04 August 2016

杜牧 Du Mu: 秋夕 (七夕) Autumn Evening (The 7th Day of the 7th Moon)

Next Tuesday, 9 August 2016  is this year's 7th day of the 7th moon/month on the  lunar calendar which is a traditional Chinese festival for  lovers separated and for love seekers.  Please see my note on  the "Title and line 4".

Here, I am posting this little poem by the famed  Tang dynasty poet Du Mu (not to be confused with Du Fu)  to meet the occasion.  I do hope you will enjoy it:-

Du Mu (803-852): Autumn Evening (The 7th Day of the 7th Moon)

1    Autumn: cold is the ink-brushed panel in the pale candlelight;
2    And girls in silk, little fans in hand, frolic with fireflies in flight.
3    Nightfall: these royal palace grounds, chilled like in water be;  
4    O here I lie to eye the Stars----named Herder and Weaver unite.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者: 黃宏發
3 July 2008 (revised 7.7.08; 17.7.08; 27.7.16; 28.7.16; 29.7.16)
Translated from the original -杜牧: 秋夕 (七夕)

1    銀燭秋光冷畫屏
2    輕羅小扇撲流螢
3    天階()夜色凉如水
4    ()看牽牛織女星

Notes:-

*Form, Meter and Rhyme:  This English rendition is in heptameter (7 beats or feet) to emulate the 7-character lines of the original.  The rhyme scheme is AAXA as in the original.
  
*Title and line 4:  I have added 七夕 “evening of the 7th day of the 7th moon/month” to the title to make it crystal clear that the poet refers to a particular, and not just any, autumn evening as revealed by his making reference to the Stars of the Herder and the Weaver in line 4.  Chinese legend has it that the 2 stars or fairies have been separated, in punishment, by the Heavenly Jade Emperor 玉皇大帝 and allowed to meet once a year on the night of the 7th day of the 7th moon/month when they, though still separated by the Milky Way, are closest to each other.  This has become the festival of “the lover separated” and “the lover yet to come”.

*Lines 1 and 3:  I suggest the words “light” and “colour” in 秋光 (line 1) and 夜色 (line 3) do not mean what they literally say, but refer to “setting”, “scene”, “scenery”, “sights and sounds”, and even “quality” as in 湖光山色, 光景, 觀光, 景色, even 成色, hence, my rendering 秋光 in line 1 simply as “Autumn” and 夜色 in line 3 as “Nightfall”.

*Line 1:  I have not taken 銀燭 to literally mean “candle made of silver” or “candlestick/holder made of silver” but have interpreted to refer to a “silvery/white/pale/pallid” colour and  to refer to 燭光 “candlelight”, hence, my original “in the silvery candlelight” to end the line.  I have now decided for “in the pale candlelight” which takes away any suggestion of a precious metal. I had originally used the literal “painted” to translate but have found it too suggestive of glamour which is incompatible with the idea of “coldness”.  I then used “ink-washed” (the Chinese ink and wash painting style with a brush) and have now decided for “ink-brushed”.  I have rendered “screen/partition” as “panel”.
   
*Line 2:  I have interpreted 輕羅 “light silk” and 小扇 ”little fan” not as a single expression to mean “a little fan made of thin silk” but as 2 expressions to mean “girls (clad) in silk” 輊羅 (with the idea “girls” which is implied, added) and “little fans in hand” 小扇 (with “in hand” which is also implied, added).  To translate I have used “in flight” which rhymes perfectly with “candlelight” (line 1) and “unite” (line 4).

*Line 3:  I have embraced the 天階  version in which “heaven” means “the royal capital or royal palace” and means “courtyard/grounds” (and not “streets”) and have translated it as “royal palace grounds”.  In short, I have taken the poem to be a plaint from a lady who is no longer in the Emperor’s favour.

*Line 4:  I have used the 卧看 version and have decided for the first person “Here I lie” rather than the third person “There she lies” to make the rendition more personal.  I have used the Chinese names of the 2 stars 牽牛 (or 牛郎) and 織女 which I have literally translated as “Herder and Weaver” instead of their proper names in astronomy “Bootes and Vega” since the poem refers to a Chinese festival and is very Chinese (please see my note above on the “Title and line 4”).  Though very much tempted, I have also dropped the idea of using “Romeo and Juliet” for the same reason.  To complete the rhyme, I have added the word “unite” which is not in the original, but without which, the mood is lost.

  

11 July 2016

王梵志 Wang Fanzhi: 無題/城外土饅頭 Untitled/Earthy steamed buns, out in the country

Today I am posting a sixth poem by Wang Fanzhi.  The verse is in vernacular and is far from elegant.  But the message is shockingly clear.  

Wang Fanzhi (592? - 670?): Untitled/Earthy steamed buns, out in the country

1    Earthy steamed buns, out in the country,
2    Their fillings alive, and dwell in town;
3    We each in turn will have to take one,
4    Its taste may let you down. Don’t frown!

