Nalan Ci 纳兰词

Plaintive, sentimental, sincere and touching, similar to the style of the Southern Tang


Chinese Name: 纳兰词

English Name: Nalan Ci

Other Name: Drinking Water Poem 饮水词,Side Hat Poem Sets

Author: Nalan Xingde 纳兰性德

Originally Published: In 1666-1912 (Qing Dynasty 清朝)

Genre: Literature, Poems

Nalan Ci 纳兰词
Nalan Ci 纳兰词

Brief Introduction of Nalan Ci

Nalan Ci 纳兰词 is a poem collection of Nalan Xingde, a poet of the Qing Dynasty. The poems are a true reflection of his life experiences and emotions. People also call it “Drinking Water Poem” 饮水词 or “Side Hat Poem Sets” 侧帽集. It consists of seven volumes, five plus two addendum volumes.

According to the themes, Nalan Ci can be divided into “Love”, “Friendship”, “Frontier”, “Jiang Nan” and others.In the theme of “Love”, there are sweet stay with his wife, bitter parting, and heavy mourning. Nalan Xingde is affectionate and infatuating, but his love life is bumpy, so most of the poems about love are sad in tone and make people cry when read.

“Friendship” reflects Nalan Xingde’s pity and deep yearning for friends, from which we can see the tacit understanding with friends, sincere poet.

Nalan Ci 纳兰词
A famous poem in Nalan Ci 《纳兰词》中著名的词

“Frontier” mainly describes what the poet saw, heard and felt along the way following emperor Kang Xi’s 康熙 expedition to the frontier fortress. Different from the “Frontier Poems” with lofty sentiments, it describes more the cruelty and sadness of the war.

Nalan Ci 纳兰词
The scene described in Nalan Ci — the deep mountains and autumn rain under the setting sun 《纳兰词》中描绘的场景——夕阳下的深山秋雨

“Jiang Nan” is mainly to praise the beautiful natural scenery and folk customs of Jiang Nan, as well as the dreamlike feeling that Jiang Nan brings to the poet.

Nalan Ci 纳兰词
The scenery of the frontier in The Nalan Ci《纳兰词》中描绘的边塞风光

In a word, Nalan Ci has high literary and artistic value, deep feelings, unique perspective, and is a rare masterpiece of Ci 词.

Author of Nalan Ci

Nalan Xingde (1655-1685), originally named Nalan Chengde 纳兰成德, was also known as Nalan Rongruo 纳兰容若 by later generations. He was a poet of the Qing Dynasty, and was reputed as “The First Poet of the Man Qing “满清第一词人.

He entered the Guo Zi Jian 国子监 at the age of seventeen. In Kang Xi 康熙 fifteen years of the temple test in the examination of seventh place in the Er Jia 二甲, was given Jin Shi 进士 background. Emperor Kang Xi appreciated Nalan Xingde very much, had let him many times to follow his patrol to the border and Jiang Nan and other places. Nalan Xingde in the patrol on the way also wrote many poems widely circulated by later generations. He was born in the official family and had a noble status, but he did not put fame and wealth in his heart.

Nalan Ci 纳兰词
Nalan Xingde 纳兰性德

He loved reading poetry and collecting books all his life. He was good at horse riding and archery. And he treated his friends sincerely, whether they were rich or poor, high status or low status. He was good at writing Ci 词, and his Ci was famous for its sincerity, which dazzled the world of Chinese Ci and was widely sung by people at that time.

But in love, Nalan Xingde was very bumpy. He and his first wife Lu Shi 卢氏 loved for three years. Lu Shi died because of childbirth. he was extremely sad. Later he continued to marry, but always depressed. At the age of thirty, he fell in love with Shen Wan 沈宛, a talented girl in Jiang Nan. Their love was not satisfactory because the Man 满 and Han 汉 dynasties could not intermarry.

In 1685, Nalan Xingde died of a relapse of an old disease at the age of thirty-one. He left a wealth of works. In addition to Nalan Ci, he also presided over the compilation of ‘’Tong Zhi Tang Ji” 通志堂集 , and wrote “Lu Shui Ting Miscellaneous Knowledge”渌水亭杂识 and “Ci Yun Zheng Lue”词韵正略 and so on.

Excerpts From Nalan Ci


If life can be like the first time to meet so much good ah, so that there will not be now the pain of parting acacia.


Two people feeling is very deep, the agreement is good whole life, however unluckily cannot be together, two places are separated.


After drinking a nap, the spring scenery is long, remember the past and his wife in the boudoir gambling books, clothes with the smell of tea fun. Once beautiful and happy memories, then only feel very ordinary, but now things are different.

Evaluation of Nalan Ci

Nalan Xingde views things with the eyes of nature and speaks with the tongue of nature. He is true since he entered the Central Plains 中原 and did not catch the customs of the Han people. Since the Northern Song 北宋, he is only one person.

Wang Guowei 王国维

Nalan Xingde’s poem, straight after the South Tang 南唐 master Li Yu 李煜.

Liang Qichao 梁启超

Rise and fall can be seen in Nalan Xingde’s frontier poems.

Mao Zedong 毛泽东

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