Remembering An Old Troubador

About us
Contact us


Old troubador floating on lake Dongting

Slideshow  Audio  Google Map  Timeline  Timemap  Text Mode  Comments (0)

Remembering An Old Troubador
        Dai Biaoyuan 1244-1310     

In better days he sang of peonies, purple and red,
Holding vermillion tasseled sandlewood clappers.
Now, white haired, he sings in Jiangnan for a cup of wine,
No one would know he is another Li Gunian!


Purple and red peonies
      in bright sunlight,
Sandalwood castanets
      vermillion tasseled
            a silver score.
Gray haired
      in Jiangnan
            singing for a jug of wine,
No one to realize
      he's another Li Guinian!
Gǎnjiù Gēzhě
Mǔdan hóng zǐ yàn yáng tiān,
Tánbǎn zhū sī jǐn sè jiān.
Tóu bái Jiāngnán yī zūn jiǔ,
Wúrēn zhī shì Lǐ Guīnián.*
Translator: Dongbo 東波

See Du Fu's quatrain 'Bumping Into Li GuinianIn Jiangnan'.

Li Gunian was a famous singer in the court of the Tang emperor Xuan Zong. During the An Lushan rebellion of 756 he fled to Chengdu with the emperor. Years later in 770 the poet Du Fu found him in more humble circumstances on the shore of the Dongting Lake in Jiangnan, the area south of the Changjiang.

Related Items:
Dòngtīnghú 洞廳湖
Húnán 湖南