16 August 2019

温庭筠 Wen Tingyun: 瑶瑟怨 A Plaint on the Jade Zither


Today, I am posting my latest rendition of a quatrain by the great Late Tang dynasty poet Wen Tingyun.  I suggest reading it out loud to begin to appreciate this subtle and restrained plaint of a lady whose husband is away.  The lady is sleepless and rises to play the zither to vent her plaint, hence, zither (not lute) in the title.

Wen Tingyun (812-870): A Plaint on the Jade Zither

1  An ice-cool mat, my silvery bedding, O sleepless, dreamless tonight;
2  The deep blue sky, supple like water, the night clouds, scanty and light.
3  Crying wild geese fly far to the south, to the Rivers of Xiao and Xiang,
4  Here in the land of Twelve Mansions, of itself the moon shines bright.
                  
Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)  譯者: 黃宏發
24 July 2019 (revised 29.7.19; 30.7.19)
Translated from the original - 温庭筠: 瑶瑟怨

1  冰簟銀床夢不成
2  碧天如水夜雲輕
3  雁聲遠過瀟湘去
4  十二樓中月自明

Notes:

*Title:  This is the plaint of a lady whose husband is away from home.  In the poem, her grief is restrained and subtle, with the word “Plaint” appearing only in the title, and with only a hint of her grief in 夢不成 “sleepless, dreamless” in line 1 of the poem itself.  “se” is a 16 or 25 stringed musical instrument.  It has been translated by one and many as “lute”.  I am afraid this is incorrect as “lute” is shaped and played like a guitar while (and similarly the 7 stringed “qin” or 古琴 “guqin”) is shaped and played like a zither placed horizontally in front of the player.  is, therefore, rendered here as “Zither”.  You may wish to visit the web for an article written by John Thompson on the origins and popularity of translating and as “lute”, http://www.silkqin.com/11misc/lute.htm.  refers to fine jade decorating the zither, and is simply rendered as “Jade”.   

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  The original is a 7-character 七言 quatrain or”jueju” 絕句.  This
English rendition is a quatrain in heptameter (7 feet or beats) to emulate the original.  The
rhyme scheme is AAXA as in the original.

*Line 1:  (ice) (mat) is translated as “An ice-cool mat” after rejecting “ An icy mat” as the word is used here to describe the coolness, or even coldness, and not the iciness.   in 銀床 (silver, bed) can be taken literally as “silver” (made of or decorated with silver) and metaphorically as “moonlit” in the adjective “silvery” (appear silvery in the moonlight).  It is, therefore, rendered as “my silvery bedding” to cover both meanings, after considering “my moonlit bedding”.  (dream) (not) is rendered as “O sleepless, dreamless tonight” with “sleepless” and “tonight” added to account for what she does on that insomnious night (tonight): playing the zither, looking up the sky, listening to the wild geese, and thinking of her husband who must be looking at the same moon.

*Line 2: (blue) (sky) is translated as “The deep blue sky”; (like) (water) is rendered as “supple like water” with “supple” added after considering “soft” and “gentle”.  (night) (clouds) (light) is rendered as “the night clouds, scanty and light”.

*Line 3:  (wild geese) (cries) is rendered as “Crying wild geese” as I have taken “the cries of the wild geese” as a synecdoche for “the wild geese, flying and crying”.  (Xiao) and (Xiang) refer to the Rivers Xiao and Xiang (in present day Hunan 湖南 Province) which flow into 洞庭湖 Lake Dongting, then 長江 River Yangzi, all to the south of the capital city 長安 Chang’an.  瀟湘 is, therefore, transliterated and rendered as “the Rivers of Xiao and Xiang”   (far) (go, cross) … (to) is rendered as ‘fly far to the south, to …” with “the south” added to indicate the direction of flight (south) and, hence, the season (autumn).

