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Classical Chinese

李白 荊門浮舟望蜀江 translation: Floating on a Boat at Jingmen, Gazing at the Yangzi (Li Bai)

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 荊門浮舟望蜀江 (‘Floating on a Boat at Jingmen, Gazing at the Yangzi’) by the Chinese poet 李白 (Li Bai). All credit to Dr Sally Church for her explanation of this poem.

荊門浮舟望蜀江

Jīngmén Fú Zhōu wàng Shǔjiāng [Jing] [Men] [float] [boat] [gaze] [Shu] [river] Floating on a Boat at Jingmen, Gazing at the Yangzi

春水月峽來, Chūn shuǐ Yuè Xiá lái, [spring] [water] [Moon] [Gorge] [come] In Spring, the waters come from Moon Gorge,

浮舟望安極? fúzhōu wàng ān jí? [float] [boat] [gaze] [how] [extreme] floating on a boat, how far can one see?

正是桃花流, Zhèng shì táohuā liú, [just] [is] [peach] [flower] [flow] It's the season of peach blossom when the waters flow,

依然錦江色。 yīrán jǐnjiāng sè. [depend] [-ly] [Jin] [Jiang] [appearance] one still thinks Jinjiang's appearance.

江色綠且明, Jiāng sè lǜ qiě míng, [river] [colour] [green] [yet] [clear] The river's colour is green yet clear;

茫茫與天平。 mángmáng yǔ tiānpíng. [boundless] [boundless] [with] [sky] [level] boundless, parallel to the sky.

逶迤巴山盡, Wēiyí Bāshān jǐn, [winding] [twisting] [Ba] [mountain] [exhaust] The winding Mt Ba runs it course;

搖曳楚雲行。 yáoyè Chǔ yún xíng. [shake] [drag] [Chu] [cloud] [travel] into the fluttering clouds of Chu one travels.

雪照聚沙雁, Xuě zhào jù shā yàn, [snow] [shine] [gather] [sand] [goose] Snow-white and shining, geese gather on the sand;

花飛出谷鶯。 huā fēi chū gǔ yīng. [flower] [fly] [exit] [valley] [warbler] flower-like fly the warblers leaving the valley.

芳洲卻已轉, Fāngzhōu què yǐ zhuǎn, [fragrant] [island] [recede] [already] [turn] The fragrant island is already revolving;

碧樹森森迎。 bì shù sēnsēn yíng. [jade] [tree] [forest] [forest] [welcome] the jade-green trees of a dense forest are welcoming.

流目浦煙夕, Liú mù pǔ yān xī, [flow] [eye] [shore] [mist] [evening] The eye moves to the evening mists on the shore;

揚帆海月生。 yángfān hǎi yuè shēng. [hoist] [sail] [sea] [moon] [create] the sail is hoisted, the moon rises on the sea.

江陵識遙火, Jiānglíng shí yáo huǒ, [Jiang] [Ling] [distinguish] [distant] [flame] At Jiangling, one distinguishes the distant lanterns -

應到渚宮城。 yīng dào Zhǔgōng chéng. [should] [arrive] [Zhu] [Gong] [city wall] we must have arrived at the Zhu Palace walls.

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