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蘇軾 水調歌頭 translation: Water Song, by Su Shi (明月幾時有)

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 明月幾時有 (Míng Yuè Jǐshí Yǒu) by the Song dynasty poet 蘇軾 (Su Shi). The poem is a 詞 poem, intended to be sung to a melody, in this case the melody 水調歌頭 (Shuǐ Diào Gē Tóu). The poem is often known by “蘇軾 水調歌頭” (Su Shi - Water Melody).

The notes preceding the poem are also translated here.

丙辰中秋, Bǐngchén zhōngqiū, [_bing_] [_chen_] [middle] [autumn] In autumn of the _bingchen_ year,

歡飲達旦, Huan yǐn dádàn, [happy] [drink] [arrive] [dawn] drinking merrily till dawn,

大醉, Dà zuì, [great] [drunk] very drunk,

作此篇, Zuò cǐ piān, [write] [this] [piece] one writes this piece,

兼懷子由。 Jiān huái Zi Yóu. [double] [think of] [_Zi_] [_You_] to remember Zi You.

蘇軾 水調歌頭 Sū Shì Shuǐ Diào Gē Tóu [_Su_] [_Shi_] [water] [melody] [song] [first] Su Shi - Water Melody

明月幾時有, Míng yuè jǐshí yǒu, [bright] [moon] [how much] [time] [have] When did the bright moon first appear?

把酒問青天。 Bǎjiǔ wèn qīngtiān. [hold] [wine] [ask] [blue] [sky] One raises a cup and asks the blue sky.

不知天上宮闕, Bù zhī tiān shàng gōngjué, [not] [know] [Heavens] [on] [palace][] One does not know, in the celestial palaces,

今夕是何年。 Jīnxī shì hé nián. [today] [evening] [is] [what] [year] what year it is this evening.

我欲乘風歸去, Wǒ yù chéng fēng guī qù, [I] [want] [ride] [wind] [return] [go] I wish to ride the wind and return there,

又恐瓊樓玉宇, Yòu kǒng qióng lóu yùyǔ, [again] [fear] [jade] [building] [jade] [room] yet fear the jade towers;

高處不勝寒。 Gāo chù bùshèng hán. [high] [dwell] [not bear] [cold] in a high dwelling one cannot bear the cold.

起舞弄清影, Qǐ wǔ nòng qīng yǐng, [start] [dance] [play with] [clear] [shadow] Starting to dance with one's clear shadow -

何似在人間。 Hé sì zài rén jiān. [what] [resemble] [in] [human world][] what else resembles the mortal world?

轉朱閣, Zhuǎn zhū gé, [revolve] [red] [pavilion] Revolving around the red pavilion,

低綺戶, Dī qǐ hù, [low] [silk-work] [door] lowering to a silk-work door,

照無眠。 Zhào wú mián. [shine] [not have] [sleep] it shines upon the sleepless.

不應有恨, Bù yīng yǒu hèn, [not] [should] [have] [hate] It should not have resentment;

何事長向別時圓? Hé shì cháng xiàng bié shí yuán? [why] [thing] [always] [before] [separate] [time] [full] why is it always full at times of separation?

人有悲歡離合, Rén yǒu bēihuānlíhé, [people] [have] [sorrow] [joy] [parting] [reunion] People have sorrows, joys, parting and reunions,

月有陰晴圓缺, Yuè yǒu yīn qíng yuán quē, [moon] [has] [dark] [clear] [round] [scarce] the moon is dark, bright, waxes or wanes;

此事古難全。 Cǐ shì gǔ nán quán. [this] [issue] [ancient] [difficult] [entire] these problems have have been this way since ancient times.

但願人長久, Dàn yuàn rén chángjiǔ, [yet] [hope] [person] [long] [long time] Yet one hopes for longevity;

千里共嬋娟。 Qiān lǐ gòng chánjuān. [thousand] [miles] [together] [moon] [beauty] a thousand miles apart, together seeing the moon's beauty.

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