On the Tower at Youzhou
Where are the great men of the past
And where are those of future years?
The sky and earth forever last;
Here and now I alone shed tears.
The poet sighs for he has not done great deeds as the great men of yore.
The poem “On the Tower at Youzhou” is a poem written by Chen Ziang, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The poem expresses the poet’s long-standing depression and anger by describing the infinite emotions caused by climbing up the tower and looking down on the past, and profoundly reveals the suppressed situation of those intellectuals who were not successful in feudal society, and expresses their lonely and depressed feelings when their ideals were destroyed. The poem’s language is vigorous and infectious, and its structure is compact and coherent while leaving ample space: the first two stanzas look down on the past and the present to illustrate the long period of time; the third stanza climbs up the tower and looks out to describe the vast space; in the background of the vast space and time, the fourth stanza depicts the poet’s loneliness and bitterness, and the two reflect each other, which is very moving. This poem has been selected for inclusion in several language textbooks.