The "Three Caos'" poetry

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Unread postby Wen Choung » Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:45 am

In response to the poem of Cao Cao's death...I've never felt so bad for him before...and I felt pretty bad when he was being played for a fool at Chi Bi. This was a good poem. It made me realize that perhaps to many people, the death of Cao Cao was a good thing, there is always another side to the coin. I have to admit that Cao Cao was a great man in his own way (based on SGYY) and that there is no denying his achievements definitely outweighed his shortcomings.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Dec 05, 2002 2:31 am

Poetry of the Cao's really interest me because they show this other side of the coin, like Wen Choung says. I've never liked Cao Pi much, for what he did to Cao Zhi, Cao Zhang, Yu Jin, Emperor Xian, etc., but he's human too, and his affection for his deceased father is hardly feigned, from looking at the poem. Cao Cao probably was a tyrant, but he's also a father, someone his sons looked up to. In the first poem I posted Cao Cao also shows that he cares about the people, grieving for the lost of lives in constant and futile warfare -- the Xuzhou incident shouldn't be used on its own to characterise Cao Cao. Both Cao Pi and Cao Zhi had some early poetry expressing brotherly love -- they hadn't hated each other's guts forever.... I could go on and on but you get the point... :D

I'm glad the last one touched (at least some of) you. I like it too. It's said that Cao Pi played the zither and sang this poem himself in front of Cao Cao's grave. *sniff sniff*
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Cao Cao's "Haoli Xing"

Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Thu Dec 05, 2002 3:18 am

I have read the poems posted here several times over, but I cannot help but return to these two lines in Cao Cao's poem "Haoli Xing":

When last did armour leave the soldiers’ bodies?
Lice and fleas infest the long-worn metal.


These lines come from a man who is obviously familiar with the grittier details of a soldier's life and does not glamorize the experience of the common fighter--or from, as DeCrespigny puts it, a "man from the margin." I think that Cao Cao saw his violent world for what it truly was and, being a part of it, could not help but participate in it. :cry:

Thank you for sharing your translations, Lady Wu. :D
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Unread postby Yuan Seth » Fri Dec 06, 2002 3:35 am

*wipes a tear from his eye* :cry: That poem on Cao Cao from Cao Zhi was just so beautiful! I sorta liked Cao Cao, but after hearing that it's like I view him through new eyes, not as an evil tyrant, but as a caring father....thank you, Lady Wu.....
袁 "Since the dawn of time every one will die,
Let the history books note my death with loyalty at heart." --Wen Tianxiang
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Tue Dec 10, 2002 4:17 am

Lady Wu, is it true that Cao Cao, Cao Pi, and Cao Zhi are known as "The Three Caos," at least when it comes to the study of poetry? I think I've read that someplace, but I don't know if it was simply a professor's pet term. :lol:
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Unread postby Yuan Seth » Tue Dec 10, 2002 10:17 pm

Tianshan Tzu wrote:Lady Wu, is it true that Cao Cao, Cao Pi, and Cao Zhi are known as "The Three Caos," at least when it comes to the study of poetry? I think I've read that someplace, but I don't know if it was simply a professor's pet term. :lol:


I never heard of that....
袁 "Since the dawn of time every one will die,
Let the history books note my death with loyalty at heart." --Wen Tianxiang
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Dec 10, 2002 11:47 pm

Tianshan Tzu wrote:Lady Wu, is it true that Cao Cao, Cao Pi, and Cao Zhi are known as "The Three Caos," at least when it comes to the study of poetry? I think I've read that someplace, but I don't know if it was simply a professor's pet term. :lol:

Yup! They *are* the 3 Caos, no more, no less :lol: I have a book called "The Three Caos and the History of Chinese Poetry" (which I'm ashamed to say I own but have not read :oops: ), and my "Selected Poems from the Caos of Wei" is all about Cao Cao, Cao Pi, and Cao Zhi. Doubt the other Caos wrote any poetry worth remembering...

The Late Han/3K era was one of revival for Chinese poetry. The 3 Cao's worked hard to develop new styles from combining old traditions and folk poetry/music, and supported many poets of the time. The most famous ones under their patronage were named the "7 Scholars of Jian'an". I don't remember the names of all 7, but Wang Can and Chen Lin were among them.
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Wed Dec 11, 2002 12:59 am

Lady Wu wrote:Yup! They *are* the 3 Caos, no more, no less :lol: I have a book called "The Three Caos and the History of Chinese Poetry" (which I'm ashamed to say I own but have not read :oops: ), and my "Selected Poems from the Caos of Wei" is all about Cao Cao, Cao Pi, and Cao Zhi. Doubt the other Caos wrote any poetry worth remembering...

The Late Han/3K era was one of revival for Chinese poetry. The 3 Cao's worked hard to develop new styles from combining old traditions and folk poetry/music, and supported many poets of the time. The most famous ones under their patronage were named the "7 Scholars of Jian'an". I don't remember the names of all 7, but Wang Can and Chen Lin were among them.

I will have to try to find some volumes of their works, both the Three Caos and the Seven Scholars of Jian'an. Thank you.
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Unread postby Yuan Seth » Wed Dec 11, 2002 1:18 am

I love Chinese poetry. It is really great. I have to look for the books that you mention.
袁 "Since the dawn of time every one will die,
Let the history books note my death with loyalty at heart." --Wen Tianxiang
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Dec 11, 2002 1:33 am

Anthologies and discussions on the 3 Caos abound, but not many of the Jian'an Qi Zi's works survive.

If you can read Chinese, San Lian (Joint Publishing Co., HK) has a series of anthologies of different Chinese poets through the ages, and the 3rd in that series is the "Selections from the Cao-Wei father and sons" (editor: Zhao Futan). It's annotated pretty well, and they translate each line into modern Chinese as well as explaining the words. If you're really into Cao Zhi, there's the super "Complete Works of Cao Zhi Annotated" (Cao Zhi Ji Jiao Zhu) published by Renmin Wenxue Chuban She (1984), which has every single thing that Cao Zhi wrote and survived, including incomplete poems, reports, memorials, etc (*is in love with that book and reluctant to return it to the library, even though she's had it out for 2 years already*).

However, if you don't read Chinese it might get difficult. I haven't been able to find a book with any significant number of the Cao's poetry in it (otherwise I wouldn't be embarassing myself with posting my translations). Arthur Waley's done a couple, and some of Cao Pi and Cao Zhi's love poetry have been translated by various people (don't remember the names off the top of my head). You'd have to search very generally for "Chinese poetry translations" and look through the ToC of each on to see if they have the Caos in them.

Oh yeah, the 7 scholars are Kong Rong, Chen Lin, Wang Can, Xu Gan, Yuan Yu (?? I don't know that character), Ying Yong, and Liu Zhen.
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