Wang Wei Poem: Love Seeds – 王维《相思》

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[1] 唐人范摅《云溪友议》:“明皇幸岷山,百官皆窜辱……唯李龟年奔迫江潭……龟年曾于湘中采访使筵上唱’红豆生南国,春来发几枝。劝君多采撷,此物最相思’,又唱’清风明月苦相思,荡子从戎十岁余。征人去日殷勤嘱。归雁来时数附书’。此辞皆王右丞所制,至今梨因唱焉。歌阕,合座莫不望南幸而惨然。”据此,安史之乱以前当已有此诗。此诗以家常语道出人间相思寄意之事,遂广为人们传诵。

[2] 红豆:相思木所结子,产于亚热带地区,古人又称其为相思子。唐李匡《资暇集》卷下:“豆有圆而红,其首乌者,举世呼为相思子,即红豆之异名也。”李时珍《本草纲目》卷三十五:“相思子生岭南,树高丈余,白色,其叶似槐,其花似皂荚,其荚似扁豆,其子大如小豆,半截红色,半截黑色,彼人以嵌首饰。”梁武帝《欢闻歌》:“南有相思木,含情复同心。”

[3] 愿:一作“劝”。

[4] 多:一作“休”。

[5] 撷(xié):采摘。

Love Seeds

Wang Wei

The red beans grow in southern land.

How many load in spring the trees?

Gather them till full is your hand;

They would revive fond memories.

The red beans are called love seeds.



“Love Seeds” is a poem written by Wang Wei, a poet of the Tang Dynasty, in which he sends his thoughts to his loved ones by singing about objects. This poem is about love for each other, but the whole poem never leaves the red bean, using its name of “Acacia” to relate to the love for each other. The first line is about the origin of the red bean; the second line asks the question “how many branches do they have”, which is very simple and figurative. In the last line, the poem specifies the attribute of longing, and uses the word “most” to push it to the extreme, then the reason for “picking more” is obvious, and the meaning it sends is also deeply implied. The whole poem is very clear, yet euphemistic and subtle, with shallow words but deep feelings, and it is said to have been composed and sung in Jiangnan at that time.

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