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Classical Chinese

113 杜甫 旅夜書懷 translation: Thoughts on a Travelling Night, by Du Fu

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 旅夜書懷 (Lǚ Yè Shū Huái), “Thoughts on a Travelling Night”, by the Tang dynasty poet 杜甫 (Du Fu) translations and articles”). The poem is number 113 in the collection 300 Tang Poems, and is also known by its first line: 細草微風岸 (Xì Cǎo Wēi Fēng Àn).

A bright moon at night旅夜書懷

Lǚ Yè Shū Huái [travel] [night] [writing] [thought] Thoughts on a Travelling Night

細草微風岸, Xì cǎo wéifēng àn, [slender] [grass] [tiny] [wind] [shore] Slender grasses in a breeze on the shore;

危檣獨夜舟。 Wēi qiáng dú yè zhōu. [high] [mast] [lone] [night] [boat] a high mast alone in the night.

星垂平野闊, Xīng chuí píng yě kuò, [star] [hang] [level] [space] [broad] Stars hang level in broad space;

月湧大江流。 Yuè yǒng dàjiāng liú. [moon] [rush] [large] [river] [flow] the moon over the rush of a great river, flowing.

名豈文章著? Míng qǐ wénzhāng zhù? [name] [how] [written works][] [make known] How can reputation come from written works?

官應老病休。 Guān yīng lǎo bìngxiū. [official] [should] [old] [sick] [retire] An official should, at old age and sickness, retire;

飄飄何所似? Piāo piāo hé suǒ shì? [float] [float] [what] [that which is] [resemble] Floating and floating - what does that resemble?

天地一沙鷗。 Tiāndì yī shā'ōu. [heaven] [earth] [one] [sand] [gull] A single marsh bird in the whole world!

This poem is quite tricky to translate closely whilst expressing the intended meaning.

If you notice a mistake or disagree with the translation, please comment below to improve this resource.

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