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Classical Chinese

'李白 夢遊天姥吟留別 translation: A Departing Song of Travelling to Tianmu in a Dream, by Li Bai'

This is a very rough annotation / translation of the poem 夢遊天姥吟留別 (Mèngyóu Tiānmǔ Yín Liúbié), ‘A Departing Song of Travelling to Tianmu in a Dream’, by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet 李白 (Lǐ Bái).

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Dramatic and beautiful scenery on top of the Yellow Mountain. Anhui, China

夢遊天姥吟留別 Mèngyóu Tiānmǔ Yín Liúbié [dream] [roam] [Tian] [Mu] [hum] [leave behind] [depart] A Departing Song of Travelling to Tianmu in a Dream

海客談瀛洲, Hǎi kè tán Yíngzhōu, [sea] [traveller] [speak] [Ying] [Zhou] Ocean travellers talk of Yingzhou,

煙濤微茫信難求; yān tāo wēimáng xìn nán qiú; [smoke] [wave] [profound] [hazy] [trust] [hard] [seek] yet its mist and waves are hazy - belief in it is hard to find;

越人語天姥, Yuè rén yǔ Tiānmǔ, [Yue] [person] [speech] [Tian] [Mu] The people of Yue speak of Tianmu;

雲霓明滅或可覩。 yún ní míng miè huò kě dǔ. [cloud] [rainbow] [bright] [extinguish] [or] [can] [see] its red clouds in bright light or darkness might be seen.

天姥連天向天橫, Tiānmǔ lián tiān xiàng tiān héng, [Tian] [Mu] [link] [sky] [towards] [sky] [across] Tianmu pierces the sky and stretches to the horizon,

勢拔五嶽掩赤城; shì bá Wǔ Yuè yǎn chìchéng; [power] [surpass] [five] [peak] [cover] [Chi] [Cheng] its power surpasses the Five Peaks and eclipses Chicheng Mountain.

天臺四萬八千丈, tiāntái sì wàn bāqiān zhàng, [Tian] [Tai] [four] [ten thousand] [eight] [thousand] [ten feet] Tiantai mountain is forty-eight thousand _zhang_ high,

對此欲倒東南傾。 duì cǐ yù dào dōngnán qīng. [face] [this] [want] [collapse] [east] [south] [collapse] yet compared to this it will collapse to the south-east.

我欲因之夢吳越, Wǒ yù yīn zhī mèng Wú Yuè, [I] [want] [because] [it] [dream] [Wu] [Yue] Because of this I wish to dream of Wu and Yue,

一夜飛渡鏡湖月。 yīyè fēi dù Jìnghú yuè. [one] [night] [fly] [cross] [mirror] [lake] [moon] and in one night fly over the moon in Mirror Lake.

湖月照我影, Hú yuè zhào wǒ yǐng, [lake] [moon] [shine] [my] [shadow] The moon in the lake illuminates my shadow,

送我至剡溪; sòng wǒ zhì Shàn xī; [send] [me] [to] [Shan] [creek] and sends me to the creeks of Shan;

謝公宿處今尚在, xiè gōng sù chù jīn shàng zài, [Xie] [master] [reside] [place] [today] [still] [at] Master Xie's residence is today still there,

淥水蕩漾清猿啼。 lù shuǐ dàngyàng qīng yuán tí. [clear] [water] [ripple] [ripple] [clear] [ape] [hoot] among clear water rippling, and the clear calls of apes.

腳著謝公屐, Jiǎo zhuó xiè gōng jī, [foot] [wear] [Xie] [master] [clogs] On one's feet one wears clogs like Master Xie;

身登青雲梯; shēn dēng qīngyún tī; [personally] [ascend] [blue] [cloud] [stair] one ascends the Blue Cloud Stair. (This is a standard metaphor for rising to an official position.)

半壁見海日, bànbì jiàn hǎi rì, [half] [wall] [see] [ocean] [sun] From halfway up the cliff one sees the ocean sunrise,

空中聞天雞。 kōngzhōng wén tiān jī. [empty] [in] [hear] [heaven] [rooster] and in the air hears heavenly roosters.

千巖萬壑路不定, Qiān yán wàn hè lù bùdìng, [thousand] [precipice] [ten thousand] [gully] [road] [not] [set] On a thousand precipices and in ten thousand valleys, the path is not clear;

迷花倚石忽已暝。 mí huā yǐ shí hū yǐ míng. [bewilder] [flower] [rely] [stone] [suddenly] [already] [dark] infatuated by flowers, one leans on a rock; suddenly it is dark.

