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Hard roads in Shu – Li Bai

Oh, but it is high and very dangerous!
Such travelling is harder than scaling the blue sky.
…Until two rulers of this region
Pushed their way through in the misty ages,
Forty-eight thousand years had passed
With nobody arriving across the Qin border.
And the Great White Mountain, westward, still has only a bird’s path
Up to the summit of Emei Peak —
Which was broken once by an earthquake and there were brave men lost,
Just finishing the stone rungs of their ladder toward heaven.
…High, as on a tall flag, six dragons drive the sun,
While the river, far below, lashes its twisted course.
Such height would be hard going for even a yellow crane,
So pity the poor monkeys who have only paws to use.
The Mountain of Green Clay is formed of many circles-
Each hundred steps, we have to turn nine turns among its mound —
Panting, we brush Orion and pass the Well Star,
Then, holding our chests with our hands and sinking to the ground with a groan,
We wonder if this westward trail will never have an end.
The formidable path ahead grows darker, darker still,
With nothing heard but the call of birds hemmed in by the ancient forest,
Male birds smoothly wheeling, following the females;
And there come to us the melancholy voices of the cuckoos
Out on the empty mountain, under the lonely moon….
Such travelling is harder than scaling the blue sky.
Even to hear of it turns the cheek pale,
With the highest crag barely a foot below heaven.
Dry pines hang, head down, from the face of the cliffs,
And a thousand plunging cataracts outroar one another
And send through ten thousand valleys a thunder of spinning stones.
With all this danger upon danger,
Why do people come here who live at a safe distance?
…Though Dagger-Tower Pass be firm and grim,
And while one man guards it
Ten thousand cannot force it,
What if he be not loyal,
But a wolf toward his fellows?
…There are ravenous tigers to fear in the day
And venomous reptiles in the night
With their teeth and their fangs ready
To cut people down like hemp.
Though the City of Silk be delectable, I would rather turn home quickly.
Such travelling is harder than scaling the blue sky….
But I still face westward with a dreary moan.

噫吁戏, 危乎高哉!
蚕丛及鱼凫, 开国何茫然。
尔来四万八千岁, 始与秦塞通人烟。
西当太白有鸟道, 可以横绝峨眉巅。
地崩山摧壮士死, 然后天梯石栈方钩连。
上有六龙回日之高标, 下有冲波逆折之回川。
黄鹤之飞尚不得, 猿猱欲度愁攀援。
青泥何盘盘, 百步九折萦岩峦,
扪参历井仰胁息, 以手抚膺坐长叹。
问君西游何时还? 畏途巉岩不可攀。
但见悲鸟号古木, 雄飞雌从绕林间;
又闻子规啼, 夜月愁空山。
连峰去天不盈尺, 枯松倒挂倚绝壁。
飞湍瀑流争喧豗, 砯崖转石万壑雷。
其险也如此! 嗟尔远道之人,
胡为乎来哉? 剑阁峥嵘而崔嵬,
一夫当关, 万夫莫开;
所守或匪亲, 化为狼与豺,
朝避猛虎, 夕避长蛇,
磨牙吮血, 杀人如麻。
锦城虽云乐, 不如早还家。
蜀道之难难于上青天, 侧身西望常咨嗟。


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