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Classical Chinese

明月何皎皎 translation: Why is the Bright Moon So Clear?

古詩十九首:明月何皎皎 (No. 19)

This is a translation and annotation of the Chinese poem 明月何皎皎 (Míngyuè hé jiǎojiǎo), the final poem in the Han dynasty collection 古詩十九首 (Nineteen Old Poems).

明月何皎皎 míng yuè hé jiǎo jiǎo [bright] [moon] [why] [clear] [clear] Why is the bright moon so clear?

照我羅床緯 zhào wǒ luó chuáng wěi [illuminate] [my] [gauze] [bed] [weave] It illuminates the gauze weave of my bed.

憂愁不能寐 kōu chóu bùnéng mèi [concern] [worry] [not] [can] [sleep soundly] Worried, one cannot sleep soundly.

攬衣起徘徊 lǎn yī qǐ pái huái [seize] [clothes] [rise] [dither] [hesitate] Grabbing clothes, ones rises and dithers hesitantly.

客行雖云樂 kè xíng suī yún lè [guest] [travel] [even] [say] [happy] The guest’s journey, although it could be said to be happy,

不如早旋歸 bù rú zǎo xuán guī [not] [as good] [early] [revolve] [return] is not as good as an early return. _[旋歸](http://www.zdic.net/cd/ci/11/ZdicE6Zdic97Zdic8B223756.htm "Meaning of 旋歸") is a binome meaning 'return'._

出戶獨徬徨 chū hù dú páng huáng [exit] [household] [alone] [uncertain] [uncertain] One leaves the household alone, uncertain.

愁思當告誰 chóu sī dāng gào shuí [worry] [consider] [should] [tell] [whom] Worried, one considers whom one should tell.

引領還入房 yǐn lǐng huán rù fáng [look forward][] [return] [enter] [house] One looks forward to returning and entering the house. _[引領](http://www.zdic.net/cd/ci/4/ZdicE5ZdicBCZdic95303489.htm "Meaning of 引領") is a binome meaning 'to look forward to'._

淚下沾裳衣 lèi xià zhān shang yī [tears] [fall] [moisten] [skirt] [clothes] Tears fall, moistening one’s skirts and clothes.

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