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Classical Chinese

女曰雞鳴 translation: The Wife Says the Rooster Crows (Classic of Poetry 詩經)

This is a translation / annotation of a section from the Classic of Poetry (詩經): 女曰雞鳴 (Nǚ Yuē Jī Míng) - “The Wife Says the Rooster Crows”.

The title 女曰雞鳴 is a 成语 (chéngyǔ - set phrase metaphor) to this day in Chinese, referring to a household where the wife dominates.

As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please share them in the comments.

Dawn stars (女曰雞鳴)

女曰雞鳴 Nǚ Yuē Jī Míng [wife] [say] [rooster] [crow] The Wife Says the Rooster Crows

女曰雞鳴, Nǚ yuē jī míng, [wife] [say] [rooster] [crow] The wife says, "The rooster crows,"

士曰昧旦。 shì yuē mèi dàn. [bachelor] [say] [dark] [dawn] the husband says, "The dawn is dark."

子興視夜, Zǐ xīng shì yè, [you] [rise] [view] [night] [the wife says] "Get up and look at the night sky - "

明星有爛。 míngxīng yǒu làn. [bright] [star] [have] [worn out] "the bright stars are reaching their end."

將翱將翔, Jiāng áo jiāng xiáng, [going to] [soar] [going] [glide] "They are about to glide and soar - "

弋鳧與鴈。 yì fú yǔ yàn. [shoot] [mallard] [and] [goose] "shoot those ducks and geese!" (This refers to shooting them with arrows with silk lines attached.)

弋言加之, Yì yán jiāzhī, [shoot] [-] [shoot at] [it] "If you strike them and shoot them," (言 is just an auxiliary verb in this and the following lines, perhaps to fill up the line?)

與子宜之。 yǔ zǐ yí zhī. [with] [you] [suitable] [it] "I will prepare them with you." (Here 宜 is used as a verb - "to make suitable".)

宜言飲酒, Yí yán yǐnjiǔ, [suitable] [-] [drink] [wine] "When they are prepared, let's drink wine;"

與子偕老。 yǔ zǐ xiélǎo. [with] [you] [accompany] [old] "I will grow old with you."

琴瑟在御, Qínsè zài yù, [zither] [harp] [at] [use] "Zither and harp in hand,"

莫不靜好。 mòbù jìng hǎo. [none who] [not] [calm] [good] "we shall both be calm and content."

知子之來之, Zhī zǐ zhī láo zhī, [know] [you] [it] [solicitous] [it] "I know you are attentive to me;"

雜佩以贈之。 zá pèi yǐ zèng zhī. [mixed] [girdle ornaments] [to] [bestow] [it] "I bestow belt ornaments on you." (These 'belt ornaments' are things like pearls and jade.)

知子之順之, Zhī zǐ zhī shùn zhī, [know] [you] [it] [obedient] [it] "I know you are obedient to me;"

雜佩以問之。 zá pèi yǐ wèn zhī. [mixed] [girdle ornaments] [to] [present] [it] "I present belt ornaments to you."

知子之好之, Zhī zǐ zhī hào zhī, [know] [you] [it] [love] [it] "I know you love me;"

雜佩以報之。 zá pèi yǐ bào zhī. [mixed] [girdle ornaments] [to] [repay] [it] "I repay you with belt ornaments."

Opinions seem to differ on what those last lines are about. James Legge’s translation suggests the wife is talking about other people that the husband is attentive to etc., and how she will give them girdle ornaments. The modern Chinese translation on Baidu Baike, though, says the wife is talking about the husband’s feelings for her. I also saw this translation, but it seems to be very loose and differs from the original frequently.

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