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劉應時《登樓》“Ascending a Tower” by Liu Yingshi (fl. 12th century)

圖書粲東壁, Books glister on the Eastern Wall,[1]

星斗下西。 The Dipper[2] descends west of the tower.

滿座襟懐爽, All the visitors feel fresh in their hearts;

一輪風露。 The one disc[3] turns autumnal in winds and dew.

雲山遺古意, In clouds and mountains remains the spirit of antiquity;

江漢洗詩。 The Yangtze and Han [River] rinse the sorrow of a poet.

更欲騎黄鶴, All the more [I] wish to ride a yellow crane

相隨汗漫[4] To roam far and free in each other’s company.

[1] Dongbi東壁 (Eastern Wall) refers to bixiu 壁宿 (Wall Mansion). It is one of the twenty-eight mansions of Chinese constellations and was believed to represent books and fine writing. The two stars of the Wall Mansion (γ Pegasi and α Andromedae) and the two stars (α Pegasi and β Pegasi) of the Encampment Mansion (shixiu 室宿) form the prominent rectangular asterism (commonly known as the Great Square [of Pegasus]) that is high in the autumn night sky in the Northern Hemisphere. [2] As a compound, xingdou 星斗 may refer generally to all stars or specifically to the Great Dipper. However, according to the movement and direction depicted in this line, xingdou 星斗 (Dipper) here could also suggest douxiu 斗宿 (Dipper Mansion, or the Southern Dipper). [3] Yi lun 一輪 (one disc) refers to the moon.

[4] Red characters rhyme.

A hanging scroll that depicts people in a tower, watching a man riding a crane; by an anonymous artist of the Song period (960-1279)

Picture credit: The National Palace Museum, Taipei


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