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李白 將進酒 translation: Bring in the Wine, by Li Bai


This is a translation and annotation of the poem 將進酒 (‘Bring in the Wine’) by the Chinese poet 李白 (Li Bai). Li Bai seems to have been having quite a good time when he wrote this poem.

Many thanks to Dr Imre Galambos for explaining this poem.

 

 

將進酒
Jiāng Jìn Jiǔ
[take] [in] [alcohol]
Bring in the Wine

 

君不見,
Jūn bù jiàn,
[sir] [not] [see]
Have you not seen –

黃河之水天上來,
huánghé zhī shuǐ tiān shànglái,
[Yellow] [River] ['s] [water] [Heaven] [on] [come]
that the waters of the Yellow River come from upon Heaven,

奔流到海不復回;
bēnliú dào hǎi bù fù huí;
[rush] [flow] [to] [sea] [not] [again] [return]
surging into the ocean, never to return again;

君不見,
Jūn bù jiàn,
[sir] [not] [see]
Have you not seen –

高堂明鏡悲白髮,
gāotáng míngjìng bēi bái fà,
[high] [hall] [bright] [mirror] [grief] [white] [hair]
in great halls’ bright mirrors, they grieve over white hair,

朝如青絲暮成雪。
zhāo rú qīngsī mù chéng xuě.
[morning] [like] [black] [thread] [evening] [become] snow]
at dawn like black threads, by evening becoming snow.

人生得意須盡歡,
Rénshēng déyì xū jìn huān,
[person] [life] [get] [desire] [must] [exhaust] [joyous]
In human life, accomplishment must bring total joy,

莫使金樽空對月。
mò shǐ jīn zūn kōng duì yuè.
[do not] [cause] [gold] [goblet] [empty] [face] [moon]
do not allow an empty goblet to face the moon.

天生我材必有用,
Tiān shēng wǒ cái bì yǒu yòng,
[Heaven] [produce] [me] [ability] [must] [have] [use]
Heaven made me – my abilities must have a purpose;

千金散盡還復來。
qiānjīn sàn jǐn hái fù lái.
[thousand] [gold] [scatter] [exhaust] [still] [return] [come]
I spend a thousand gold pieces completely, but they’ll come back again.

烹羊宰牛且為樂,
Pēng yáng zǎi niú qiě wéi lè,
[boil] [sheep] [slaughter] [cow] [for now] [for] [joy]
Boil a lamb, butcher an ox – now we shall be joyous;

會須一飲三百杯。
huì xū yī yǐn sānbǎi bēi.
[will] [must] [one] [drink] [three] [hundred] [cup]
we must drink three hundred cups all at once!

岑夫子,
Cén fūzǐ,
[Cen] [master][]
Master Cen,

丹丘生,
dān qiū shēng,
[Dan] [Qiu] [Sheng]
Dan Qiusheng,

將進酒,
jiāng jìn jiǔ,
[take] [in] [alcohol]
bring in the wine! –

杯莫停。
bēi mò tíng.
[cup] [do not] [stop]
the cups must not stop!

與君歌一曲,
Yǔ jūn gē yī qū,
[give] [sir] [song] [one] [mw]
I’ll sing you a song –

請君為我傾耳聽。
qǐng jūn wèi wǒ qīng ěr tīng.
[request] [sir] [for] [me] [lean] [ear] [listen]
I ask that you lend me your ears.

鐘鼓饌玉不足貴,
Zhōng gǔ zhuàn yù bùzú guì,
[bell] [drum] [delicacy] [jade] [not] [enough] [expensive]
Bells, drums, delicacies, jade – they are not fine enough;

但願長醉不復醒。
dàn yuàn cháng zuì bù fù xǐng.
[only] [wish] [constantly] [drunk] [not] [return] [sober]
I only wish to be forever drunk and never sober again.

古來聖賢皆寂寞,
Gǔlái shèngxián jiē jìmò,
[ancient] [come] [sage][] [all] [solitary] [lonely]
Since ancient times, sages have all been solitary;

惟有飲者留其名。
wéiyǒu yǐn zhě liú qí míng.
[only] [have] [drink] [those who] [leave] [his] [name]
only a drinker can leave his name behind!

陳王昔時宴平樂,
Chén wáng xī shí yàn Pínglè,
[Chen] [monarch] [former] [times] [feast] [Ping] [Le]
The Prince of Chen, in times past, held feasts at Pingle;

斗酒十千恣欢谑。
dǒujiǔ shíqiān zì huān xuè.
[cup] [alcohol] [ten] [thousand] [abandon restraint] [joyous] [joy]
ten thousand cups of wine – abandon restraint and be merry!

主人何為言少錢,
Zhǔrén hé wèi yán shǎo qián,
[main] [person] [what] [for] [speak] [little] [money]
Why would a host speak of having little money? –

徑須沽取對君酌。
jìng xū gū qǔ duì jūn zhuó.
[directly] [must] [buy] [get] [to] [sir] [drink wine]
you must go straight and buy it – I’ll drink it with you!

五花馬,
Wǔ huā mǎ,
[five] [flower] [horse]
My lovely horse,

千金裘,
qiānjīn qiú,
[thousand] [gold] [fur]
my furs worth a thousand gold pieces,

呼兒將出換美酒,
Hū ér jiāng chū huàn měijiǔ,
[call] [boy] [take] [out] [swap] [fine] [wine]
call the boy and have him take them to be swapped for fine wine,

與爾同銷萬古愁。
yǔ ěr tóng xiāo wàn gǔ chóu.
[with] [you] [same] [cancel] [ten thousand] [age] [worry]
and together with you I’ll wipe out the cares of ten thousand ages.

 

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  • Helen

    主人何為言少錢,
    徑須沽取對君酌。

    I think this should be:

    If the host spoke of having little money,
    Directly I would buy more wine and toast my lord.

    Which makes more sense when he later talks about selling his own stuff to buy booze.

    • http://eastasiastudent.net/about Hugh Grigg (葛修远)

      Then what would 須 be doing?

    • http://yichi.com.au Yichi Zhang

      I think it makes more sense that Wǔ huā mǎ and qiānjīn qiú are the host’s, not Li Bai’s. Actually, it wouldn’t matter whose they are.

  • Judy

    Thank you for this. Rather helpful.