This is a translation and annotation of the poem 過故人莊 (Guò Gùrén Zhuāng), by the Tang dynasty poet 孟浩然 (Meng Haoran). The poem is #128 in the collection 300 Tang Poems, and is also known by its first line: 故人具雞黍 (Gùrén Jù Jī Shǔ).
Guò Gùrén Zhuāng
[pass] [old friend] [farmhouse]
Visiting a Friend’s Farmhouse
Gùrén jù jī shǔ,
[old friend] [prepare] [chicken] [millet]
An old friend prepares chicken and millet,
yāo wǒ zhì tiánjiā.
[invite] [me] [to] [field] [house]
and invites me to his rural home.
Lǜ shù cūn biān hé,
[green] [tree] [village] [side] [surround]
Green trees surround the village;
qīng shān guō wài xiá.
[blue-green] [mountain] [city wall] [outside] [stretch]
blue-green mountains stretch beyond the town.
Kāi xuān miàn chǎng pǔ,
[open] [pavilion] [face] [yard] [garden]
Open the pavilion window and face the yard and gardens,
bǎ jiǔ huà sāng má.
[hold] [wine] [speak] [mulberry] [hemp]
raise our glasses, speak of hemp and mulberry.
Dài dào Chóngyángrì,
[wait] [arrive] [double] [yang] [day]
We await the arrival of Double Ninth Festival,
huán lái jiù júhuā.
[return] [come] [engage in] [chrysanthemum] [flower]
to return here and admire chrysanthemums.
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.
過 in the title is literally ‘pass by’, but here it’s more like 拜访 – ‘pay a visit’.
具 in the first line could be ‘provide’, ‘prepare’ or ‘purchase’. “For me” is implied here, but wasn’t included in the translation above.
合 in the third line means 环绕 – ‘surround’ or ‘encircle’.
郭 in the fourth line means ‘town wall’, but is used as a metonym for the town in general.
斜 refers to the mountains winding on forever into the distance. It should be read xiá (rather than the usual xié) in order to preserve the rhyme scheme.
場圃 in the fifth line could be translated more specifically as “threshing floor and vegetable gardens”.
把酒 as a phrase means “raise a cup” (of alcohol). 桑麻, hemp and mulberry, refer to the local crops in general.
重陽日 is 重阳节 – Double Ninth Festival, an ancient holiday in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is traditional to drink chrysanthemum tea on this festival.
Source: 过故人庄 – 百度百科
- 300 Tang Poems (Waters, Farman, Lunde)
- Fifty Five T’ang Poems (Hugh M. Stimson)
- Poems of the Late T’ang (A. C. Graham)
- Translation of 過故人莊 into English by 曾培慈
- Translation of 過故人莊 into English at 英語大學
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