Translation Note. Songbie, 送别, “Farewell.” Sometimes translated as “Parting Song.”Wang Wei does not identify Nanshan, literally, southern mountains. Likely they are nearby Zhongnan Mountains, sometimes called the Taiyi Mountains, just to the south of the war torn capital of Chang’an. Zhōng nán shān, 終南山. (But see note below.)
Dismount while I offer you some wine,
I ask, where and why?
You say, “Here things have not gone well.
I prefer to rest at the foot of Nanshan.
Give me leave, ask no more for.
White clouds are endless there.”
Wang Wei, Tang poet, 8th c.
Wang Wei was a devout Buddhist and councilor to Emperor Xuanzong.
Wang Wei, like many Tang officials, was caught up in the An Lushan Rebellion (755 to 763). Like the poet Du Fu, he was captured by the rebel forces. Apparently, he escaped, and, like Du Fu, was then accused of treason and pardoned. He was then reappointed to a ministerial post.
Whether this poem is about that turbulent period is unknown, nor is the reason for his death in 761 at the age of 60 or so.
Démonte et prendre du vin,
Je demande, où et pourquoi.
Et tu dit, “ça ne va pas bien.
Je préfère me reposer au pied du Nanshan.
Laissez-moi, n’en demande pas plus.
Les nuages, loin et blancs, y sont sans fin.”
Translation Note. junjiu. Line one, a play on words with wen jun, line two. Junjiu, a reference to Wenjun, a traditional wine produced in Sichuan Province. Sichuan is mountainous and south of Chang’an. It is also where the Emperor Xuanzong and his court fled to after the rebel sack of Chang’an. Nanshan is a common place name. Thus, it may refer to Nanshan, a small village in Sichuan, or the mountains of Sichuan.
Xia ma yin junjiu
Wen jun he suo zhi?
Jun yan bu de yi
Gui wo nanshan chui
Dan qu mo fu wen
Baiyun wu jin shi.
Wang Wei, Songbie