2 0 1 2 年 4 月 6 日

王之渙 登鸛雀樓 translation: Climbing White Stork Tower, by Wang Zhihuan


This is a translation and annotation of the poem 登鸛雀樓 (Dēng Guànquè Lóu), by the Tang dynasty poet 王之渙 (Wang Zhihuan). The poem is #236 in the collection 300 Tang Poems, and is also known by its first line: 白日依山盡 (Bái Rì Yī Shān Jǐn).

 

登鸛雀樓
Dēng Guànquè Lóu
[ascend] [stork] [sparrow] [tower]
Climbing White Stork Tower

 

白日依山盡,
Bái rì yī shān jìn,
[white] [sun] [on] [mountain] [finish]
The white sun sets behind the mountains,

黃河入海流;
Huánghé rù hǎiliú;
[Yellow] [River] [enter] [sea] [flow]
and the Yellow River flows into the sea.

欲窮千里目,
yù qióng qiānlǐ mù,
[want] [furthest] [thousand] [mile] [eye]
To see a thousand mile view,

更上一層樓。
gèng shàng yì céng lóu.
[more] [ascend] [one] [floor] [tower]
go up another floor.

 

If you notice a mistake or disagree with the translation, please comment below to improve this resource. You might want to have a read of this, as well.

 

Notes

鸛雀樓 is a tower in Shanxi province, with three floors, situated between mountains and the Yellow River.

窮 in the third line is like 盡 here, meaning “furthest”. 里 has been translated as ‘mile’ above, although more accurately one 里 is a third of a mile.

The last line, 更上一層樓, is now a general idiom for taking things up a level, a bit like the colloquial 加油.

Source: 登鹳雀楼 – 百度百科

 

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  • Ali

    I believe that in the fourth line, yī should be yì. When yī(一) is before a word that is not second tone, it becomes yì.

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

      Thanks for pointing that out. I don’t usually bother to adjust the pinyin for tone sandhi, but I’ve corrected the one above.

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  • Huang

    白日依山盡,
    Bái rì yī shān jǐn,

    Sorry; shoudn’t the last word in Hanyu Pinyin be in the 4th Tone ?

    I am sorry as I am not a student of Chinese but just look up the dictionery on the word “盡 ” which means : end, finish and exhaust.

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

      Yeah it should be jìn, thanks for pointing that out. The pinyin is auto-generated by software so sometimes it makes odd mistakes like that.

  • Anonymous

    Why drop “white” and obscure the parallelism of the first two lines? More significant to the prosody perhaps than to the meaning. Ron Tuohy

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

      Thanks, I’ve updated the annotation.