20 February 2008

孟浩然 Meng Haoran: 春曉 A Morning in Spring

I have just finished translating Meng Haoran's "A Morning in Spring" and wish to share it with you the soonest. Here we go. I will post my other finished poems later.

Meng Haoran (689-740):  A Morning in Spring

1  In spring, I sleep, unaware morning is here,
2  From near then far, trilling songbirds I hear;
3  In the night's pitter-patter of winds and rains though mild,
4  How many fallen petals? Know not, I fear!

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)     譯者: 黃宏發
12 February 2008
Translated from the original - 孟浩然:  春曉

1  春眠不覺曉
2  處處聞啼鳥
3  夜來風雨聲
4  花落知多少

Notes:
Line 2: I had considered using "chirping", "cheeping" or "singing" but decided "trilling" is best. (12.2.2008)
Line 3: I had considered "In the din of the wind and rain all night last night," which means the night was stormy, but dicided to adopt the gentle spring showers interpretation of "In the night's pitter-patter of winds and rains so mild". (18.2.2008) I have now decided to use "though" instead of "so". The line now reads "In the night's pitter-patter of winds and rains though mild" and the poem above has been accordingly modified. (22.2.2008)
Line 4: I had originally ended the poem with "None knows! Oh dear!" but have now decided to end it with "Know not, I fear!". An alternative is "Not few, I fear!" which cleverly covers 少 but misses 知. (14.2.2008)
The poet's name should be Meng Haoran, not Meng Haoren. This is now rectified. (22.2.2008)

Postscript 24.4.2008):

Now, further back to my February 2008 post, I have now decided to revert to the onomatopoeiac word "pitter-patter" in line 3 of "A Morning in Spring" by Meng Haoran (689-740), thus:-

In spring I sleep unaware morning is here,
From near then far, trilling songbirds I hear.
In the night's pitter-pattering of winds and rains,
How many blossoms fallen? Not few, I fear!

Notes:-
* I am grateful to Lily Yam Kwan who urged me to reconsider "In the din of".
*Line 1: I have deleted the two commas in the line.

28 comments:

Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 黄宏發 said...

I have now revised the last 2 lines to read:
In the night's pitter-patter of the winds and the rains,
How many blossoms fell? Know not, I fear.
Andrew WF Wong, 2.3.2008

Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 黄宏發 said...

I have now further revised the last 2 lines. The whole poem now reads:

1/ In spring, I sleep, unaware morning is here,
2/ From near then far, trilling songbirds I hear.
3/ In the din of the wind and rain all through the night,
4/ How many blossoms fallen? Not few, I fear!

I certainly hope this is final.

Andrew W.F. Wong, 4.3.2008

vfdvgf said...

if wow gold and maple story mesos wow gold

Frank said...

hi, andrew,

i too would like to try to constantly improve my own translated pieces (done as a hobby), particularly after reading eye-opening, outstanding pieces of work by talented translators.
may i leave my work here for comments/amendments?

One Spring Morning Meng Haoran (689-740)
In Spring one morning still finds me soundly sleeping;
Up everywhere the birds' gay chirping is leaping.
Last night raged sounds of howling wind and pounding rain.
O just how many flowers have fallen in train!

Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 黄宏發 said...

Dear Frank, In my view, the words "leaping (2)" and "in train (4)", though perfect rhymes for "sleeping (1) and "rain (3)" respectively, may not be entirely appropriate. Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Frank said...

thanks v much, andrew, but you get the bar pretty high, professor!

now, how's this latest version, please? (hope i'll get a 'pass' this time!)

【春晓】 唐·孟浩然
春眠不觉晓, 处处闻啼鸟。
夜来风雨声, 花落知多少。

One Spring Morning Meng Haoran (689-740)
Soundly asleep, in Spring one morning still finds me;
From everywhere, all the birds are singing with glee.
Sounds of howling wind and pounding rain raged last night.
O how many fallen flowers have met their blight?

Frank said...

oops! just a typo. 'get' should read
'set' -- you set the bar pretty hi.

Frank said...

i've given this further thought and would like to change the last line. the whole piece now appears as follows:

One Spring Morning Meng Haoran (689-740)
Soundly sleeping, in Spring one morning still finds me;
From everywhere, all the birds are singing with glee.
Sounds of howling wind and pounding rain raged last night.
O how many flow'rs have fallen and met their blight?

Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 黄宏發 said...

Dear Frank, I am considering revising my version and cannot, therefore, afford the time to think further on your two version. Just wish to say:
(1) Your line 3 is too long.
(2) I think you mean "plight", not "blight" in line 4.
Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Frank said...

thanks, andrew,

re (1) but nothing really added onto the original.
re (2) yes, you're right.

Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 黄宏發 said...

Dear Frank, On (1), yes, your "howling" and "pounding". Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Frank said...

oh, andrew,

i beg to differ on this point (1). i stand by my interpretation on the following grounds:

1. while you are sleeping, esp. quite soundly (based on line 1 春眠不觉晓), you won't hear a thing at all if only a "breeze" with no sound is blowing, and when only "drizzles" or even "light rain" are/is falling throughout the night. in these cases, the flowers won't be falling in great nos.