*Line 4:  十二 (ten-and-two, twelve) (towers, mansions) refers to a place where the immortals or nobles live.  It should not be taken to mean a 12-storeyed tower or mansion or house as the ancient Chinese never built residential structures of more than a few storeys high.  十二樓 is, therefore, reasonably taken to mean a land named after its having 12 rather tall buildings, and is, hence, rendered as “land of Twelve Mansions” after considering “land of Towers Twelve” and “land of Towers Dodeca (Greek for twelve, 2 and 10)”.  (middle, in) is rendered as “Here in the …..”  (moon) (self) (bright) is translated literally as “of itself the moon shines bright”.  

15 July 2019

李清照 Li Qingzhao: 南歌子 Nan Ge Zi/ A Southern Song -- 悼亡 Mourning the Dead

Today, I am posting my latest rendition of yet another tune lyric poem 詞 by the great Song 宋 dynasty lady poet Li Qingzhao 李清照.  The poem was probably written some time after the death of the poet's husband Zhao Mingcheng 趙明誠.  The poem is a superb example of a plain and personal yet subtle and restrained elegy mourning the loss of her husband.

Li Qingzhao (1084-1151): Nan Ge Zi/ A Southern Song – Mourning the Dead

1   Up in the heavens, the starry river turns;
2   Down here on earth, curtains, drapes hang low.
3   The air chilling, my tears dripping, dousing my mat and pillow;
4   I rise to disrobe my silken o'erclothes, and idly wonder
4a How old the night has grown.

5   ‘Tis a robe of small lotus-pods, patched on in green,
6   And a few leaves of the lotus, gilt-threaded, yellowed.
7   The same seasonal clime of old time, the selfsame old-time robe;
8   Only my sentiments aren't quite the same, as those I'd known    
8a In our days in time of old.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)    譯者: 黃宏發
26 June 2019 (revised 3.7.19; 4.7.19; 5.7.19; 9.7.19; 12.7.19; 14.7.19; 20.7.19; 31.7.19)
Translated from the original - 李清照: 南歌子 -- 悼亡

1   天上星河轉
2   人間簾幕垂
3   涼生枕簟淚痕滋
4   起解羅衣聊問
4a 夜何其

5   翠貼蓮蓬小
6   金銷藕葉稀
7   舊時天氣舊時衣
8   只有情懷不似
8a 舊家時

Notes:

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  The original is a tune lyric poem or “ci” to the tune of Nan Ge Zi 南歌子 (A Southern Song), entitled 悼亡 “Mourning the Dead”, which is in 2 stanzas of 26 characters (=single syllable words) each with a line length pattern of 5-5/ 7-9 (or 4-5)// 5-5/ 7-9 (or 4-5)//. This English rendition follows the same pattern, counting feet or beats (not words nor syllables) for the line length.  This English rendition also follows strictly the rhyme scheme of the original: xA/ AA (or AxA)// xA/ AA (or AxA).  Unable to find perfect rhyme words (as there are far fewer such words in the English language than the Chinese), I have used the assonance of the “ou” sound as rhyme: “low -2”, “pillow -3”, “grown -4a”, “yellowed -6”, “robe -7”, and “old -8a”.

*Line 1:  (sky) (above) is rendered as “Up in the heavens”.  (stars) (river) refers to the Milky Way and is translated literally as “the starry river”, and (turn), also literally as “turns”.

*Line 2:  (human beings) (amid, world) is rendered as “Down here on earth”.  I suggest reading “here” unstressed.  簾幕 (screen, curtain) (drop closed) is translated as “curtains, drapes hang low”.

*Line 3: (coolness) (emanating) is rendered as “The air chilling”.  (pillow) (mat) is translated literally as “my mat and pillow” and moved to the end of the line.  (tears) (stain) (thrive) is rendered as “my tears dripping, dousing …” and moved to the middle of the line.

