Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Wang Wei, aka Wang Youcheng

Chinese Poet, Musician, Painter and Statesman

"You ask what is the ultimate answer? It is the song of the fisherman sailing back to shore."

"How could sufferings be relieved through purification? To know the Path is to get lost at the ford. Indeed, sickness comes from worldly love and poverty begins with the pursuit of greed."

"Peach Blossom Journey - Fishing boat pursue water love hill spring Both banks peach blossom arrive ancient river crossing Travel look red tree not know far Travel furthest blue stream not see people Mountain mouth stealthy move begin cave profound Mountain open spacious view spin flat land Far see one place accumulate cloud tree Nearby join 1000 homes scattered flower bamboo Firewood person first express Han surname given name Reside person not change Qin clothing clothing Reside person together live Wu Ling source Still from outside outside build field orchard Moon bright pine below room pen quiet Sun through cloud middle chicken dog noisy Surprise hear common visitor contend arrive gather Compete lead back home ask all town At brightness alley alley sweep blossom begin Approach dusk fisher woodman via water return Beginning reason evade earth leave person among Change ask god immortal satisfy not return Gorge inside who know be human affairs World middle far gaze sky cloud hill Not doubt magic place hard hear see Dust heart not exhaust think country country Beyond hole not decide away hill water Leave home eventually plan far travel spread Self say pass through old not lost Who know peak gully now arrive change Now only mark entrance hill deep Blue stream how many times reach cloud forest Spring come all over be peach blossom water Not know immortal source what place search A fisher's boat chased the water into the coveted hills, Both banks were covered in peach blossom at the ancient river crossing. He knew not how far he sailed, gazing at the reddened trees, He travelled to the end of the blue stream, seeing no man on the way. Then finding a crack in the hillside, he squeezed through the deepest of caves, And beyond the mountain a vista opened of flat land all about! In the distance he saw clouds and trees gathered together, Nearby amongst a thousand homes flowers and bamboo were scattered. A wood-gatherer was the first to speak a Han-era name, The inhabitants' dress was unchanged since the time of Qin. The people lived together on uplands above Wu Ling river, Apart from the outside world they laid their fields and plantations. Below the pines and the bright moon, all was quiet in the houses, When the sun started to shine through the clouds, the chickens and dogs gave voice. Startled to find a stranger amongst them, the people jostled around, They competed to invite him in and ask about his home. As brightness came, the lanes had all been swept of blossom, By dusk, along the water the fishers and woodsmen returned. To escape the troubled world they had first left men's society, They live as if become immortals, no reason now to return. In that valley they knew nothing of the way we live outside, From within our world we gaze afar at empty clouds and hills. Who would not doubt that magic place so hard to find, The fisher's worldly heart could not stop thinking of his home. He left that land, but its hills and rivers never left his heart, Eventually he again set out, and planned to journey back. By memory, he passed along the way he'd taken before, Who could know the hills and gullies had now completely changed? Now he faced only the great mountain where he remembered the entrance, Each time he followed the clear stream, he found only cloud and forest. Spring comes, and all again is peach blossom and water, No-one knows how to reach that immortal place."

"A Farmhouse on the Wei River - In the slant of the sun on the country-side, Cattle and sheep trail home along the lane; And a rugged old man in a thatch door Leans on a staff and thinks of his son, the herdboy. There are whirring pheasants, full wheat-ears, Silk-worms asleep, pared mulberry-leaves. And the farmers, returning with hoes on their shoulders, Hail one another familiarly. ...No wonder I long for the simple life And am sighing the old song, Oh, to go Back Again."

"There's a girl from Loyang in the door across the street, She looks fifteen, she may be a little older. ...While her master rides his rapid horse with jade bit an bridle, Her handmaid brings her cod-fish in a golden plate. On her painted pavilions, facing red towers, Cornices are pink and green with peach-bloom and with willow, Canopies of silk awn her seven-scented chair, And rare fans shade her, home to her nine-flowered curtains. Her lord, with rank and wealth and in the bud of life, Exceeds in munificence the richest men of old. He favours this girl of lowly birth, he has her taught to dance; And he gives away his coral-trees to almost anyone. The wind of dawn just stirs when his nine soft lights go out, Those nine soft lights like petals in a flying chain of flowers. Between dances she has barely time for singing over the songs; No sooner is she dressed again than incense burns before her. Those she knows in town are only the rich and the lavish, And day and night she is visiting the hosts of the gayest mansions. ...Who notices the girl from Yue with a face of white jade, Humble, poor, alone, by the river, washing silk?"

