Listen to this article

Cheering Up Oneself or Self Consolation – 自遣

When I win, I sing loudly, when I lose, I rest promptly
Woes and regrets are the unending way to sorrow
Today, drink and be drunk, this wine is still mine,
If worries come, as worries will, worry not until tomorrow

A win I sing, a loss I am sullen,
Worries and regrets linger far too long.
If there is wine today, then today get drunk,
Worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
(Tomorrow there is time enough to worry)


“What Me Worry” would be the title if written by Mad’s Alfred E. Newman.

Luo Yin

Tang poet, Luo Yin, was by all accounts, ugly and difficult to get along with. He had much to complain of. He failed the imperial examinations ten times, and therefore gave himself the pseudonym Yin, meaning “dormant”. So ugly he was, that the following story is told. The imperial court’s grand councilor Zheng Tian had a young daughter who enjoyed Luo Yin’s poems, frequently reading them out loud to her father’s annoyance. He had her attend court and peek out from the curtains at Luo Yin’s ugly face.

She never read another one of his poems.

This poem is translated often by those more competent than myself. The nuances are slight but significant.

Luo’s rhyming pattern is abab. He uses internal repetition of words like today and tomorrow, and sorrow. Line two is a good example, speak out loud and listen – duō chóu duō hèn yì yōuyōu.

The title is most often given as Self Consolation. That works, but it might be more accurate to use, Cheering Up Oneself, a type of toast to a cup of wine.



Zì qiǎn

dé jí gāogē shī jí xiū
duō chóu duō hèn yì yōuyōu
jīnzhāo yǒu jiǔ jīnzhāo zuì
míngrì chóu lái míngrì chóu


罗隐 〔唐代〕


















The poem successfully portrays a vivid image of a scholar who indulges in drinking and sings loudly. Although this image has the decadent side of political frustration, its cynical character has won people’s admiration. In addition to reflecting the abnormal psychology of intellectuals in the old times, he also wrote the dark reality of the late Tang society through the images of his characters.
“Sing loudly when you get it, and stop when you lose it. You will be sad and hateful when you get it.” The first two sentences of this little poem say that you should sing at the first opportunity, or you should give up. You can still enjoy yourself if you ignore your worries and hatred.
The first sentence says that you don’t have to worry about your gains and losses. If you say it directly, you will abstract and conceptualize it. However, the tone of “singing when you get it”, which is half confession and half persuasion, especially the attitude of “singing when you get it”, gives a specific and vivid feeling. Emotion and “state” are visualized. The second sentence does not say that “much sorrow and much hatred” is too boring, but “also leisurely”, which will receive a specific and vivid effect, not especially for rhyme.
“If you are drunk today, tomorrow will be sad.” The last two sentences of the poem say that if you have wine today, you will get drunk. If you have worries tomorrow, you will worry tomorrow.
These two sentences further materialize the phrase “sing loudly when you get it, and stop when you lose it”, and the image of a crazy person who indulges in singing and drinking is ready to come out. This is the general image created by this poem. It is not enough just to point out this, but also to see the uniqueness of this image. Here, it is like indulging in singing and drinking, which is more gloomy. “There is wine today and I am drunk today”, which always makes people feel a kind of inner desolation and jealousy. This kind of emotion has both universality and individuality, so it has typical significance.
The more successful artistic expression of this poem lies in seeking change in overlapping, thus forming a wonderful aria.
One is the overlapping changes in emotion. The first sentence first covers the meaning of the topic, saying that when you are honest, you can be happy when you are lost, and you don’t need to be sad; The second sentence is a supplement to the first sentence, which means the same thing from the opposite side: if not, “much sorrow and much hatred” is harmful and useless; 3、 The four sentences return to the positive idea, respectively advancing the meaning of the first sentence: “Today is the time when you are drunk” is the repetition and promotion of “singing when you get it”, and “tomorrow is the time when you are sad” is the further explanation of “losing is the time to stop”. In a word, from beginning to end, poetry has a swing and rise.
The second is sound, that is, overlapping changes in words. The first four words of the first sentence are relative to the last three words, while the two and six words (“namely”) overlap; The second sentence is contractive, which means that many worries are lingering, and many hates are lingering, forming agreement to repeat.
3、 The sentence patterns of the four sentences are the same, but the words “today” overlap in the three sentences, and the words “tomorrow sorrow” overlap in the four sentences. However, the former word “sorrow” belongs to a noun, and the latter word “sorrow” is a verb, and the part of speech also changes. It can be said that each sentence is overlapping and changing hand in hand, and each sentence has its own specific performance. It seems to be the most prominent in the small poems to use the unity of overlap and change as much as possible.
Because of the uniqueness of the above two aspects, it is appropriate for some poor people to drink “self indulgence” for thousands of years and cultivate their sentiments. Among so many ancient poems to relieve their worries, only they are most likely to remember that “if you have wine today, you will be drunk today”.
The name of the poem is “Desperate”, which means to relieve oneself. To interpret this poem, the key lies in whether the poet has dismissed “sorrow” and “hate”. The poet’s “sorrow” and “hate” are the worries of the society and the country, which are difficult for the poet to solve. The emperor did not listen to the letter; Persuasion, the emperor ignored; The emperor will be angry if he satirizes. How did the poet arrange himself? He adopted an attitude of indifference, non acceptance, non cooperation and non speech. Although this cynical attitude has some negative elements, most intellectuals do not speak and do not cooperate, so “silence is better than voice” has great power. ▲

Previous articleMeeting Li Guinian at Jiangnan, (South of the River) – Du Fu – 江 南 逢 李 龜 年
Next articleTo One Unnamed ,Li Shangyin – 李商隐《无题·来是空言去绝踪》


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here