2. now with line 3 夜来风雨声, i take this to mean "rather heavy or driving rain" plus occasional "strong gusts of wind blowing" that are clearly audible even when the poet is asleep at night, resulting in line 4 the lament: 花落知多少! in late morning.

Andrew Wang Fat Wong 黃宏發 said...

Dear Frank,

I am still working on a further revision and a proper reply to your comments. Meanwhile, may I bring to your attention my previous revision attempts, one in my March 2008 post and one in my April 2008 post. I attach the April one here:

Now, further back to my February 2008 post, I have now decided to revert to the onomatopoeiac word "pitter-patter" in line 3 of "A Morning in Spring" by Meng Haoran (689-740), thus:-

*In spring I sleep unaware morning is here,
*From near then far, trilling songbirds I hear.
*In the night's pitter-pattering of winds and rains,
*How many blossoms fallen? Not few, I fear!

Notes:-
* I am grateful to Lily Yam Kwan who urged me to reconsider "In the din of".
*Line 1: I have deleted the two commas in the line.

Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Andrew Wang Fat Wong 黃宏發 said...

I have decided to revise my rendition as follows:
*In spring I sleep unaware morning is here,
*Then from far and near, trilling songbirds I hear.
*In the din of the wind and rain throughout the night,
*How many blossoms fallen? Not few, I fear.

Frank said...

hi, andrew,

my 2 cents of thought below for your consideration:

1. re your 'In the din of the wind and rain throughout the night,' i do agree with lily kwan (hey, i know her in 'aodays') that 'in the din of' may be way too strong, rather uncalled for; it conjures up the scene of shakespeare's 3 witches ('when will we three meet again? in thunder, lightning and in rain!) yet, meng hoaran doesn't mention there was a storm; at least not quite.

2. so, am more for the other one:
'In the night's pitter-pattering of winds and rains,' which i would have thought should read: 'In the night's pitter-pattering of rains, and winds,' (for you can't say
'pitter-pattering of winds...')

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

I have decided to revise my rendition as follows:-

Meng Haoran: A Morning in Spring

1 In spring I sleep, unaware morning is here;
2 Then, far and near, trilling songbirds I hear.
3 In the pitter patter of wind and rain last night,
4 How many blossoms fallen? Not few, I fear!

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

I have decided to further revise it as follows:-

Meng Haoran: A Morning in Spring

1 In spring I sleep unaware that morning is here;
2 Then from far and near, trilling songbirds I hear.
3 In the pitter patter of the night's wind and rain,
4 How many flowers have fallen? Know not, I fear.

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

This I hope is my final revision:-

1 In spring I sleep aware not morning is here;
2 From far and near, trilling songbirds I hear.
3 In the pitter patter of the night's wind and rain,
4 How many blossoms fallen? Know not, I fear.

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

I need one more revision to my line 3. This is final, final:-

1 In spring I sleep aware not morning is here,
2 From far and near, trilling songbirds I hear.
3 In the pitter patter of wind and rain last night,
4 How many blossoms fallen? Know not, I fear.

Anonymous said...

I agree that "From far and near"
is better than "From near then far"

what about "From near and far"?

i like your "near" and "fear" pairing. Perhaps that's why your choice of "far and near".

well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew, I am 自娱自乐,inspired by your beautiful renditions, I give it a try for fun as well...

《春 晓》- 孟浩然
  
春眠不觉晓,
处处闻啼鸟。
夜来风雨声,
花落知多少?

A Spring Morning
by Meng Haoran
tr. ziyuzile

I slept through until the first light;
Hark, near and far spring birds hum air.
How many petals overnight
Did the tempest strike down out there?


I slept through until the first light;
Hark, spring birds sing songs here and there.
How many flowers overnight
I wonder th' thunderstorm did spare.

John Tjia said...

Trying to put the Morning in Spring poem into the same AABA scheme in English imposes an unfortunate limit on the translation, all for the sake of the rhyming, some of which feel forced. How about just a free form translation?

1) In spring, I sleep unaware of the dawn
2) From everywhere came the calls of birds
3) Last night there came the sound of wind and rain
4) Who knows how many flowers have fallen?

John Tjia said...

Oops. No 2) should read:

1) In spring, I sleep unaware of the dawn
2) From everywhere are heard the calls of birds
3) Last night there came the sound of wind and rain
4) Who knows how many flowers have fallen?

Anonymous said...

anyone can state their reflections on the poem"A morning in spring"? Thanks.

Shawn Powrie said...

Beautiful translation and commentary, thank you!

I have also translated this poem, somewhat differently, let me know what you think!

http://shawnpowrie.com/chinese/poem-chun-xiao-spring-dawn/

Gál János said...

You all shouldnt ommit the original chinese text. You are dealing too much with rhytm and rhymes while not consider the original text.
Withot the permission of MENG the master you havent the rigt to insert or leave a word.

Gál János said...

Sorry, im not so brave thath translate this poem into english since i am a hungarian men. However i translated it into my natiive language. Sincerrely: gao yanuo
It is my chinese name given by my chinese teatcher😅

Gál János said...

Sorry, im not so brave thath translate this poem into english since i am a hungarian men. However i translated it into my natiive language. Sincerrely: gao yanuo
It is my chinese name given by my chinese teatcher😅