03 August 2009

白居易 Bai Juyi: 大林寺桃花 Peach Blossoms at the Dalin Temple

POSTSCRIPT 6.6.2011, LATEST REVISION: My English rendition of this Bai Juyi poem was first posted here in August 2009. It was revised and posted on my other blog (link at top right corner) on 20.5.2011. It is now further revised as follows (notes revised according in the original post):-

Bai Juyi (772-846): Peach Blossoms at the Dalin Temple

1 In men’s realm, after April, blossoms have all but spent;
2 At this a mountain temple, ‘tis time for the peach to blow.
3 Ever complaining spring, once gone, could nowhere be found,
4 Never did know into here it had turned, unhurried to go.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發

27th July 2009 (revised 29.7.09; 30.7.09; 31.7.09; 1.8.09; 3.8.09; 10.5.11; 6.6.11)

ORIGINAL POST 3.8.2009: Below is my latest translation. It is a poem by Bai Juyi or Po Chu-I. Hope you will enjoy it.


Bai Juyi (772-846): Peach Blossoms at the Dalin Temple

1 In the plains past April, peach blossoms have all but gone;
2 In the hills at the temple, ‘tis the time for the peach to blow.
3 Ever plaintful: spring once spent, was nowhere to be found;
4 Never did know: to the hills it’d turned, and reluctant to go.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)       譯者: 黃宏發

27th July 2009 (revised 29.7.09; 30.7.09; 31.7.09; 1.8.09; 3.8.09) (further revised 6.6.2011)

Translated from the original - 白居易: 大林寺桃花

1 人間四月芳菲盡
2 山寺桃花始盛開
3 長恨春歸無覓處
4 不知轉入此中來


Notes
(revised up to 6.6.2011):
* This English rendition is in hexameter (6 metrical feet) while the original is in 7-character lines. The rhyme scheme is XAXA as in the original.
* Line 1: I had considered “world”, decided for “plains” to contrast with “hills” in line 2, but have now decided to revise it to the literal "men's realm". As the “fourth month” on the Chinese lunar calendar approximates May, I had used “past April” now "after April" to translate 四月. I had used "gone" but have now revised it to "spent".

* Line 2: "In the hills at the temple" is now amended to read "At this a mountain temple", and "'tis the time", to "'tis time"
* Line 3: Unlike the poet’s most famous poem 長恨歌 “Ode/Song of Everlasting Regret/Sorrow”, 長 here means 常 “always/ever” and 恨 here means 怨 “complain”. I had originally used “Ever plaintful: spring once spent"", but have now decided for “Ever complaining: spring once gone”.
* Line 4: I had used “Never knowing” to parallel “Ever complaining” in line 3, but have now decided for “Never did know” which subtly suggests “Now I know”. This is precisely what the whole poem is about (Line 1: blossoms gone/spent in the plains; Line 2: peach blossoms blow in the hills at the temple; Line 3: always thought, spring once spent/gone, cannot be found; Line 4: now I know spring is in the hills). I had originally used "to the hills" to translate 此中 but have now decided for
the literal “into here”. I have added “and reluctant to go”, now "unhurried to go" to end this last line of the poem both to complete the rhyme and to say “the poet does not wish spring to go” by saying “spring does not wish to go”.

8 comments:

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

發叔,譯得幾有深度
我自己都玩開翻譯
但係就少玩詩詞
最近試左一首
但係唔曉 aaba式押韻
押左aabb ....

王翰 《涼州曲》
Grapewine I would like to taste,
have to go yet I would crave.
Thou dost not tease drunk soldiers of all,
Long ago few come back from war.

小弟今年先中學,功力未如發叔深厚,希望交流下咁 :p

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

Dear Azurino, I have visited your blog. Most of yours are songs, from English into Chinese (which I dare not attempt), and songs are poetry too. So, you don't have to humble yourself. Your English rendition of
涼州詞 is super. You have caught the mood in so few words, the sign of a true poet. I haven't attempted it yet, and I promise I will. Best wishes, Andrew Wong.

Azurino said...

乜咁睇得起我啊發叔 ...
小弟都係中學姐
見你好多用字都好深下
晚生承讓啊.......... (笑)

點解你唔試下譯歌呢?
幾好玩架
好似我d咁既後生仔都玩到
Oldies 有d有 許冠傑同林振強有唔少都係譯返黎
不過點都好 多謝你

Azurino said...

漏左樣野未講,譯名方面可唔可以唔好跟大陸而家用緊果隻,果隻發音岩,但係個人覺得台灣果隻睇落舒服d。
例如 Dalin -> Ta-lin

中國傳統色彩既野唔容易譯
例如 月亮 中國人見佢 會有思念之情
但係西方就只會由科學角度睇佢
變左......... 好唔知想點...

LILY said...

Hi 發叔,
拜讀閣下中詩英譯,很想問如何譯得如此押韻的英文呢,如果英文底子唔好,如何改善呢?

請拘指教
LILY TANG

LILY said...

Hi 發叔,
拜讀閣下中詩英譯,很想問如何譯得如此押韻的英文呢,如果英文底子唔好,如何改善呢?

請拘指教
LILY TANG

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

Dear Lily, Thank you for your kind words. As for your question, I have no answer but to read more particularly classical English poems and immerse yourself into them when reading. Andrew Wong.