by Tu Fu (712 - 770)
Translation by Launcelot Alfred Cranmer-Byng (1872 - 1945)

The ghost road
Language: English  after the Chinese (中文) 
The winds and the pines are whispering,
   The river girds in its flight,
My footfalls sound through ancient tiles
   Where grey rats flit from sight.

What monarch raised those palace walls?
   Who knows to-day his name
Who left beneath yon precipice
   The stone wrack of his fame?

Like jets of dusky blue I see
   Ghosts from the gloom arise,
Down the forgotten road return
   Strange rumours and faint sighs.

The thousand voices of the void
   Blend to a chant bizarre,
And the purple leaves are carpeted
   For Autumn's avatar.

The death-doomed legions thunder past
   In the wake of fleeting years;
I fain would drown their tramp with song,
   But all my songs are tears.


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-01-18
Line count: 20
Word count: 114