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Li Bai: Early Evening Wu Songs: Four Poems

Early Evening Wu Songs: Four Poems


子 夜 吴 歌:四 首
秦 地 罗 敷 奴
采 桑 绿 水 边。
素 手 青 条 上
红 妆 白 日 鲜。
蚕 饥 妾 欲 去
五 马 莫 留 连。
镜 湖 三 百 里
菡 萏 发 荷 花。
五 月 西 施 采
人 看 隘 若 耶。
回 舟 不 得 月
归 去 越 王 家。
长 安 一 片 月
万 户 捣 衣 声。
秋 风 吹 不 尽
总 是 玉 关 情。
何 日 平 胡 虏
良 人 罢 远 征。
明 朝 驿 使 发
一 夜 絮 征 袍。
素 手 抽 针 冷
那 缝 寄 远 道
几 日 到 临 洮?
Zi Ye Wu Ge: Shi Shou


Qin di luo fu nu
Cai sang lu shui bian
Su shou qing tiao shang
Hong zhuang bai ri xian
Can ji qie yu qu
Wu ma mo liu lian.


Jing hu san bai li
Han dan fa he hua
Wu yue xi shi cai
Ren kan ai ruo ye
Hui zhou bu dai yue
Gui qu yue wang jia.


Cang an yi pian yue
Wan hu dao yi sheng
Qiu feng chui bu jin
Zong shi yu guan qing
He ri ping hu lu
Liang ren ba yuan zheng.


Ming zhao yi shi fa
Yi ye xu zheng pao
Su shou chou zhen leng
Na zhen ba jian dao?
Nei feng ji yuan dao
Ji ri dao lin tao?

Early Evening Wu Songs: Four Poems


Qin country women spinning to make silk thread
Beside green water they pick mulberry leaves
With young, white, long and slender hands
Daytime wear red make-up bright and fresh
Because the silkworms are hungry, they have to go home
Even five-horse people cannot linger any more.


A hundred miles of Mirror Lake
Lotus buds yet to break out into blossoms
In May, Xishi gathers them
People line a narrow river just to see her
Less than one month ago she returned home in her boat
Before being summoned by the imperial palace.


One slice of moon over Chang’an
Thousands of women breaking branches to make light-weight armor for their soldiers
Autumn winds blowing without restraint
Like the women’s intimate feelings for their men
When can the northern nomads be contained
Then the good guys can march back home.


At daybreak the couriers will be sent out
In one night, the women stuff more padding into their soldier’ clothes
Soft, white hands move the cold needles
How can they hold onto ice-cold scissors?
Sewn and stitched clothes sent along distant and remote roads
How many days before they arrive in Lintao?


Qin: Nation state (9th century-221 BC) in western ancient China

Wu: Nation state (11th century-473 BC) comprising most of modern day Zhejiang Province

Five horse people: The wealthy can afford carriages pulled by five horses.

Mirror Lake: Located in Zhejiang province

Xishi: legendary beauty of ancient China

Lintao: Located inside the province of Gansu.

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