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The Rhyme Maker
Li Bai 701 to 762
Li Bai

Theme:  Defending Wine

Other English translations:
An Exhortation

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

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

The indentions in this poem indicate the continuation of the previous line, which do not fit within the  specified margins of this web page.  Compare with the printable version.

In ancient China, wine was consumed in small cups about the size of our modern day shot glass.  And, while this is a small amount of wine, the "three hundred cups at once" mentioned here should be considered poetic hyperbole.
- S. H. Bass    

Special Note:  The Wine Poems of China

more Li Bai at

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
Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day

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

Drinking Alone In The Moonlight II
A Vindication
Drinking Alone by Moonlight III

On The Eve Of Starting On A Journey
Parting At a Tavern of Chin-Ling

Old Tai's Wine-Shop
On The Death Of The Good Brewer

River Chant
On The Ship Of Spice-wood
The River Song
(Pound) A/V

The Solitude of Night

Drinking Song
Li Bai (701 – 762), Chinese poet
translation by Florence Ayscough (1878-1942), British scholar
English versions by Amy Lowell (1874-1925), American poet

Do you not see the waters of the Yellow River
coming down from
They rush with incredible speed to the sea, and they never turn and
 come back again.
Do you not see, in the clear mirror of the Guest Hall, the miserable
 white hair on my head?
At dawn it is like shining thread, but at sunset it is snow.
In this life, to be perfectly happy, one must drain one's pleasures;
The golden wine-cup must not stand empty opposite the moon.
Heaven put us here, we must use what we have.
Scatter a thousand ounces of silver and you are but where you
Boil the sheep,
Kill the ox,
Be merry.
We should drink three hundred cups at once.
Mr. Wise Gentleman Ts'en,
And you, Mr. Scholar Tan Ch'iu,
Drink, you must not stop.
I will sing one of my poems for you,
Please lean over and listen:

"Bells! Drums! Delicacies
Worth their weight in jade –
These things
Are of the slightest value.
I only want to be drunk
For ages and never wake.
The sages and worthies of old times
Have left not a sound,
Only those who drank
Have achieved lasting fame.
The King of Ch'ên, long ago, caroused
In the Hall of Peaceful Content.
They drank wine paid
At a full ten thousand a gallon;
They surpassed themselves in mirth,
And the telling of obscene stories.
How can a host say
He has very little money.
It is absolutely imperative
That he buy wine for his friends.
Horses of five colors, dappled flower horses,
Fur coats costing
A thousand ounces of silver –
He sends his son to exchange
All these for delectable wine,
So that you and I together
May drown our ancient grief."

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

Fir-Flower Tablets
 Poems From The Chinese

FREE E-BOOK at The Internet Archive

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