WANG ANSHI (1021-1086)
Wang Anshi was born to a modest family with a history of government service. Although Wang Anshi started out as a provincial official, under the Emperor Shenzong (reigned 1067-1085) he became the most important politician of his time, a reformer who sought to regulate many aspects of Northern Song culture, from education to the military. When the conservative forces in the government opposed his reforms, he fell from favor and resigned. He was a protege of Ouyang Xiu, who praised his work, and like Ouyang saw literature as in the Confucian tradition of promoting moral and social improvements. His collected poems consist of more than 1500 pieces, and a number of his prose pieces also survive. He is known for the simplicity and clarity of his poems, especially for those written in the regulated verse form, and as one of the Eight Masters of Song and Tang Dynasty Prose.
To the Tune of "Silk-Washing Brook"
This garden of hundred acres is half covered in moss.
A white stream meanders before the gate.
But who can come here and enjoy this quietude?
In covered walkways through the small courtyard spring is silent, silent,
just mountain peach blossoms, a few apricot trees by the stream.
For whom do they drop petals, for whom do they bloom?
---Translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping
Mooring My Boat at Guazhou
Jinkow and Guazhou are separated by water.
Bell Mountain is just behind a few mountain ranges.
Spring wind has greened the south bank of the Yangtze again.
When will the bright moon light my way home.
Wang Anshi (Wang An-shih) (1021-1086)
Translated by TB and CP