They Fought South of the Walls by an anonymous Chinese poet 3rd Century B.C.

They fought south of the walls
They died north of the ramparts.
Lying dead in the open, they won’t be buried,
the crows may eat them.

Tell the crows for me:
Please enjoy a sumptuous meal!
Lying dead in the open, they surely won’t be buried.
How can their rotting flesh get away from you!

The water runs deep and clear,
The rushes and reeds are dark.
The brave war steeds have died in battle,
The worthless nags neigh, running hither and thither.

The bridges have be made into buildings,
How can one go south?
How can one go north?
The grain is not harvested, how shall our lord eat?
And we who want to be loyal vassals, how can we succeed?

I think of you, fine vassals.
Fine vassals, indeed one should think of you.
In the morning you went out to attack,
In the evening you didn’t come back for the night.

translated by Hans H. Frankel

2 thoughts on “They Fought South of the Walls by an anonymous Chinese poet 3rd Century B.C.

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