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The Rhyme Maker
Li Bai 701 to 762
Li Bai

Theme:  Poetry and Poets

Other English translations:
River Chant (Lowell)
The River Song
(Pound) A/V
Li Bai is also known as Li Po, Li Bo, Li Tai-po, and as  Rihaku (Japanese name).

This translation by Shigeyoshi Obata barely has a drop of wine in it, and I almost did not include it at (as is the case with the Pound translation of this poem).  With the Lowell rendering (see “River Chant” link above), we find a stronger wine presence.  I offer the Obata and Pound versions to demonstrate the important role the translator of poetry plays in renderings from one language to another.  All three versions have their strong points.

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

[lines 11 & 12]: Chu-ping, or Chu Yuan (882-295 bce) was a minister under Huai-wang, the ruler of the Chu state.  He was a noted poet of China.

[last line]:The river Han is a large tributary of the Yangtze.
- 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

Drinking Song
An Exhortation

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

The Solitude of Night
On The Ship Of Spice-wood             
 Li Bai (701 – 762), Chinese poet
translated by Shigeyoshi Obata (1888-1971)

My ship is built of spice-wood and has a rudder
of mu-lan;
Musicians sit at the two ends with jeweled bamboo flutes and pipes
 of gold.
What a pleasure it is, with a cask of sweet wine
And singing girls beside me,
To drift on the water hither and thither with the
I am happier than the fairy of the air, who rode on his yellow crane.
And free as the merman who followed the sea-gulls aimlessly.
Now with the strokes of my inspired pen I shake  the Five
My poem is done, I laugh and my delight is vaster than the sea.
Oh, deathless poetry! The songs of Chu-ping are ever glorious as
 the sun and moon,
While the palaces and towers of the Chu kings have vanished from
 the hills.
Yea, if worldly fame and riches were things to last forever,
The waters of the River Han would flow north-westward, too.

from The Works of Li Po, the Chinese Poet (1921)

The Works of Li Po, the Chinese Poet (1921)

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