Wang Anshi: Fragrance of Laurel Branch ~ 《桂枝香·金陵怀古》 王安石 with English Translations

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《桂枝香·金陵怀古》 王安石



Fragrance of Laurel Branch
Wang Anshi

I climb the height
And stretch my sight:
Late autumn just begins its gloomy time.
The ancient capital looks sublime.
The limpid river, beltlike, flows a thousand miles;
Emerald peaks on peaks tower in piles.
In the declining sun sails come and go;
Against west wind wineshop steamers flutter high and low.
The painted boat
In cloud afloat,
Like stars in Silver River egrets fly.
What a picture before the eye!

The days gone by
Saw people in opulence vie.
Alas! Shame on shame came under the walls,
In palace halls.
Leaning on rails, in vain I utter sighs
Over ancient kingdoms’ fall and rise.
The running water saw the Six Dynasties pass,
But I see only chilly mist and withered grass.
Even now and again
The songstresses still sing
The song composed in vain
By a captive king.

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