熊咆龍吟殷巖泉, Xióng páo lóng yín yǐn yán quán, [bear] [roar] [dragon] [hum] [rumble] [precipice] [spring] Bears roar and dragons hum, rumbling over precipices and springs;

慄深林兮驚層巔。 lì shēnlín xī jīng céng diān. [trembling] [deep] [woods] [oh] [frighten] [layer] [summit] trembling, the deep forests; frightened, the layered summits.

雲青青兮欲雨, Yún qīngqīng xī yù yǔ, [cloud] [black] [black] [oh] [want] [rain] Clouds, blackest black, are going to rain;

水澹澹兮生煙。 shuǐ dàn dàn xī shēng yān. [water] [placid] [placid] [oh] [grow] [mist] from water most placid, mist rises.

列缺霹靂, Liè quē pīlì, [lightning][] [thunder] Thunder and lightning -

邱巒崩摧; qiū luán bēng cuī; [hill] [mountain range] [collapse] [destroy] hills and mountain ranges are shattered;

洞天石扇, dòngtiān shí shàn, [paradise][] [stone] [fan] the stone doors of paradise

訇然中開; hōng rán zhōng kāi; [crash] [-ly] [in] [open] open with a crash;

青冥浩蕩不見底, qīng míng hàodàng bù jiàn dǐ, [deep blue] [dark] [grand] [vast] [not] [see] [end] the dark blue sky is vast and mighty, one cannot see its end;

日月照耀金銀台。 rì yuè zhàoyào jīnyín tái. [sun] [moon] [shine] [brilliant] [gold] [silver] [platform] the sun and moon shine brilliantly on gold and silver terraces.

霓為衣兮風為馬, ní wèi yī xī fēng wéi mǎ, [rainbow] [as] [clothes] [oh] [wind] [as] [horse] A rainbow for clothes, wind for a horse,

雲之君兮紛紛而來下; yún zhī jūn xī fēnfēn ér lái xià; [cloud] ['s] [lord] [oh] [in succession] [and] [come] [down] the Cloud Immortals come down one after another;

虎鼓瑟兮鸞回車, hǔ gǔ sè xī luán huí chē, [tiger] [strike] [harp] [oh] [phoenix] [return] [chariot] a tiger strikes the harp, a phoenix rides a chariot;

仙之人兮列如麻。 xian zhī rén xī liè rú má. [immortal] ['s] [person] [oh] [line up] [like] [hemp] the immortals line up like hemp.

忽魂悸以魄動, Hū hún jì yǐ pò dòng, [suddenly] [spirit] [palpitate] [as] [soul] [move] Suddenly one's spirit palpitates and one's soul shakes;

怳驚起而長嗟! huǎng jīng qǐ ér zhǎng jiē! [frighten] [startle] [rise] [and] [long] [gasp] startled one wakes and takes a deep breath!

惟覺時之枕席, Wéi jué shí zhī zhěnxí, [only] [awake] [time] ['s] [pillow] [mat] There is only the pillow and mat when I am awake;

失向來之煙霞。 shī xiànglái zhī yānxiá. [lose] [previously][] ['s] [mist] [red cloud] gone are the mist and red clouds from before.

世間行樂亦如此, Shìjiān xínglè yì rúcǐ, [earth][] [go] [pleasure] [likewise] [like] [this] All earthly pleasures are like this;

古來萬事東流水。 gǔlái wànshì dōng liúshuǐ. [ancient] [since] [myriad] [thing] [east] [flow] [water] since ancient times, the myriad things all like water flowing east.

別君去兮何時還? Bié jūn qù xī héshí huán? [leave] [sir] [go] [oh] [what] [time] [return] One leaves you, sirs - when will one return?

且放白鹿青崖間, Qiě fàng bái lù qīng yá jiān, [for now] [put] [white] [deer] [green] [cliff] [among] For now put me among white deer in green valleys;

須行即騎訪名山; xū xíng jí qí fǎng míngshān; [must] [travel] [ride] [visit] [famous] [mountain] one must ride to visit famous mountains;

安能摧眉折腰事權貴, Ān néng cuī méi zhéyāo shì quánguì, [why] [let] [lower] [eyebrow] [bend] [waist] [thing] [authority] [noble] Why should I lower my face and bow for the influential and the rich,

使我不得開心顏? shǐ wǒ bùdé kāixīn yán? [make] [me] [not] [get] [open] [heart] [countenance] and take away my joyous smile?

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