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Classical Chinese

明月皎夜光 translation - The Clear Moon Shines Brightly by Night

This is a translation of the poem Chinese poem 月名叫夜光, from the Han dynasty collection 古詩十九首 (Nineteen Old Poems).

明月皎夜光 míng yuè jiǎo yè guāng [bright] [moon] [clear] [night] [shine] The clear moon shines brightly by night,

促織鳴東壁 cù zhī míng dōng bì [chirping cricket][] [call] [east] [wall] and the crickets chirp by the eastern wall.

玉衡指孟冬 yù héng zhǐ mèng dōng [ursae majoris][] [indicate] [first month] [winter] Ursae Majoris indicates that winter is coming,

眾星何歷歷 zhòng xīng hé lì lì [crowd] [star] [how] [each] [each] and the crowded stars, how clear each one is!

白露霑野草 bái lù zhān yě cǎo [white] [dew] [moisten] [field] [grass] White dew wets the wild weeds,

時節忽復易 shí jié hū fù yì [season] [section] [suddenly] [again] [change] as the cycling seasons suddenly change again.

秋蟬鳴樹間 qiū chán míng shù jiān [autumn] [locust] [call] [tree] [between] Autumn locusts trill between the trees,

玄鳥逝安適 xuán niǎo shì ān shì [dark] [bird] [depart] [calm] [suit] and dark birds leave for more suitable places.

昔我同門友 xí wǒ tóng mén you [former] [I] [same] [school] [friend] Formerly we were disciples of the same school,

高舉振六翮 gāo jǔ zhèn liù hé [high] [rise] [flap] [six] [quill] rising high beating six quills.

不念攜手好 bù niàn xié shǒu hào [not] [remember] [hold] [hand] [fondness] But you ignored our intimate friendship,

棄我如遺跡 qì wǒ rú yí jī [abandon] [me] [like] [leave behind] [footprint] and abandoned me like a footprint behind you.

南箕北有斗 nán jī běi yǒu dòu [south] [winnow basket] [north] [has] [plough] In the South is the Winnow Basket, in the North the Plough,

牽牛不負軛 qiān niú bù fù è [pull] [ox] [not] [bear] [yoke] and the Draught Ox will not bear its yoke.

良無盤石固 liáng wú pán shí gù [very much] [not have] [plate] [stone] [solid] Without the solidity of metal and stone,

虛名復何益 xū míng fù hé yì [false] [name] [again] [what] [benefit] What benefit is there in empty reputation?

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 (this article)
  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
  17. 孟冬寒氣至 translation - In the First Month of Winter, Cold Air Arrives

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