"A Song of Peach-Blossom River - A fisherman is drifting, enjoying the spring mountains, And the peach-trees on both banks lead him to an ancient source. Watching the fresh-coloured trees, he never thinks of distance Till he comes to the end of the blue stream and suddenly- strange men! It's a cave-with a mouth so narrow that he has to crawl through; But then it opens wide again on a broad and level path -- And far beyond he faces clouds crowning a reach of trees, And thousands of houses shadowed round with flowers and bamboos.... Woodsmen tell him their names in the ancient speech of Han; And clothes of the Qin Dynasty are worn by all these people Living on the uplands, above the Wuling River, On farms and in gardens that are like a world apart, Their dwellings at peace under pines in the clear moon, Until sunrise fills the low sky with crowing and barking. ...At news of a stranger the people all assemble, And each of them invites him home and asks him where he was born. Alleys and paths are cleared for him of petals in the morning, And fishermen and farmers bring him their loads at dusk.... They had left the world long ago, they had come here seeking refuge; They have lived like angels ever since, blessedly far away, No one in the cave knowing anything outside, Outsiders viewing only empty mountains and thick clouds. ...The fisherman, unaware of his great good fortune, Begins to think of country, of home, of worldly ties, Finds his way out of the cave again, past mountains and past rivers, Intending some time to return, when he has told his kin. He studies every step he takes, fixes it well in mind, And forgets that cliffs and peaks may vary their appearance. ...It is certain that to enter through the deepness of the mountain, A green river leads you, into a misty wood. But now, with spring-floods everywhere and floating peachpetals -- Which is the way to go, to find that hidden source?"

"Song of an Old General - When he was a youth of fifteen or twenty, He chased a wild horse, he caught him and rode him, He shot the white-browed mountain tiger, He defied the yellow-bristled Horseman of Ye. Fighting single- handed for a thousand miles, With his naked dagger he could hold a multitude. ...Granted that the troops of China were as swift as heaven's thunder And that Tartar soldiers perished in pitfalls fanged with iron, General Wei Qing's victory was only a thing of chance. And General Li Guang's thwarted effort was his fate, not his fault. Since this man's retirement he is looking old and worn: Experience of the world has hastened his white hairs. Though once his quick dart never missed the right eye of a bird, Now knotted veins and tendons make his left arm like an osier. He is sometimes at the road-side selling melons from his garden, He is sometimes planting willows round his hermitage. His lonely lane is shut away by a dense grove, His vacant window looks upon the far cold mountains But, if he prayed, the waters would come gushing for his men And never would he wanton his cause away with wine. ...War-clouds are spreading, under the Helan Range; Back and forth, day and night, go feathered messages; In the three River Provinces, the governors call young men -- And five imperial edicts have summoned the old general. So he dusts his iron coat and shines it like snow- Waves his dagger from its jade hilt in a dance of starry steel. He is ready with his strong northern bow to smite the Tartar chieftain -- That never a foreign war-dress may affront the Emperor. ...There once was an aged Prefect, forgotten and far away, Who still could manage triumph with a single stroke."

"Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire, How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home? -- Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake -- And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north: Lowly one day, no different from the others, The next day exalted, everyone praising her. No more would her own hands powder her face Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe. And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked, Blinding him away from wisdom. ...Girls who had once washed silk beside her Were kept at a distance from her chariot. And none of the girls in her neighbours' houses By pursing their brows could copy her beauty. "

"A traveler s thoughts in the night Wander in a thousand miles of dreams."

"A red berry grows in the south country -- the boughs are full of them when spring arrives. Gather some, I pray, and fill your pockets -- These are the best forget-me-knots!"

"A cold rain mingled with the river at evening, when I entered Wu; in the clear dawn I bid you farewell, lonely as Ch'u Mountain. My kinsfolk in Loyang, should they ask about me, tell them: My heart is a piece of ice in a jade cup!"

"A morning-rain has settled the dust in Weicheng; willows are green again in the tavern dooryard... Wait till we empty one more cup -- west of Yang Gate there'll be no old friends."

"As a global sports event and an all-round social and cultural activity, the Olympic Games needs stable and sufficient power supply, while SG is one of the largest enterprises with rich experience and solid strength in the field."

"After rain the empty mountain stands autumnal in the evening, moonlight in its groves of pine, stones of crystal in its brooks. Bamboos whisper of washer-girls bound home, lotus-leaves yield before a fisher-boat -- and what does it matter that springtime has gone, while you are here, O Prince of Friends?"

"Autumn hill gather surplus shine. Fly bird chase before companion. Color green moment bright, sunset mist no fixed place. The autumn hill gathers remaining light, a flying bird chases its companion before. The green color is momentarily bright, sunset mist has no fixed place."

