12 November 2017

10 Most Popular Tang Dynasty Poems in Hong Kong, Second 5 香港最受歡迎十首唐詩之後五名

2 months ago (September 2017) I received a WhatsApp message from my friend John Lau informing me of the 10 most popular Tang dynasty poems in Hong Kong.  I found that I had already translated and posted 8 of them.  I immediately (October 2017) posted my yet to be posted translation of the #4 poem on the list, and proceeded to work on the remaining #7 poem on the list which is now (November 2017) done and posted.  My English rendition of these 10 most popular Tang dynasty poems are now further polished and attached below under the respective poems.  Links to the respective posts on my blog are also given below. Today, I am posting the second batch of 5 poems, #6 to #10.  For my notes, please go to the links.


10 Most Popular Tang Dynasty Poems in Hong Kong

香港評選出來最受歡迎的十首唐詩    
最受歡迎的十首唐詩,第一名情理之中 但意料之外。
編者按: 唐詩是中國文化的瑰寶,雖然有 文無第一 的說法,但是自唐朝以來就沒有人放過唐詩,總有人給唐詩排    座次。雖然排名不可能符合每個人的口味,但也能在一定程度上反應唐詩的流傳程度。

TENTH <#10> 第十名:回鄉偶書    作者:賀知章
    少小離家老大回,鄉音無改鬢毛衰。
    兒童相見不相識,笑問客從何處來。

    He Zhizhang (659-744): Coming Home: Fortuitous Lines

    I left home young, now old, I return care free;
               My tongue unchanged, my hair though thinner be.
               Unknown am I to the boys and girls I meet,
               Smiling, they ask: “Sir, from whence come thee?


這首詩作於西元七四四年,這個時候詩人賀知章已經八十幾歲的高齡,離開家鄉也已經五十多年。人生如白駒過隙,忽然而已。再次回到自己的家鄉,賀知章百感交集,回憶起往事,看著故鄉的孩童,熟悉的鄉音不熟悉的人,詩人心中不免悲喜交加。

NINTH <#9> 第九名:早發白帝城    作者:李白
    朝辭白帝彩雲間,千里江陵一日還。
    兩岸猿聲啼不住,輕舟已過萬重山。

    Li Bai (701—762): Downstream to Jiangling/Early Departure from Baidi City

     At daybreak I left a Baidi enwrapped in clouds aglow,
     A thousand miles to Jiangling takes just a day to go.
     In the endless cries of monkeys on banks both left and right,
     I’ve skiffed past a myriad cliff-tops o’erhanging high or low.

西元759年,李白很鬱悶,他被牽連到一樁案 子裡面,這一次他去的地方是夜郎。可是當他趕赴夜郎的途中,得到了赦免的消息,一時間心情大振,寫下了這首詩。早晨從白帝城出發,到達了千里之外的江陵,只聽見兩岸的猿猴啼叫,不自不覺中已經過了萬重山。
    
EIGHTH <#8> 第八名:憫農    作者:李紳
    鋤禾日當午,汗滴禾下土。
    誰知盤中餐,粒粒皆辛苦?

    Li Shen (772-846): Pity the Peasants/Ancient Air, 2 of 2

     He heaves his hoe in the rice-field, under the noonday sun;
           Onto the soil of the rice-field, his streaming sweat beads run.
           Ah, do you or don’t you know it?  That bowl of rice we eat,
           Each grain, each ev’ry granule: the fruit of his labour done.
    
這首詩是為農民而作,表達了詩人對農民的無限同情。在烈日之下勞作,汗水滴到土壤上,當我們吃飯的時候,誰知道那一顆顆糧食都是農民辛苦的勞作換來的。後兩句為千古名句,可謂是家喻戶曉,婦孺皆知。

SEVENTH <#7> 第七名:賦得古原草送別    作者:白居易
    離離原上草,一歲一枯榮。
    野火燒不盡,春風吹又生。
    遠芳侵古道,晴翠接荒城。
    又送王孫去,萋萋滿別情。

    Bai Juyi (772-846):  Grass of the Ancient Prairie Bidding Farewell: Written to a Prescribed Title

    Lushly, O lushly, you grass of the prairie thrive;
    You die to arise, O each year, gloriously so!
    Wild fires do burn: they blaze in vain to purge you;
    As spring winds blow: come alive, again you grow.
    Your sweet scent spreads far, suffusing the old highway;
    Your green blades, sun bathed, to the citadel ruins go.
    Once more, I’m seeing my noble friend away --
    Cheers, O cheerio! Our parting feelings o’erflow.

    

白居易寫下這首詩的時候才十六歲,這說明白居易是個天才。這首詩措語自然流暢而又工整,雖是命題作詩,卻能融入深切的生活感受,故字字含真情,語語有餘味,不但得體,而且別具一格,故能在賦得體中稱為絕唱。

SIXTH <#6> 第六名:春曉    作者:孟浩然
    春眠不覺曉,處處聞啼鳥。
    夜來風雨聲,花落知多少。

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

    In spring I sleep unaware morning is here;

    From far and near, trilling songbirds I hear.
    In the night's pitter patter of wind and rain,
    How many flowers fallen?  Not few, I fear.

