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Classical Chinese

楊萬里 觀社 translation: Observing a Village Festival, by Yang Wanli

This is a translation and annotation of the poem 觀社 (Guān Shè), ‘Observing a Village Festival’, by the Southern Song Dynasty Chinese poet 楊萬里 (Yáng Wànlǐ).

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.

觀社 Guān Shè [look at] [festival] Observing a Village Festival

作社朝祠有足觀, Zuò shè cháo cí yǒu zú guān, [do] [festival] [court] [temple] [have] [enough] [look at] Making a festival, one pays a visit to the shrine - there's enough for one to look at;

山農祈福更迎年。 shān nóng qífú gèng yíng nián. [mountain] [farmer] [pray] [blessing] [more] [welcome] [year] mountain farmers pray for fortune, then welcome the harvest in.

忽然簫鼓來何處, Hūrán xiāo gǔ lái hé chù, [sudden] [-ly] [panpipes] [drum] [come] [what] [place] Suddenly - panpipes and drums - where are they coming from?

走煞兒童最可憐。 zǒu shā értóng zuì kělián. [run] [goblin] [boy] [child] [most] [can] [pity] The running goblins and children are the most adorable.

虎面豹頭時自顧, Hǔ miàn bào tóu shí zì gù, [tiger] [face] [panther] [head] [time to time] [self] [consider] Tiger faces and panther heads - from time to time they look at each other;

野謳市舞各爭妍。 yě ōu shì wǔ gè zhēng yán. [rural] [folk song] [market] [dance] [all] [strive for] [beauty] country folk songs and market dances - all compete for beauty.

王侯將相饒尊貴, Wánghóu jiàng xiāng ráo zūnguì, [monarch] [marquis] [general] [minister] [abundant] [honourable] [titled] Princes, lords, generals and ministers: abundant in status and title,

不博渠儂一餉癲。 bù bō qúnóng yī xiǎng diān. [not] [obtain] [their][] [one] [provisions] [crazy] yet they cannot have the fun these people do with their provisions.

If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments below.

Sources and further reading