Farewell at the Old Pavilion
We part at the Pavilion Old;
The river flows its water cold.
Above we see trees not in bloom.
Below the vernal grass in gloom.
I ask a wanderer if we go astray;
He says an ancient poet took this way.
The way extends to the west capital,
Where floating clouds at sunset veil the palace hall.
Heart-broken here and now I part with you.
How can we bear to hear songs of adieu?
The poet parts with his friend at the Old Pavilion by the riverside where was buried Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty.
“Farewell at the Old Pavilion” is a poem written by Li Bai, a great poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first two lines specify the place of farewell, Ba Ling, and the scene of Ba water flowing eastward; the second two lines show the ancient trees and spring grasses along the Ba Ling road, which imply the feeling of parting; the fifth and sixth lines illustrate the route of the friend’s southward journey, which is the ancient road taken by Wang Ch’ung when he fled from the turmoil; the seventh and eighth lines describe the gloomy scene of the red sun sinking in the west and the floating clouds rising when looking back; the last two lines say that the sad and desperate parting song triggers deep and wide sorrow. The poem expresses the parting feelings of the travelers and the senders, and at the same time contains the author’s worries about the political situation. The poem uses imagery such as the Ba water, the purple queue, the old trees and the spring grass to form a haunting scene that expands into history and reality in many ways, thus revealing a sense of the vastness of world affairs.