"Authorities were adding more trains for the travel peak, however, there were much more travelers compared with the limited addition of extra trains."

"Alone now in a strange country, feeling myself a stranger, on this bright festival day I doubly pine for my kinsfolk. Far away, I know my brothers will be climbing the heights with dogwood sprays in their jackets, and one man missing!"

"As the years go by, give me but peace, freedom from ten thousand matters. I ask myself and always answer: What can be better than coming home? A wind from the pine-trees blows my sash, and my lute is bright with the mountain moon. You ask me about good and evil fortune?... Hark, on the lake there's a fisherman singing!"

"Basically we now have the 'painless extraction' method. The bear's pain has been greatly reduced."

"Borne by the channel of a green stream,"

"Before we find good alternatives for bear bile, we do not have a timetable to eliminate the practice (extracting bile from the gallbladder of farmed bears)."

"Clear waters drift through the immensity of a tall forest. In front of me a huge river mouth receives the long wind. Deep ripples hold white sand and white fish swimming as in a void. I sprawl on a big rock, billows nourishing my humble body. I gargle with water and wash my feet. A fisherman pauses out on the surf. So many fish long for bait. I look only to the east with its lotus leaves."

"Down horse drink gentleman alcohol. Ask gentleman what place go. Gentleman say not achieve wish. Return lie south mountain near. Still go nothing more ask. White cloud not exhaust time. Dismounting, I offer my friend a cup of wine, I ask what place he is headed to. He says he has not achieved his aims, is retiring to the southern hills. Now go, and ask me nothing more, white clouds will drift on for all time."

"Empty hill not see person. Yet hear person voice sound. Return scene enter deep forest. Duplicate light green moss on. Hills are empty, no man is seen, yet the sound of people's voices is heard. Light is cast into the deep forest, and shines again on green moss."

"Fine apricot cut for roof-beam. Fragrant cogon-grass tie for eaves. Not know ridgepole in cloud. Go make people among rain. Fine apricot was cut for the roof-beam, fragrant cogon-grass tied for the eaves. I know not when the cloud from this house will go to make rain among the people."

"High beyond the thick wall a tower shines with sunset where peach and plum are blooming and the willow-cotton flies. You have heard in your office the court-bell of twilight; birds find perches, officials head for home. Your morning-jade will tinkle as you thread the golden palace; you will bring the word of Heaven from the closing gates at night. And I should serve there with you; but being full of years, I have taken off official robes and am resting from my troubles."

"From ten thousand valleys the trees touch heaven; on a thousand peaks cuckoos are calling; and, after a night of mountain rain, from each summit come hundreds of silken cascades. ...If girls are asked in tribute the fibre they weave, or farmers quarrel over taro fields, preside as wisely as Wenweng did... Is fame to be only for the ancients?"

"Fly bird go no limit. Join mountain again autumn color. Up down Huazi Ridge. Melancholy feeling what extreme. A bird in flight goes on without limit, joined hills are autumn's colors again. From top to bottom of Huazi Ridge, melancholy feeling has no end."

"How could sufferings be relieved through purification? To know the Path is to get lost at the ford. Indeed, sickness comes from worldly love And poverty begins with the pursuit of greed."

"I can never see my old friend again— the river Han still streams to the east I might question some old man of his place— river and hills—empty is Tsaichou."

"I cannot find the Monastery of Heaped Fragrance, miles up now into the clouds of the summit. There is no footpath through the ancient woods. Where did the bell sound, deep in the sound, deep in the mountain? The voice of the torrent gulps over jagged stones; sunlight hardly warms the bluish pines. As dusk deepens in these unfathomable mazes, I practice meditation to subdue the dragon of desire."

"I feel less worried about thieves now because I feel safer on the train. Before, we sometimes encountered bad guys who caused trouble with us trying to extort our money during the long trips. Now there are hardly any of these guys."

"Hill at mutual escort stop. Day dusk shut wood door. Spring grass next year green. Prince offspring return not return. We bid each other farewell beside the hill, as day meets dusk, I close the wooden gate. Next year, in spring, there will be green grass again, but will my honored friend return?"

"I dwell apart by the River Qi, where the Eastern wilds stretch far without hills. The sun darkens beyond the mulberry trees; the river glistens through the villages. Shepherd boys depart, gazing back to their hamlets; hunting dogs return following their men. When a man's at peace, what business does he have? I shut fast my rustic door throughout the day."

