Talk:Ts'ao Sung

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Other translations of this poem[edit]

In considering an AfD I first searched for more poems of Ts'ao Sung (830 - 910). Now I didn't find more poems, but I did find more translations of this (first) poem.

  • The submerged country, river and hill, is a battle-ground.
    How can the common people enjoy their wood-cutting and their fuel-gathering?
    I charge thee, sir, not to talk of high honours;
    A single general achieves fame on the rotting bones of ten thousand.
    • Written in the year Chi hai (879), I, quoted in Davis The Penguin Book of Chinese Verse (1962), p. 28


The War Year
by Ts’ao Sung, Chinese (c.870-920)

Lowland hills and rivers

dragged on to the war map
O lowland lowlands O!

Those groaning people!

how can they live?
A turnip or two
grubbed up

Don’t talk to me

about titles
promotions
all that slop

One general

pulling out victory
leaves
ten
thousand
corpses
to rot!

Translated from Chinese by C. H. Kwock and Vincent McHug in Poems of Protest Old and New, edited by Arnold Kenseth, New York, 1968, p. 12


  • The hills and rivers of the lowland country
    You have made your battle ground.
    How do you suppose the people who live there
    Will procure firewood and hay?
    Do not let me hear you talking together
    About titles and promotions;
    For a single general’s reputation
    Is made out of ten thousand corpses.
    • Found in: P. Robins & R. Hargreaves (1981/2004) A Poetry Course for K.C.S.E.. p. 9-10
    • The flemmings.livejournal (Tue Dec 25th, 2007) give more info
    Title of this poem A Protest in the Sixth Year of Ch'ien Fu (AD 879)
    Translator: Waley
    Source: C.H. Kwock and Vincent McHugh (1983) Old Friend from Far Away: 150 Chinese poems from the great dynasties
    • And finally the original source of this translation is:
    Arthur Waley (1918) A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, by Various London, Constable and company ltd.
    Book On Gutenberg.org, March 10, 2013 [EBook #42290]


  • COMPLAINT AGAINST GENERALS
    The hills and rivers of the Lowland country
    You have made your battle ground
    How do you think the people that live there
    Will gather hay and firewood?
    Do not let me hear you speaking together
    About titles and honors,
    For a single general’s celebrity
    Is founded on ten thousand corpses.
    • Source: Ancient Chinese Poems in English (online) Further info unknown.


And other note about Ts'ao Sung:

  • [Ch'i-Chi]... became the friend of some of the most eminent poets of the age, among them Ts'ao Sung, Fang Kan, and Cheng Ku...
    • William H. Nienhause (1986) The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature: pt. 1. Essays. p. 250


This is about all I could find about this poet. This search made clear, that the poem is considered one of the highlights of Chinese poetry. In stead of an AfD or merging this stub into an other article, we might consider adding more translations to the article here. -- Mdd (talk) 22:30, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

I was here briefly earlier and did a similar search in Google books with a few results of some translations quoted in various books, though you were definitely more successful in finding full passages of alternate translations than I. I had to leave, and have only recently returned, but I do believe the article should be preserved with the use of various translations. There are some articles like that here already, where somewhat notable works or authors have been provided pages here, prior to any entries of them occurring at Wikipedia. ~ Kalki·· 23:04, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
I was reluctant to add the original poem in Chinese because although I am trying to learn spoken Chinese in my spare time, I myself don't understand written Chinese at all. In any case, I've just added it now to the article, as well as other English translations, all taken from this website. Not much is known about Tsao Sung, but his poem is most certainly notable (as Mdd found, it is "perhaps the most widely-known short antiwar poem in Chinese literature"); that's why I removed the prod. ~ DanielTom (talk) 23:29, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
P.S. Good job finding so many interesting translations, Mdd. We can add them to the article. ~ DanielTom (talk) 23:38, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks you both. In the mean time I found a larger quote from Yu Kuan-ying (1954), which add some context to the whole article. As to the additions made by Daniel, I think we should put the translation by Arthur Waley (1918) first, because this seems to be the most notable translation. -- Mdd (talk) 23:42, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
I put the Penguin Book of Chinese Verse quote on top because it is better sourced, but you can go ahead and change the order. ~ DanielTom (talk) 23:48, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I have make the changes -- Mdd (talk) 00:18, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
What do you think about the result? -- Mdd (talk) 11:48, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for going ahead and making the edits. Two issues. First, I am pretty sure that the quote starting with "Rich hills and fields that war despoiled" is just another variant translation of A Protest in the Sixth Year of Qianfu, i.e., it is not a separate poem. Second, I don't really understand the relevance of the pictures. ~ DanielTom (talk) 18:25, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Well the theme of both poems are a very like, but I cannot confirm that they are the same. And about those three pictures origination from the Tang Dynasty: They are no exact match, but do picture some elements of a Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty writing about the downsides of military action on the society. Just remove them, if you don't think they are appropriate.
And also I have my doubts about restoring the original lay out of the 1968 translation. This doesn't seem usual around here, so this might be removed as well. -- Mdd (talk) 21:34, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Also the images and the larger quote about the poet give a context, which makes the articles more complete. What bothers me is, that at the moment this article is still orphan. If you further want to improve it, you could consider writing a corresponding Wikipedia article and/or add the work of the poet in more Wikiquote articles, so people can also find the article. -- Mdd (talk) 21:45, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
OK. I've hidden some stuff, changed some references, and tried to enforce a stricter format. Tell me what you think. ~ DanielTom (talk) 23:05, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Looks fine to me, very good indeed. I hope you can find some time to address my other concerns. What about starting an article on anti-war? -- Mdd (talk) 23:36, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
(Oops, I only read your comment now.) Thanks. It is true that there are many ancient Chinese poets who unfortunately don't have a Wikipedia page; I recently decided to experiment by creating an article there (about Ch'in Chia), but, to be honest, I much prefer to spend my time reading and sometimes contributing to articles here at Wikiquote, rather than at Wikipedia. With regards to your point about this article being an orphan, I confess that that doesn't really bother me, for now. I understand your concerns though. ~ DanielTom (talk) 18:14, 13 April 2013 (UTC)