Poetry‎ > ‎

More Translations from the Chinese, by Arthur Waley, [1919]


WATCHING THE REAPERS

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:53 by Jim Sheng

观刈麦
白居易【唐】
田家少闲月,五月人倍忙。
夜来南风起,小麦覆陇黄。
妇姑荷箪食,童稚携壶浆。
相随饷田去,丁壮在南冈。
足蒸暑土气,背灼炎天光。
力尽不知热,但惜夏日长。
复有贫妇人,抱子在其旁。
右手秉遗穗,左臂悬敝筐。
听其相顾言,闻者为悲伤。
家田输税尽,拾此充饥肠。
今我何功德,曾不事农桑。
吏禄三百石,岁晏有余粮。
念此私自愧,尽日不能忘。
[15] WATCHING THE REAPERS

(A.D. 806)

Tillers of the soil have few idle months;
In the fifth month their toil is double-fold.
A south-wind visits the fields at night:
Suddenly the hill is covered with yellow corn.
Wives and daughters shoulder baskets of rice;
Youths and boys carry the flasks of wine.
Following after they bring a wage of meat
To the strong reapers toiling on the southern hill,
Whose feet are burned by the hot earth they tread,
Whose backs are scorched by flames of the shining sky.
Tired they toil, caring nothing for the heat,
Grudging the shortness of the long summer day.
A poor woman follows at the reapers' side
With an infant child carried close at her breast.
With her right hand she gleans the fallen grain;
On her left arm a broken basket hangs.
And I to-day… by virtue of what right
Have I never once tended field or tree?
My government-pay is three hundred tons;
At the year's end I have still grain in hand.
Thinking of this, secretly I grew ashamed;
And all day the thought lingered in my head.

SICK LEAVE

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:53 by Jim Sheng

病假中南亭闲望
白居易【唐】
欹枕不视事,两日门掩关。 始知吏役身,不病不得闲。 闲意不在远,小亭方丈间。 西檐竹梢上,坐见太白山。 遥愧峰上云,对此尘中颜。
[14] SICK LEAVE

(While Secretary to the Deputy-Assistant-Magistrate of Chou-chih, near Ch‘ang-an, in A.D. 806)

Propped on pillows, not attending to business;
For two days I've lain behind locked doors.
I begin to think that those who hold office
Get no rest, except by falling ill!
For restful thoughts one does not need space;
The room where I lie is ten foot square.
By the western eaves, above the bamboo-twigs,
From my couch I see the White Mountain rise.
But the clouds that hover on its far-distant peak
Bring shame to a face that is buried in the World's dust.

IN EARLY SUMMER LODGING IN A TEMPLE TO ENJOY THE MOONLIGHT

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:52 by Jim Sheng

首夏同諸校正遊開元觀,因宿玩月
我與二三子,策名seeking fame在京師。
官小無職事,閑於為客left home時。
沉沉道觀 shrine of Tao中,心賞期promise, expect在茲。
到門車馬回,入院巾杖 cap and stick隨。
清和四月初,樹木正華滋。
風清新葉影,鳥戀殘花枝。
向夕天又晴,東南餘霞披。
置酒西廊 cloister下,待月杯行遲。
須臾金魄生,若與吾徒期。
光華一照耀,殿角相參差。
終夜清景前,笑歌不知疲。
長安名利地,此興幾人知
[13] IN EARLY SUMMER LODGING IN A TEMPLE TO ENJOY THE MOONLIGHT 
(A.D. 805) 

In early summer, with two or three more 
That were seeking fame in the city of Ch‘ang-an, 
Whose low employ gave them less business 
Than ever they had since first they left their homes,— 
With these I wandered deep into the shrine of Tao, 
For the joy we sought was promised in this place. 
When we reached the gate, we sent our coaches back; 
We entered the yard with only cap and stick. 
Still and clear, the first weeks of May, 
When trees are green and bushes soft and wet; 
When the wind has stolen the shadows of new leaves 
And birds linger on the last boughs that bloom. 
Towards evening when the sky grew clearer yet 
And the South-east was still clothed in red, 
To the western cloister we carried our jar of wine; 
While we waited for the moon, our cups moved slow. 
Soon, how soon her golden ghost was born, 
Swiftly, as though she had waited for us to come. 
The beams of her light shone in every place, 
On towers and halls dancing to and fro. 
Till day broke we sat in her clear light 
Laughing and singing, and yet never grew tired. 
In Ch‘ang-an, the place of profit and fame, 
Such moods as this, how many men know?