"I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers, borne by the channel of a green stream, rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains on a journey of less than thirty miles... Rapids hum over heaped rocks; but where light grows dim in the thick pines, the surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns and weeds are lush along the banks… Down in my heart I have always been as pure as this limpid water is... Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock and to cast a fishing-line forever!"

"I'm idle, as osmanthus flowers fall, this quiet night in spring, the hill is empty. The moon comes out and startles the birds on the hill, they don't stop calling in the spring ravine."

"I sit along in the dark bamboo grove, playing the zither and whistling long. In this deep wood no one would know - only the bright moon comes to shine."

"In a happy reign there should be no hermits; the wise and able should consult together... so you, a man of the eastern mountains, gave up your life of picking herbs and came all the way to the Gate of Gold -- but you found your devotion unavailing. ...To spend the Day of No Fire on one of the southern rivers, you have mended your spring clothes here in these northern cities. I pour you the farewell wine as you set out from the capital -- soon I shall be left behind here by my bosom-friend. In your sail-boat of sweet cinnamon-wood you will float again toward your own thatch door, led along by distant trees to a sunset shining on a far-away town...What though your purpose happened to fail, doubt not that some of us can hear high music."

"Its massive height near the City of Heaven joins a thousand mountains to the corner of the sea. Clouds, when I look back, close behind me, mists, when I enter them, are gone. A central peak divides the wilds and weather into many valleys... Needing a place to spend the night, I call to a wood-cutter over the river."

"It's undesirable for the international community to link the issue of bear farming with other issues."

"Light cloud pavilion light rain. Dark yard day weary open. Sit look green moss color. About to on person clothes come. There's light cloud, and drizzle round the pavilion, in the dark yard, I wearily open a gate. I sit and look at the color of green moss, ready for people's clothing to pick up."

"Light boat south hill go. North hill vast expanse hard reach. Separate bank see person home. Long way off not recognize. A light boat sets off from the southern hill, the north is hard to reach across the vastness. On the other bank, I look for my home, it cannot be recognized so far off."

"My heart in middle age found the Way. And I came to dwell at the foot of this mountain. When the spirit moves, I wander alone amid beauty that is all for me... I will walk till the water checks my path, then sit and watch the rising clouds -- and someday meet an old wood-cutter and talk and laugh and never return."

"Not know incense store temple. Few enter cloud peaks. Ancient trees no person path. Deep hills what place bell. Spring sound choke sheer rock. Sun color cold green pines. Dusk empty pool bend. Peace meditation control fierce dragon. I did not know the incense storing temple, I walked a few miles into the clouded peaks. No man on the path between the ancient trees, a bell rang somewhere deep among the hills. A spring sounded choked, running down steep rocks, the green pines chilled the sunlight's colored rays. Come dusk, at the bend of a deserted pool, through meditation I controlled passion's dragon."

"Old age think good quiet. Everything not concern heart. Self attend without great plan. Empty know return old forest. Pine wind blow undo belt. Hill moon light pluck qin. Gentleman ask end open reason. Fisherman song enter riverbank deep. Now in old age, I know the value of silence, the world's affairs no longer stir my heart. Turning to myself, I have no greater plan, all I can do is return to the forest of old. Wind from the pine trees blows my sash undone, the moon shines through the hills; I pluck the qin. You ask me why the world must rise and fall, fishermen sing on the steep banks of the river."

"Round a turn of the Qin Fortress winds the Wei River, and Yellow Mountain foot-hills enclose the Court of China; past the South Gate willows comes the Car of Many Bells on the upper Palace-Garden Road-a solid length of blossom; a Forbidden City roof holds two phoenixes in cloud; the foliage of spring shelters multitudes from rain; and now, when the heavens are propitious for action, here is our Emperor ready-no wasteful wanderer."

"Narrow path sunless temple locust tree. Deep dark much green moss. Should gate except meet sweep. In case have hill monk come. A narrow, sunless path to the temple tree, deep and dark; abundant green moss. Wait by the gate when finished sweeping the yard, in case a monk should come down from the hill."

"Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains on a journey of less than thirty miles... Rapids hum over heaped rocks; but where light grows dim in the thick pines, the surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns and weeds are lush along the banks. ...Down in my heart I have always been as pure as this limpid water is... Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock and to cast a fishing-line forever!"

"Sitting alone in the hush of the bamboo grove I thrum my lute and whistle lingering notes. In the secrecy of the wood no one can hear -- Only the clear moon comes to shine on me."

"Seated alone by shadowy bamboos, I strum my lyre and laugh aloud; none know that I am here, deep in the woods; only the bright moon comes to shine on me."