A Toast for Men Yun-Ch’ing

By Tu Fu 712–770 Tu Fu

Translated By Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell

Illimitable happiness,
But grief for our white heads.
We love the long watches of the night, the red candle.
It would be difficult to have too much of meeting,
Let us not be in hurry to talk of separation.
But because the Heaven River will sink,
We had better empty the wine-cups.
To-morrow, at bright dawn, the world’s business will entangle us.
We brush away our tears,
We go—East and West.

Source: Fir-flower Tablets: Poems Translated from the Chinese (Houghton Mifflin, 1921)

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Poet Tu Fu 712–770


 Tu  Fu


Also known as Du Fu, Tu Fu is considered with Li Po to be one of China’s greatest poets of the Tang dynasty. Tu Fu was born to a minor scholar-official in Henan Province. His mother died while he was young, and an aunt helped raised him. Though he studied for the civil service exam to become a civil servant like his father, Tu Fu failed to pass and spent many years traveling. His early poems thread together incidents from his . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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