*Lines 4 and 4a:  (rise) (untie) (silk) (clothes) in line 4 is rendered as “I rise to disrobe my silken o’erclothes”.  (casually) (ask) in line 4 is rendered as "and idly wonder, and  (night) 何其 (how so) in line 4a, as “How old the night has grown”.  I am grateful to the famed Chinese poetry translator 許淵冲 Xu Yuanchong from whom I have borrowed his rendition of the same as “Wondering how old night has grown” (p. 403 in his “Bilingual Edition 300 Song Lyrics”, Higher Education Press, Beijing, 2004).

*Lines 5 and 6:  In the original, these 2 lines describe the embroidery on a piece of clothing without saying it is a piece of clothing and without indicating whether it is being changed into or changed out of.  These lines follow from “I disrobe …” in line 4.  To make sense of them, I have added “’Tis a robe of” to begin the lines.  The very specific word “robe” is chosen as it makes better sense for an embroidered piece of clothing, after having considered the less specific words of “gown” and “dress” which can refer to nightclothes.  

*Line 5:  (green) (patched) is rendered as “patched on in green”.  (lotus) (pods) (small) is literally translated as “small lotus-pods”.  These reveal that the pattern of the embroidery on the dress is primarily that of many new and young, therefore, “small” and “green” lotus-pods which would eventually bear a myriad of lotus seeds.  I take this pattern to be a wish for plentiful off-springs, or 百子千孫 (hundred sons, thousand grandsons).

*Line 6:  For (gold, gilt) (melt metal), I had originally considered “embroidered in gold” but have decided for “gilt-threaded, yellowed”, using “gilt-threaded” to render the meaning of the original which, in my view, means “stitched with gold thread”.  To follow “gilt-threaded”, I have added “yellowed” (after considering “, yellow” or “in yellow”, or even with “embroidered” replacing “gilt-threaded”) to spell out the colour to complete the picture of a few withered, hence, yellowed lotus leaves in the background of many green lotus-pods.  (lotus) (leave) (sparse) is translated literally as “And a few leaves of the lotus”.

*Line 7:  天氣 (climate, weather) is rendered as “seasonal clime” which is autumn as implied but not specified (“air chilling” and “mat” in line 3) in the poem, and is translated specifically as “robe” to refer back to “disrobe” in line 3 and “robe” in line 5.   (old) (time) which appears twice in the line is rendered as: “The same (seasonal clime) of old time” in the first half line, and “the selfsame old-time (robe)” in the second half line.  舊時衣 should be taken to refer to "the very robe/ clothes she used to wear".  The second half line was originally rendered as "the very same old robe".  I have now revised it to "the selfsame old-time robe" (the selfsame = the very).  With this: the 3 words of "same", "old" and "time" are all replicated not only in these 2 half lines but also in the 舊(家)時 in line 8a.

*Lines 8 and 8a:  Line 8, 只有 (only) 情懷 (sentiment, feeling)  (not)  (like, similar, same) is translated rather literally as “Only my sentiments aren't quite the same as those I'd known” with "as those I'd known" added.  I suggest reading the line as 2 dactyls (Dumdada) followed by 1 trochee Dumda) and 3 iambs (daDum).  (home, family) in 舊家時 is taken by most critics to be just an auxiliary word to stress the oldness and passing of the “old time”.  With that, I could have ended my rendition of the line and poem with “in the days in time of old”.  However, the poet could have used the word (home, family) substantively or, at least, used this ostensibly auxiliary word to hint at the idea of 家, her home and family with her now dead husband.  I have, therefore, decided to render 不似舊家時 as “… aren't quite the same as those I’d known/ In our days in time of old”, with the word “our” (the poet and her husband) brought in to somehow bring out in the rendition the idea of the loss of her husband, her family and home.  I just wish to add I can also settle for “at home in our time of old” to satisfy those who insist on giving 家 (home) a substantive meaning.

