The Sorrow of Separation by Qu
I. (1) The poet describes his
family background, birthday, name, and his self-cultivation of
morals and abilities in order to assist the Emperor of the Chu
state to carry out potitical reform and make his country rich and
I am the descendant of the
ancient emperor Gao-yang.
My deceased father is called Baiyong .I was born in
340B.C, having carefully considered my birthday.
my father gave me a fine name called Zhengze and a
name of Linjun. Nature has endowed me many good
I have also diligently cultivated my moral character.
I draped fragrant plants such as chuan-xiong and Dahurian
angelica over my shoulder, I made ropes with autumn
to hang on my sides. Time fleets away like an arrow.
I fear it will not wait for me. In the morning I plucked
magnonia on the hill slope, and in the evening I gathered
perennial rank grass on a islet in the river. Days
away quickly and seasons
rotated in succession. I worry about
the plants withering away and fear I am growing old.
Why not abolish the present corrupt regime while I am still
Why not alter this political system?
Let us ride fine steeds and gallop away.
Come on, I'll lead the way!
Ⅰ. (2) The poet explains his
political point of view and position, and the painful sentiments
when his view-point was not accepted by the Emperor of Chu
昔三后之纯粹兮， In ancient times the three sagacious emperors
固众芳之所在。 Tang and Wengwang were pure and fair, thus worthy
杂申椒与菌桂兮， upright people all flocked to them. They employed
岂维纫夫蕙茝？ who were not only virtuous but also
彼尧舜之耿介兮， like fragrant prickly ash and cinnamon.
既遵道而得路。 Ancient sages like Yao and Shun were just and
何桀纣之猖披兮， They followed a right path, so they reached the
夫唯捷径以窘步。 While tyrants Jie and Zhou were arrogant and
惟夫党人之偷乐兮， They wanted to follow short cuts, but arrived at
路幽昧以险隘。 They formed cligues to gain private ends.
岂余身之惮殃兮， Hence their future was dark and risky. I am not
恐皇舆之败绩。 incurring disasters. I only worry about my country
忽奔走以先后兮， overthrown. I have hurried back and forth, always
及前王之踵武。 myself and hoping that the emperor of Chu would
荃不察余之中情兮， up with those ancient emperors. You emperor did
反信谗而暴怒。 my inner feelings. Instead,. you listened to
slanders and got
余固知謇謇之为患兮, angry with me. I knew that honest advice would
忍而不能舍也。 but I could not help doing so.I call heaven to bear
witness for me.
指九天以为正兮， I have done
everything for you, my emperor.
夫为灵修之故也！ Once we made an agreement, but later you changed
初既与余成言兮， and had other plans. It is not very hard for me to
后悔遁而有他。 I only feel painful that you are so
I. (3) The poet describes his efforts to train
personnel for his state. But under the circumstance when most court
officials were insatiably greedy and exclusive, talents like
flowers withered. However, he still actively practised
self-cultivation and followed the teachings of the ancient sage
余既滋兰之九畹兮， I have
planted nine hectares of spring orchids and 100mu
又树蕙之百亩。 (1/16ha.) of autumn orchids. I have also grown many
beds of peory,
畦留夷与揭车兮， wild ginger and dahurian angelica.I hope they grow
杂杜衡与芳芷。 so that I can harvest them when they are
冀枝叶之峻茂兮， It matters not much if they wither and
愿竣时乎吾将刈。 What greieves me is that they deteriorate and
虽萎绝其亦何伤兮， They all make desperate effort to seek
哀众芳之芜秽。 They are obsessed with the desire for gain, and
众皆竞进以贪婪兮， They are
suspicious of others, but indulgent to themselves,
凭不厌乎求索。 They intrigue against each other and are jealous of
羌内恕己以量人兮， They curry favor with their superiors, scramble
for power and profit.
各兴心而嫉妒。 I am not after these petty things. I feel old age is
忽驰骛以追逐兮， approaching. I fear I could not establish a good
reputation. In the
非余心之所急。 morning I drank dew drops on the lily magnonia, and
in the evening
老冉冉其将至兮， I ate fallen flowers of the autumn chrysanthemums.
恐修名之不立。 I remain faithful and true, what does it matter I
朝饮木兰之坠露兮， I used tree roots to tie orchids and stringed
pistils of climbing fig
夕餐秋菊之落英。 together. I used cinamon branches to combine
苟余情其信姱以练要兮，and made long and slender cords with a
长顑颔亦何伤。 I learn from ancient sages, while vulgar people of
the world cannot
揽木根以结茝兮， do. Although I can hardly get along with
贯薜荔之落蕊。 I'll follow the teachings of the deceased sage
众女嫉余之娥眉兮， They violated
rules and distorted policies. They defied moral
谣诼谓余以善淫。 standards and sticked to distortions. Their
principle was to curry
固时俗之工巧兮， favor with their superiors. I feel deppressed,
偭规矩而改错。 disappointed. Now I am lonely and poor. I would
背绳墨以追曲兮， die and depart. I hate to flatter
竞周容以为度。 Eagles would not live with sparrows.
忳郁邑余侘傺兮， This is the way since ancient times.
吾独穷困乎此时也。 Squares and rounds cannot live in
宁淹死以流亡兮， I would rather make concessions and control my
余不忍为此态也！ I would endure their blame and abuse.
鸷鸟之不群兮， I only wish I could keep myself clean and die an
自前世而固然。 This kind of act was praised by ancient