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Expressing My Feelings About Historic Sites Through Five Verses (IV)

Du, Fu (712-770 CE)

The King of Shu 1 arrived at the Three River Gorges 2
As he led troops to attack the State of Wu 3.
Later, he died at Yong-an Palace.
We may still imagine the flags of his carriages fluttering on this empty mountain.
The jade palace has long since vanished.
The Temple of Bei Liu was built east of the ruins of the palace.
Water cranes build nests on the temple's fir trees 4.
Villagers come to visit the temple on holidays.
The Temple of Liang Zhu-ge is nearby 5.
The king and the prime minister merged into an organic whole.
Together they have enjoyed the sacrifices offered by later generations.

1 "The King of Shu" refers to King Bei Liu of the State of Shu. In history, he was a benevolent king. Of more importance was his attempt to find a talented prime minister. He visited Liang Zhu-ge's thatched hut three times in order to persuade him to accept his offer of the position of prime minister. His recognition of, courtesy for, respect of, and appointment of talent was the reason scholars of later generations held him in esteem. King Bei Liu was the kind of ruler talented people looked for to realize their dreams.

2 "The Three River Gorges" are Ju-tang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xi-ling Gorge. They are located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

3 During the Period of three Kingdoms, China was divided into three kingdoms: The Kingdom of Wei in the north, the Kingdom of Wu in the southeast and the Kingdom of Shu in the southwest. King Chuan Sun of Wu united with King Bei Liu of Shu to defeat Cao Cao of Wei. Later, King Chuan Sun attacked Shu and killed Bei Liu's sworn brother, Yu Guan. King Bei Liu was furious. In July of 221 CE, he attacked State of Wu. In June of 222 CE, King Bei Liu was defeated at Bai-di City.

4 "A Short Song" written by Cao Cao says, "The moon is bright and the stars are sparse./Black magpies fly south./They circle a tree three times./But they cannot find a branch upon which to perch." Here "perch" means "have a position to realize one's dreams". "The temple of Bei Liu" represents the deceased king, Bei Liu. After his death, "Water cranes" still perch on the trees of his temple. One can imagine how many scholars wished to have his recognition of their talents when he was alive.

5 Here Fu Du hinted that King Bei Liu and Prime Minister Liang Zhu-ge had kindred spirits. After their death, even their temples were close by. In contrast, Du's emperor would not trust loyal and talented officials. For instance, Fu Du was sent into exile despite his devotion to his country.