國殤 Hymn to the Fallen

This famous Hymn was dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the Kingdom of Chu,  written during late Warring state period 300 BC-221 BC.  

One of the verse in this ancient hymn mentioned the famous Chu long swords !

Warfare at the Warring state period was on chariots drawn by four horses and on foot. This hymn was one of the most vivid description of the warfare in the Warring state period.

Translated by David Hawkes, who says this 

‘is surely one of the most beautiful laments 

for fallen soldiers in any language.’


操吳戈兮被犀甲, 車錯轂兮短兵接。

Grasping our great shields and wearing our hide armor
Wheel-hub to wheel-hub locked, we battle hand to hand.

旌蔽日兮敵若雲, 矢交墜兮士爭先。

Our banners darken the sky; the enemy teem like clouds:
Through the hail of arrows the warriors press forward.

凌餘陣兮躐餘行, 左驂殪兮右刃傷。

They dash on our lines; they trample our ranks down.
The left horse has fallen, the right one is wounded.

霾兩輪兮縶四馬, 援玉枹兮擊鳴鼓。

The wheels are embedded, the foursome entangled:
Seize the jade drumstick and beat the sounding drum!

天時懟兮威靈怒, 嚴殺盡兮棄原野。
The time is against us: the gods are angry.
Now all lie dead, left on the field of battle.

出不入兮往不反, 平原忽兮路超遠。

They went out never more to return:
Far, far away they lie, on the level plain,

長劍兮挾秦弓, 首身離兮心不懲。
Their long swords at their belts, clasping their Qin bows,
Head from body sundered: but their hearts could not be vanquished.

誠既勇兮又以武, 終剛強兮不可凌。

Both truly brave and also truly noble;
Strong to the last, they could not be dishonored.

身既死兮神以靈, 魂魄毅兮爲鬼雄。
Their bodies may have died, but their souls are living:
Heroes among the shades their valiant souls will be.


LK Chen dedicated his most power sword,  the Striking Eagle,

in memory of the fallen warriors.  

誠既勇兮又以武, 終剛強兮不可凌。

Both truly brave and also truly noble; 

Strong to the last, they could not be dishonored.

Striking Eagle is in solemn black and white, the color of mourning.