The Summer Palace

Yuan Zhen (779 – 831)
This ancient palace lies abandoned here
As remnant flowers scatter blooms bright red;
The palace maidens now are white-haired dames
Who sit in idle talk of times long dead.
行宮Xíng Gōng
元稹Yuán Zhěn
寥落古行宮Liáo luò gǔ xíng gōng
宮花寂寞紅Gōng huā jì mò hóng
白頭宮女在Bái tóu gōng nǚ zài
閒坐說玄宗Xián zuò shuō xuán zōng
Transliteration and Notes
Vacation Palace
Empty sparse ancient vacation palace
Palace flowers still silent red
White head palace maid at
Idle sit speak Xuan Zong
     Yuan Zhen was a novelist, poet, and high government official, rising briefly to Chancellor. He was friendly with contemporary poet, Bai Juyi.     This poem was set in the aftermath of Anshi Rebellion (755-763), which resulted in the sack of the capital, Chang’an, and the permanent weakening of the Tang Dynasty. Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) had brought the Tang Dynasty to the pinnacle of its power in his early years, but later became more interested in his lovers than in governance, allowing the rebellion to foment. This poem has court ladies who entered the palace as young maidens reminiscing about how vibrant things used to be early in the emperor’s reign.

Author of original: 
Yuan Zhen