Chinese poem illustration:将赴吴兴登乐游原一绝 Climb up Leyou Plateau Before Going Wuxing by Du Mu
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Leyou plateau is a very popular place for Tang poets. Almost all the renowned Tang poets climbed it, wrote about it. Climbing up and looking into the distance is a very typical Tang people’s behavior, signifies their own vision, ambition and pursuit. The best breed of Tan poetry is always more or less associated with these climbing up and looking far theme.
Leyou Plateau is unique for Tang poets. With less than 100 meters high, good enough to overlook the royal palace, look far to the mausoleum of Han emperors , or even further north to the Tang emperor’s tomb, which give the viewer a sense of history with time span of 1000 years. It is conveniently located within Chang’an city wall, no hassle of getting back to town before everyday’s curfew. That is why we have so many poems on Leyou Plateau and sunset.
A comparison to Li Shangyin(search my video: 乐游原) will help us to have a better understanding of this poem by Du Mu. These two lived in same time period, a time of corruption and declining. Both with outstanding talents but differs in personalities, family background, finally their poems turned out to be quite different toward same subject.
老骥伏枥, 志在千里. Wrote by Cao Cao(曹操), a king in Three Kingdoms period in his last few years, expressed his view and pursuit is still far beyond thousand miles, while Du Mu with similar view and ambition, had to stand still and expecting the miracle: a wise boss appreciating and adopting him.
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