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


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/ Crush That Enemy Line, A Song of


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/ Crush That Enemy Line, A Song of 

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.



01 March 2019

李清照 Li Qingzhao: 如夢令 Ru Meng Ling/ As If Dreaming, A Song of (常記溪亭日暮) (I still recall ...)

Here is my rendition of one more "ci" 詞 or "tune lyric" poem by Li Qingzhao 李清照 of the Song dynasty.  I hope you enjoy it as much as her other poem written to the same tune "'As If Dreaming' Song" 如夢令 posted here on 4 January 2019.  

I have, by now, translated 3 poems by Li Qingzhao, the first being her most famous poem to the tune of "'Note After Note' Slow Song" 聲聲慢 posted here on 5 December 2018.  Please enjoy them and share them with your friends.

Li Qingzhao (1084-1151): Ru Meng Ling/ As If Dreaming, A Song of (I still recall ...)

1   I still recall that sunset gath'ring at Brookside Pavilion;
2   We got so drunk, too drunk to tell our bearings home.
3   By dusk, our gay mood spent, our boats we turned
4   Only to stray straight in to the depths of the lotus groves.
5   Oh, on, we rowed!
6   And on, we rowed!
7   Startling to flight, herons and gulls of the sandy shallows.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)    譯者: 黃宏發
18 February 2019 (revised 19.2.19; 20.2.19; 21.2.19; 22.2.19; 25.2.19; 26.2.19; 27.2.19)
Translated from the original - 李清照: 如夢令 (常記溪亭日暮)

1   常記溪亭日暮
2   沉醉不知歸路
3   興盡晚回舟
4   誤入藕花深處
5   爭渡
6   爭渡
7   驚起一灘鷗鷺

Notes:

*Form, Meter and Rhyme:  The original is a long-short lined “tune lyric” or “ci” to the tune of 寄調 “Ru Meng Ling” 如夢令, which is a “lyric pattern” (not tune pattern or music score as the music is lost) in a single stanza of 33 characters.  This English rendition follows strictly the same long-short lined lyric pattern but with a count of feet or beats to determine the length of the lines.  The long-short line-length scheme of both the original and this rendition is: 6-6/ 5-6/ 2-2-6//.  The original adopts one single rhyme, the rhyme scheme being: AA/xA/AAA.  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 satisfy the rhyme scheme with the assonantal “o” sound in “pavilion -1” (close to, but strictly not assonantal), “home -2”, “groves -4”, “rowed -5 and 6”, and “shallows -7”.

*Line 1:  (always or often) (remember, recall) is rendered as “still recall” rather than “often recall” or “have always remembered” which are all implied in the word “still” and need not be stated.  Another version of the poem has for , which meaning (had or had tried) is also implied in “still”.  I have taken the event of the poem to be a gathering, with a lot drinking, at a scenic spot away from home, to be reached and to return by boat.  (day) (late) is taken to refer to the time of the gathering and is rendered as “sunset gath’ring”.  I have picked “sunset” over “aft’rnoon”, “late day”, “dusk” and “twilight”, and “gath’ring” over “party” and “outing”.  溪亭 (brook pavilion) is rendered as “Brookside Pavilion”.  Originally, I had considered “Dome” which rhymes perfectly with “home” in line 2.  I have now decided for “Pavilion” as the Chinese did not build domes.

*Line 2:  沉醉 (deeply drunk) is rendered as “We got so drunk”.  (not) (know) (return) (way) is rendered as “too drunk to tell the bearings home”.

*Line 3:  (interest, mood, excitement) (exhausted, finished) is rendered as “our gay mood spent” after considering “our merriment/pleasure spent”.  (late, night) is rendered as “By dusk” and moved up to begin the line, after considering “’Twas late”.  歸舟 (return to/by boat) is rendered as “our boats we turned”.

*Line 4:  誤入 (mistakenly enter) is rendered as “Only to stray straight in”.  (lotus) (flowers) (deep) (place) is rendered quite literally as “the depths of the lotus groves”, but with “flowers” omitted and “groves” (after considering “growths”) added in the translated rendition to clarify that the “depths” are of the lotus plants (stems, leaves and all) above the water surface, not just the flowers.  I had also considered “a labyrinth” but have decided for the literal translation of 深處 as “the depths”.  To make this a 6-beat line, “straight in to the depths” should be read “da-dum da-da-dum” with the word “in” read stressed and the word “straight”, unstressed.

