a. 20 Couplets Dedicated to Xianyu of the Capital
b. Respectfully Presented to Xianyu, Governor of the Capital Region: Twenty Couplets
a. translated by alexcwlin/edited by Adam Lam
b. translated by哈佛大学的宇文所安教授（Prof. Stephen Owen）
a. Dynasty claims to be loaded with scholars,
b. The king’s domain is known for “many knights,”
a. but how many of them are capable and righteous?
b. but how many of these are worthy and good?
a. In time, exceptional talent should surface,
b. Rare talents should come forth after long intervals,
a. and he would stand out from the pack like a breath of fresh air.
b. their vigorous tempers must be of a unique kind.
a. I finally meet Zhang from the capital city.
b. Now I see a “Zhang of the capital,”
a. He is at his rightful place as a high official close to Emperor.
b. rightly holding a place among officers near the throne.
a. Like a ruddy steed, he blazes the trail.
b. The Hualiu steed opens the way,
a. Or like high-flying falcon, he’s above the mundane.
b. hawk and falcon leave the windblown dust.
a. Barons are too many to enumerate.
b. What did the esteem of a count or earl matter?—
a. Ones with literary faculty would be solidly positioned.
b. it was your literary writings that truly brought success.
a. Some who fly high and surpass others,
b. You flew aloft, passing over the usual stages and grades,
a. could easily fall flat on their faces later.
b. with ease you forsook where you had been buried.
a. In happenstance, he lucked out in reclusiveness,
b. You escaped fishing at Pan Creek,
a. and was recruited for his exceptional talent.
b. you take in hand the Ying craftsman’s axe.
a. Now he is getting near to the Emperor,
b. Now you have come right next to the upper clouds,
a. and nobody is closer to the Minister than he.
b. who else is such close friends with a high lord of state?
a. All his offsprings have good names.
b. In the phoenix roost the chicks are all fine,
a. Fame-seeking house guests under his roof are newcomers.
b. the clients at Dragon Gate are also new.
a. All of them express gratitude towards his generosity.
b. I have been much stirred by your reputation for morality,
a. With a track record of failures I hesitate to come forward.
b. but, having suffered defeat, I hesitate unsure.
a. Journey forward is long but I’m unsure where it goes.
b. This road is long, where does it head?
a. To reiterate, reaching high place in office is difficult.
b. Heaven is high, hard to state my case again.
a. I learned poetry in my childhood.
b. I studied the Poems when I was but a child,
a. My municipal exam results were too embarrassed to tell others.
b. in the local presentation I was unworthily made a “guest of the realm.”
a. I was not as good as the outspoken loyalist Chao Cuo,
b. I did not get to be the same as Chao Cuo,
a. and I sigh at falling short of the sought-after statesman Xi Shen.
b. and I sighed that I lagged behind Xi Shen.
a. My plans faltered and my submissions were dubious.
b. My plans too lax, I doubted brush and ink,
a. For me, prime is past but I remember to stay upright like bamboo.
b. my moment was past, I recalled pine and bamboo.
a. I submitted suggestions for Emperor’s kind consideration.
I presented something for acceptance, bent low by imperial regard,
a. Meanwhile I paid my respects at Zichen Palace.
b. introduced, I paid my respects at Zichen Palace.
a. I followed other scholars and hung out at same places.
b. For a while I followed the assembly of excellent men,
a. Albeit unrealistic, I hoped to upgrade my unflattering talent that way.
b. then I hoped to have my meager talents expand.
a. It was horrifying to run into the former administration.
b. Broken courage, encountering the previous minister,
a. He had a selfish agenda to run the government all by himself.
b. secret plots, he alone held the potter’s wheel.
a. I was the subject of his jealousy and ill-treatment.
b. This humble man was bathed in his dislike and desire to crush me,
a. Things turned sour and difficult.
b. all matters became increasingly bitter and sour.
a. Palace is where scholars would be introduced,
b. You are in close intercourse with the place of “red and green,”
a. and Emperor showers his grace on them.
b. now his kind grace overflows with rain and dew.
a. A humble one may be on verge of starving to death,
b. There is a scholar who worries about starving to death,
a. but in time he could rise to prominence to be like Lord Pingjin.
b. inform the Count of Pingjin as soon as you can.