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者: 黃宏發
25th April 2015 (revised 29.4.15; 30.4.15; 1.5.15)
Translated from the original - 王梵志: 無題 /城外土饅頭

1    城外土饅頭
2    餡草在城裡
3    一人吃一個
4    莫嫌沒滋味

Notes:-

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  This English is a tetrameter (4 beats or feet) while the original is in 5-character lines.  The rhyme scheme is XAXA as in the original.  An alternative ballad rendition (i.e. lines 2 and 4 shortened to trimeter) is given at the end of the notes.

*Line 1:  “earthy” 饅頭 “steamed buns” is a term coined by the poet to refer to graves or grave mounds which are made of earth in the shape of steamed buns.  I had considered “earthen” which also means “made of earth” but may carry the sense that it is hardened as in earthenware.  I have, therefore, decided for “earthy”.

*Line 2:  The word  means “grass”, hence, “vegetables” which, however, can refer to all items of food, e.g. 點菜 “order dishes” and 買菜 “go to the wet market”.  餡草 should, therefore, be understood as 餡料 “materials used to stuff/fill the buns” and translated simply as “fillings”.  I have added “alive, and dwell” to make clear that the “fillings” refer to people.

*Line 3:  “eat” is translated as “take” which covers both “take/eat a bun” and “take a grave/seat”.  I have added “in turn will have” to make clear the implied sense of the inevitability of death when one’s turn comes.

*Line 4:  Instead of the literal “no taste”, 沒滋味 is taken to mean 沒好味 or 味道不好 “not tasty” and is translated as “taste may let you down”.  莫嫌 is translated as “don’t frown” for the rhyme.
   
*Alternative Rendition in Ballad Form:-
1    Earthy steamed buns, out in the country,
2    Their fillings still live in town;
3    We each in turn will have to take one,
4    Its taste, a letdown! Don’t frown!



09 June 2016

王建 Wang Jian: 新嫁娘 (1- 三日入厨下) The New Bride (1- Third day as bride, I'm down in the kitchen)

Today, I am posting my rendition of a sweet little poem by Wang Jian on the theme of life as a new bride.  Although it can be interpreted as the new bride having to do all the cooking after a 3-day grace period (honeymoon?),  I consider it preferable to see it as a new bride finding her place in a rich (or at least well-to-do) household.  (Please see my note to line 2.)  I do hope you will enjoy it.    

Now, I am reminded of an even sweeter quatrain on the same theme, under a rather bland title of "近試上張水部 Submitted ... as the Imperial Examinations Approach"  by 朱慶餘 Zhu Qingyu which I posted here in March 2012.  The scene: a new bride getting ready to greet her new parents the morning after the wedding, she whispers to her groom: "Are my brows ... painted just right?"  I do hope you will enjoy this one too.  Now, back to this 3-day old new bride:-

Wang Jian (766?-830?): The New Bride (1- Third day as bride, I'm down in the kitchen)

1    Third day as bride, I’m down in the kitchen,
2    (Hands laved, a good soup to make, as said.)
      Hands laved, to make a good soup as said.
      (revised 10.6.16)
3    Unsure yet of the taste of my in-law mother,
4    I’ll let her young daughter first try it instead.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)      譯者: 黃宏發
3rd January 2016 (revised 17.5.16)
Translated from the original – 王建: 新嫁娘 (1-  三日入厨下)

1    三日入厨下
2    洗手作羹湯
3    未諳姑食性
4    先遣小姑  

Notes:-

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  This English rendition is written in the first person while the original is capable of being read as in either the first or third person, and is set in the present rather than the past tense.  The rendition is in tetrameter (4 feet or beats) while the original is in 5-character lines.  The rhyme scheme is XAXA as in the original.

*Line 1:  I have added the word “bride” which is clearly stated in the title and unmistakably implied in the original verse. For 入厨下 “enter, kitchen, down”, I had considered “I go to/enter the kitchen” and “I’m in the kitchen”, but have decided for “I’m down in the kitchen” which covers both “down” and “enter, in”.

*Line 2: For in 洗手 I had considered “washed” and “cleansed”, but have decided for “laved” for assonance with “make”.  For 羹湯  I have picked “soup” which word, in English, is generic (covering both the thicker and the thinner ), and have added “good” (not in the original) to make the soup special.  I have also added “as said” to make it possible for line 2 to end rhyme with “instead” in line 4.  The addition of “as said” also helps explain why the new bride has to make a soup (and a good one for that), why on or from the third day, and why only a soup and not a whole meal.  This must be a well-to-do household with servants and maids and chefs.  The soup cannot have been part of the regular meal but served as a snack between meals, and the new bride must have either offered to do it to please the mother-in-law or been asked by the mother-in-law to do it, and “… a good soup to make, as said” is ambiguous enough to cover both possibilities.
 
