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Classical Chinese

迴車駕言邁 translation - I turn the carriage, pull the reins and set off

This is a translation of the Chinese poem 迴車駕言邁 (Huí chē jià yán mài), the eleventh poem in the Han dynasty collection 古詩十九首 (Nineteen Old Poems).

迴車駕言邁 huí chē jià yán mài [turn] [carriage] [drive] [say] [take step] I turn the carriage, give the command to go and set off,

悠悠涉長道 yōu yōu shè cháng dào [long] [long] [wade] [long] [road] on and on over the endless road.

四顧何茫茫 sì gù hé máng máng [four] [look] [how] [vast] [vast] I look around - how boundless and vast!

東風搖百草 dōng fēng yáo bǎi cǎo [east] [wind] [shake] [hundred] [herb] The Eastern wind shakes the numerous flora,

所遇無故物 suǒ yù wú gù wù [that which] [meet] [not have] [old] [thing] and of all that I encounter, there is nothing of the past.

焉得不速老 yān dé bù sù lǎo [where] [get] [not] [quick] [old] In what can we escape the rapid onset of old age?

成衰各有時 chéng shuāi gè yǒu shí [fulfil] [decline] [each] [have] [time] Fulfilment and decline each have their time;

立身苦不早 lì shēn kǔ bù zǎo [set up] [life] [bitter] [not] [early] as for success in life, how bitter that it does not come sooner!

人生非金石 rén shēng fēi jīn shí [human] [life] [not] [metal] [stone] Human life is not set in metal or stone -

豈能長壽考 qǐ néng cháng shòu kǎo [how can it be] [can] [long] [longevity] [verify] how can longevity be certain?

奄忽隨物化 yǎn hū suí wù huà [suddenly] [suddenly] [follow] [thing] [change] In swiftly following changing things,

榮名以為寶 róng míng yǐ wéi bǎo [glory] [reputation] [take] [as] [treasure] glory and reputation are the only treasures.

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 (this article)
  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