About this blog...
In July 2016 a friend introduced me to Andrew Wong's (黃宏發 ) blog "Classical Chinese Poems in English" (http://chinesepoemsinenglish.blogspot.sg/). It was in connection with some discussion he had with some friends concerning the poem by Yue Fei 岳飛: 滿江紅. Since then I have been visiting this blog and often couldn't resist having a go myself in translating a poem or two. The creation of this simple blog is for me to deposit my translations, done very much as a pastime. I hope you enjoy Andrew's painstaking work and my less serious translations.
PS - The only English translation I refer to is Andrew Wong's, unless otherwise stated. So any resemblance to other translations is purely coincidental. My translations try to keep the full meaning of all the words/phrases/clauses and imagery of the original, although the reader might not find exactly corresponding translations for each.
PS2 - I am also adding my translations of interesting poems other than those found in Andrew Wong's blog.

Oct 14, 2022

水浒传: 浔阳楼题反诗

1 心在山东身在吴,
2 飘蓬江海谩嗟吁。
3 他时若遂凌云志,
4 敢笑黄巢不丈夫!

Water Margin:  Writing a Poem of Rebellion at Xúnyáng Tavern

1 My heart's in Shandong though I'm in Wu,
2 Wandering hither thither uncomplaining;
3 One day when I've realised the heroic quest,
4 Dare you mock Huangchao that he's a weakling!

The poem is found in the novel Water Margin (or Outlaws of the Marsh) 水浒传, one of the four famous classical novels in China, written by Shi Nai'an 施耐庵 (1296-1371)​ of the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties. In the novel, Sòngjiāng 宋江, in a fit of uncontrollable emotion, wrote the poem on the wall of a tavern  in Xúnyáng 浔阳 after getting drunk.
Line 1: 
Songjiang was a native of Shandong 山东 but was banished to Wu 吴 for manslaughter (please watch CCTV's production of the novel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnshzmF6sY4&list=PLIj4BzSwQ-_sEAJsZnbcxV7sBc51XE8Z5 ).
Line 2: 
江海 means 四方各地 ie everywhere.
谩 has several meanings. Here it means 莫, ie do not.
嗟吁 means sigh, ie express dissatisfaction.
Hence 谩嗟吁 is translated as ‘uncomplaining’.
Line 3:
凌云志 a lofty ambition.
Line 4:
黄巢 was a famous peasant rebel during the Tang Dynasty who even managed to occupy the capital for a short while.
丈夫 here means 大丈夫, someone who is brave, honourable. I have therefore translated 不丈夫 as 'weakling'.

Shuǐhǔ Zhuàn: xún yáng lóu tí fǎn shī
1 Xīn zài shāndōng shēn zài wú, 
2 piāo péng jiānghǎi mán jiē xū (màn jiē yù);
3 Tā shí ruò suì língyún zhì, 
4 gǎn xiào huángcháo bù zhàngfū!



Songjiang writing the poem (extracted from CCTV's 1998 production of the novel):

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