spring Day (Lowell)

To Li Bai On A Spring Day  (Obata)

Stop Button Clutter!
Sent To Li Bai As A Gift
Du Fu (712-770), Chinese poet
Translation by Florence Ayscough (1878-1942), British scholar
English version by Amy Lowell (1874-1925), American poet

Autumn comes,
We meet each other.
You still whirl about as a thistledown in the wind.
Your Elixir of Immortality is not yet perfected
And, remembering Ko Hung, you are ashamed.
You drink a great deal,
You sing wild songs,
Your days pass in emptiness.
Your nature is a spreading fire,
It is swift and strenuous.
But what does all this bravery amount to?

from Fir-Flower Tablets: Poems From The Chinese (1921)

Fir-Flower Tablets: Poems from the Chinese (1921)

FREE E-BOOK  from Project Gutenberg


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