This is a translation of the Chinese poem 迢迢牽牛星 (Tiáo tiáo qiān niú xīng), the tenth poem in the Han dynasty collection 古詩十九首 (Nineteen Old Poems).
迢迢牽牛星 tiáo tiáo qiān niú xīng [remote] [remote] [pull] [ox] [star] So remote, the Draught Ox star,
皎皎河漢女 jiǎo jiǎo hé hàn nǚ [bright] [bright] [river] [_Han_] [girl] While_ the Weaver Girl _shines brightly in the Milky Way.
纖纖擢素手 xiān xiān zhuó sù shǒu [delicate] [delicate] [pull up] [pale] [hand] Delicately she lifts a pale hand,
札札弄機杼 zhá zhá nòng jī zhù [clack] [clack] [handle] [machine] [shuttle] clack, clack goes the shuttle of her loom.
終日不成章 zhōng rì bù chéng zhāng [end] [day] [not] [finish] [section] All day long without finish,
泣涕零如雨 qì tì líng rú yǔ [sob] [tears] [like] [rain] she sobs and sheds tears like rain.
河漢清且淺 hé hàn qīng qiě qiǎn [river] [Han] [clear] [and] [shallow] The Milky Way is clear and shallow;
相去復幾許 xiāng qù fù jǐ xǔ [each other] [remove] [go back] [almost] [permit] they are but a tiny distance from each other,
盈盈一水間 yíng yíng yī shuǐ jiān [full] [full] [one] [water] [space] at most the width of a stream,
脈脈不得語 mò mò bù dé yǔ [affection] [not] [get] [speech] yet their affection can never speak.
- Chinese Lyricism (Burton Watson) - has a lot of quality translations and analysis
- Popular Songs and Ballads of Han China (Anne Birrell) - more general insight into verse from this period
Series: Nineteen Old Poems
- 行行重行行 Translation - Marching On and On
- 青青河畔草 Translation - Green, Green, Grass on the Riverbank
- 青青陵上柏 translation - Green, Green, Cypress on the Mound
- 今日良宴會 translation – Today we hold a splendid feast
- 西北有高樓 translation - A Tall Tower in the Northwest
- 涉江采芙蓉 translation - Crossing the River to Pick Hibiscus
- 明月皎夜光 translation - The Clear Moon Shines Brightly by Night
- 冉冉孤生竹 translation - Frail Bamboo Growing Alone
- 庭中有奇樹 translation - In the Courtyard there is a Strange Tree
- 迢迢牽牛星 translation - So Remote, the Draught Ox Star (this article)
- 迴車駕言邁 translation - I turn the carriage, pull the reins and set off
- 東城高且長 translation - The Eastern Wall is High and Long
- 驅車上東門 translation - I Ride My Chariot from the Upper East Gate
- 去者日以疏 translation - The Departed Are More Distant Daily
- 生年不滿百 translation - The Years of Life Reach Not One Hundred
- 凜凜歲云暮 translation - Bitterly Cold, the Year Ends
- 孟冬寒氣至 translation - In the First Month of Winter, Cold Air Arrives