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Drinking song by Li Bai

Posted March. 01, 2024 07:25,   

Updated March. 01, 2024 07:25


Li Bai, a Chinese poet known for enjoying drinking, presents a new way of encouraging drinking in one of his many drinking songs. He lists the other person's tastes one by one as if to mock him. Why mocking his friend when the friend even prepared a special performance to go along with drinking? It is not necessarily mockery, but rather a joke to add to the amusement. In fact, adding Yueyang, the name of the city where his friend lived, following the friend’s family name instead of his given name, is a sign of respect to the other person.

You, who respect Tao Yuanming, refusing to drink when snowflakes turn the world around us all white and the joy of drinking is rising? You have prepared so carefully to follow Tao's tastes, from stringless geomungo (a traditional musical instrument) that he used to fondle while drinking to willow trees, which he liked so much as to give himself the name of Oryu. Do you know why manggeon (a traditional headband) was so precious to Tao? It was because manggeon can be used as a quick filter for drinks. When Tao wrote, “Why would I wear manggeon on my head when I can’t embrace the joy of drinking?”, that’s what he meant. Your refusal to drink is terribly disappointing as you only vacantly mimic Tao.

While it is doubtful that his friend suddenly joined him in drinking after such friendly mockery, the two must have confirmed their shared admiration for Tao.