  

12 June 2019

李清照 Li Qingzhao: 醉花陰 Zui Hua Yin/ Enchanted in the Shade of Blossoms -- 重九 Ninth of the Ninth ssoms - 重九 Ninth of the Ninth


Today, I am posting yet another beautiful tune lyric poem by Li Qingzhao written on the feast of Double Nine (9th day of the 9th lunar month), a day marked by the drinking of medicinal wines, the burning of cleansing incenses, and a trip to the hills (to also sweep the graves of one's ancestors).  But the poet's husband 趙明誠 Zhao Mingcheng, a government official, was away on a tour of duty in some distant land.  Being newlyweds, she missed her husband so much that these long and short lines, particularly the last 2 lines, were penned.  I have rendered these 2 most famous lines "簾捲西風 (4 characters)/ 人比黃花瘦 (5 characters)" as "Let the west wind whirl up my curtain (4 feet)/ To betray I'm frailer than the yellow floriage (5 feet)".  I hope I have succeeded in capturing the beauty of the original. 

Li Qingzhao (1084-1151): Zui Hua Yin/ Enchanted in the Shade of Blossoms -- Ninth of the Ninth

1   Thin mist, dense clouds, o’ercast all day, downcast ‘cos you’re away.
2   A bronze-lion incense burner, borneol exhales.
3   ‘Tis again the festive day of Ninth of the Ninth;
4   My jade-like pillow, gauze-veiled bed,
5   By midnight, a chill will’ve begun to permeate.

6   Aft dusk, at the eastside ‘santhemum hedge: to our health, a cup I take;
7   And up my sleeves, a faint sweet scent pervades.
8   O say not my heart is not with gloom consumed!
9   Let the west wind whirl up my curtain
10 To betray I’m frailer than the yellow floriage.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)    譯者: 黃宏發
4 May 2019 (revised 6.5.19; 13.5.19; 21.5.19; 24.5.19; 27.5.19)
Translated from the original - 李清照: 醉花陰 -- 重九

1   薄霧濃雲愁永晝
2   瑞腦銷金獸
3   佳節又重陽
4   玉枕紗廚
5   半夜涼初透

6   東籬把酒黃昏後
7   有暗香盈袖
8   莫道不消魂
9   簾捲西風
10人比黃花瘦

Notes:

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  The original is a tune lyric poem or “ci” to the tune of Zui Hua Yin 醉花陰 (Enchanted in the Shade of Blossoms) entitled “Ninth of the Ninth” 重九 which is in 2 stanzas of 26 characters (=words) each with a line length pattern of 7-5/5-4-5// 7-5/5-4-5//.  This English rendition follows the same pattern, but, counting beats or feet (rather than words or syllables) to determine the line length.  For example, while the original is 7 characters or words (hence 7 syllables) long, my line 1 in English “Thin mist, dense clouds, o’ercast all day, downcast ‘cos you’re away” is in 11 words, 14 syllables, but in only 7 beats or feet.  This English rendition also strictly follows the rhyme scheme of the original: AA/xxA// AA/xxA//.  Unable to find perfect or full rhyme words (as there are fewer such words in English than Chinese), I have used the assonantal “ei” rhyme in “away -1”, “exhales -2”, “permeate -5”, “take -6”, “pervades -7” and “floriage -10”.

*Line 1:  薄霧濃雲 is translated literally as “Thin mist, dense clouds”.  (always) (daytime) is rendered as “all day” to qualify the “o’ercast” added to summarize the weather and to lead to “downcast” which follows to translate (sadness).  I have taken the liberty to add “’cos you’re away” which clarifies the cause of the poet’s sadness.

*Line 2:  瑞腦 (borneol, borneol camphor) (dispense) 金獸 (metal animal) means 金獸銷瑞腦 and is rendered as “A bronze-lion incense burner, borneol exhales” with the metal (bronze), the animal (lion), the use of the metal animal-shaped container (incense burner), and the substance it dispenses (borneol) all clearly  defined.

