Lines 31-40

(In this 4th section of the Huangling Bei 皇陵碑, Zhu Yuanzhang, having lost his family to the plague and been turned out from his Buddhist temple, has become a wandering monk.  Click here to see the previous section.  Also – click on any line number to see complete annotations of each section.)

Line 31: 仰穹崖崔嵬而倚碧,聽猿啼夜月而淒涼。  Facing a lofty precipice, I would rest on the green moss; listening to the night calls of the monkeys, I felt cold and desolate.

Line 32: 魂悠悠而覓父母無有,志落魄而倘佯。  My spirit fretted and sought out my father and mother, but to no avail; my will ebbed and I wandered aimlessly.

Line 33: 西風鶴唳,俄淅瀝以飛霜。 The west wind carries the crane’s cry and suddenly a bird appears flying through the frosty air;

Line 34: 身如蓬逐風而不止,心滾滾乎沸湯。 Like tumbleweed, I followed the wind and could not stop; my heart churned like boiling water.

wandering route
The route Zhu Yuanzhang wandered as a beggar monk during the late 1340s.  (From a display at the Fengyang Drum Tower museum.) The Yangzi river cuts through the bottom right corner, and the route meanders through modern Anhui and Henan provinces.

Line 35: 一浮雲乎三載,年方二十而強。 Three years passed like floating clouds, until I was just over 20 years old.

Line 36: 時乃長淮盜起,民生攘攘。 At that time, bandits arose along the Yangzi and the Huai rivers, and the lives of the people became chaotic.

Line 37: 於是思親之心昭著,日遙眄乎家邦。 My thoughts turned toward my father and all became clear as I glanced with anticipation toward my distant home.

Line 38: 已而既歸,仍復業於於皇。 Thus I returned to my native place to resume my role at Wuhuang Temple.

Line 39: 住方三載,而又雄者跳梁。 I spent three years at the temple, a time when strongmen were once again stirring things up;

Line 40: 初起汝颍,次及鳳陽之南廂。  They rose from Ru and Ying and then reached the southern gate of Fengyang.

Click here to read the next ten lines of the text.


Click here to see detailed annotations of each line, including translation concerns, explanations of terms, and a discussion of the meaning of “spirit” and more about the route Zhu Yuanzhang traveled.

To learn more about this text click on 大明皇陵之碑 The Imperial Tomb Tablet of the Great Ming.

To start the text from the beginning, click here.


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