top of page

陸游《遷雞柵歌》“Song of moving the chicken fence” by Lu You (1125-1210)

烏雞買來逾歲, The silkie[1] has been bought for over a year,

庭中赤幘何昂。 In the courtyard, how proud [he] looks in his red cap!

吾孫初生畏晨唱, My newborn grandson was frightened by morning songs,

家人共議欲汝。 My family gathered in discussion and intended to dispose of you.

鳥窮必啄奴豈憚, A cornered bird surely pecks, which servants fear not;

雞賣將烹吾所。 A sold chicken will get boiled, which evokes my sympathy.

貴人賤畜雖古訓, Men are valued over livestock: in spite of this old dictum,

物理寧不思兩。 How can [one] by our very nature not seek to preserve both?

舊棲况亦苦沮洳, What’s more, your old shelter suffers from lowland dampness,

新柵幸可圖完。 Luckily, the new fence can be designed for perfect sturdiness.

東園稍去房奧遠, The East Garden is slightly farther away from our living quarters,

挾雌將雛從此。 Taking your wife and chicks,[2] hence [you] move [there].

竹簞朝暮有餘粒, Your bamboo basket from dawn to dusk has surplus grains;

瓦缶亦自盛清。 Your earthen jar is also naturally filled with clear spring water.

喈喈風雨守汝職, Sing your tunes [even] in winds and rain, keep to your duty.

腷膊勿恤驚吾[3] Your rustling runs no risk of startling our dreams.

* From Lu You, Jiannan shigao jiaozhu 劍南詩稿校注 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1985), annotated by Qian Zhonglian 錢仲聯, 61.3503.

[1] In China, this breed of chicken is most widely known for the unusual dark colour of its skin and bones, hence its common names wuji 烏雞 (black chicken) and wuguji 烏骨雞 (black-boned chicken). In addition to its culinary use, the silkie is highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, especially for treating women. [2] In the previous year (1204), Lu You wrote a poem to commemorate the purchase of this silkie cock and noted that he had also found him a spouse; see the poem “Zeng ji” 贈雞 (Gifting a chicken) in Lu You, Jiannan shigao jiaozhu, 59.3431. [3] Red characters rhyme.

My new silkie neighbour

Silky Cock, from the Prize and Game Chickens series (N20) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes; issued in 1891 in a set of 50 cards

Picture credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (


Copyright Declaration*:

The texts and images used on the website of Rachelle's Lab are either from the public domain (e.g. Wikipedia), databases with open data licenses (e.g. Shuhua diancang ziliao jiansuo xitong 書畫典藏資料檢索系統, National Palace Museum, Taipei), online libraries that permit reasonable use (e.g., or original work created for this website.

Although fair use of the website for private non-profit purposes is permitted, please note that the website of Rachelle's Lab and its content (including but not limited to translations, blog posts, images, videos, etc.) are protected under international copyright law. If you want to republish, distribute, or make derivative work based on the website content, please contact me, the copyright owner, to get written permission first and make sure to link to the corresponding page when you use it.



*Read more about copyright and permission here.

1 comment

1 comentario

Nice post

Me gusta
bottom of page