*Line 3:  佳節 is rendered as “festive day”, as “ ’Tis again”, and 重陽 is spelt out as “Ninth (day) of the Ninth (month)”.

*Line 4:  (jade) (pillow) refers to a porcelain pillow and is rendered as “My jade-like pillow”.  in紗廚 does not mean “kitchen”, but a tent or canopy shaped like a closet or large cabinet (漢語大詞典: “同櫥,形狀像櫥的帳子”) to shade the beddings.  紗廚 is therefore rendered as “gauze-veiled bed”.

*Line 5:  (seep through) is rendered as “permeate” for the rhyme.  I suggest reading “to permeate” as dadum dadum with “per-” and “-ate” read stressed.

*Line 6:  東籬 is an allusion to the line “ (pluck) (chrysanthemum) (east) (hedge) (under)” in Poem 5 of the 20 Wine Poems by the great Eastern Jin dynasty pastoral poet Tao Chien or Tao Yuanming (365-427).  Because of this and because of the references to “a faint sweet scent” in line 7 and “the yellow flower flakes” in line 10, 東籬 is rendered as “at the eastside ‘santhemum (chrysanthemum) hedge”.  把酒 is rendered as “to our health, a cup I take” to convey the meaning of “to raise a cup (of wine) and drink to your (and my) health”.  黃昏後 (after dusk)  is taken to simply indicate the time of the drinks, and the line is taken to be “黃昏後在東籬把酒”.  It would be utterly wrong to take the line to mean “At the eastside hedge, I drink (booze) until long after dusk”.

*Line 7:  (fill) (sleeves) is rendered as “And up my sleeves … pervades”.  Although (faint) (scent) usually alludes to the scent of plum (or, mume) blossoms, it is used here to refer to the scent of the chrysanthemums.  I have added the word “sweet” between “faint” and “scent” to make sure the scent is not misunderstood as an unpleasant odour.

*Line 8:  莫道不消魂 is rendered as “O say not my heart is not with gloom consumed!”  I am indebted to the famed Chinese poetry translator Prof. Xu Yuanchong 許淵冲 (who calls himself X.Y.Z.) who has rendered this line as “Say not my soul/ Is not consumed…” (in his Bilingual Edition 300 Song Lyrics, Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2004, p. 413).  I have adopted his “Say not … is not consumed” but have adapted his “my soul” to “my heart”, and have added "O" to begin the line.  I have also added “with gloom” between “is not” and “consumed” to clarify that the poet is overwhelmed with sorrow and not with joy or pleasure which 消魂 can also mean in other contexts.

*Lines 9 and 10:  簾捲西風 in line 9 is taken to mean 西風捲簾 and is translated literally as “Let the west wind whirl up my curtain”.  Line 9 which begins with “Let …” is enjambed to link up to “To betray” (after considering “To show”, “To say” and “To see”) which begins line 10 and which is added to echo and conclude the “O say not … is not … consumed” sentiments of line 8.  人比黃花瘦 in line 10 is rendered as “(To betray) I’m frailer than the yellow floriage” with: (a) “I’m” to personally translate , (b) “frailer than” (after considering “thinner than”) to translate , and (c) “the yellow floriage” to literally translate 黃花, after dropping “yellow flowers, frail” and “yellow flowers, waned” for adding to the original, and after considering “the yellow flower flakes” and “the yellow flowerage”.  (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: Floriage, 1782, from Latin flor- (flower), after foliage, Bloom, blossom …)




17 May 2019

李清照 Li Qingzhao: 武陵春 Wuling Chun/ Spring in Wuling -- 春晚 Late Spring (風住塵香花已盡) (The wind has waned, the soil scented ...)

Today, I am posting another "tune lyric poem" by the great lady poet Li Qingzhao.  This was written 6 years after her husband's passing away.  I do hope you will enjoy both the original and my rendition.  Here we are:


Li Qingzhao (1084-1151): Wuling Chun/ Spring in Wuling -- Late Spring (The wind has waned, the soil scented …)

1  The wind has waned, the soil scented, the season of blossoms spent;
2  So late in the morn, O to comb my hair, I loathe.
3  Your things remain, but you live no more, all matters that matter reposed; 
4  O ere I speak, my tears I cannot withhold.

