Su Shi Poem: Riverside Daffodils · Come Back Lin Gao at Night – 苏轼《临江仙·夜饮东坡醒复醉》





Riverside Daffodils
· Come Back Lin Gao at Night

Su Shi

Drinking at Eastern Slope by night,
I sober, then get drunk again.
When I come back, it’s near midnight,
I hear the thunder of my houseboy’s snore;
I knock but no one answers the door.
What can I do but, leaning on my cane,
Listen to the river’s refrain?
I long regret I am not master of my own.
When can I ignore the hums of up and down?
In the still night the soft winds quiver
On ripples of the river.
From now on I would vanish with my little boat;
For the rest of my life on the sea I would float.

The poet wishes to be master of his own and ignore the ups and downs in the world.



“Riverside Daffodils · Come Back Lin Gao at Night” is a lyric by Su Shi, a great writer of the Song Dynasty, written during his relegation to Huangzhou. The first section is a narrative, with a focus on his drunken state. When he returned to his house at night, the children were already asleep and no one opened the door, so he had to “lean on his staff and listen to the sound of the river”. It is very easy to make an association when standing quietly by the Yangtze River in the dead of night after drinking. In the next section, he writes about his thoughts and activities when he wakes up: after several setbacks, he has suffered a lot of injustice; he is full of talent, but he has ended up in exile. He escapes from the world of fame and fortune and takes a boat to return to the river and lake. The whole lyric is a blend of scenery, narrative, lyricism and argument, without any pretense of ornamentation, and the language is fluent and elegant, reflecting the characteristics of Su’s lyrics.

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