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  • Julia Min

上枢密韩肖胄诗二首第一首 (续.七言)Two poems to Lord Han Xiaowei - One (continued)




第一首 (续)(七言)


















Two poems to Lord Han Xiaowei, the Minister of Military Affairs

written by: Li Qingzhao

translated by: Julia Min

One (continued)

Lord Hu is an upright man, and outspoken

with courage rare to find for the tough mission.

So blessed and well-bred as Han descendants,

you won’t hear ‘Yishui’ in the farewell songs.

Never so shaded in clouds, our land of ancient

is shaken by wind and rain, strong and sudden.

I can see ambassadors’ parting tears in silence,

on horses neighing, carts and carriages rattling.

Please forgive this widow’s innocent ignorance,

she wishes to bless her heroes with poems she sends.

You’re heading to real challenge with barbarians,

so may Lords get fully prepared for highest cautions.

Remember the armoured Chu men covered in robes,

and the trap there set during Pinliang negotiation?

Even the desolate Kui and Jian required attention.

Gentlemen of eloquence can be of great assistance.

Yuan Hu wrote the 7-page report while galloping;

Meng Chang’s cockcrow had Hangu Pass opened.

Good carpenter puts good use of woods unwanted;

Lords might find value in my humble expressions.

I am here not seeking for Sui’s Pearl or He’s Jade,

but for news of our fallen homeland after invasion.

Is the Hall of Divine Light still standing in shape,

and ancestral graveyards still guarded by Ong Zhong?

How are the people remained in the conquered land,

and are the heathens keeping our villages and towns?

The renowned Jixia Academy used to host forums,

where scholars crowded for heated debates so often.

In Qi and Lu, my father and grandfather were born.

I still remember they had many followers back then;

They’d lament to see their children and grandchildren

living now like exilers here on the wandering tramp.

I’d wish my blood and soul returned to homeland,

to be used as cult of dead before my ancestors’ tombs.

( picture retrieved from Google)


(Please find it in the second poem)


1. Han descendants: Han nationality, the majority of Chinese are of Han descendants;

2. Yishui: the Yi River ( today’s Yi County in Hebei Province) referring to the heroic Song written and sung at the river by Prince Yan to see off his hero Jingke to kill the Qin Emperor -- a trip of no return ( about 227 BC). Since then, ‘the Song of Yishui’ had always been a farewell song to heroes before their trip to battles. Here Li Qingzhao used this to hint the danger ahead though literally saying people were avoiding ‘Yishui’ in the farewell songs.

3. so shaded in clouds…: This was a critical time when the Jin was to launch another invasion to the Song. Premier Han was sent to stop the war through negotiation. The country is still recovering from the fall of Northern Song, so you could imagine the tense fear in the air.

4. this widow: Li Qingzhao herself;

5. Chu men: a setup by the Chu State where the Chu men covered their armour under robes during a negotiation with the Jin State.

6. Pinliang: a place in today’s Gansu Province, the venue where the Tang and Tibet met for negotiation but he Tibetans set a trap with troops behind.

7. Kui and Jian: Kuiqiu ( a place in the Song State in 651 BC, in today’s Henan Province) and Jiantu ( also a place in today’s Henan Province) are two famous places of international negotiations where, though remote and desolate, were heavily armed during the negotiations.

8. Yuan Hu:

9. Meng Chang: one of the Four Lords during the Warring Period (453-221BC) who had recruited many scholars serving him.

10. Sui’s Pearl or He’s Jade:two of the most sought-after jewels in Chinese history;

11. Hall of Divine Light: a Hall built in West Han Dynasty during Emperor Hanjing’s reign (157 – 141 BC) in today’s Qufu, Shandong Province.

12. Ong Zhong: a very tall and brave figure during Qin’s Empire. A stone statue was carved after him guarding one of the gates of Xianyang Palace.

13. Jixia Academy: the earliest high education institution in the world, built during the Warring States around 400 BC in today’s Jimen, Zibo city, Shandong Province. Many famous politicians came from Jixia which is like a breeding hotpot for all schools of learning, e.g. Daoism, Buddism, Confucius Thoughts, Legalism, War Philosophy….

14. Qi and Lu:two states during the Warring period, today Qi Lu (齐鲁) is often used to imply Shandong Province.


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