Chinese Puzzle Box

Explorations in and about China

Translation: Meng Hao Ran #2: Thinking of Xin…

Sunrise outside Kathmandu

Thinking of Xin in South Pavilion on a Summer’s Day
Meng Haoran

The sunset glow on western peaks fast fading,

The moon from eastern pond is slowly rising.

With loosened hair, the evening cool enjoying

I lie on the veranda, plainly idling.

The lotus fragrance on the breeze is spreading,

and the clear sound of bamboo dew is dripping.

On such a night my qin I would be playing

If only there were friends who would be hearing.

I’m grateful for the thought of you, though yearning;

Through all my labored dreams one thought returning.


This translation is set up a little differently, with my translation into Western-style meter and rhyme first,  the simplified Chinese characters, pinyin, and word by word translation presented line by line, below . The translation is one quatrain short of a sonnet, with the last couplet claiming the only full rhyme.  Meng also uses rather strained rhyme in the original, as you can see in the pinyin below.

Shan1 guang1 hu1 xi1 luo4
Mountain light/brightness suddenly/ overlook west fall/drop

Chi2 yue4 jian4 dong shang
Pond moon gradually east up/rise

san3 fa4 cheng2 xi1 liang2
Loose/ scattered hair ride/ take advantage of sunset coolness, cool

Kai1 xuan1 wo4 xian2 chang3
Open window/veranda lie(of animals)/ sit idle open/ uncovered

He2 feng1 song4 xiang1 qi4
Lotus wind carry/deliver(as a present) fragrance, sweet smell

Zhu2 lu4 di1 qing1 xiang3
Bamboo liqueur/ dew drip/ drop clear/unmixed sound/ echo

yu4 qu3 ming2 qin2 tan2
Desire/longing seek/get sound/cry of birds qin (zither) pluck/play

hen4 wu2 zhi1 yin1 shang3
Regret not have bosom friend appreciate/admire/reward

Gan3 ci3 huai2 gu4 ren2
sense/be grateful/ feeling this cherish/ yearn for old friend



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