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Classical Chinese

085 李白 將進酒 translation: Bring in the Wine, by Li Bai

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 將進酒 (‘Bring in the Wine’) by the Chinese poet 李白 (Li Bai). Li Bai seems to have been having quite a good time when he wrote this poem.

Many thanks to Dr Imre Galambos for explaining this poem.

將進酒 Jiāng Jìn Jiǔ [take] [in] [alcohol] Bring in the Wine

君不見, Jūn bù jiàn, [sir] [not] [see] Have you not seen -

黃河之水天上來, huánghé zhī shuǐ tiān shànglái, [Yellow] [River] ['s] [water] [Heaven] [on] [come] that the waters of the Yellow River come from upon Heaven,

奔流到海不復回; bēnliú dào hǎi bù fù huí; [rush] [flow] [to] [sea] [not] [again] [return] surging into the ocean, never to return again;

君不見, Jūn bù jiàn, [sir] [not] [see] Have you not seen -

高堂明鏡悲白髮, gāotáng míngjìng bēi bái fà, [high] [hall] [bright] [mirror] [grief] [white] [hair] in great halls' bright mirrors, they grieve over white hair,

朝如青絲暮成雪。 zhāo rú qīngsī mù chéng xuě. [morning] [like] [black] [thread] [evening] [become] snow] at dawn like black threads, by evening becoming snow.

人生得意須盡歡, Rénshēng déyì xū jìn huān, [person] [life] [get] [desire] [must] [exhaust] [joyous] In human life, accomplishment must bring total joy,

莫使金樽空對月。 mò shǐ jīn zūn kōng duì yuè. [do not] [cause] [gold] [goblet] [empty] [face] [moon] do not allow an empty goblet to face the moon.

天生我材必有用, Tiān shēng wǒ cái bì yǒu yòng, [Heaven] [produce] [me] [ability] [must] [have] [use] Heaven made me - my abilities must have a purpose;

千金散盡還復來。 qiānjīn sàn jǐn hái fù lái. [thousand] [gold] [scatter] [exhaust] [still] [return] [come] I spend a thousand gold pieces completely, but they'll come back again.

烹羊宰牛且為樂, Pēng yáng zǎi niú qiě wéi lè, [boil] [sheep] [slaughter] [cow] [for now] [for] [joy] Boil a lamb, butcher an ox - now we shall be joyous;

會須一飲三百杯。 huì xū yī yǐn sānbǎi bēi. [will] [must] [one] [drink] [three] [hundred] [cup] we must drink three hundred cups all at once!

岑夫子, Cén fūzǐ, [Cen] [master][] Master Cen,

丹丘生, dān qiū shēng, [Dan] [Qiu] [Sheng] Dan Qiusheng,

將進酒, jiāng jìn jiǔ, [take] [in] [alcohol] bring in the wine! -

杯莫停。 bēi mò tíng. [cup] [do not] [stop] the cups must not stop!

與君歌一曲, Yǔ jūn gē yī qū, [give] [sir] [song] [one] [mw] I'll sing you a song -

請君為我傾耳聽。 qǐng jūn wèi wǒ qīng ěr tīng. [request] [sir] [for] [me] [lean] [ear] [listen] I ask that you lend me your ears.

鐘鼓饌玉不足貴, Zhōng gǔ zhuàn yù bùzú guì, [bell] [drum] [delicacy] [jade] [not] [enough] [expensive] Bells, drums, delicacies, jade - they are not fine enough;

但願長醉不復醒。 dàn yuàn cháng zuì bù fù xǐng. [only] [wish] [constantly] [drunk] [not] [return] [sober] I only wish to be forever drunk and never sober again.

古來聖賢皆寂寞, Gǔlái shèngxián jiē jìmò, [ancient] [come] [sage][] [all] [solitary] [lonely] Since ancient times, sages have all been solitary;

惟有飲者留其名。 wéiyǒu yǐn zhě liú qí míng. [only] [have] [drink] [those who] [leave] [his] [name] only a drinker can leave his name behind!

陳王昔時宴平樂, Chén wáng xī shí yàn Pínglè, [Chen] [monarch] [former] [times] [feast] [Ping] [Le] The Prince of Chen, in times past, held feasts at Pingle;

斗酒十千恣欢谑。 dǒujiǔ shíqiān zì huān xuè. [cup] [alcohol] [ten] [thousand] [abandon restraint] [joyous] [joy] ten thousand cups of wine - abandon restraint and be merry!

主人何為言少錢, Zhǔrén hé wèi yán shǎo qián, [main] [person] [what] [for] [speak] [little] [money] Why would a host speak of having little money? -

徑須沽取對君酌。 jìng xū gū qǔ duì jūn zhuó. [directly] [must] [buy] [get] [to] [sir] [drink wine] you must go straight and buy it - I'll drink it with you!

五花馬,

Wǔ huā mǎ,

[five] [flower] [horse]

My lovely horse,

千金裘, qiānjīn qiú, [thousand] [gold] [fur] my furs worth a thousand gold pieces,

呼兒將出換美酒, Hū ér jiāng chū huàn měijiǔ, [call] [boy] [take] [out] [swap] [fine] [wine] call the boy and have him take them to be swapped for fine wine,

與爾同銷萬古愁。 yǔ ěr tóng xiāo wàn gǔ chóu. [with] [you] [same] [cancel] [ten thousand] [age] [worry] and together with you I'll wipe out the cares of ten thousand ages.

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