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Chang Ge Xing 长歌行

Cháng Gē Xíng

yuèfǔ míngē (Hàn )

Qīng qīng yuán zhōng kuí, zhāo lù dài rì xī.
青 青 园 中 葵, 朝 露 待 日 晞。

Yáng chūn bù dé zé, wàn wù shēng guāng huī.
阳 春 布 德 泽, 万 物 生 光 辉。

Cháng kǒng qiū jié zhì, kūn huáng huá yè shuāi.  
常 恐 秋 节 至, 焜 黄 华 叶 衰。

Bǎi chuān dōng dào hǎi, hé shí fù xī guī? 
百 川 东 到 海,何 时 复 西 归?

Shào zhuàng bù nǔ lì, lǎo dà tú shāng bēi.
少 壮 不 努 力,老 大 徒 伤 悲。

Chang Ge Xing

Folk Song of Han Music Office(Han)

Green are the garden plants and flowers,

In the hot sun the dews of morning dry.

The sunshine of spring benevolence showers,

And bathes all things in brilliant glory.

Yet we fear as autumn tides come again,

All plants and flowers will soon withered be.

When will the rivers flow to the west again,

Since they all roll eastward to the sea?

If one wastes his time in golden youth,

He can but pass his old age in bitter ruth.


The poem exploits the techniques of metaphor and comparison to illustrate the fundamentals of success. The first four lines of the poem describe the vigorous youthful scene of the full blooms of the flowers and the exuberant foliage of the trees in spring, but the next two lines turn to the infallible objective law that everything in nature will decline and wither in autumn without exception. Then the poem goes on to strengthen the truth that time and tide wait for no man by referring to all the big rivers in China flowing eastward leads to the conclusion that we must realize the swift passage of time, treasure our youth and work hard toward success.”If one wastes his time in golden youth, he can but pass his old age in bitter ruth.” It is a brilliant line of eternal value used to advise the young to value their youth and time and to exert themselves to acquire more knowledge.

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