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Classical Chinese

凜凜歲云暮 translation - Bitterly Cold, the Year Ends

This is a translation of the classical Chinese poem 凜凜歲云暮 (Lǐn lǐn suì yún mù), the sixteenth poem in the Han dynasty collection 古詩十九首 (Nineteen Old Poems).

凜凜歲云暮 lǐn lǐn suì yún mù [cold] [cold] [year] [cloud] [sunset] Bitterly cold, the year ends;

螻蛄夕鳴悲 lóu gū xī míng bēi [mole cricket][] [dusk] [call] [sorrow] mole crickets chirp mournfully at dusk,

涼風率已厲 liáng fēng lǜ yǐ lì [cold] [wind] [frequent] [already] [severe] and cold winds are already frequent and severe.

遊子寒無衣 yóu zǐ hán wú yī [wanderer][] [cold] [not have] [clothes] The wanderer is cold and lacks clothing,

錦衾遺洛浦 jǐn qīn yí luò pǔ [embroidered] [quilt] [leave behind] [_Luo_] [_Pu_] his embroidered quilt left at Luopu.

同袍與我違 tóng páo yǔ wǒ wéi [same] [gown] [from] [me] [separate] Like that gown, I am separated from you,

獨宿累長夜 dú sù lèi cháng yè [alone] [live] [tired] [long] [night] living alone, weary in the long night.

夢想見容輝 mèng xiǎng jiàn róng huī [dream] [think] [see] [countenance] [glorious] I dream that I see your wonderful face,

良人惟古歡 liáng rén wéi gǔ huan [good] [person] [only] [old] [joy] but you are only a joy from the past.

枉駕惠前綏 wǎng jià huì qián suī [in vain] [harness] [favour] [before] [pacify] Vainly you bestowed upon me the reins of of a chariot,

願得常巧笑 yuàn de cháng qiǎo xiào [hope] [get] [eternal] [opportunely] [smile] hoping to see my every smile as it happened.

攜手同車歸 xié shǒu tóng chē guī [hold] [hand] [same] [carriage] [return] Hand in hand, we returned in the same carriage.

既來不須臾 jì lái bu xū yú [already] [come] [not] [necessary] [little while] Even then, you visited for barely a moment,

又不處重闈 yòu bù chù chóng wéi [again] [not] [reside] [again] [door to woman's room] and did not stay in my room again.

亮無晨風翼 liàng wú chén fēng yì [light] [not have] [morning] [wind] [wing] Without light, the morning wind glides;

焉能凌風飛 yān néng líng fēng fēi [how] [can] [soar] [wind] [fly] how can I soar in the wind in flight?

眄睞以適意 miǎn lài yǐ shì yì [squint] [glance] [take] [fit] [desire] I squint askance to see what I desire,

引領遙相睎 yǐn lǐng yáo xiāng xī [stretch] [neck] [distant] [each other] [gaze] and strain my neck as we distantly gaze at each other.

徒倚懷感傷 tú yǐ huái gǎn shāng [disciple] [rely] [heart] [feel] [hurt] Your reliant disciple feels injured at heart,

重涕沾雙扉 chóng tì zhān shuāng fēi [again] [tears] [moisten] [double] [leaf door] and again her tears wet the door.

Notes on this poem

Luopu (洛浦) is a town in Guangzhou, presumably where the speaker now lives alone.

The line 枉駕惠前綏, here translated as ‘Vainly you bestowed upon me the reins of of a chariot’ seems to refer to some sort of marriage custom where the couple rode in a carriage to be married.

The characters 雙扉 in the last line describe a traditional Chinese door with two sides, as illustrated in the character 門.

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Relevant books

Series: Nineteen Old Poems

  1. 行行重行行 Translation - Marching On and On
  2. 青青河畔草 Translation - Green, Green, Grass on the Riverbank
  3. 青青陵上柏 translation - Green, Green, Cypress on the Mound
  4. 今日良宴會 translation – Today we hold a splendid feast
  5. 西北有高樓 translation - A Tall Tower in the Northwest
  6. 涉江采芙蓉 translation - Crossing the River to Pick Hibiscus
  7. 明月皎夜光 translation - The Clear Moon Shines Brightly by Night
  8. 冉冉孤生竹 translation - Frail Bamboo Growing Alone
  9. 庭中有奇樹 translation - In the Courtyard there is a Strange Tree
  10. 迢迢牽牛星 translation - So Remote, the Draught Ox Star
  11. 迴車駕言邁 translation - I turn the carriage, pull the reins and set off
  12. 東城高且長 translation - The Eastern Wall is High and Long
  13. 驅車上東門 translation - I Ride My Chariot from the Upper East Gate
  14. 去者日以疏 translation - The Departed Are More Distant Daily
  15. 生年不滿百 translation - The Years of Life Reach Not One Hundred
  16. 凜凜歲云暮 translation - Bitterly Cold, the Year Ends (this article)
  17. 孟冬寒氣至 translation - In the First Month of Winter, Cold Air Arrives