5  I’ve heard it said: at Shuangxi’s Twinbrook, springtime is still sublime;
6  To be there I wish, in a light boat adrift, afloat.
7  And yet I fear it would be found the grasshopper Twinbrook rowboat
8  Far too light to carry --- a load of so much sorrow.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)    譯者: 黃宏發
15 April 2019 (revised 17.4.19)
Translated from the original - 李清照: 武陵春 -- 春晚 (風住塵香花已盡)

1  風住塵香花已盡
2  日晚倦梳頭
3   物是人非事事休
4  欲語淚先流

5  聞道雙溪春尚好
6  也擬泛輕舟
7  又恐雙溪舴艋舟
8  載不動許多愁

Notes:

*Form, Metre and Rhyme: The original is a tune lyric poem or “ci” to the tune of “Wuling Chun” 武陵春 which is in 2 stanzas of 24 and 25 characters respectively with a line length pattern of 7-5/7-5// 7-5/7-6//.  This English rendition follows the same pattern, but counting beats or feet (not words, nor syllables) to determine the line length.  For example, while the original is 7 characters or words (hence 7 syllables) long, my line 1 in English “The wind has waned, the soil scented, the season of blossoms spent” is in 12 words, 15 syllables, but in only 7 beats/feet.  This English rendition also strictly follows the xA/AA// xA/AA rhyme scheme of the original.  Unable to find perfect, full rhyme words (as there are far fewer such words in English than Chinese), I have used the assonantal “ou” rhyme in “loathe -2”, “reposed -3”, “withhold -4”, “afloat -6”, “rowboat -7”, and “sorrow -8”.

*Line 1:  means stop, cease, wane etc. and not live, reside, etc.   風住 is translated literally as “The wind has waned”.   (dust) refers to 塵土 (soil, ground, earth, dirt), and not 塵埃 (dust).  塵香 is, therefore, rendered as “the soil scented”, scented by fallen petals.  (flowers) (already) (finished) is rendered as “the season of blossoms spent” with the idea of “season” which is implied, added.

*Line 2:  As in my view, (dusk, night/ or late) in this context should mean “late” and not “dusk”, (day) should not, therefore, be taken to mean “day and night”, “day or night”, “from morn to dusk”, etc.  A literal translation of 日晚would be “late in the day” which still includes “dusk” while the original should only be reasonably understood as “late in the morning of the day”.  I have, therefore, rendered 日晚 as “So late in the morn”.  (tired)  means 厭倦 (tired of), not 疲倦 (physically tired), and is rendered as “I loathe”.  (comb) (head) is rendered quite literally as “my hair to comb” with “hair” used instead of “head” as 梳頭 can only mean to comb or groom or dress the hair on one’s or someone’s head.

*Line 3:  (things) (yes) (persons) (not) is taken to refer to the poet’s husband 趙明誠   Zhao Mingcheng who passed away some 6 years before this poem was penned and is, therefore, rendered as “Your things remain, but you live no more”.  事事 (matters) (closed) is rendered as “all matters that matter reposed”.

*Line 4:  (wish) (speak) (tears) (first) (flow) is rendered as “O ere I speak, my tears I cannot withhold”.

*Line 5:  聞道 is translated literally as “I’ve heard it said”.  雙溪 is both transliterated and translated as “Shuangxi’s Twinbrook”.  (spring) (still) (fine) is rendered as “springtime is still sublime” for the “… -time … -blime” internal rhyme.

*Line 6:  也擬 is rendered as “To be there I wish”, and 泛輕舟 as “in a light boat, adrift, afloat”.

