I was reading the following poem by Meng Haoran, whose translation is still troubling me. For a start I thought, I should identify the rhymes.



Naively I was sure the rhymes should be 情,清,平,城. However, I thought there must be a way to test this. I know different rhyme dictionaries were developed by the Ancients, as the preferences changed over time. I thought 廣韻 was a famous one and I was lucky to find this digitalisation online. I found the character 清 and was directed to the corresponding page of the dictionary. I expected a list of rhymes to 清, but I guess the result is something different, since there are lots of sentences like 「山海經曰⋯」. Some characters are printed bolder than others, but below them seems to be something other than a complete list of rhymes.

So, how exactly to use the above or an other book to test if 清,情,平,城 were considered rhymes during Tang or at least Song?

2 Answers 2


rhymes should be 情,清,平,城

you guess it. the problem is, in mandarin, it's not; so, you want to testify it.

fortunately, it's rhyming in cantonese, even nowadays:

情 ching4 sound file

清 ching1 sound file

平 ping4 sound file

城 sing4 sound file

in the above, sydney lau scheme is used, that 1 is high level tone, 4 is low level tone. the most important, these four are in level tone.

So, how exactly to use the above or an other book to test if 清,情,平,城 were considered rhymes during Tang or at least Song?

frankly, when we read the poem by cantonese, we know it's in rhyming immediately, by the pronunciation.

it's a 首句平仄腳五言律詩, roughly, the first verse (首句) 4th, 5th character is level tone (平), non-level tone 仄; 8 verses, each has 5 characters.

how to translate it, well, good luck lah :)

ludi kun, some advices for you: use proper, authentic tools.

for rime dictionary, i would recommend:






download these five xhtml files to your computer, then you can search it locally, off-line.

in case, you want a pdf file of the oldest one (printed in 1169), try 鉅宋廣韻:


then, there's "刊謬補缺切韻" by 王仁昫 of 唐 dynasty, well, i can find any copy online :( however, the hkcu has a "唐寫全本王仁昫刊謬補缺切韻校箋", a revision of it.

have fun :)


In the character's zdic entry, there is a section labelled 音韻方言, which will have the character's rime group (韻目). In the 廣韻 section, is labelled under the header . Ctext further has a more organised version of 廣韻, which you can quickly Ctrl+F your way into , which will list all the characters under that rime.

If you have some knowledge of other Chinese languages, or some understanding of how Sinoxenic vocabulary works in Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese, you can corroborate the fact that, at least in some non-Mandarin pronunciations, those characters that you listed did indeed rime.

Interestingly, 清 and 靑 did not rime in Guangyun, as evidenced by the fact that it had its own rime entry.

  • Under the 廣韻 header it says: 下平十四清. So, is 下平 the tone, 清 the rhyme and what is 十四?
    – Ludi
    Nov 23, 2017 at 12:47
  • 1
    I think it's the 14th section header of the 下平 tone. I don't think the number means anything apart from being an index number.
    – dROOOze
    Nov 23, 2017 at 13:02

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