The poem 不打诗 by 朱淑真 ends with this line:


From a literal reading of this sentence, it is saying something along the lines of "pleading hopefully with the old man to forgive him".

Yet in actuality we know in this poem the daughter is pleading with the high-ranking official to forgive her father.

So I'm very confused about this sentence structure. 乞望老爷 is saying pleading hopefully to the old man. Of this I am certain. And there is no way you can know she is pleading with the official unless you know the backstory (and the official is never mentioned in this sentence). So someone please explain to me what's going on here with this sentence structure. Thanks.

2 Answers 2


毛驴受惊碰尊驾, The donkey startled and ran into you,

乞望[老爷]饶恕它。 I beg you [Sir], please forgive it.

In the olden times, commoners mostly addressed government officials with the honorific "大人"(Your Honor/ Great Sir)e.g. 知州大人, 尚書大人, 丞相大人; another honorific "老爷"(Master/ Sir) could be used for mid and low ranked officials, e.g. 知府老爷,知縣老爷,知州老爷

The honorific "大人"(Your Honor/ Great Sir) can only be used for government officials

The honorific "老爷"(Master/ Sir) can be used for non-government individuals also, e.g. 陳老爷(Master Chen), 張老爷(Master Zhang)

尊驾 literally means "your respected ride" but it is primarily used as a respectful address for "you". However, in this case, the father's donkey most likely made contact with the 知州 ride (maybe a horse, a sedan chair, or a carriage) for real

  • My God I thought 老爷 meant her father. I'm giving up on this language. Sep 7 at 3:40

Write a poem to get out of trouble!



The donkey, startled, ran into you,
(I) beg the master, forgive it.

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