作者：杜甫 （Author: Du Fu, 8th century)
車轔轔 Cart sound of carriage (ling, ling)
馬蕭蕭 horse xiao, xiao walking sound, shoes, hooves clopping
行人弓箭各在腰 walk man (enlisted men) bow arrow each at waist
爺孃妻子走相送 father mother wife child walk him send someone off
塵埃不見咸陽橋 dust/dust not see Xianyang bridge,
牽衣頓足攔道哭 hold by hand clothes foot tapping block path cry
哭聲直上干雲霄cry sound straight go on rush towards (clash) cloud sky
道旁過者問行人 path beside (passing by person refers to Du fu) ask enlisted men
行人但云點行頻 enlisted men only talk point (select/roll call) enlist frequently
或從十五北防河 either from 15 north defend yellow river
便至四十西營田 then reach 40 west manage field
去時里正與裹頭 leave time manager of an area (one li) and wrap head
歸來頭白還戍邊 return come head white still defend frontier
邊亭流血成海水 frontier yard flow blood become sea water
武皇開邊意未已 Emp. Wu (veiled reference to Bright Emp.) opened up frontier intention wish not stop
君不聞漢家山東二百州 you not hear (didn’t you hear?) Han family (dynasty) mountain East 200 provinces (didn’t you hear that east of the mountain there are 200 provinces East of Han Gu strategic pass)
千村萬落生荊杞 1,000 village, 10,000 village grow wolf berry
縱有健婦把鋤犁 Even have healthy woman hold hoe plow
禾生隴畝無東西 Grain grow agricultural field not east west (grain w/o direction)
況復秦兵耐苦戰 moreover again Qin nation soldier (fighting in western part) tolerate bitter war
被驅不異犬與雞 passive voice urge no different dog and chicken (urged on no different from dogs and chickens)
長者雖有問 even older person (Du Fu) have question
役夫敢申恨 War person (enlisted man) dare say hatred
且如今年冬 And like now year winter
未休關西卒 not rest strategic pass west soldier
縣官急索租 county official in a hurry ask rent (taxes)
租稅從何出 rent tax from where come out
信知生男惡 indeed know give birth men evil
反是生女好 give birth to daughter good (on contrary)
生女猶得嫁比鄰 daughter still be able to marry neighbor
生男埋沒隨百草 give birth son bury disappear follow 100 grasses
君不見青海頭 you not see green sea side/edge (Green Sea Lake)
古來白骨無人收 old come (since ancient time) white bone not person receive
新鬼煩冤舊鬼哭 new ghosts bother (feeling) bitterness old ghosts cry (new ghosts feel resentment while old ghosts cry)
天陰雨濕聲啾啾 sky shade rain wet sound cry joe joe
Rolling and more rolling of the war carts,
The horse hooves constantly clopping.
Soldiers with bows and arrows at their waists.
Fathers, mothers, wives, and children come to say goodbye
There are so many that we can’t see the bridge to the west.
It’s covered with dust.
They clutch the soldier’s clothes, stamp their feet, cry,
And try to block their path.
Their weeping blasts into the heavens,
And breaks against the cloudy sky.
I ask the soldiers questions,
And they tell me they are forced to enlist again and again.
At fifteen years old, they defend us at the north river.
At forty they’re forced to grow food for the soldiers.
When they leave, the village chief wraps their heads.
When they come home again, their hair is white,
And still, they go back to frontier to fight.
On the frontier, so much blood flows that it becomes an ocean.
But Emperor Wu’s greed for more territory never ends.
Haven’t you heard that east of the pass,
There are two hundred provinces?
In a hundred thousand villages,
Nothing but thorns and wolf berries grow.
Even though the stronger women are tilling the land,
The crops are still in disarray.
In the West, the soldiers must endure a bitter war.
Forced on like dogs and barnyard fowl.
When an old man asks questions
The soldier is afraid to confess his hatred.
And this winter there will be no rest
For the soldiers fighting in the West.
The magistrate is still demanding taxes, right away
Where will the money come from?
Now we truly know that bearing a son is an evil fate.
Even a daughter is better than that.
The girl might be married to a neighbor,
But a boy will leave you; he’ll be buried beneath the weeds.
Have you ever seen the banks of the Green Sea Lake?
Since ancient times, no one has gathered its white bones.
The ghosts of the newly dead are filled with bitterness,
While the old ghosts cry.
The grey sky soaks the earth,
And everywhere is the sound of sobbing.
Du Fu, who lived during the height of the Tang Dynasty’s wealth and prestige and during the devastating An Lushan invasion as well, is one of China’s most renowned poets. A devoted Confucianist, he wrote feelingly of the sufferings of the common man. Although he speaks of Han dynasty Emperor Wu in the penultimate line of the second stanza, contemporary readers would have understood that he was actually making a thinly veiled reference to their own Bright Emperor. Someone in Du Fu’s time reading the first stanza of the poem would have also understood that when the soldiers crossed the bridge to the west, they were going toward the western border, where the Bright Emperor was aggressively expanding his domain. The third stanza also refers to the west, and the Green Sea Lake in the fourth stanza is a large and famous western lake. The repeated mentions of the west and the frontier are to emphasize the fact that these were primarily unjustified wars fought merely to enlarge territory. The only mention of any other direction comes in the second stanza when young soldiers fight at the “north river” (the Yellow River). This is the only place where Du Fu uses the word “defend” as the Tang Dynasty did face a serious threat at her north western border from Tibet.