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Classical Chinese

李白 早發白帝城 translation: Setting Off Early from Baidi City, by Li Bai (下江陵)

This is a very rough translation and annotation of the poem 早發白帝城 (Zǎo Fā Báidì Chéng), ‘Setting Off Early from Baidi City’, by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet 李白 (Lǐ Bái).

If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments at the end of the page. Note that the goal here is to make the original text more accessible, not to provide a conversion into English.

Original image by Yvon Maurice

早發白帝城 Zǎo Fā Báidì Chéng [early] [set off] [White] [Emperor] [city] Setting Off Early from Baidi City

朝辭白帝彩雲間, Cháo cí Báidì cǎiyún jiān, [morning] [take leave] [White] [Emperor] [colour] [cloud] [between] In the morning one departs from Baidi, amongst rosy clouds;

千里江陵一日還。 qiān lǐ Jiānglíng yī rì huan2. [thousand] [li] [Jiang] [Ling] [one] [day] [return] One thousand li to Jiangling, in one day returning.

兩岸猿聲啼不住, Liǎng'àn yuán shēng tí bù zhù, [two] [shore] [ape] [voice] [call] [not] [stay] On two sides apes call, not stopping;

輕舟已過萬重山。 qīngzhōu yǐguò wàn chóngshān. [light] [boat] [already] [pass] [ten thousand] [layer] [mountain] this little boat has passed ten thousand layered mountains.

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