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Classical Chinese

010 杜甫 登岳陽樓 translation: Ascending Yueyang Tower, by Du Fu

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 登岳陽樓 (Dēng Yuèyánglóu), “Ascending Yueyang Tower”, by the Tang dynasty poet 杜甫 (Du Fu). The poem is number 114 in the collection 300 Tang Poems, and is also known by its first line: 昔聞洞庭水 (Xī Wén Dòngtíng Shuǐ).

A view of a lake

登岳陽樓 Dēng Yuèyánglóu [ascend] [_Yue_] [_yang_] [tower] Ascending Yueyang Tower

昔聞洞庭水, Xī wén dòngtíng shuǐ, [past] [hear] [_Dong_] [_ting_] [lake] In the past one had heard of Dongting lake,

今上岳陽樓。 Jīn shàng yuèyánglóu. [now] [upon] [_Yue_] [_yang_] [tower] and now one stands on Yueyang Tower.

吳楚東南坼, Wú Chǔ dōngnán chè, [_Wu_] [_Chu_] [east] [south] [split] _Wu_ and _Chu_ to the East and South are split,

乾坤日夜浮。 Qiánkūn rìyè fú. [heaven and earth][] [day] [night] [float] while the days and the nights float over Heaven and Earth.

親朋無一字, Qīnpéng wú yī zì, [family] [friend] [not have] [one] [word] From family and friends one has no word;

老病有孤舟。 Lǎo bìng yǒu gū zhōu. [old] [ill] [have] [lonely] [boat] one is old and ill on a lonely boat.

戎馬關山北, Róngmǎ guān shān běi, [military] [horse] [pass] [mountain] [north] Warfare continues over the mountain passes to the north;

憑軒涕泗流。 Píng xuān tì sì liú. [lean on] [balustrade] [tears] [mucus] [flow] one leans on the balustrade and sobs.

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