*Lines 5 and 6:  Although some commentators and translators have taken 爭渡 to read 怎渡 to mean “how to row through”, I prefer to adhere to the 爭渡 version to mean “energetically row”, not necessarily in competition.  Hence, the 2 lines are rendered as “Oh, on, we rowed! /And on, we rowed!”.  This interpretation leads logically to line 7 where waterfowls are startled to flight.  The word “on” must be read stressed to make the lines sound “da-dum da-dum”.

*Line 7:  驚起 (startle to rise in flight) is translated literally as “Startling to flight”.  (gulls) (egrets/herons) are translated literally as “herons and gulls” with the order reversed for a better flow of the line.  一灘 (one beach, or a stretch of shallows) is rendered as “of the sandy shallows” (after considering “shoal”) to close the line and the poem.  

12 February 2019

李煜 Li Yu: 浪淘沙 Lang Tao Sha/ Waves Washing Sands (往事只堪哀) (My past was such I cannot but bemoan)

Today, I am posting a "tune lyric" or "ci" 詞 by the reputedly great "King of Tune Lyric", the last King of Southern Tang, Li Yu 李煜 .

This is my most recent translation.  I hope you will be able to find how woe and sorrow can be so very beautifully expressed.

Postscript (13.2.2019): 
I had never been too happy with my line 5 in my English rendition of this great poem.  I first posted it yesterday (12.2.19) as:
Who will ever come? Oh, woe!
A few hours later yesterday, I revised it on this post to:
No one will ever come! O woe!
And today (13.2.19), I am further revising the line to:
Shall no one ever come? O woe!
I have now also revised my note on line 5 to record and explain the revisions, particularly the last one.

May I ask: which of the above 3 versions do you prefer, and do you have a version of your own?  Please share with us, followers of this Chinese poetry translation blog, your wisdom.

Li Yu (937-978): Lang Tao Sha/ Waves Washing Sands (My past was such I cannot but bemoan)

1   My past was such I cannot but bemoan;
2   Fair scenes hardly dispel my sorrow.
3   This windy autumn, on my courtyard steps, mossy lichens encroach;
4   I just leave the beaded blinds in my quarters, lie idly hung unrolled ---
5   Shall no one ever come? O woe!

6   Sunken is my golden armour, buried deep low;
7   Smothered, my spirit, by weeds o’ergrown.
8   On a night so cool, the sky so clear, the moon with a blooming halo,
9   I think of my towering palace chambers, now mere hollow shadows,
10 Cast in vain on the river below.       

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者: 黃宏發
25 January 2019 (revised 28.1.19; 29.1.19; 30.1.19; 31.1.19; 1.2.19; 8.2.19; 11.2.19)
Translated from the original - 李煜: 浪淘沙 (往事只堪哀)

1   往事只堪哀
2   對景難排
3   秋風庭院蘚侵階
4   一任珠簾閒不捲
5   終日誰來

6   金鎖已沈埋
7   壯氣蒿萊
8   晚涼天淨月華開
9   想得玉樓瑶殿影
10 空照秦淮

Notes:

*Form, Meter and Rhyme:  The original is a long-short lined “tune Lyric” or “ci” to the tune of 寄調 “Lang Tao Sha” 浪淘沙 which is a “lyric pattern” (not music score as the music is lost) in 2 halves/stanzas of 27 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: 5-4/7-7-4// 5-4/7-7-4//.  The original adopts a single rhyme for the entire poem with a rhyme scheme of AA/AxA// AA/AxA//.  As there are fewer rhyme words in English than Chinese, I have only been able to do it through the assonantal vowel sound “ow” (as in grow, flows, glowed, blown, etc.)  This I have done (“bemoan” -1, “sorrow” -2, “encroach” -3, “woe” -5, “low” -6, “o’ergrown” -7, “halo” -8, and “below” -10), and have done so even for the 2 originally unrhymed lines (“unrolled” -4, and “shadows” -9).  The rhyme scheme for this English rendition is thus AA/AAA// AA/AAA//.

