Three Hundred Tang Poems

Welcome to the Wikibook of Three Hundred Tang Poems. This book teaches Chinese poetry of the Tang period.

Objectives edit

This book is to help students gain a deeper understanding of Chinese poetry through exposure to the writings of famous poets of the Tang Dynasty. A student's ability to write Chinese prose and poetry can be rapidly improved through such exposure.

Structure of the Wikibook edit

Each of the poems are presented in three forms, namely, simplified Chinese, its English translation and Chinese pinyin (transliteration). The original poems were written in traditional Chinese, but are now rendered in simplified Chinese, as it is widely used today. The English translations are generally attempts to translate the meanings of the poems, and are not single-word translations (as what you would find in a typical dictionary). The Chinese pinyin forms help in the pronunciation and understanding of the poems. The original poems do not include pinyin, and since Chinese is not a phonetic language (i.e. not based on an alphabet), there is no guide to pronunciation in the source texts. (Incidentally, there is also no punctuation in the original texts.) Even simple words can have various pronunciations, as well as different associated meanings. For example, the word 乐 can be read as yuè (which means "music") or lè (which means "happiness")[1]. The English translations and pinyin together serve as a guide to the meanings of the poems. As many Chinese words sound alike, but are written differently with different meanings, homophones are used to evoke imagery or meanings that cannot be easily translated into English or any other language. As in English poetry, Chinese poems are meant to be read aloud, and pinyin is useful in this respect.

Prerequisites edit

Knowledge of some basic Chinese characters before starting this course is preferred. If you do not have some knowledge of basic Chinese, an online or offline dictionary will be helpful.

If you do not know Chinese, the poems can be enjoyed as one would read English poetry, bearing in mind that a deeper understanding can be achieved if you would be interested enough to venture into learning Chinese. This is not difficult, since many online dictionaries are available.

On the other hand, this book can help those who can speak but not write Chinese. The pinyin form is spoken Chinese, rendered in an accessible phonetic form. The pinyin form can therefore help one to learn how to read and write Chinese, if one is already familiar with the spoken word.

Introduction edit

The Three Hundred Tang Poems (唐诗三百首) is a compilation of about 300 popular poems of the Tang Dynasty, a period that is commonly regarded as the golden age of Chinese literature. This compilation has been used by students for hundreds of years, and is popular to this day. It includes short poems of a few lines, such as those by Dù Qiū Niáng (杜秋娘), to much longer poems by Hán Yù (韩愈). Some of the poems are listed below:

Tang Poems edit

English Name Chinese Name Author
Drinking Alone With The Moon 月下独酌 Li Bai
In Spring 春思 Li Bai
Seeing Li Bai In A Dream 梦李白 Du Fu
At Parting 送别 Wang Wei
A Green Stream 青溪 Wang Wei
The Beautiful Xi Shi 西施咏 Wang Wei
Tianmu Mountain Ascended in A Dream 梦游天姥吟留别 Li Bai
Beyond The Border 出塞 Wang Zhi Huan
River-snow 江雪 Liu Zong Yuan
In Her Quiet Window 闺怨 Wang Chang Ling
The Gold-threaded Robe 金缕衣 Du Qiu Niang

References edit

  • "The Jade Mountain: A Chinese Anthology", compiled by Hengtangtuishi and translated by Witter Bynner. Alfred A. Knopf, 1931.

The following sources have the poems in audio format, human-read in Mandarin and a few Chinese dialects.

Notes edit