|The Rhyme Maker
Yuanming is also known as Tao Qian and as T'ao Ch'ien.
Yuanming is from the Six Dynasties period (c. 220 – 589), the
period just prior to the Tang Dynasty, the “Golden Age” of
Chinese literature. He is the most highly regarded poet prior
Tang era, a fact that Tang poet Li Bai uses in his wine poems,
Two Poems Written As Parting Gifts.
Waley, translator of A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems,
compares P'eng to Methuselah of Hebrew Scriptures: the oldest man in
the world, thus inspiring the popular comparison: “old as
- S. H. Bass
The Wine Poems
In the quiet of the morning (Waley)
"The Unmoving Cloud" (Pound) A/V
FREE E-BOOKS at Project Gutenberg
170 Chinese Poems (1918)
Verses from the Vine
VINTAGE WINE POEMS NEW PRESSINGS
vinted and bottled by Stephen H. Bass
Shadow, and Spirit
Yuanming (365 - 427), Chinese poet
by Arthur Waley (1889-1966), British scholar/poet
and low, wise and simple, all busily hoard up the moments of life.
How greatly they err!
I have to the uttermost exposed the bitterness both of Substance and
Shadow, and have made Spirit show how, by following Nature, we may
dissolve this bitterness.
speaks to Shadow:
and Earth exist for ever:
and rivers never change.
herbs and trees in perpetual rotation
renovated and withered by the dews and frosts:
Man the wise, Man the divine --
he alone escape this law?
appearing for a moment in the World
suddenly departs, never to return.
can he know that the friends he has left
missing him and thinking of him?
the things that he used remain;
look upon them and their tears flow.
no magical arts can save,
you may hope for a wizard’s aid.
beg you listen to this advice --
you can get wine, be sure to drink it.
is no way to preserve life.
of Immortality are instruments of folly.
would gladly wander in Paradise,
it is far away and there is no road.
the day that I was joined to you
have shared all our joys and pains.
you rested in the shade, I left you a while:
till the end we shall be together.
joint existence is impermanent:
together we shall slip away.
when the body decays Fame should also go
a thought unendurable, burning the heart.
us strive and labour while yet we may
do some deed that men will praise.
may in truth dispel our sorrow,
how compare it with lasting Fame?
can only set in motion:
cannot control the things he has made.
the second of the Three Orders,
his precedence to Me.
I am different from you,
were born involved in one another:
by any means can we escape
intimate sharing of good and ill.
Three Emperors were saintly men,
to-day--where are they?
lived to a great age, *
he went at last, when he longed to stay.
late or soon, all go:
and simple have no reprieve.
may bring forgetfulness,
does it not hasten old-age?
you set your heart on noble deeds,
do you know that any will praise you?
all this thinking you do Me injury:
had better go where Fate leads --
on the Stream of Infinite Flux,
joy, without fear:
you must go--then go,
make as little fuss as you can.
Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems (1918)