Learn Chinese Through Poetry
Read Poetry Through Translation


I put this together mainly for my own enjoyment. Of course, it is also my goal to make a small difference in our attempt to study or appreciate classical Chinese poetry and prose. I assume that my readers are primarily those who learn Chinese as a second language, or those whose mother tongue is not Chinese.

Let me be frank, I am neither a scholar of Chinese poetry nor a translator by profession. When it comes to shi and ci poetry, I am but a self-taught learner and late starter. I did not start writing my first “real” poem until four years into retirement. However, I do have a passion for making the study of classical Chinese poetry (and the Chinese language too) easier and less complicated for bilingual students.

I enjoy the bilingual approach to interpreting and translating classical Chinese poetry. The bilingual approach is actually the tool I used to learn the craft of writing shi and ci poems.

I am the first to admit that my translations are far from being perfect. They are certainly not free from misinterpretations, omissions, errors, and personal biases. I encourage you to review them critically. Further, my translations are intended as "reading aids" only. In other words, each of my translations serves only one purpose: To facilitate reading and understanding the original poem, lyric, or essay.

翻译是我研读古典诗词和学习格律诗词写作的工具。我希望这种「双语助读法」能提高年青一辈阅读和欣赏中国古典诗词的兴趣。我不是诗词学者,也不是翻译专家,译文和注释难免有错误和不妥之处,欢迎指正,但请用真姓名。
--- E. C. Chang


  



水調歌頭


蘇 軾

丙辰中秋歡飲達旦,大醉作此篇,兼怀子由。


明月幾時有?把酒問青天。

不知天上宮闕,今夕是何年。

我欲乘風歸去,又恐瓊樓玉宇,高處不勝寒。 

起舞弄清影,何似在人間。 


轉朱閣,低綺戶,照無眠。

不應有恨,何事偏向別時圓。

人有悲歡离合,月有陰晴圓缺,此事古難全。 

但愿人長久,千里共嬋娟。


Mid-Autumn Moon

(Tune: Shui Diao Ge Tou)
by Su Shi
tr.  E. C. Chang

When did the bright moon appear for the first time?
Holding a cup of wine, I ask the blue sky:
In the celestial palace what year is it tonight?
I wish to return there by riding with the wind,
but am afraid that those beautiful buildings 
up there are too high and chilly for me to stay in.
Here on earth I can dance with my 
own moonlit shadow whenever I like.
Where else in the universe can I 
be so carefree to please my mind?

The moon now shifts her beam from the red pavilion 
to the lower window and door.
She then shines on this person who is 
unable to fall asleep at all.
The moon is not supposed to hold grudges.
But why does she always show her round face
when parting is about to take place?

Separation and reunion, sadness and delight.
Ah, these are part of human life.
The moon may be in the full or on the wane.
Sometimes she is gloomy and sometimes she is bright. 
Imperfections do exist since ancient times.
I can only wish we will lead a long and healthy life.
But for now, let’s enjoy moonlight together 
over a thousand miles.



Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
 
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 

雪夜駐足寒林

 (Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening)
by Robert Frost

羅伯特. 弗羅斯特

英譯中:E. C. Chang

誰家林木我應知。
路過其村入夜時。
他不知余臨此地,
適逢飛雪蓋寒枝。
 
馬兒怎會無疑竇!
不見農家必覺奇。
此晚今年應最黑,
卻停林裡近冰池。
 
搖鈴一下牠提問,
在此停留實可疑。
唯有風聲無別響,
雪花飛舞落如斯!
 
黑夜深沉林木美,
諾言應守怎能遲!
 
路程尚遠睡無期!
路程尚遠睡無期!




Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)

 

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616

 

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

 

莎士比亞十四行詩第18

 

將君比作夏天?

 


將君比作夏天?

汝更溫和更自然。

五月狂風摧愛蕾,

夏天租限短難延。

 

老天開眼生炎熱,

煥發容光忽冒煙。

美善無瑕傷落寞,

或然天意定機緣。

 

永恆夏日詩中有,

意境文思繼續傳。

來往死神隂影下,

保留文采耀詩篇。

 

只要世間人活著,

汝能依附萬千年。

  (translated by E. C. Chang




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