This is a very rough translation and annotation of the poem 遠別離 (Yuǎn Biélí), ‘Distant Parting’, by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet 李白 (Lǐ Bái).
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[distant] [part] [leave]
Yuǎn biélí, gǔ yǒu Huáng Yīng zhī èr nǚ,
[distant] [part] [leave], [old] [have] [Huang] [Ying] ['s] [two] [female]
Distant parting; in ancient times were the women Huang and Ying;
(Huang and Ying were the daughter and concubine of the legendary emperor Shun. They both drowned in the River Xiang.)
nǎi zài Dòngtíng zhī nán,
[thus] [at] [Dong] [Ting] ['s] [south]
to the south of Dongting,
xiāoxiāng zhī pǔ.
[Xiao] [Xiang] ['s] [river bank]
on the banks of the River Xiang.
Hǎishuǐ zhíxià wànlǐ shēn,
[sea] [water] [vertical] [down] [ten thousand] [li] [deep]
The ocean waters ten thousand li deep, straight down -
shéi rén bù yán cǐ lí kǔ.
[who] [person] [not] [say] [this] [parting] [bitter]
who would not say that this parting was just as painful?
Rì cǎn cǎn xī yún míng míng,
[sun] [miserable] [miserable] [oh] [cloud] [dark] [dark]
The sun so miserable, oh, the clouds so dark;
xīngxīng tí yān xī guǐ xiào yǔ.
[orangutan] [hoot] [mist] [oh] [ghost] [hiss] [rain]
an orangutan hollers in mist, oh, a ghost hisses in rain.
Wǒ zòng yán zhī jiàng hé bǔ,
[I] [even if] [say] [it] [use] [what] [benefit]
Even if I speak of it, what benefit is there? -
huáng qióng qiè kǒng bù zhào yú zhī zhōngchéng.
[emperor] [dome] [I] [fear] [not] [perceive] [I] ['s] [loyal] [sincere]
Heaven, I fear, will not perceive my loyalty.
Yún píngpíng xī yù hǒu nù,
[cloud] [majestic] [oh] [want] [howl] [anger]
The clouds so majestic, oh, they want to howl with rage;
Yáo Shùn dāng zhī yì shàn yǔ.
[Yao] [Shun] [then] [it] [also] [abdicate] [Yu]
from Yao to Shun, then he too abdicated to Yu.
Jūn shī chén xī lóng wéi yú,
[lord] [lose] [minister] [oh] [dragon] [become] [fish]
A lord loses his minister, oh, a dragon becomes a fish;
quán guī chén xī shǔ biàn hǔ.
[power] [return] [minister] [oh] [mouse] [become] [tiger]
power returns to the minister, oh, a mouse becomes a tiger.
Huò yán Yáo yōuqiú,
[some] [say] [Yao] [remote] [prisoner]
Some speak of Yao’s imprisonment,
Shùn yě sǐ.
[Shun] [wild] [die]
and of Shun’s death in the wild.
Jiǔ yí liánmián jiē xiāngsì,
[Jiu] [Yi] [join] [continuous] [all] [each other] [resemble]
Mt. Cangwu’s peaks are endless, all alike;
(九疑 is another name for 苍梧山 – Mt. Cangwu.)
zhòngtóng gū fén jìng hé shì.
[important] [eye] [alone] [tomb] [in the end] [what] [is]
the emperor’s lonely tomb – where was it in the end?
(重瞳 refers to the emperor’s eyes.)
Dì zǐ qì xī lǜ yúnjiān,
[emperor] [child] [sob] [oh] [green] [cloud] [between]
Huang and Ying sob, oh, amongst green clouds;
suí fēng bō xī qù wú huán.
[follow] [wind] [wave] [oh] [leave] [not have] [return]
borne on wind and waves, oh, they left without return.
Tòngkū xī yuǎnwàng,
[grief] [weep] [oh] [far] [look]
Weeping in grief, oh, they gazed afar,
jiàn Cāngwú zhī shēnshān.
[see] [Cang] [Wu] ['s] [deep] [mountain]
to Cangwu’s innermost peaks.
Cāngwú shān bēng Xiāng shuǐ jué,
[Cang] [Wu] [mountain] [collapse] [Xiang] [water] [cut off]
The peaks of Cangwu collapsed, the River Xiang was cut off,
zhú shàng zhī lèi nǎi kě miè.
[bamboo] [on] ['s] [tear] [thus] [can] [extinguish]
the tear-stains on the bamboo were lost.
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