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"On Loving the Lotus" - by Zhou Dun Yi of the North Song Dynasty 愛 蓮 說 - 北 宋 周 惇 頤 书法

Artist Jessie Ren writes the famous Northern Song Dynasty poem in Chinese Calligraphy regular script to depict her love for the purest of all flowers - the Lotus.

愛 蓮 說 - 北 宋 周 惇 頤

"On Loving the Lotus" – by Zhou Dun Yi of the Northern Song Dynasty

馮欣明英語譯 English Translation by Feng Xin-ming Feb. 2009






Zhou Dun Yi (1017 – 1073 C.E.) was a philosopher and an incorruptible local official who was

good at judging difficult cases. He wrote a book, “Schematic Explanation of Tai Ji”, which

integrated the Confucian classic “Yi Jing” and Daoist theories to formulate his own cosmology. In

1071 he dug a pond in front of his house, planted the pond full of lotuses, and wrote this piece, “On

Loving the Lotus”. (See:周敦颐.)

原文 Original Text

水 陸 草 木 之 花,可 愛 者 甚 蕃。

Among the flowers of water, land, herb and wood, many are loveable.

陶 淵 明 獨 愛 菊,自 李 唐 來 世 人 甚 愛 牡 丹。

During Jin times Tao Yuan-Ming loved only the chrysanthemum, and since the Tang times, people have greatly loved the peony.

予 獨 愛 蓮 之 出 淤 泥 而 不 染,濯 清 漣 而 不 妖。

I love only the lotus for rising from the mud but is not stained, bathed by clear waves but is

not seductive.

中 通 外 直,不 蔓 不 枝,

Inside, it is open; outside, it is straight. It neither crawls or forks.

香 遠 益 清,亭 亭 淨 植,

The farther away one is, the purer is the fragrance. Upright and elegant, it establishes itself


可 遠 觀 而 不 可 褻 玩 焉。

It can be viewed from far away but cannot be toyed with.

予 謂 菊,花 之 隱 逸 者 也,

I say: the chrysanthemum is the recluse among flowers,

牡 丹 花 之 富 貴 者 也,蓮 花 之 君 子 者 也。

The peony is the wealthy among flowers, and the lotus is the gentleman among flowers.

噫,菊 之 愛,陶 後 鮮 有 聞,

Aye, the love for the chrysanthemum is seldom heard of after Tao.

蓮 之 愛,同 予 者 何 人?

As for the love for the lotus, is there anyone like me?

牡 丹 之 愛,宜 乎 眾 矣。

Ah, the love for the peony is right for most people.


這篇短文文體屬“古文”。古文是摹仿漢朝(約公元前200-公元200)的古代語言而寫的,自大約公元800年韓愈倡導“古文運動”以來,取代了駢文而成為主流文體。駢文則接近詩詞體,字句都構成相同字數、詞性和結構的對聯,又時常壓韻。 本網站登載的劉禹錫“陋室銘”便是駢文。古文則不需要對聯,字句可以長短不一,不需壓韻。 古文緊緊地扎根於漢朝語言,便把傳統中國學 者的文章跟普通人們的日常語言大幅度地分割開來。但是,古文又同時超越了 中國諸多極大不同又不斷演變的各地區方言,在中國歷史上曾作為把遼闊的中 華文化區域緊緊地膠合起來的粘固劑。(參見古文_(文學) 和駢文。)

The style of this short essay is that of the “ancient prose (gu’ wen’)”, which mimics the ancient language of the Han Dynasty (about 200 B.C.E. – 200 C.E.) and which, from about 800 C.E. on when Han Yu initiated and led the “Ancient Prose Movement”, had replaced “parallel prose (pian’ wen’)” to become the dominant style of prose writing. In “parallel prose” the sentences form couplets that often rhyme and that have the same number of words, parts of speech, and sentence structure, approaching poetry in form. “Inscription – The Crude House” by Liu Yu Xi, which is carried on this website, is an example of “parallel prose”. “Ancient prose” does not require the formation of couplets, the sentences may be of different lengths, and rhyme is not necessary. By rooting itself firmly in the language of the Han Dynasty, ancient prose served to greatly detach traditional Chinese scholars’ writings from the language in use by ordinary people. At the same time, however, ancient prose transcended the many widely disparate and continually evolving local speech forms in China, thus historically providing an effective cement tightly bonding together the far-flung lands of the Chinese civilization. (See古文_(文學) and駢文.)