A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems

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A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems  (1919) 
Various authors, translated by Arthur Waley





In making this book I have tried to avoid poems which have been translated before. A hundred and forty of those I have chosen have not been translated by any one else. The remaining thirty odd I have included in many cases because the previous versions were full of mistakes; in others, because the works in which they appeared are no longer procurable. Moreover, they are mostly in German, a language with which my readers may not all be acquainted.

With some hesitation I have included literal versions of six poems (three of the "Seventeen Old Poems," "Autumn Wind," "Li Fu jēn," and "On the Death of his Father") already skilfully rhymed by Professor Giles in "Chinese Poetry in English Verse." They were too typical to omit; and a comparison of the two renderings may be of interest. Some of these translations have appeared in the "Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies," in the "New Statesman," in the "Little Review" (Chicago), and in "Poetry" (Chicago).

Introduction 15
The Limitations of Chinese Literature 17
Technique 22
The Method of Translation 33
Bibliographical Notes 35
Chapter One:
Battle 39
The Man-Wind and the Woman-Wind 41
Master Tēng-t'u 43
The Orphan 45
The Sick Wife 47
Cock-Crow Song 48
The Golden Palace 49
"Old Poem" 50
Meeting in the Road 51
Fighting South of the Castle 52
The Eastern Gate 53
Old and New 54
South of the Great Sea 55
The Other Side of the Valley 56
Oaths of Friendship 57
Burial Songs 58
Seventeen Old Poems 59–68
The Autumn Wind 69
Li Fu-jēn 70
Song of Snow-white Heads 71
To his Wife 73
Li Ling 74
Lament of Hsi-chün 75
Ch'in Chia 76
Ch'in Chia's Wife's Reply 77
Song 78
Chapter Two:
Satire on Paying Calls in August 83
On the Death of his Father 84
The Campaign against Wu 85
The Ruins of Lo-yang 86
The Cock-fight 88
A Vision 89
The Curtain of the Wedding Bed 90
Regret 91
Taoist Song 92
A Gentle Wind 93
Woman 94
Day Dreams 95
The Scholar in the Narrow Street 96
The Desecration of the Han Tombs 97
Bearer's Song 99
The Valley Wind 100
Chapter Three:
Poems by T'ao Ch'ien 103–116
Chapter Four:
Inviting Guests 119
Climbing a Mountain 120
Sailing Homeward 121
Five "Tzǔ-yeh" Songs 122
The Little Lady of Ch'ing-hsi 123
Plucking the Rushes 124
Ballad of the Western Island in the North Country 125
Song 127
Song of the Men of Chin-ling 128
The Scholar Recruit 129
The Red Hills 130
Dreaming of a Dead Lady 131
The Liberator 132
Lo-yang 133
Winter Night 134
The Rejected Wife 135
People hide their Love 136
The Ferry 137
The Waters of Lung-t'ou 138
Flowers and Moonlight on the Spring River 139
Tchirek Song 140
Chapter Five:
Business Men 145
Tell me now 146
On Going to a Tavern 147
Stone Fish Lake 148
Civilization 149
A Protest in the Sixth Year of Ch'ien Fu 150
On the Birth of his Son 151
The Pedlar of Spells 152
Boating in Autumn 153
The Herd-Boy 154
How I sailed on the Lake till I came to the Eastern Stream 155
A Seventeenth-century Chinese Poem 156
The Little Cart 156
Introduction 161
By Po Chü-i:
An Early Levée 171
Being on Duty all night in the Palace and dreaming of the Hsien-yu Temple 172
Passing T'ien-mēn Street in Ch'ang-an and seeing a distant View of Chung-nan Mountain 173
The Letter 174
Rejoicing at the Arrival of Ch'ēn Hsiung 176
Golden Bells 177
Remembering Golden Bells 178
Illness 179
The Dragon of the Black Pool 180
The Grain-tribute 182
The People of Tao-chou 183
The Old Harp 185
The Harper of Chao 186
The Flower Market 187
The Prisoner 188
The Chancellor's Gravel-drive 192
The Man who Dreamed of Fairies 193
Magic 195
The Two Red Towers 197
The Charcoal-seller 199
The Politician 201
The Old Man with the Broken Arm 202
Kept waiting in the Boat at Chiu-k'ou Ten Days by an adverse Wind 205
On Board Ship: Reading Yüan Chēn's Poems 206
Arriving at Hsün-yang 207
Madly Singing in the Mountains 208
Releasing a migrant "Yen" (Wild Goose) 209
To a Portrait Painter who desired him to sit 211
Separation 212
Having climbed to the topmost Peak of the Incense-burner Mountain 213
Eating Bamboo-shoots 214
The Red Cockatoo 215
After Lunch 216
Alarm at first entering the Yang-tze Gorges 217
On being removed from Hsün-yang and sent to Chung-chou 219
Planting Flowers on the Eastern Embankment 220
Children 221
Pruning Trees 222
Being visited by a Friend during Illness 223
On the way to Hangchow: Anchored on the River at Night 224
Stopping the Night at Jung-yang 225
The Silver Spoon 226
The Hat given to the Poet by Li Chien 227
The Big Rug 228
After getting Drunk, becoming Sober in the Night 229
Realizing the Futility of Life 230
Rising Late and Playing with A-ts'ui, aged Two 231
On a Box containing his own Works 232
On being Sixty 233
Climbing the Terrace of Kuan-yin and looking at the City 234
Climbing the Ling Ying Terrace and looking North 235
Going to the Mountains with a little Dancing Girl, aged Fifteen 236
Dreaming of Yüan Chēn 237
A Dream of Mountaineering 238
Ease 239
On hearing someone sing a Poem by Yüan Chēn 240
The Philosophers 241
Taoism and Buddhism 242
Last Poem 243

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1928.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1966, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 56 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.