Thursday, October 18, 2007

Qiwu Qian: Boating on Ruoye Lake in Spring

"Boating on Ruoye Lake in Spring" by Tang Dynasty Poet Qiwu Qian


Word-by-word translation 逐字直译:

 春   泛 若耶   溪
Spring float Ruoye brook/lake

  幽    意   无 绝   断
Deep/serene sense/feel no end/stop break
 此 去   随    所   偶
Here go according to that-has occasion
 晚   风 吹  行   舟
Evening wind blow moving boat
 花  路  入   溪   口
Flower road enter brook/lake mouth
 际  夜 转 西  壑
Come night turn west valley
  隔        山  望  南  斗
Screened/separate mountain watch south dipper
  潭   烟 飞  溶溶
Lake/pool mist fly broad/floating
 林  月 低   向  后
Woods moon lower toward back
 生   事   且 弥  漫
Life matters/things and full overflow
  愿    为 持 杆  叟
Wish/willing be hold pole old-man

A translation by W Bynner

           Tr. W. Bynner

Thoughtful elation has no end:
Onward I bear it to whatever comes.
And my boat and I, before the evening breeze
Passing flowers, entering the lake,
Turn at nightfall toward the western valley,
Where I watch the south star over the mountain
And a mist that rises, hovering soft,
And the low moon slanting through the trees;
And I choose to put away from me every worldly matter
And only to be an old man with a fishing-pole.

My two versions 我的两个版本

  Boating In Ruoye Lake’s Spring
         By Tang Dynasty poet Qiwu Qian
         Tr. FAN Jinghua
The purport of the deep and beyond is unending,
This course of mine is marked by whatever comes along.
The boat is borne onward by the evening breeze,
Cleaving a route between flowers and entering a lake.
Night finds my boat turning to the Western Valley,
And I see the Southern Stars high beyond the mountains.
Mist over the lake floats slowly like moonlight,
Behind me, the moon moves away with the trees, lower and lower.
Rather than resign myself to endless worldly cares,
I’d be an old man holding nothing but a fishing-pole.

  Boating on Ruoye Lake in Spring
           (Tang Dynasty) Qiwu Qian
           Tr. FAN Jinghua
The import of the deep beyond has no end,
And I’ll drift on with whatever comes along.
Evening breeze bears the boat along a course
That cuts through the blossomy shores and joins a pool.
Night falls and the boat turns to the Western Dale,
While the Southern Dipper is seen high above some mountains.
Over the water, a mist poises and loiters,
Whereas the moon slips backward and lowers in the woods.
Varied and wearing are earthly concerns,
And if only I were an oldie holding a fishing rod.

About the Poet: Qiwu Qian was a Tang poet, remembered less because of a few existing poems than because of association with the great poet Wang Wei.

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