Chiang Chin Chiu — Song before Drinking
See the waters of the Yellow River leap down from Heaven,
Roll away to the deep sea and never turn again!
See at the mirror in the High Hall
Aged men bewailing white locks –
In the morning, threads of silk,
In the evening flakes of snow.
Snatch the joys of life as they come and use them to the full;
Do not leave the silver cup idly glinting at the moon.
The things that Heaven made Man was meant to use;
A thousand guilders scattered to the wind may come back again.
Roast mutton and sliced beef will only taste well
If you drink with them at one sitting three hundred cups.
Great Master Ts’êen, Doctor Tan-ch’iu,
Here is wine, do not stop drinking
But listen, please, and I will sing you a song.
Bells and drums and fine food, what are they to me
Who only want to get drunk and never again be sober?
The Saints and Sages of old times are all stock and still,
Only the might drinkers of wine have left a name behind.
When the prince of Ch’êen gave a feast in the Palace of P’ing-lo
With twenty thousand gallons of wine he loosed mirth and play.
The master of the feast must not cry that his money is all spent;
Let him send to the tavern and fetch wine to keep our tankards filled.
His five-flower horse and thousand-guilder coat –
Let him call the boy to take them along and pawn them for good wine,
That drinking together we may drive away the sorrows of a thousand years.