Chinese poem illustration: 渭川田家 Farmer Houses Along Wei River by Wang Wei
Staying with the political career or being a hermit is the ultimate question for an ancient Chinese elite. In Chinese 达则兼济天下, 穷则独善其身, which means : as an elite, you should contribute to the land and people when the situation is good, or mind your own business only if reaching a dead-end.
With such a philosophy , when we look back to this poem which depicted a peaceful, delighted and lively countryside life, it is not just simple jealousy to farmers by a top officer, by the most famous poet of the time, by the hottest celebrity in the great Chang’An city, it is the hardest decision for Wang Wei: to hermit or not. It could be the prelude of the declining of Tang dynasty as well.
Today’s people take this poem as the most vivid, picturesque and accurate description of a traditional chinese countryside. Whenever such situation encountered in real life, this poem would be recited very naturally by a Chinese. Sadly, this joyful encounter becomes less and less..
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