Send Meng this Gift

Mysterious moon in the sky. Some nights, so close, it seems, one can touch it.
And even when it is far, far away, good friends can always share it.


吾爱孟夫子, 风流天下闻
红颜弃轩冕, 白首卧松云
醉月频中圣, 迷花不事君
高山安可仰, 徒此挹清芬


A Gift to Meng Haoran
Master Meng, my love. Beloved the world over.
Your rosy cheeks replace your courtly crown
Your white haired head now rests in pine trees and clouds
Often Moon Drunk, a saintly sage
Bewildered by flowers that hardly matter.
Lofty mountains, how I long to be there
Taking in your pure fragrance

A Gift to Meng Haoran, Li Bai, 8th c. Tang poet

Send Meng this Gift

The Chinese title of Li Bai’s poem, 赠孟浩然 translates as “a gift to Meng Haoran. In Pinyin, the poetically rhyming, Zèng Mèng Hàorán. Hence, the title of my post.

Li Bai’s relationship with the older Meng Haoran probably took place some where around 730. Meng being ten years older, Li Bai thought of himself as a disciple. Both caught the attention of the Emperor Xuanzong. Unwisely, Meng delivered a poem that suggested the emperor failed in seeing Meng’s brilliance. His comeuppance was to be sent back to mountainous Hebei, to dwell among the pine trees and live among the clouds.

Meng died ten years later, at the relatively young age of 40.

Previously translated (2017)


Zèng mèng hàorán
Wú ài mèng fūzǐ, fēngliú tiānxià wén.
Hóngyán qì xuān miǎn, bái shǒu wò sōng yún.
Zuì yuè pín zhōngshèng, mí huā bu shì jūn.
Gāoshān ān kě yǎng, tú cǐ yì qīng fēn

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