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Classical Chinese

007 李白 春思 translation: Spring Thoughts, by Li Bai

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 春思 (‘Spring Thoughts’) by the Chinese poet 李白 (Li Bai). It is #7 in the collection 唐詩三百首 (‘300 Tang Poems’).

春思 Chūn Sī [spring] [think] Spring Thoughts

燕草如碧絲, Yàn cǎo rú bì sī, [Yan] [grass] [like] [jade] [thread] The grasses of Yan are like jade threads,

秦桑低綠枝。 qín sāng dī lǜ zhī. [Qin] [mulberry] [low] [green] [branches] The mulberry trees of Qin have low, green branches.

當君懷歸日, Dāng jūn huái guī rì, [when] [sir] [think of] [returning] [day] The day you think of returning home,

是妾斷腸時。 shì qiè duàncháng shí. [is] [concubine] [break] [intestine] [time] my heart is already broken. I.e., by the time her husband is just beginning to think of home, the narrator is already heart-broken.

春風不相識, Chūnfēng bù xiāngshí, [spring] [wind] [not] [each other] [know] One does not know the spring breeze,

何事入羅幃? héshì rù luó wéi? [what] [thing] [enter] [gauze] [curtain] so why does it enter my bed curtains?