*Line 7:  又恐 is rendered as “And yet I fear it would be found”, and 雙溪舴艋舟 as “the grasshopper Twinbrook rowboat”.

*Line 8:  載不動 is rendered as “Far too light to carry”, and 許多愁 as “a load of so much sorrow”.



17 April 2019

李煜 Li Yu: 破陣子 Po Zhen Zi/ Song of Crush That Enemy Line


Today, I am posting my translation of yet another tune lyric poem or "ci" 詞 by the great "King of Tune Lyric Poetry" Li Yu or Li Houzhu 李後主(the last King of Southern Tang.  This poem is precisely on the subject of his and his kingdom's demise.  Here is my rendition.  I hope you'll enjoy it. 

Li Yu: Po Zhen Zi/ Song of Crush That Enemy Line

1    E’er since for forty years, this land: my home, my country;
2    A realm of a thousand miles, of a mountained, rivered terrain.
3    Grand palatial towers and chambers, rise high to meet the skies;
4    Jade green leaves on boughs and branches, vines in a misty veil.
5    When did I know of battle shields and blades?

6    Now that I’m made a subject, a lord in name, a captive;   
7    Thinned waist, hoary temples: O how I’m wasting away!
8    And worst at the shrine on parting day, hurried-worried despite,
9    Court musicians still remained, just parting songs were played.
10  O tears I rolled before the palace maids.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)  譯者: 黃宏發
24 December 2018 (revised 26.12.18; 27.12.18; 28.12.18; 29.12.18; 31.12.18; 1.1.19)
Translated from the original – 李煜: 破陣子

1    四十年來家國
2    三千里地山河
3    鳳閣龍樓連霄漢
4    玉樹瓊枝作煙蘿
5    幾曾識干戈

6    一旦歸為臣虜
7    沈腰潘鬢消磨
8    最是倉惶辭廟日
9    教坊猶奏別離歌
10  垂淚對宮娥

Notes:
*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  The original is a long-short lined “tune lyric” or “ci” to the tune 寄調 of “Po Zhen Zi” 破陣子 which is a “lyric pattern” (not tune pattern or music score, as the music is lost) in 2 halves/stanzas of 31 characters each.  This English rendition strictly follows the same long-short lined lyric pattern but with a count of feet or beats (and not syllables) to determine the length of the lines.  The long-short line-length scheme of both the original and this rendition is: 6-6/7-7/5// 6-6/7-7/5//.  The original adopts one single rhyme for the entire poem with a rhyme scheme of: xA/xA/A// xA/xA/A//.  This English rendition follows the same rhyme scheme.  However, as there are fewer rhyme words in English than Chinese, I have only been able to do it with an assonantal “-ei” rhyme in “2- terrain”, “4- veil”, “5- blades”, “7- away”, “9- played” and “10- maids”.  (Please note that for the line-length pattern and the rhyme scheme, I have used the single slash to stand for the end of a sentence and the double slash, for the end of a stanza.)
*Line 1:  四十年來 is rendered as “E’er since for forty years” after considering “O since for forty years”, “For forty years e’er since”, “For the past/last forty years”, “Since when/then for forty years” and “Since thence for forty years”.   (family, home) (nation, country) is rendered as “my home, my country” (after considering “… my home and country”) with “this land” added.
*Line 2:  三千 (three thousand) (‘li’, which is about one third of a mile, hence, a thousand miles for 3,000 ‘li’) (land, territory) is, therefore, rendered as “A realm of a thousand miles”.  Instead of the literal translation of山河as “of mountains and rivers”, it is rendered as “of a mountained, rivered terrain”, after considering “of mountains and rivered terrains/plains”.  The word “terrain” (or “plain”) is used to give line 2 (the first rhymed line in the poem) the assonantal “-ei” rhyme for the entire poem.
*Line 3:  and are translated literally as “towers” and “chambers”.  (dragon) and (phoenix) refer to the king and his ladies (including the queen) respectively.  As they are mere adjectives qualifying the “towers and chambers”, they are not translated but are rendered collectively as “Grand palatial (towers and chambers)”.  (connect, link) is rendered as “rise high to meet” and 霄漢 (clouds, sky) is translated literally as “the skies”.
*Line 4:  (tree) is taken to mean tree(s) as a whole, including the branches, twigs and leaves, not just the trunk(s). (branch) likewise includes the twigs and leaves.  and are, therefore, rendered as “boughs and branches”.  Both and mean “jade” and both words are used to say how luxuriant, magnificent or handsome something or someone is.  Here they are used to qualify the vegetation in the royal palace and are rendered collectively as “Jade green leaves (on boughs and branches)”.  (make, take to be) (smoke, mist) (vines, climbing plants) is rendered as “vines in a misty veil”.
*Line 5:  (shields) (dagger axes) are battle weapons, and the 2 words put together refer to war.  They are rendered quite literally as “of battle shields and blades” with “battle” added (to make clear that they refer to war), and with “blades” used (instead of “dagger axes” which are blades) for the assonantal “-ei” rhyme.  (when, what, how) (have) (know) is rendered as “When did I know” after considering “What” and “How”.  The line is a rhetorical question which means and says “I did not know”.  “When did I know” should, therefore, be read as da-dum-da-dum with the word “did” stressed, and “When” (or “What” or “How”) unstressed, because if stressed all these will turn the line into a genuine question.
*Line 6:  (one) (day) should, in my view, be taken together to mean “once” in the sense of “as soon as” or “now that”, instead of taken separately to mean “one day”.   It is here rendered as “Now that”.  As I take (return, assign) (to be) to mean “assigned or made to be” or “made to become”, it is rendered as “I’m made”, after considering “I’ve become”.   (the king/emperor’s subordinates of all ranks) (captive, prisoner) is rendered as “a subject, a lord in name, a captive”, with “a lord in name” added to further depict the poet’s lot.  The poet was actually made 違命侯 (the Disobedient Marquis), void of any territory, and put under house arrest.

