卖炭翁 The Old Charcoal Seller

Author: -- 白居易 Bai Juyi
伐薪烧炭南山中。
What does the old man fare?
满面尘灰烟火色,
He cuts the wood in southern hill and fires his ware.
两鬓苍苍十指黑。
His face is grimed with smoke and streaked with ash and dust,
卖炭得钱何所营?
His temples grizzled and his fingers all turned black.
身上衣裳口中食。
The money earned by selling charcoal is not just
可怜身上衣正单,
Enough for food for his mouth and clothing for his back.
心忧炭贱愿天寒。
Though his coat is thin, he hopes winter will set in,
夜来城外一尺雪,
For cold weather will keep up the charcoal's good price.
晓驾炭车辗冰辙。
At night a foot of snow falls outside city walls;
牛困人饥日已高,
At dawn his charcoal cart crushes ruts in the ice.
市南门外泥中歇。
The sun is high, the ox tired out and hungry he;
翩翩两骑来是谁?
Outside the southern gate in snow and slush they rest.
黄衣使者白衫儿。
Two riders canter up. Alas! who can they be?
手把文书口称敕,
Two palace heralds in the yellow jackets dressed.
回车叱牛牵向北。
Decree in hand, which is imperial order, one says;
一车炭,千余斤,
They turn the cart about and at the ox they shout.
宫使驱将惜不得。
A cartload of charcoal a thousand catties weighs;
半匹红绡一丈绫,
They drive the cart away. What dare the old man say?
系向牛头充炭直。
Ten feet of silk and twenty feet of gauze deep red,

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