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  • Julia Min

和张文潜诗《读中兴颂碑》(二首)第一首 The Great Revival ( Part One )


























The Great Revival

- two poems echoing after Zhang Wenqian’s poem

written by: Li Qingzhao

trans. by : Julia Min

Part One

Fifty years in the making but destroyed in a blink,

only willows and wildlife still breath at Huaqing,

like Xianyang in weeds though the pride of Qin.

The roosters were pampered in the Five Streets

for the Royal’s delight in cockfights, and ageing

is least taken heed amid feasting and drinking.

The northern barbarians landed like lightning

on their Hunnish horses in the An-Shi Rebellion.

Right in front of the Emperor’s Courthouse,

Death sneered at his perfumed preys, smiling.

How could the unyielding army be subdued?

The war-horses run dead to deliver lichee fruits!

Yao and Shun did great deeds not for appreciation,

so never bothered praising words on monuments,

but their achievements have never been forgotten.

Carving the cliff proves shallow in comparison,

not to mention the demanding skills in the making.

Ziyi and Guangbi didn’t doubt about Huns’ retreat,

cos Heaven and Earth wouldn’t let the rebellion,

and the same for Tang people supporting them.

History lessons were loud from Xia and Shang,

stated clear in the bamboo books for descendants.

Can’t you see, gentlemen: -

Zhang Shui was good at tactics, a man of intelligence;

Yao Cong sold him after death with a carved monument.


(Please find it in the 'Appreciation' following 'Part Two'.)


1. “The Great Revival” : written by Zhang Wenqian after reading the inscription on the Great Revival Monument at Wuxi.

2. “Fifty years”: Emperor Xuanzong, also commonly known as Emperor Ming of Tang, personal name Li Longji, was the seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty in China, reigning from 712 to 756 CE. He reigned for 44 years was the longest during the Tang dynasty. Fifty is a rough figure here.

3. “Huaqing”: the Huaqing Palace built by Xuanzong for his Concubine Yang Yuhuan;

4. “Xianyang”: the capital of the Great Qin Empire;

5. “the Five Streets”: used to be the petting zone in Chang’an with stores selling game fighting roosters, dogs, pallid harriers, falcons, and hawks; It has been used after Tang referring to people who are not having a decent career.

6. “the Royal’s delight in cockfights”: Emperor Xuanzong’s hobby embraced by the Five Streets, implying his indulgence in games amid the coming danger of a dark current, the rebellion.

7. “An-Shi Rebellion”: a well-known rebellion led by two high-ranking Hunnish officials, a life regret of Emperor Xuanzong for the undeserved appointments for the two hidden and hideous traitors.

8. “lichee fruits”: most favourite fruit of Yang Yuhuan, or Yang Guifei; It’s recorded that horses run dead to deliver the fruits fresh from the south (thousands of miles) to Chang’an.

9. “Yao and Shun”: Emperor Yao (2356 – 2255 BCE) and Emperor Shun (2294 and 2184 BC);Legend has it that they were among the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, often regarded as the examples of best emperors.

10. “Ziyi and Guangbi”: famous generals in the Tang Dynasty;

11. “Xia and Shang”: the Xia dynasty and the Shang dynasty;

12. “Zhangshui and Yaocong”: both were the prime ministers of Tang but also each other’s political enemy;


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