*Line 7:  沈腰 (Shen’s waist) and 潘鬢 (Pan’s temples) are 2 literary allusions to 2 ancients, respectively 沈約 Shen Yue for his thinned waist, and 潘岳 Pan Yue for the hoary hair on his temples.  I have decided not to translate the 2 names but simply what they stand for, and the phrase is, therefore, rendered as “Thinned waist, hoary temples”.  消磨 (wear away/while away)  is rendered as “O how I’m wasting away”.

*Line 8:  最是 is translated literally as “And worst”.  (take leave) (temple, shrine) (day) is translated quite literally as “at the shrine on parting day”.  The “shrine” is the royal ancestral shrine in the palace to which one goes to ask one’s forebears for leave to part.  (hurry, hurried) (frightened, worried, fearful) is rendered as “hurried-worried despite”.  I had originally considered “was I”, “we were” and “as might” to follow “hurried-worried”, but have now decided for “despite” as it gives the best link to line 9.  I had also considered “hurry-scurry” which I now regard as inferior to my newly coined “hurried-worried” which translates 倉惶 quite fully.

*Line 9:  (teach) (workshop, quarters) refers not to a place in the palace, but to the band of musicians housed in the palace.  It is, therefore, rendered as “Court musicians”.  別離 (farewell, parting) (song) is translated literally as “parting songs”.  in (still) (play) is translated literally as “played”.  The word 猶    can, in this context, mean either (1) “still” (還   or ) or (2) “only” (只   or ).  I have, in my rendition, covered both meanings, viz. “hurried-worried despite,/ Court musicians still remained, just(=only) parting songs were played”.

*Line 10:  in 垂淚 (falling tears) is rendered as “rolled” rather than “shed”, as “rolled” is more tearful than “shed”; and I take my “O tears I rolled” to be in full accord with the “And worst” sentiments covered in lines 8 to 10.