Song on the River
In a ship of spice-wood with unsinkable oars,
Musicians at both ends, we drift along the shores.
We have sweet wine with singing girls to drink our fill,
And so the waves may carry us wherever they will.
Immortals could not fly without their yellow crane;
Unselfish men might follow white gulls to the main.
The verse of Qu Yuan shines as bright as sun and moon,
While palaces of Chu vanish like dreams at noon.
Seeing my pen in verve, even mountains shake;
Hearing my laughter proud, the seaside hermits wake.
If worldly fame and wealth were things to last forever,
Then northwestward would turn the eastward flowing river.
The romantic poet thinks himself as happy as immortals while roaming on the river.
A poem in seven lines written by Li Bai, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The poem starts with a trip on the river, expressing the poet’s disdain for the vulgar and constrained reality and his pursuit of the ideal of a free and beautiful life. The first four lines of the poem show an exaggerated and idealized description of the immediate scene of the trip on the river, with an atmosphere of transcendence; the middle four lines of the poem are in two contrasting lines, the first line carrying on the above, praising and affirming the pleasure of boating on the river, and the second line revealing the historical significance of the ideal life; the last four lines, carrying on the previous play, responding to the beginning of the river boating, and living out the poet’s contempt for everything and his proud and unrestrained attitude, and The final four stanzas of the poem are a response to the poet’s opening line about rafting on the river. The poem is full of distinctive images, exciting emotions, boldness and bright tones, which fully demonstrate the characteristics of Li Bai’s poetry, both ideologically and artistically.