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李白 怨情 translation: Resentment, by Li Bai


This is a translation and annotation of the poem 怨情 (Yuàn Qíng), “Resentment”, by the Tang dynasty poet 李白 (Li Bai). The poem is #234 in the collection 300 Tang Poems, and is also known by its first line: 美人卷珠簾 (Měirén Juǎn Zhū Lián).
 

怨情
Yuàn Qíng
[complain] [feeling]
Resentment

 

美人卷珠簾,
Měirén juǎn zhū lián,
[beautiful] [person] [roll up] [pearl] [curtain]
A beautiful woman folds a pearl curtain;

深坐蹙蛾眉:
shēn zuò cù éméi:
[deep] [bear] [frown] [beautiful woman][]
a deep frown on a beautiful face:
蛾眉 is a metaphor for a beautiful woman.

但見淚痕濕,
dàn jiàn lèihén shī,
[but] [see] [tear] [trace] [wet]
though one sees wet tear stains,

不知心恨誰?
bùzhī xīn hèn shuí?
[not] [know] [heart] [hate] [who]
one does not know whom she laments in her heart.

 

If you notice a mistake or disagree with the translation, please comment below to improve this resource.

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  • http://www.chinesetolearn.com/ Shu

    Hugh,
    I will translate this poem in a few days. Interesting one:)

    • http://eastasiastudent.net Hugh Grigg

      Great! :)

      Yeah I found this quite hard to translate, still not sure how accurate my translation is.

  • Pingback: 300 Tang Poems translations (唐詩三百首) - East Asia Student

  • http://www.chinesetolearn.com/ Shu

    Here it is; check it out. Have fun:)
    http://www.chinesetolearn.com/?p=2972

    • http://eastasiastudent.net Hugh Grigg

      Oh that’s interesting, so 蛾眉 is specifically her brow? My dictionary just gave “beautiful woman” for that. The brow makes more sense, though.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.chinesetolearn.com/ Shu

    Hugh,
    In Chinese, sometimes we use a special part (or special feature) to refer to the whole. For example,
    巾帼不让须眉
    巾帼is women’s headdress (in ancient time of course), it got used to refer to women, female. While
    须眉 beard is used to refer to men.
    In this poem 蛾眉 is the moth antenna like eye brows which was regarded as pretty shape of female eye brows. So, beautiful female eye brows can be used to refer to a beautiful lady; that is why your dictionary has that definition. However, in the poem, it is talking about the eye brows were in tight stressed shape, so we better just translated it as slightly curved and slender eye brows.
    I like poems myself, so you are very welcome:)

  • http://chinesepoemsinenglish.blogspot.com Andrew Wong

    Dear Hugh, Thank you for linking my blog to yours for many a poem. You may wish to do again for this particular poem. My version is as follows:-
    Li Bai (701-762): Plaintful Sentiments
    1 The lady rolls up her beaded curtain;
    2 For long she sits, brows knit, she waits.
    3 Seen on her face are but traces of tears,
    4 Know not who, in her heart, she hates.

    Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發
    25th June 2012 (revised 26.6.12; 27.6.12; 30.10.12)

    • http://eastasiastudent.net/about Hugh Grigg

      Thank you, and thanks for making your translations available on line for everyone.