Translation:At Fifteen I Joined the Army on Expedition

At Fifteen I Joined the Army on Expedition (11th century) 
by Unknown, translated from Chinese by Wikisource
This Han dynasty anti-war ballad was collected by Guo Maoqian into an eleventh century anthology of yuefu. Stylistically, it is more likely to have originated in the Eastern Han (25-220 CE).

Translated from "Shiwu cong jun zheng" (十五從軍征) by Jack Yuan (2006).

At fifteen I joined the army on expedition,
Only at eighty did I finally return.
On the way I met a villager:
"Who is left in my home?"
"See there in the distance is your home,
Among the pine, cypress, and graves piled high."
Rabbits enter through the dog hole,
Pheasants fly from the rafters.
In the parlour grows wild grain,
Upon the well grows wild vegetables.
I grind the grain for a meal,
I pick the vegetables for the broth.
Meal and broth are ready in an instant,
But I know not whom to serve.
As I step out and look east,
Falling tears soak my clothes.

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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