23 July 2008

柳宗元 Liu Zongyuan: 江雪 River-Snow

The following is my rendition of another very famous poem of the Tang Dynasty, River-Snow by Liu Zongyuan. I hope you will enjoy it.

Liu Zongyuan (773-819): River-Snow

1  In the thousand hills and hillocks, birds are not in flight,
2  On myriads of paths and pathways, no trace of men in sight.
3  Yet in a lone-boat, a fisher-folk, in broad-hat and straw-cloak sits
4  And, all alone, he angles, the river-snow, its iciness, despite.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)  譯者: 黃宏發
15 June 2008 (revised 16.6.08; 19.6.08; 21.6.08; 19.7.08)
Translated from the original - 柳宗元:  江雪

1  千山鳥飛絕
2  萬徑人蹤滅
3  孤舟簑笠翁
4  獨釣寒江雪

Notes:
* The rhyme scheme of this English rendition is AAXA which I believe the original to be. I have been unable to render the poem in pentameter (5 metrical feet) to emulate the original 5-character lines. So, hexameter (6 metrical feet) it is.
* Lines 1 and 2: The redundant words of “and hillocks” and “and pathways” are added to convey the sense of “many-and-all hills and paths” and, of course, to complete the hexameter.
* Lines 3 and 4: The words of “Yet”, “sits” and “despite” are not in the original, but their meaning can reasonably be implied.

12 comments:

Oldcastle said...

hi i learned so much from this bye

Oldcastle said...

my brother is doing a speech on this poem :)

Oldcastle said...

hello i am the one doing this speech thank you for myself :)

Oldcastle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oldcastle said...

mountain is high,
there's no bird in sight,
a lonely one man fishing at night,
so lonely that he can only sigh

Oldcastle said...

THis speech is very sad
hi

Frank said...

hi, andrew,

am trying my hand at pentameter translation. hope you'll approve:

The River in Snow by Liu Zhongyuan (773-819)
O'er a thousand hills, there's no bird in flight;
On ten thousand paths, not a man in sight.
In lone boat, straw-cloaked man with hair silver
Alone, rod-dips the cold, snowy river.

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

On being asked by a friend how I would render 孤舟簑笠翁, I check this 7.2008 post only to find, to my pleasant surprise, 2 alternative renditions. Though in styles rather different from mine, they are truly beautiful. However, "Oldcastle" may wish to consider if his "so lonely that he can only sigh" takes away the subtlety of the original, and "Frank" may wish to consider whether this 11-(not his 10-)syllable line 3 sounds better "Straw-cloaked, in a lone boat, his hair all silver".

Now back to my rendition, on re-reading mine, I have now decided to revise it by changing "a fisher-folk" into "an old folk" and "its iciness" into "icy" (and taking away some hyphens and commas), thus:-

**"River-Snow" by Liu Zongyuan
1 In the thousand hills and hillocks, birds are not in flight,
2 On myriads of paths and pathways, no trace of men in sight;
3 Yet in a lone boat an old folk, in broad-hat and straw-cloak, sits
4 And all alone he angles, the icy river-snow despite.
(Andrew Wong, revised 28.11.2010)

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank said...

hi, andrew,

thanks.

can i render your suggestion (for my line 3) slightly back into my 10-syllable line as follows?

柳宗元: 江雪
千山鳥飛絕
萬徑人蹤滅
孤舟簑笠翁
獨釣寒江雪
The River in Snow by Liu Zhongyuan (773-819)
O'er a thousand hills, there's no bird in flight;
On ten thousand paths, not a man in sight.
Straw-cloaked, in lone boat, man with hair silver,
Alone, rod-dips the cold, snowy river.

frank

Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 said...

Dear Frank, I wonder why you insist and persist on the 10-syllable line when you can turn the entire poem into an 11-syllable one, e.g.
**O'er hills by the thousands, no bird is in flight,
**On paths by the myriads, there's no man in sight. [counting "-riads" as one syllable]
**Straw-cloaked, in a lone boat, his hair all silver,
**Alone, he rod-dips the cold, snowy river.
Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Frank said...

hi, andrew,

of course, right you are!

now, thanks to you, my (11-syllable per line) revised rendition will now read as follows:

柳宗元: 江雪
千山鳥飛絕
萬徑人蹤滅
孤舟簑笠翁
獨釣寒江雪

The River in Snow by Liu Zhongyuan (773-819)
O'er hills by the thousands, no bird is in flight;
On paths by the myriads, not a man in sight.
Straw-cloaked, in a lone boat, his hair all silver,
Lonely man rod-dips the cold, snowy river.

thanks a million, andrew!

frank