Seeing Off My Elder Brother
Lu Zhaolin (634-684/686)
You’ll travel home through frontier mountain roads
To see the blooms and willows of Chang’än;
But now it’s time we part our hands goodbye,
To gaze in silent sorrow, and journey on.
Sòng Èr Xiōng Rén Shǔ
Guān shān kè zǐ lù
Huā liǔ dì wáng chéng
Cǐ zhōng yī fēn shǒu
Gān gù lián wú shēng
Transliteration and Notes
See-Off Second Elder-Brother Person Shu-State
Frontier mountain traveler (suffix) road
Flowers willow-trees emperor monarch city-walls
This midst one part hands
Each-other gaze pity no sound
Lu Zhaolin was an early Tang Dynasty poet, recognized as one of the “Four Paragons of the Early Tang” in Chinese literary history, along with Luo Binwang, Wang Bo, and Yang Jiong. These poets were of similar acclaim and often compared against each other. They would be instrumental in developing the five-character poetic style seen here, which was the most popular style during the Tang Dynasty.
The poet initially worked in the archives of Prince Li Yuanyu, becoming well-read after thoroughly studying the collection. After the prince’s death, he was posted as a county defender in the Shu province (modern Sichuan), but developed a crippling disease and had to leave his post. He became a disciple of a doctor and alchemist, but this failed to cure him, so he killed himself by drowning to relieve his suffering.