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An Old Poem about Sorrow by Xin Qiji - by Mathilda Ren

(2010-12-03 23:23:08)
标签:

诗歌

中国文化

英语

文化

《Shu1 bo2shan1dao4zhong1 bi4》
《书博山道中壁》
Writing on Bo Mountain Wall
作者:辛弃疾
Writer:  Xin1 Qi4ji2

Notes:

Old Chinese poems are very succinct and very beautiful. A mere ten words can tell an entire story. This format leaves much space for the imagination. As such, there's no way to provide a single "correct" translation. Here we offer one possible interpretation. For another interpretive approach, plus interesting details about the poet and his times, see
this Wikipedia article.

This poem is often referred to by the generic name "Tune Name". This is a common practice for poems of this type, and refers to the style of the poem. In ancient China poems were often originally written as new lyrics for existing tunes. Over time the melody was forgotten but the metre and rhythm of the song were retained in a poetic style. Poems' styles were referred to with the phrase "to the tune of [tune name]".

Shu1 is usually translated as "book" but in this case it means "write". Bo2shan1dao4zhong1 means "Bo Mountain path", and bi4 means "wall of mountain".


Shao4nian2 bu4shi2 chou2 zi1wei4, ...
少年不识愁滋味,……
A young person doesn't really know what sorrow is.

Ai4shang4ceng2lou2.
爱上层楼。
Literally, "Love climb towers".
Note: This line is repeated below and can suggest many things. For example, to one person it might suggest "when I was young I liked to climb towers and travel." For another person it might suggest "standing in a high place and watching what is below."

Ai4shang4ceng2lou2, ...
爱上层楼,……
Love climb towers.

wei4 fu4 xin1 ci2 qiang2 shuo1 chou2.
为赋新词强说愁。
When writing poems I talked as if I had really experienced suffering.

Er2jin1 shi2jin4 chou2zi1wei4, ...
而今识尽愁滋味,……
But now I've tasted every drop of sorrow, ...

yu4 shuo1 huan2 xiu1.
欲说还休。
I want to speak and yet I stop.

Yu4 shuo1 huan2 xiu1.
欲说还休。
I want to talk about it, but I've lost my words.

Que4dao4 tian1liang2 hao3ge4qiu1.
却道天凉好个秋。
Instead, I just write, "What a cool Autumn" .

 


Notes:

These word translations are from ancient Chinese. In Chinese, as in all languages, many words can carry many different meanings. The translations that we provide here are those that are best suited to understanding the poet's meaning, and in many cases are specific to the author's time period - the twelth century AD.

 
Ci2hui4
词汇
Vocabulary

shao4nian2
少年
young person, youth, teen-age

bu4shi2
不识
don't know, don't understand

chou2

sorrow, melancholy

zi1wei4
滋味
taste, flavor

ceng2

floor, laver, layer upon layer

lou2

floor, storey, building

er2

transition (of an essay)

jin1

now, the present

shi2

know

jin4

all, exhaustive, use up

yu4

desire, wish, want

xiu1

stop

que4

but

dao4

say, talk, speak

tian1

sky, weather

liang2

cool, cold

qiu1

autumn


 
Creative Commons License
This article is © Mathilda Ren and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.



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