春曉這首詩看似平淡無奇,實際上別有一番風味。全詩沒有用華麗的辭藻,用平實的語言將破曉時分的意境描寫了出來。後兩句,將早晨的靜謐用昨夜的情形襯托出來,花落知多少,更是神來之筆,從詩人心靈深處流出的一股泉水,晶瑩透澈,灌注著詩人的生命,跳動著詩人的脈搏。


01 November 2017

白居易 Bai Juyi: 賦得古原草送別 Grass of the Ancient Prairie Bidding Farewell: Written to a Prescribed Title

This is my most recent translation.  It is a poem by the great late Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi which has recently been selected as #7 of the 10 most popular Tang dynasty poems in Hong Kong and is the only "octet" in the list.  Here we go:-

Bai Juyi (772-846):  Grass of the Ancient Prairie Bidding Farewell: Written to a Prescribed Title

1  Lushly, O lushly, you grass of the prairie thrive;
(You demise to arise, each year, gloriously so!)
    You die to arise, O each year, gloriously so! (revised 14.11.17)
3  Wild fires do burn: they blaze in vain to purge you;
4  As spring winds blow: come alive, again you grow.
5  Your sweet scent spreads far, suffusing the old highway;
6  Your green blades, sun bathed, to the citadel ruins go.
7  Once more, I’m seeing my noble friend away --
8  Cheers, O cheerio! Our parting feelings o’erflow.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)        譯者: 黃宏發
5th October 2017 (revised 14.10.17; 16.10.17; 26.10.17; 28.10.17)
Translated from the original - 白居易: 賦得古原草送別

離離原上草    一歲一枯榮
野火燒不盡    春風吹又生
遠芳侵古道    晴翠接荒城
又送王孫去    萋萋滿別情

Notes:-

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  The original is a 5-character octet (8 lines of 5 characters each) in the category known as 律詩 “regulated verse” which requires the middle 4 lines (lines 3 and 4, and 5 and 6) to be 2 couplets of parallel matching lines.  This English rendition is in pentameter (5 beats or feet) to emulate the 5-syllable lines of the original.  I have also succeeded in rendering lines 3 to 6 as 2 parallel matching couplets, perhaps, somewhat less than perfectly.  The rhyme scheme is XAXA XAXA as in the original, the rhyme group being 平聲庚韻 “level tone ‘geng’ rhyme” according to Tang dynasty pronunciation.

*Title and line 1:  (plain) in the title and in line 1 is taken to refer to草原 (grass plain) and is rendered as “prairie”.   (old) (plain) (grass) in the title is rendered as “Grass of the Ancient Prairie”.   (on/upon) in line 1 is simply, and more appropriately, rendered as “of” rather than “on/upon”; (plain) (on/upon) (grass) in line 1 is, therefore, rendered as “grass of the prairie” in line with the title.  送別 in the title is translated quite literally as “Bidding Farewell”.  賦得, which begins the title of the poem, means versified/written to a prescribed title in the Imperial Examinations.  This is rendered here as “Written to a Prescribed Title” and moved from the front to the rear as a sub-title.

*Line 1:  離離 (leave, depart) here should mean “lush, luxuriant” which can be rendered as such, but is rendered as “Lushly, O lushly” to emulate the sound “li, li” as pronounced in Standard Chinese Pinyin.  The word “thrive” is added to end the line to make it possible for the adverb “lushly” to be used rather than the adjectives of ”lush” or “ luxuriant.”
*Line 2:  一歲一 (one year once) is rendered as “each year”.  (wither) (thrive luxuriantly) is rendered as “demise to airse” (after considering “wither to thrive”, “perish to flourish”, “die to arise”, “demise to thrive”, and more) with “gloriously so” added to end the line for reason of rhyme, but also to complete the translation of the word as “arise … (so) gloriously.”

*Lines 3 and 4:  野火燒 in line 3 is rendered as “Wild fires do burn” to parallel 春風吹 in line 4 which is rendered as “As spring winds blow.”  不盡 in line 3 is rendered as “they blaze in vain to purge you” (after considering “yet can never burn to rid you) to parallel 又生 in line 4, rendered as “come alive, again you grow” (after considering “revived/alive, again you grow”.)

*Lines 5 and 6:  遠芳 (from afar, fragrance) in line 5 should be taken to mean 芳遠 (fragrance goes far) and is rendered as “Your sweet scent spreads far” (after considering “Your sweet scent goes far”) to parallel 晴翠 (sunny green) in line 6, rendered as 翠晴 (green in sunlight), hence, “Your green blades, sun bathed” (after considering “Your green shoots, sunlit/in sunlight.”)  侵古道 in line 5 is rendered as “suffusing the old highway” to parallel 接荒城 in line 6, rendered as “to the citadel ruins go” (after considering “to the ruined citadel go.”)

*Line 7:  王孫 is taken to mean simply a nobleman (and not the grandson of a king) and is rendered as “my noble friend.”


*Line 8:   萋萋 here also means “lush, luxuriant”, but instead of emulating both the sound and the meaning as I had done for 離離 in line 1, I have decided to emulate only the sound “chi” with the words “cheers” and “cheerio” which best suit the farewell situation, hence, “Cheers, O cheerio!”  I hope this succeeds in creating an image of the luxuriant prairie grass rustling in the wind to also say goodbye to the poet’s noble friend.