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Chinese poem illustration: 邶风 柏舟/ Boat of Cypress Wood by Anonymous

邶风 柏舟

Boat is always a metaphor of fate, fate of a lord, fate of a state. It was further developed by Zhuangzi(庄子) as the ultimate destiny of a hermit: self-sufficient like a touring boat with loose anchor(饱食而遨游,泛若不系之舟,虚而遨游者也). This poem is the very origin of that image, that metaphor, that wording.

This poem depicted the common feeling of worriness in a very impressive and elegant way. The empathy created in turn makes this poem unique and popular.

An argument on the title is raised: The Boat of Cypress Wood implies this poem is about the Bei State and its lord. It use double entendre of 柏(cypress) to indicate 伯(lord), these two characters share the same sound in Zhou dynasty.

邶风 柏舟
佚名

泛彼柏舟,亦泛其流。
耿耿不寐,如有隐忧。
微我无酒,以敖以游。

我心匪鉴,不可以茹。
亦有兄弟,不可以据。
薄言往愬,逢彼之怒。

我心匪石,不可转也。
我心匪席,不可卷也。
威仪棣棣,不可选也。

忧心悄悄,愠于群小。
觏闵既多,受侮不少。
静言思之,寤辟有摽。

日居月诸,胡迭而微?
心之忧矣,如匪浣衣。
静言思之,不能奋飞。

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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