Li Yue Poem: Praying for Rain – 李约《观祈雨》

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观祈雨[1]

李约

桑条无叶土生烟,

箫管[2]迎龙水庙[3]前。

朱门[4]几处看歌舞,

犹恐春阴咽[5]管弦。

注释:

[1] 祈:求。在封建社会中,人们认为“龙”是主管行云降雨之神,因此,乡村中都建有龙王庙,遇到干旱,便举行求雨活动,到龙王庙前祈求龙王降雨。

[2] 箫管:这里泛指各种乐器。

[3] 水庙:龙王庙。

[4] 朱门:指富豪权贵之家。

[5] 咽:声塞,指乐器受潮音阻。

Praying for Rain

Li Yue

No leaves sprout from mulberry trees on drought-scorched earth;

Flutes and pipes are played to evoke the Rain God’s mirth.

But the rich see dances and hear songstresses sing;

They only fear rain clouds would damage their lute string.

This quatrain makes a contrast between the poor praying for rain and the rich afraid the rain would spoil their pleasure.

《观祈雨》是唐代诗人李约的作品。这是一首悯农诗,写观看春日祈雨的感慨,前两句写农民春旱祈雨的场面,后两句写朱门看歌舞的情景。此诗通过对久旱无雨时两种不同生活的描绘,揭露了当时的阶级对立和贫富的悬殊。农民们由于天旱而忧虑一年生计,豪门权贵却笙歌竟日,反而怕天阴下雨乐器受潮。如此鲜明的对比,反映了作者对豪门荒淫生活的无比愤慨以及对农民苦难生活的深切同情。全诗语言含蓄,风格委婉。

The poem “Praying for Rain” is a work by Li Yao, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first two lines are about the peasants praying for rain in the spring drought, and the second two lines are about the scene of singing and dancing at Jumanji. The poem exposes the class confrontation and the disparity between the rich and the poor at that time by depicting the two different lives during the long drought without rain. The peasants were worried about their livelihood for a year because of the drought, while the rich and powerful sang and sang all day long, fearing that their instruments would be damped by the rainy weather. Such a stark contrast reflects the author’s indignation at the desolate life of the rich and powerful and his deep sympathy for the hardships of the peasants. The language of the poem is subtle and euphemistic.

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