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Classical Chinese

李白 古風 桃花開東園 translation: Antiquity: Peach Blossom Blooming in the East Garden, by Li Bai

This is a rough translation and annotation of the poem 古風 桃花開東園 (Gǔfēng: Táohuā Kāi Dōng Yuán), ‘Peach Blossom Blooming in the East Garden’, by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet 李白 (Lǐ Bái).

桃花開東園 Táo Huā Kāi Dōng Yuán [peach] [flower] [open] [east] [garden] Peach Blossom Blooming in the East Garden

桃花開東園 táo huā kāi dōng yuán [peach] [flower] [open] [east] [garden] Peach blossom blooming in the East Garden;

含笑誇白日。 hán xiào kuā bái rì [wear] [smile] [show off] [white] [sun] With a smile, showing off in the bright sun.

偶蒙東風榮 ǒu méng dōng fēng róng [by chance] [receive] [east] [wind] [to flower] By chance flowering in the eastern wind;

生此豔陽質。 shēng cǐ yàn yáng zhì [produce] [this] [radiant] [sunny] [thing] Giving rise to a radiant sunny quality.

豈無佳人色 qǐ wú jiā rén sè [how] [not have] [excellent] [person] [beauty] Could it not be as pretty as a beautiful woman?

但恐花不實。 dàn kǒng huā bù shí [but] [fear] [flower] [not] [bear fruit] But one fears this flower will not bear fruit.

宛轉龍火飛 wǎn zhuǎn lóng huǒ fēi [turn] [shift] [dragon] [fire] [fly] As the Dragons are turning and Antares flies, (龍火 refers to several constellations, in which 火 refers to Antares, a star most visible during the transition from Spring to Summer.)

零落早相失。 líng luò zǎo xiāng shī [pieces] [fall] [early] [mutual] [lose] it falls to pieces and disappears.

詎知南山松 jù zhī nán shān sōng [how] [know] [south] [mountain] [pine tree] How one knows of the south mountain pine,

獨立自蕭飋。 dú lì zì xiāo sè [alone] [stand] [nature] [whistling in leaves][] standing alone, the wind whistling in its leaves. (自 should probably be translated as “according to its nature”, but it’s too unwieldy in English.)

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