ESCORTING CANDIDATES TO THE EXAMINATION HALL

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:52 by Jim Sheng

早送举人入试
白居易【唐】
夙驾送举人,东方犹未明。自谓出太早,已有车马行。 
骑火高低影,街鼓参差声。可怜早朝者,相看意气生。 
日出尘埃飞,群动互营营。营营各何求,无非利与名。 
而我常晏起,虚住长安城。春深官又满,日有归山情。
[12] ESCORTING CANDIDATES TO THE EXAMINATION HALL

(A.D. 805)

At dawn I rode to escort the Doctors of Art;
In the eastern quarter the sky was still grey.
I said to myself, "You have started far too soon,"
But horses and coaches already thronged [fill or be present] the road.
High and low the riders' torches bobbed;
Muffled or loud, the watchman's drum beat.
Riders, when I see you prick
To your early levee [An embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river.], pity fills my heart.
When the sun rises and the hot dust flies
And the creatures of earth resume their great strife,
You, with your striving, what shall you each seek?
Profit and fame, for that is all your care.
But I, you courtiers, rise from my bed at noon
And live idly in the city of Ch‘ang-an.
Spring is deep and my term of office spent;
Day by day my thoughts go back to the hills.

AFTER PASSING THE EXAMINATION

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:51 by Jim Sheng

及第后归觐,留别诸同年
白居易【唐】
 十年常苦学,一上谬成名。
擢zhuó promote第未为贵,贺亲方始荣。
时辈六七人,送我出帝城。
轩车动行色,丝管举离声。
得意减别恨,半酣轻远程。
翩翩马蹄疾,春日归乡情。

[11] AFTER PASSING THE EXAMINATION

(A.D. 800)

For ten years I never left my books;
I went up and won unmerited praise.
My high place I do not much prize;
The joy of my parents will first make me proud.
Fellow students, six or seven men,
See me off as I leave the City gate.
My covered couch is ready to drive away;
Flutes and strings blend their parting tune.
Hopes achieved dull the pains of parting;
Fumes of wine shorten the long road.
Shod with wings is the horse of him who rides
On a Spring day the road that leads to home.

CLEARING AT DAWN

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:50 by Jim Sheng

晓晴
李白【唐】
野凉疏雨歇,春色遍萋萋。
鱼跃青池满,莺吟绿树低。
野花妆面湿,山草纽斜齐。
零落残雪片,风吹挂竹谿。
[10] CLEARING AT DAWN
The fields are chill; the sparse rain has stopped;
The colours of Spring teem on every side.
With leaping fish the blue pond is full;
With singing thrushes the green boughs droop.
The flowers of the field have dabbled their powdered cheeks;
The mountain grasses are bent level at the waist.
By the bamboo stream the last fragment of cloud
Blown by the wind slowly scatters away.
PO CHÜ-I

TO TAN CH‘IU

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:50 by Jim Sheng

题元丹丘山居
李白【唐】
故人栖东山,自爱丘壑美。青春卧空林,白日犹不起。
松风清襟袖,石潭洗心耳。羡君无纷喧,高枕碧霞里。
[9] TO TAN CH‘IU
My friend is lodging high in the Eastern Range,
Dearly loving the beauty of valleys and hills.
At green Spring he lies in the empty woods,
And is still asleep when the sun shines on high.
A pine-tree wind dusts his sleeves and coat;
A pebbly stream cleans his heart and ears. 
I envy you, who far from strife and talk
Are high-propped on a pillow of blue cloud.

In Early Spring Alone Climbing The T‘ien-Kung Pagoda

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:49 by Jim Sheng

(A.D. 389)

T‘ien-kung sun warm, pagoda door open;
Alone climbing, greet Spring, drink one cup.
Without limit excursion-people afar-of wonder at me;
What cause most old most first arrived!

IN Early Spring Alone Climbing
Homage to “In Early Spring Alone Climbing the T'ien Kung Pagoda” by Ch'u Yuan – 4th Century BC. By Jean Elizabeth Ward 2008

O' how warm the sun today.
By the open pagoda door;
I greet Spring, climbing,
And drink one cup more.
Without limits on this excursion,
People stare at me,
As I am the oldest, and yet
The first to arrive successfully.

Evening at Nang Tang

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:48 by Jim Sheng

南塘暝兴
曹松【唐】 (AD 830—903)
水色昏犹白,霞光暗渐无。风荷摇破扇,波月动连珠。
蟋蟀啼相应,鸳鸯宿不孤。小僮频报夜,归步尚踟蹰。
Evening at Nang Tang
Cao Song (Tang Dynasty)
Water's colour at-dusk still white;
Sunset's glow in-the-dark gradually nil.
Windy lotus shakes (like) broken fan;
Wave-moon stirs (like) string (of) jewels.
Crickets chirping answer one another;
Mandarin-ducks sleep, not alone.
Little servant repeatedly announces night;
Returning steps still hesitate.

SELF–ABANDONMENT

posted 16 Dec 2017, 11:48 by Jim Sheng

自遣
李白【唐】

对酒不觉暝 the dusk,落花盈filled我衣。
醉起步溪月,鸟还[huan]return, were gone人亦稀
[8] SELF–ABANDONMENT
I sat drinking and did not notice the dusk,
Till falling petals filled the folds of my dress.
Drunken I rose and walked to the moonlit stream;
The birds were gone, and men also few.

1-10 of 16