*Line 1:  往事 (past events) is rendered as “My past was such”.  (only) (can) is rendered as “I cannot but …” which is so much more powerful than “I can only …”  is rendered as the verb “bemoan” after considering such adjectives as “(be) doleful, mournful, woeful, or sorrowful”.

*Line 2:  (in the face of) is implied in the English rendition and is not translated, while the context dictates that (scenes) refers to “Fair scenes” and is rendered as such.  難排 is rendered as “hardly dispel my sorrow” with “my sorrow” (after considering “woe”) added to make sense of the line.

*Line 3:  秋風 is taken to refer to the season “autumn” and not the “wind” and is rendered as “This windy autumn” rather than “in the autumn wind”. 庭院蘚侵階 is rendered as “on my courtyard steps, mossy lichens encroach”.  I have used both “moss(y)” and “lichens” to translate to create a 3-beat end to the line.  For (invade, occupy), I have decided for “encroach” after considering the use of less appropriate words like “grow”, “erode” and “corrode”.

*Line 4:  一任珠簾 is rendered as “I just leave the beaded blinds in my quarters” with “in my quarters” added which takes one from the outside in line 3 to the inside in this line 4.  There exists another version which has the second character (let, leave) as or (row) which I have not adopted. 閒不捲 is rendered as “lie idly hung unrolled”.

*Line 5:  終日 (end of day) should be understood as “whole day (and not just today but) every day” and is, therefore, rendered here as “ever” (rather than "all day")without any reference to “day”.  The line 終日誰來 “who will ever come” is a rhetorical question to mean “no one will ever come”.  The truth is: not that no one would come, but that the poet was in solitary confinement and was allowed no visitors.  I had first rendered this line as “Who will ever come? Oh, woe!” with the interjection “Oh, woe!” added to complete the sense of the line and the “ow” end rhyme.  I then revised it to "No one will ever come! O woe!" which conveys the lonely sentiments fully but lacks the rhetorical form.  I have, therefore, further revised the line to "Shall no one ever come? O woe!"

*Line 6:  (golden) (chain, lock, meshed armour) is translated literally as “golden armour” after rejecting the “chain” and “lock” interpretations of and dismissing the other version of the poem which has 金鎖 as金劍 (golden sword).  (already) (sunk) (buried) is rendered as “Sunken … buried deep low” with “deep low” added for the rhyme.

*Line 7: (heroic) (spirit) is rendered simply as “my spirit”.  蒿萊 refers to 2 kinds of weeds and is simply rendered as “weeds”.  The line is rendered as “Smothered, my spirit, by weeds o’ergrown” with “smothered” and “o’ergrown” added to make sense of the line.

*Line 8:  夜涼 is rendered as “On a night so cool”.  天淨 is translated literally as “the sky so clear” after dismissing the alternative version of the word (clear) as (silent, quiet).  (moon) (radiance, flower) (open) is rendered as “the moon with a blooming halo”.

*Line 9:  想得 is taken to mean 想到 and is rendered as “I think of” rather than “I can see (in my mind’s eye)” which can be misleading.  (jade) (towers) (jade) 殿 (chambers) is rendered as “my towering palace chambers” with the word “palace” used to translate and which are adjectives used to say these are palace buildings.  is translated literally as “shadows” with “now mere hollow” added in front of “shadows” to anticipate and amplify the “hollowness, emptiness” of the word (empty, hollow, in vain) in the original line 10.

*Line 10:  (shine) is rendered as “shadows,/ Cast” which is required by the context of “the moon casting the shadows of the palace buildings” as presented in lines 8 to 10.  I have added “below” to end the line for the “ow” rhyme.  To keep this line to 4 feet/beats to translate 空照秦淮, I had considered (a) “Cast on the River Qinhuai (or Qinhuai River) below” and (b) “Cast in vain on the river (or Qinhuai) below”.  I have decided against (a) as it fails to translate the word (empty, hollow, in vain) which idea, in my view, pervades and is central to the whole poem.  I have, therefore, decided for (b), and as for the choice between “the river” and “Qinhuai”, I have decided for “the river”, as “Qinhuai” (without qualifying it as a river) may not mean much to the uninitiated and a transliterated translation of it may even be baffling.  The line is, hence, rendered as “Cast in vain on the river below”.