11 March 2008

王維 Wang Wei: 竹里館 House in the Bamboo Grove

I hope you will like my rendition of Wang Wei: House in the Bamboo Grove (王維: 竹里館) in an XAXA rhyming scheme as in the original Chinese:-

Wang Wei (701-761):  House in the Bamboo Grove

1    Alone I sit, in the bowers of the bamboo trees,
2    My zither I pluck, then, long and loud I sing.
3    Deep in the forest, none knows I exist,
4    None but the moonlight, to me, solace you bring.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)     譯者: 黃宏發
18 February 2008 (revised 7.3.2008)
Translated from the original - 王維:  竹里館

1    獨坐幽篁裡
2    彈琴復長嘯
3    深林人不知
4    明月來相照

I have revised Meng Haoran: A Morning in Spring (孟浩然: 春曉) in my February post as follows:

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

This follows an AAXA rhyming scheme as in the original Chinese.

The same goes for Li Bai: Downstream to Jiangling (李白: 下江陵) in my January post.

Postscript 24.4.2008):
Now, back to my last (March 2008) post, I have now further revised my translation of "House in the Bamboo Grove" by Wang Wei (701-761) as follows:-

Alone I sit in the shade of the bamboo trees,
My strings I pluck, then long and loud I sing.
Deep in the forest, none knows I exist,
None but the moon, to me she comes a-shining.

Notes:-
*I am grateful to William P. Coleman who recently corresponded with me at length in his blog http://williampcoleman.wordpress.com on his and my versions of the poem. My use of "shade" instead of "bowers" in line 1 and "strings" instead of "zither" in line 2 owe much to his criticism. 

11 comments:

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

I have now revised my rendition of Wang Wei: House in the Bamboo Gvoe as follows:
*Alone I sit in the shade of the bamboo trees,
*My strings I pluck, then, long and loud I sing.
*Deep in the forest, none knows I exist, yet
*The moonlight, as ever, comes to me a-shining.

Frank said...

hi, andrew,

may i submit my translated piece for your comments/amendments? (just wonder what's 'wrong' with 'my zither' in your earlier translation.) thanks!

At My Retreat amid the Bamboos Wang Wei
Seated among quiet bamboos alone,
I play m'zither and whistle with high tone.
In these deep woods, no one else belongs here
Except, my true companion, the moon clear.

Andrew Wang Fat Wong 黃宏發 said...

Dear Frank,

I completed my last revision some 2 years ago with notes added which explain, inter alia,why I use "strings" instead of "zither". This is now attached below. You will notice I have removed all the commas in the lines. You will also notice that I have changed the English title.

王維: 竹里館
Wang Wei (701—761): Bamboo Grove Pavilion

1 獨坐幽篁裏
2 彈琴復長嘯
3 森林人不知
4 明月來相照

1 Alone I sit in the shade of bamboo trees,
2 My strings I pluck then long and loud I sing;
3 Deep in the forest no one knows I exist,
4 None but the moon to me she comes a-shining.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發
18 February 2008 (revised 22.2.08; 26.2.08; 7.3.08; 14.3.08; 15.3.08; 17.3.08; 19.3.08; 10.4.08; 11.4.08)

Notes:
* This English rendition is in pentameter (5 metrical feet) to emulate the 5-character lines in the original. The rhyme scheme is ABCB as in the original.
* Line 1: I had considered “secluded bamboo grove”, “shadowy bamboo trees”, “shelter of the bamboo trees” and “bowers of the bamboo trees”, but have now decided to use “shade of bamboo trees” for its simplicity.
* Line 2: I had considered “Plucking my zither”, “My zither a-playing”, and “My zither I pluck”, but have decided to use “My strings I pluck” without having to settle the question of whether the 琴 qin is a “zither” or a “lute (or pipa)”. I had considered “along and long I sing” and “long and along I sing”, but have now decided to use “then long and loud I sing” to cover the word 復 (again, then) correctly.
* Line 4: I had considered “None but Luna” and “Yet, to me, oh moon” followed by “your light and solace you bring”, “O but Luna!” and “None but the moon” followed by “moonlight/light and solace you bring”. I had also considered “None but the moon, light and delight you bring”, “None but the moonlight, to me, solace you bring” and “None but the moon, shine and solace you bring”. I have now decided on “None but the moon to me she comes a-shining”.

Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Andrew Wang Fat Wong 黃宏發 said...

Dear Frank, You may wish to consider revising your line 2 to include 長 "long". If I may suggest:
*Seated among quiet bamboos all alone,
*I play my zither and whistle long on my own.
*Deep in these woods, no one else belongs here,
*None but my true companion, the moon clear.
Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Frank said...

my dear andrew,

thanks so much for an excellent job in polishing up my piece to make it really sparkle! i love it! (and yes, i missed the "whistle long" previously.)

thanks also for the time and effort
in digging into your archives to educate me on your final choice of musical instrument used-- actually it's a very clever scheme just to say it's a "string instrument", as the original does not state which particular instrument it is. (my assertion that it is a "zither" may not be wrong, but it may not be right, either. my interpretation thereof isn't the best one.) yours is the safest bet!

but may i just say that to my mind, 長嘯 is somehow not the same as "singing".

Andrew Wang Fat Wong 黃宏發 said...

Dear Frank, I have seen translations of 嘯 as "whistle" (including your good self) and even "breathing exercises". I think it wise to stick to "sing" as kettles sing, rivulets sing, winds sing, arrows sing and, particularly, whales sing. "Sing" is, therefore, broad enough to include 呼號 and 號叫 which is what I take the 嘯 in Yue Fei's "The River All Red" (which I have translated as "cry" and which cannot be translated as "whistle", May 2010 post, line 5) to mean. Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Frank said...

well, andrew, since you put it so convincingly i agree whistle can be singing in the broadest sense.

now returning to my translation, which you so kindly polished, may i include 復 in '2 彈琴復長嘯', as follows, thanks.

At My Retreat Amid the Bamboos -- Wang Wei

Seated among quiet bamboos all alone,
I play my zither, then whistle long on my own.
Deep in these woods, no one else belongs here,
None but my true companion, the moon clear.

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

I thank Frank who on my other blog on the HKEJ pointed out that I have wrongly written 深林 "deep in the forest" as 森林 "forest". I do apologise for this (even though I have got it right in my English translation). I have now amended the original Chinese poem on the post to read 深. Once again, I thank Frank.

Frank said...

no porblemo, andrew,

may i post my slightly revised rendition below:

【竹里館】 王維
獨坐幽篁裡,
彈琴復長嘯。
深林人不知,
明月來相照。

SMALL HOUSE AMID THE BAMBOOS Wang Wei(701—761)

Seated among quiet bamboos all alone,
I play my strings, whistle long on my own.
Deep in the woods, no one else belongs here,
None but my true companion, the moon clear.

Frank said...

and andrew,

may i post another of wang wei's famous little poem where he also used the words '深林'(with an english rendition) for your e-readers' enjoyment:


【鹿柴】 王維

空山不見人,
但聞人語響。
返景入深林,
復照青苔上。

THE DEER ENCLOSURE HERMITAGE Wang Wei (701—761)
Translated by Frank C. W. YUE

On this empty mountain, no one was seen.
Yet, heard I voices in the air, it seem'd.
Vibrant, slanting sunbeams speared the dark woods;
Reflected, on moss green they softly stood.

Frank said...

perhaps, it would be better to revise line 1 above as:

'In this mountain serene, no one was seen; '