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The Rhyme Maker
Li Bai 701 to 762
Li Bai
701-762


Theme:  Defending Wine


Other English translations:
A Vindication
(Obata)
Drinking Alone by Moonlight III
(Waley)


NOTES:
Amy Lowell, the co-translator of this poem with Florence Ayscough, also contributes her own wine poems to vintagewinepoems.com.

Li Bai is also known as Li Po, Li Bo, Li Tai-po, and as  Rihaku (Japanese name).

The indention in this poem indicates the continuation of the previous line, which does not fit within the  specified margins of this web page.  Compare with the printable version.

The Wine Star was a constellation in the night sky.  The Wine Spring was said to flow with waters that tasted like wine, and in some legends actually was wine. 

In China of yore, the “transparent wine” was known as “The Sage” and the “turgid wine” or “thick wine” was known as “The Wise” or, in this translation, the “Virtuous Worthies”.  Li Bai here is playing with the double meaning of these two words, a common practice among poets of his era (and ours).
- S. H. Bass    


Special Note:  The Wine Poems of China


more Li Bai at
 
vintagewinepoems
.com

A Farewell Banquet (Lowell)
A Midnight Farewell (Obata)

A Mountain Revelry (Obata)

At The Ancestral Shrine Of King Yao (Lowell)

Before The Cask of Wine (Obata)

Descending The Extreme South Mountain (Lowell)

Drinking Alone by Moonlight II (Waley)

Drinking Alone On The Rock (Lowell)

Maid Of Wu (Obata)

On Being Asked Who He Is (Obata)

On The Yo-Yang Tower (Obata)

Sent As A Parting Gift (Lowell)

Taking Leave Of Du Fu (Lowell)

The Terraced Road (Lowell)

To Meng Haojan (Obata)

Two Poems Written As Parting Gifts (Lowell)

While Journeying (Obata)

With A Man of Leisure (Obata)


poems with multiple English translations:
After Being Drunk On a Spring Day (Lowell)
Awakening From Sleep On A Spring Day
(Obata)
Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day
(Waley)

Drinking Alone In The Moonlight I
(Lowell)
Three With The Moon And His Shadow
(Obata)
Drinking Alone by Moonlight I
(Waley) A/V

Drinking Song (Lowell)
An Exhortation
(Obata)

On The Eve Of Starting On A Journey
(Lowell)
Parting At a Tavern of Chin-Ling
(Obata)

Old Tai's Wine-Shop
(Lowell)
On The Death Of The Good Brewer
(Obata)

River Chant
(Lowell)
On The Ship Of Spice-wood
(Obata)
The River Song
(Pound)

The Solitude of Night
(Obata)
Self-Abandonment
(Waley)

Drinking Alone In The Moonlight II
Li Bai (701 – 762), Chinese poet
translation by Florence Ayscough (1878-1942), British scholar
English verse by Amy Lowell (1874-1925), American poet

If Heaven did not love wine,
There would be no Wine Star in Heaven,
If Earth did not love wine,
There should be no Wine Springs on Earth.
Why then be ashamed before Heaven to love
wine.
I have heard that clear wine is like the Sages;
Again it is said that thick wine is like the
Virtuous Worthies.
Wherefore it appears that we have swallowed both Sages and
Worthies.
Why should we strive to be Gods and Immortals?
Three cups, and one can perfectly understand
the Great Tao;
A gallon, and one is in accord with all nature.
Only those in the midst of it can fully
comprehend the joys of wine;
I do not proclaim them to the sober.


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



Fir-Flower Tablets
 Poems From The Chinese
(1921)


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