Monday, May 21, 2012

Wang Wei’s “Han River, Gazing from Afar” (300 Tang Poems #122)




Translation

Wang Wei (701-761)

王維
Han River, Gazing from Afar

漢江臨眺


The ancient Kingdom of Chu —
it’s border—three rivers converge;

楚塞
三湘接
By Mount Thorn,
there are nine tributaries connecting the Yangzi.

荊門
九派通
The river flows
apart from Heaven and Earth;

江流
天地外
And the mountain midst
appears both real and not real too.

山色
有無中
Local villages
float before the river shore—

郡邑
浮前浦
While surging waves
do move to distant sky.

波瀾
動遠空
Here in Xiangyang,
the wind and sun, the views, are good—

襄陽
好風日
And I’m staying, intoxicated,
thinking of General Shanjian—
though drunk, he understood.

留醉
與山翁

Notes:
1.    Overall: Wang Wei is at Xiangyang, a city now in the Hubei Province, and near the border of the ancient Chu Kingdom. He is looking at a tributary of the great Yangzi River, the East Han River. He described three rivers converging into one and then mentions the nine tributary rivers that connect to the Yangzi by Jiangmen Mountain (Thorn Gate Mountain).
2.       Local villages seem to float in the distance because of the great waves and mist.
3.       Shanjian was a renowned general, but always got drunk in Xiangyang.





Original Chinese

Traditional
Simplified
Pronunciation



王維
王维
Wáng Wéi
漢江臨眺
汉江临眺
Hàn jiāng lín tiào



楚塞三湘接,
楚塞三湘接,
Chǔ sài sān xiāng jiē,
荊門九派通。
荆门九派通。
Jīng mén jiǔ pài tōng.
江流天地外,
江流天地外,
Jiāng liú tiān dì wài,
山色有無中。
山色有无中。
Shān sè yǒu wú zhōng.
郡邑浮前浦,
郡邑浮前浦,
Jùn yì fú qián pǔ,
波瀾動遠空。
波澜动远空。
Bō lán dòng yuǎn kōng.
襄陽好風日,
襄阳好风日,
Xiāng yáng hǎo fēng rì,
留醉與山翁。
留醉与山翁。
Liú zuì yǔ shān wēng.
                                                                                          

Literal Notes

王維
King/ruler Maintain/preserve = Wang Wei(701-761)
漢江臨眺
Han/Chinese-people River to-face/overlook/draw-near/approach gaze-afar/look-at/gaze-at/scan/survey

[Han River=East Han River, the longest tributary of the Yangzi River. Its source is in Shaanxi. The Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) took its name from the Han River; China’s majority Han ethnicity in turn took their name from the Han Dynasty.], [to-face/overlook gaze-afar = look into the distance from a high place]

楚塞三湘接,
Chu(kingdom) tactical-border/strategic-pass/fortress three Xiang join/extend/connect
[Chu(kingdom)=a kingdom during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Period (475-256 BCE)]
[three Xiang=refer to Xiaoxiang, Lixiang, Zhengxiang, three tributary streams along Xiang River in Hunan.]
荊門九派通。
Jing/thorns/bramble Men/gate/door/entrance nine branch/clique/group connect/go-through/pass-through
[Jing Men=mountain name. It is in Hubei, and used to be the border between Chu and Shu kingdoms.]
[nine clique/group/fraction/dispatch=There are nine tributaries that merge into the Yangtze River.]
江流天地外,
River/large-river/yangzi flow/move/drift/circulate heaven/sky earth/ground outside
[heaven/sky earth/ground=world, heaven and earth, scope, field of activity.]
山色有無中。
Mountain/hill  color/look/appearance/tint/hue/shade/form have/possess not-have/no middle/within/among/in/center/during
[have not-have= have or have not, tangible and intangible, corporeal and incorporeal]
郡邑浮前浦,
County/region/canton city/village/district float/drift/unstable in-front/forward/ahead/before river-bank/ shore
[Meaning: The magnificence of the water flow makes people feel the villages are floating on the river.]
波瀾動遠空。
Wave/ripple/surge/breakers/undulations swelling-water/overflowing/waves/ripples to-act/move/happen/action far/distant/remote/profound air/sky/in-vain/empty/hollow/bare/deserted
[Wave/ripple/surge swelling-water = billow, great waves]
襄陽好風日,
Xiang/aid/assist/help Yang/male-principle/light/sun  good/well/excellent/fine wind/air/atmosphere sun/day
[Xiang Yang=a city now in the Hubei Province], [wind/style/manner sun/day= refers to the scenery]
留醉與山翁。
Stay/retain/remain/halt/stop intoxicated/drunk/addicted-to and/together-with/give Mountain/hill/peak Elderly-man
[Mountain Elderly-man=refers to Shan Jian, the son of one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. He was a general stationed in Xiangyang. A good general yet always got drunk in Xiangyang. Meaning: only Shanjian fully appreciated and enjoyed the scenery in Xiangyang.]

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