29 May 2008

杜秋娘 Du Qiuniang: 金縷衣 Robe Embroidered in Gold

The following is a most recent translation of mine. It is the only poem by a woman poet (poetess) of the Tang Dynasty included in the anthology "300 Poems of the Tang Dynasty". From the fact that Du Mu (803-852) wrote a poem to Du Qiuniang, she must have lived in the early 800's.

Du Qiuniang (early 800's): Robe Embroidered in Gold

1  Cherish not, I pray, your robe embroidered in gold;
2  Cherish, I pray, relish - the days before you're old.
3  Flowers fit for plucking, you pluck while still in bloom,
4  Lest you pluck but twigs denuded, bald, bare and cold.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)    譯者: 黃宏發
21 May 2008.
Translated from the original - 杜秋娘: 金縷衣

1  勸君莫惜金縷衣
2  勸君惜取少年時
3  花開堪折直須折
4  莫待無花空折枝

*Lines 3 and 4: The word "you" can be deleted from line 3 and the words "you pluck" in line 4 can be replaced by "pluck'st" which sounds archaic but means the same.


Frank Yue said...

hi, andrew,

would you like to comment on the following rendition, please?

The Gold-Threaded Dress Tao Shiliang
O Treasure not your gold-threaded dress true.
Waste not the precious days of your youth!
Pick the pretty flowers when they're in bloom.
Wait, then you'll get an empty branch in gloom.

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

Dear Frank, For your consideration:-
*Treasure not that gold-threaded dress, in truth,
*Treasure, with pleasure, your precious days of youth.
*Flowers so lovely, pick them while still in bloom,
*Tarry, you'll but carry an empty branch in gloom.
Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Frank Yue said...

hi, andrew, thanks! the i-version is so adorable -- i can hear, see and feel the rhythm. is this iambic pentameter?

Kieran said...

Dear Andrew,

I translated this poem on my blog here:


Afterward I discovered your rendition, which I prefer.

Kieran Maynard

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

Dear Kieran, Thank you for your kind words and for linking my blog to your "wordpress" site which I have visited and which I can simply admire. Your site is truly impressive. I like, in particular, your write-ups on places in China and Japan, and, of course, your poems, translations and you haiku. All the best to you. Andrew.