The earliest and most complete collection of Yuefu poems extant in China
Chinese Name: 乐府诗集
English Name: Anthology of Yuefu Poetry
Author: Guo Mao Qian 郭茂倩
Originally Published: AD 960 — 1127 (Northern Song 北宋）
Genre: Literature, Poems
Brief Introduction of Anthology of Yuefu Poetry
Anthology of Yuefu Poetry 乐府诗集, compiled by Guo Maoqian of the Northern Song, is the earliest and most complete collection of Yuefu poems extant in China. It is the essence of the folk songs of the Han 汉, Wei 魏, Jin 晋 and Northern and Southern dynasties 南北朝. It is rich in content and reflects a wide range of social life. With a total of more than 5000 pieces, divided into 12 categories and 100 volumes, including the famous folk song Mulan Poems 木兰诗.
“Yuefu”, originally the name of the organ in charge of music, was first established in the Reign of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty 汉武帝时期, and there were also Yuefu organs in the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Its specific task is to produce music scores, collect lyrics and train musical talents. There are two sources of lyrics: one is specially written by literati, the other is collected from Chinese folk. Later, people called the poems collected by Yuefu organs Yuefu, or Yuefu Poetry. So Yuefu from the official name into the name of poetry.
The arrangement of the Anthology of Yuefu Poetry is to put the “ancient Ci 古辞”(earlier anonymous works) or earlier poems of each tune in the front, and the proposed works of later generations in the back, so that the readers can understand that some literati poems are influenced by folk songs or previous literati.
Anthology of Yuefu Poetry collects and classifies the songs of the past dynasties according to their tunes, so that many works can be compiled into books, which provides great convenience for the collation and research of Yuefu poetry. Meanwhile, it also makes a detailed introduction and explanation of the origin, nature and musical Instruments used in singing of various kinds of music. It is of great value to the study of literature and music history.
Folk songs are the essence of Anthology of Yuefu Poetry.The content of folk songs is very rich, which can be summarized as the following aspects. First, it directly revealed and satirized the ugly face of the ruling class, reflecting the tragic fate of the working people, and the feelings of resistance against the ruling class, as well as some scenes of struggle.
Second, the oppression of the feudal class on the peasants was not only reflected in politics and economy, but also in the feudal ethics and feudal morality. The rulers seriously bound the working people with the spiritual shackles of the “Three Fundamental Bonds and Five Constant Virtues” 三纲五常, and the oppression of women was especially serious.
Third, it showed healthy and pure love.
Author of Anthology of Yuefu Poetry
Guo Maoqian (1041-1099) was a native of Dongping 东平, Shandong 山东 province. He was born in a family of officials. He was influenced by poetic rites from an early age. He was very interested in poetry, and later became famous for compiling the earliest and most complete collection of Yuefu poems in China.
Guo Maoqian has been paid attention to by the academic circle for his research. The poem of Mulan and the Peacock Flies Southeast 孔雀东南飞 in Anthology of Yuefu Poetry are collectively called two classics of Anthology of Yuefu Poetry 乐府双璧 by later generations. He died at the age of 59.
Excerpts From Anthology of Yuefu Poetry
Evaluation of Anthology of Yuefu Poetry
Anthology of Yuefu Poetry have a great influence on later generations, and its narrative scenery has no artificial traces.
Shen Deqian 沈德潜
Anthology of Yuefu Poetry contains many excellent works that have never been done before.
Hu Yinglin 胡应麟