This is a translation and annotation of the poem 醉後草書歌詩戲作 (Zuì Hòu Cǎoshū Gēshī Xìzuò), ‘After Getting Drunk, Playfully Writing a Poem in Grass Script’, by the Song Dynasty Chinese poet 陸游 (Lù Yóu).
As always, this is only my beginner’s attempt at an annotation. If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments at the end of the page.
Zuì Hòu Cǎoshū Gēshī Xìzuò [drunk] [after] [grass] [calligraphy] [song] [poem] [play] [write] After Getting Drunk, Playfully Writing a Poem in Grass Script
朱樓矯首隘八荒， Zhū lóu jiǎo shǒu ài bā huāng, [red] [pavilion] [raise] [head] [narrow] [eight] [desolate] On a red pavilion one raises one's head to look far in all directions;
綠酒一舉累百觴， lǜ jiǔ yījǔ lěi bǎi shāng [green] [wine] [one] [raise] [continuous] [hundred] [goblets] dark wine - in one raise one drinks a hundred goblets.
洗我堆阜崢嶸之胸次， xǐ wǒ duī fù zhēng róng zhī xiōng cì [wash] [my] [pile] [mound] [lofty] [high] [breast] [-] Wash my heaving chest;
寫為淋漓放縱之詞章。 xiě wèi línlí fàngzòng zhī cízhāng [write] [as] [unrestrained] [untrammelled] [poem] [chapter] one writes unrestrained verse and untrammelled prose.
墨翻初若鬼神怒， Mò fān chū ruò guǐshén nù [ink] [turn over] [first] [seem] [ghost] [spirit] [angry] As the ink turns over, at first it seems as if the ghosts and spirits are angry;
字瘦忽作蛟螭僵； zì shòu hū zuò Jiāo Chī jiāng [character] [thin] [sudden] [write] [Jiao] [Chi] [firm] the characters are emaciated - suddenly one writes of Jiao and Chi standing firm; (Jiao and Chi are both dragons.)
寶刀出匣揮雪刃， bǎodāo chū xiá huī xuě rèn [jewel] [blade] [exit] [box] [wield] [snow] [blade] a jewelled blade - take it from its box, and wield it, the blade flashing;
大舸破浪馳風檣。 dà gě pòlàng chí fēng qiáng [big] [ship] [break] [wave] [gallop] [wind] [mast] a great ship smashes the waves, wind galloping in its sails.
紙窮擲筆霹靂響， Zhǐ qióng zhì bǐ pīlì xiǎng [paper] [end] [throw] [brush] [thunder] [echo] The paper runs out - one throws down the brush as thunder echoes;
婦女驚走兒童藏。 fùnǚ jīng zǒu értóng cáng [wife] [daughter] [frightened] [leave] [son] [boy] [hide] One's wife and daughters are frightened and flee; one's son hides.
往時草檄喻西域， Wǎngshí cǎo xí yù xīyù [former] [time] [grass] [proclaim] [analogy] [western] [regions] Formerly one wrote in grass script, proclaiming the Western Regions;
颯颯聲動中書堂。 sàsà shēng dòng zhōng shū táng [rustling] [sound] [move] [in] [book] [hall] the sound of paper rustling in the chancellery.
一收朝跡忽十載， Yī shōu cháo jī hū shí zài [one] [collect] [court] [remains] [sudden] [ten] [year] Gathering up the matters of court - suddenly ten years have passed;
西掠三巴窮夜郎。 xī lüè Sānbā qióng Yèláng [west] [plunder] [San] [Ba] [poor] [Ye] [Lang] in the west, Sanba is plundered and Yelang is impoverished.
山川荒絕風俗異， Shānchuān huāng jué fēngsú yì [mountain] [river] [wilderness] [cut off] [wind] [custom] [differ] The mountains, rivers and wilderness are isolated, the customs become different;
賴有美酒猶能狂， lài yǒu měijiǔ yóu néng kuáng [rely on] [have] [fine] [wine] [still] [get] [insane] so long as one has fine wine, one can still get riled up;
醉中自脫頭上幘， zuì zhōng zì tuō tóushàng zé [drunk] [in] [self] [take off] [head] [on] [cap] in drunkenness, one takes off the cap on one's head;
綠髮未許侵微霜。 lǜ fà wèi xǔ qīn wēi shuāng [green] [hair] [not yet] [permit] [invade] [tiny] [frost] one's dark hair - one has not yet let the tiniest white frosting encroach on it.
人生得喪良細事， Rénshēng dé sàng liáng xì shì [human] [life] [get] [loss] [gain] [trifling] [matter] In human life, you win and you lose - these are small matters;
孰謂老大多悲傷！ shú wèi lǎodà duō bēishāng [who] [says] [old] [great] [more] [sorrowful] who says the great and the old are unhappy?
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Sources and further reading
- 寓居定惠院之东杂花满山有海棠一株土人不知贵也 - 百度百科
- An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911 - Stephen Owen
- Drifting Among Rivers and Lakes: Southern Song Dynasty Poetry [Abridged, Audiobook, Box set, Illustrated, Large Print] [Hardcover]“)