作者：李白 （Author: Li Bai, 8th century)
金叵罗，gold wine cup
吴姬十五细马驮。Wu (south, near shanghai) young girl 15 thin horse carry on horseback
青黛画眉红锦靴，green black dye decorate eyebrow red brocade shoes/boots
道字不正娇唱歌。talk word not straight, upright tender sing song
玳瑁筵中怀里醉，gemstone tortoise shell feast in bosom inside drunk
芙蓉帐底奈君何! lotus bed curtain inside helpless you how (question word)
A golden cup
Holds wine made from grapes.
And a little horse carries
A Wu nation beauty
Just 15 years old.
Her eyebrows are dyed green/black.
Her boots are red brocade.
Her dialect is hard to understand,
But her singing is so tender.
We feasted on fine tables
Inlaid with tortoise shell
And she grew drunk within my arms.
Now she is helpless inside the lotus bed curtains.
Little Miss, whatever should I do with you?
The term “grape wine,” which might seem redundant to a Westerner, signifies an exotic, foreign wine made from grapes rather than the Chinese wines made from more readily available domestic crops. The entire poem bespeaks sophistication and luxury. A tortoise shell feast is an extravagant feast, and a beautiful girl dressed in finery is an expensive purchase. A Wu nation beauty who speaks with an accent is a girl from the south who, though Chinese, would be exotic to Li Bai. From the context of the poem, it is likely that the young girl is a courtesan or singing girl that has been entertaining guests (including Li Bai) during the feast. Like the grape wine, she is a testament to his ability to sample rare and fine pleasures.
The word “helpless” in the penultimate line might possibly refer to the poet himself, but two considerations militate against this reading. The first is that the Chinese of this period did not have a tradition of chivalry in which it was fashionable for a man to at least pretend that he was helpless before a woman’s beauty. The second is the fact that Li Bai has spent almost all of the poem flaunting his sophistication and good fortune. It is extremely unlikely that a young man who has just been bragging about drinking grape wine and enjoying a tortoise shell feast would then admit to not knowing what to do with a young girl. In the final line, the address that we have translated as “Little Miss” is normally used as a serious term of respect, often toward other men. In this context, we took it as ironic.