Chinese Poetry - The Classic of Odes & Chu Ci
Tang Poetry & Poets
Song Ci & Yuan Qu
In ancient China, people had profuse feelings to express when historical events took place, both joyful or of grief. Classical literature possesses a profound culture, and is the epitome of the spirit, morals and wisdom of the Chinese people. It reflects the high level of civilization. The literary forms vary over this long period and each had its blaze of glory.
Long before the written word appeared, there was an oral tradition of tales of fairies and legends. However, it is a pity that most of these have been lost as they were not collected and duly recorded for posterity.
Classical poetry cares a great deal for rhythm. Poetry is one of the earliest artistic forms as well as the most fully developed in China. Poems written in verse outpour strong sensibility through imagination and lyrics. Tone, rhythm and couplets are all strict. Only by having an embodiment of appreciation, can one feel the artistic conception and implication. The effect is like the after taste of a cup of tea, lingering and appealing.
The Classic of Odes
Qu Yuan, who furthered the development of the new poem style, is famed as a great patriotic poet and politician in the Chu state. Although talented, he was never appointed to positions of importance on account of his directness and the treachery of another official. He tried his best to ease the conjunctures of the state but failure led him to throw himself into the Miluo River with disappointment, sorrow and wrath. His story is reflected in the most well-known poem among the works is Li Sao.
This poetry book changed the simple and brief style of The Classic of Odes, and completely distinctive. It is magnificent in its length and rhetoric and ornate diction, and shows the writers' fertile imagination and effusive emotion. The ancient poetry really enlightened the poets that came after with its romanticism.
Mo Shang Sang tells a story of a beautiful woman who rejects flirtatious officials and pays tribute to her charm and enduring faith. Zhan Cheng Nan is a poem that complains about the cruelty of war. In the Orphan's Song, the orphan tells of his sadness following the death of his parents, although he has brother and sister-in-law. A Pair of Peacocks Southeast Fly praises the unwavering love of a couple despite the opposition of their parents who try to obstruct them.