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Du Fu Poem: On the Height – 杜甫《登高》












[1] 登高:指农历九月九日重阳节登高。

[2] 猿啸哀:三峡多猿,啼声凄厉哀切。

[3] 渚:水中沙洲。

[4] 鸟飞回:因风急所以飞鸟盘旋。

[5] “无边”句:无边,无边无际。落木,落叶。萧萧,落叶声。

[6] 客:旅居在外的人,这里是诗人自指。

[7] 百年:一生。

[8] “艰难”句:艰难,指长期漂泊在外所经历的艰难困苦。苦恨,深恨。繁霜鬓,白发增多。

[9] “潦倒”句:潦倒,失意、衰颓。新停浊酒杯。诗人因肺病而戒酒。

On the Height

Du Fu

The wind so swift, the sky so wide, apes wail and cry;

Water so clear and beach so white, birds wheel and fly.

The boundless forest sheds its leaves shower by shower;

The endless river rolls its waves hour after hour.

A thousand miles from home, I’m grieved at autumn’s plight;

Ill now and then for years, alone I’m on this height.

Living in times so hard, at frosted hair I pine;

Cast down by poverty, I have to give up wine.

This is the most balanced verse in Tang poetry.


“On the Height” is a poem by Du Fu, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The poem was written in the second year of the Dali period (767) when the author was in Kui Prefecture. The first four lines of the poem describe the scenery of the ascent, closely following the characteristics of the autumn season and depicting the empty and lonely scenery by the river. The first couplet is a partial near scene, while the second couplet is an overall distant scene. The last four lines express the emotions of the author and his own life, expressing the sadness of being poor, old and sick, and living in another country. The neck line is a self-inflicted wound, revealing the simile, symbolism and allusion contained in the first four lines. The poem’s language is refined, with couplets throughout and a couple of lines within a line, fully demonstrating that Du Fu’s grasp of poetic language and rhythm had reached a state of perfection in his later years.

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