Pei Di (Chinese: 裴迪; pinyin: Péi Dí; Wade–Giles: P'ei Ti, approximate year of birth 714) was a Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty, with one work included in the popular Three Hundred Tang Poems. Pei Di was a contemporary of Wang Wei, although younger by fifteen years.[1] Pei Di has twenty preserved poems in the Wangchuan ji poetry collection, which collects twenty matching poems by Wang Wei and Pei Di. The poet's name is also rendered into English as "P'ei Ti" or "Pei Shidi" (shi = 十). The close personal friendship between Wang Wei and Pei Di is preserved in a letter by Wang Wei inviting Pei for a Springtime visit together at Wang's country estate. This letter has been translated by Arthur Waley.[2] Pei also had a poetic relationship with Du Fu.[3] Other than through Pei Di's few surviving poems, and the poems addressed to him by Wang Wei and Du Fu, "pitifully little"[4] is known about Pei Di, other than that he had a reasonably successful government career.[5]

Pei Di
Native name
Notable works"A Farewell to Cui", The Wang River Collection


One of Pei Di's poems, translated by Witter Bynner as "A Farewell to Cui",[6] a farewell poem dedicated to a friend named Cui, was included in the important collection Three Hundred Tang Poems, as exemplary of five-character (line length) cut verse. Pei Di is also famous for his collaboration with Wang Wei: this series of poems (the Wangchuan ji) has been translated into English as "The Wang River Collection",[7] or similarly. Consisting of twenty preserved titles, for each title Wang Wei wrote a pair of couplets loosely inspired by landscape features around his country estate. These were then matched by a pair of couplets on the same theme by Pei Di.[8] These and a few other poems by Pei Di are preserved in Scroll 129 of the Quantangshi.

Wang Wei's letter to Pei DiEdit

A letter from Wang Wei to his friend Pei Di (here transliterated P'ei Ti) is preserved, and has been translated by Arthur Waley:


_To the Bachelor-of-Arts P`ei Ti_

Of late during the sacrificial month, the weather has been calm and clear, and I might easily have crossed the mountain. But I knew that you were conning the classics and did not dare disturb you. So I roamed about the mountain-side, rested at the Kan-p`ei Temple, dined with the mountain priests, and, after dinner, came home again. Going northwards, I crossed the Yuuan-pa, over whose waters the unclouded moon shone with dazzling rim. When night was far advanced, I mounted Hua-tzuu's Hill and saw the moonlight tossed up and thrown down by the jostling waves of Wang River. On the wintry mountain distant lights twinkled and vanished; in some deep lane beyond the forest a dog barked at the cold, with a cry as fierce as a wolf's. The sound of villagers grinding their corn at night filled the gaps between the slow chiming of a distant bell.

Now I am sitting alone. I listen, but cannot hear my grooms and servants move or speak. I think much of old days: how hand in hand, composing poems as we went, we walked down twisting paths to the banks of clear streams.

We must wait for Spring to come: till the grasses sprout and the trees bloom. Then wandering together in the spring hills we shall see the trout leap lightly from the stream, the white gulls stretch their wings, the dew fall on the green moss. And in the morning we shall hear the cry of curlews in the barley-fields.

It is not long to wait. Shall you be with me then? Did I not know the natural subtlety of your intelligence, I would not dare address to you so remote an invitation. You will understand that a deep feeling dictates this course.

Written without disrespect by Wang Wei, a dweller in the mountains.[9]


Pei Di's influence on posterity mainly derives from his contributions to the Wangchuan Ji anthology, consisting of 20 of his poems written as responsive matches to 20 of Wang Wei's. The series has inspired various subsequent works, including translations into English by Jerome Ch'en and Michael Bullock [10] and by H. C. Chang.[11] Also, many centuries later, Pei Di's poem poem in the 300 Tang Poems remains as one of the more reprinted poems.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ch'en and Bullock, 52
  2. ^ Wu, 52–53. Wu gives here a modified version of Waley's translation of the letter, as well as his own translation into English of one of Pei's poems.
  3. ^ Chang, 63
  4. ^ Ch'en and Bullock, 52
  5. ^ Chang, 63
  6. ^ "送崔九"
  7. ^ 輞川集
  8. ^ Stimson, 30
  9. ^ From: The Project Gutenberg EBook of More Translations from the Chinese, by Various
    Title: More Translations from the Chinese
    Author: Various
    Translator: Arthur Waley
    Release Date: August 10, 2005 [EBook #16500]
    Language: English
    Character set encoding: ASCII
    General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works notice: "This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at".
    Retrieved from: Accessed 28 September 2011
  10. ^ Ch'en and Bullock, 51–75
  11. ^ Chang, 70–77


  • Chang, H. C. (1977). Chinese Literature 2: Nature Poetry. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-04288-4
  • Ch'en, Jerome and Michael Bullock (1960). Poems of Solitude. London: Abelard-Schuman. ISBN 978-0-85331-260-4
  • Stimson, Hugh M. (1976). Fifty-five T'ang Poems. Far Eastern Publications: Yale University. ISBN 0-88710-026-0
  • Wu, John C. H. (1972). The Four Seasons of Tang Poetry. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle. ISBN 978-0-8048-0197-3

External linksEdit