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Song Dynasty Prose Reading—-Yueyang Louji

By 19th of March 20092009

This famous prose was written around 1045 A.D. in Song Dynasty in Chinese history by Fan Zhongyan who was a prominent politician and literary figure at that time. Yueyang Louji is composed on occasion of the reconstruction of Yueyang Tower, a city gate by Dongting Lake. By listening to the second paragraph carefully, you will find the extensive usage of phrases in four even you can not speak Chinese at all. The music bedding is played by a Chinese string instrument: Guzheng, which is a parental invention of many Asia string instruments.

Enjoy this cup of tea flavored with Chinese culture.


For the meaning of this prose,

The opening paragraph describes the occasion to write this prose. The second paragraph, at the beginning describes the grand view from Yueyang tower, then it sums up author’s thought on nature scenery and previous viewers’ reflections. Located in a water transportation joint, many talents arrived here either on the way to an appointment or get resigned on the way home, therefore, the scenery they see must be different due to different situations they are in. The following two paragraphs respectively depict two extreme moods by picturing the scenery and viewer’s reaction in four character phrases: When weather’s terrible and the nature goes against people, people sign. Reversely, beautiful scenes bring in hope and happiness. At the end, it comes to the political ideal, culminating in the oft-quoted: “Feel worried before the world starts to worry, and feel happy after it has rejoiced. In all, take burden and take care of the state.”
Full translation of this paragraph is shown as follows: I used to seek the thought in the sage, which may be apart from both two feelings. That is, one should stand by his value preventing to be emphasized by outside material or inside mood. When he rose to an official, he cares about civilians and grass root. When hides and lives a common life far from power, he still worries about the manipulators and their policies. In that case, wherever he is, he shall care. But when ought the happiness to come to him? It goes without sayings that before all care should he care; after all gratify should he gratify. Ah! Were few people like this, whom would I go with? (Inteperated and translated by crystal)

For those of you who would like to check out the full English translation of this reading, please click here. Read and Produced by Crystal Zhang.