*Line 3:  For 未諳 I had originally penned “Not knowing” but have now decided for “Unsure yet”.   does not mean “know”, but “know well”, “familiar with”, “well versed”, etc.,  未諳, therefore, means “not yet familiar with”, hence, “yet to know more”, “Unsure yet” is, in my view, the best approximation.  “Unsure yet” should be scanned as an amphibrach and read DaDumDa.  For “mother-in-law”, I had considered “husband’s mother” as an alternative but rejected it as it tends to confuse the message of the line which is simply that the mother-in-law’s taste is new to the bride.  I have now decided for “in-law mother” so as to end line 3 with an unstressed syllable in contrast to the stressed syllables in lines 2 and 4.
 

*Line 4:   Similar to my thoughts on line 3, rendering 小姑 ”husband’s younger sister” as such or even simply as “young sister-in-law” confuses the message of the line which is that the mother-in-law’s taste is best known to her young daughter, hence, my “her young daughter” where “young” should be read unstressed or slightly stressed.  The word “instead” at the end of the poem (not present in the original) is implicit in both the original and the translated “first”, in the sense of “… first, to find out if it is to the taste of her mother-in-law” hence, “… first, instead of serving her mother-in-law right away”, and not in the sense of a sequence of first serving the young sister-in-law, followed by the mother-in-law.   “send” is understood and not translated, but is covered by “let”.  I had originally penned “have”, but have decided for “let which, here, should be read stressed.   As for “taste”, I have picked “try” so as not to repeat the word “taste” which has been used as a noun to translate 食性 in line 3.


04 May 2016

王梵志 Wang Fanzhi: 無題/梵志翻著襪 Untitled/My socks, Fanzhi's, worn inside out

Today I am posting another "not so elegant" poem by the early Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Wang Fanzhi.  No title is given to the poem, and I have used the first line, put in brackets, as its title, similar to his other poem which I posted here in May 2015 putting in brackets the first line Other men ride high on horses.  The moral of that poem is "Be content!" while this poem, "Be oneself!  Never mind the worldly ways!"  I do hope you will enjoy it.

Wang Fanzhi (592? – 670?): Untitled/My socks, Fanzhi’s, worn inside out

1    My socks, Fanzhi’s, worn inside out;
2    Everybody says it’s wrong.
3    I’d rather have them prick your eyes,
4    Than let them hurt my feet daylong.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者: 黃宏發
22nd April 2015 (29.4.15; 7.5.15; 21.5.15)
Translated from the original - 王梵志: 無題 /梵志翻著襪

1    梵志翻著襪
2    人皆道是錯
3    乍可剌你眼
4    不可隱我脚

Notes:-

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  This English is a tetrameter (4 beats or feet) while the original is in 5-character lines.  The rhyme scheme is XAXA as in the original.  (line 2) and (line 4), which do not rhyme in current Chinese pronunciation, did rhyme in the Tang dynasty as belonging to 入聲 Entering Tone 藥韻 “Yao (Cantonese Yeuk)” Rhyme. (My speculation: and were pronounced “tsok” and “gok” respectively.)   In addition to this tetrametric rendition, I have also done an alternative ballad rendition which is given at the end of these notes.

*Line 1:  翻著, the colloquial for 反穿, is literally “wear (something) inside out”.  “socks”, in the Tang dynasty, were everyday boot-like light shoes without a hard sole worn informally.  In order to make clear that these were shoes and not socks, I had originally wanted to translate it as “light shoes”, “soft shoes”, “cloth shoes”, “slip-on shoes”, “slip-ons”, “slippers” and even coined ones such as “sock-shoes” and “shoe-socks”.  But have found them inappropriate and have decided to stick to “socks”.  This literal translation of as “sock” closely approximates English usage in the past.  The Shorter Oxford defines “Sock” as “1.  A covering for the foot, of the nature of a light shoe….. Now rare or obsolete” and “3.  A light shoe worn by comic actors on the ancient … stage”.  I had originally penned the line as “Fanzhi’s socks, worn inside out”, then considered “I wear my socks, the inside out”, “Fanzhi’s, my socks, worn inside out” and “Me Fanzhi’s socks, worn inside out” and have finally decided for “My socks, Fanzhi’s, worn inside out” which best captures the meaning of the line, viz. “I (Wang Fanzhi) wear my socks inside out”.

*Line 2:  I had originally penned “I’m wrong”, but have now decided for “it’s wrong”.  I think this makes it a lesser offence.

*Lines 3 and 4:  乍可 in line 3 means寧可 “would rather” and is translated, together with 不可 “not/no” in line 4, as “I’d (would) rather … /Than …..”.
 
*Line 3:  To translate “prick/dazzle  你眼 “your eyes”, I had considered “poke you in the eyes” (Jake Holman, web search “Jake Holman’s Selection of Favourite Chinese Poems Page 5”, 3rd poem), “an eyesore” (Eugene Eoyang, poem #6 on p. 84 in Wu-chi Liu & Irving Yucheng Lo, “Sunflower Splendor”, Bloomington: Indiana Univ. 1985, Midland ed. 1990), “offend your eyes” (a perfect equivalent, but colourless), “poke at your eyes” (a variation of Holman’s above) and, simply, “hurt your eyes”, and have now decided for “prick your eyes” (metaphorically, not physically). 

*Line 4:  Contrary to Eugene Eoyang’s “Than hide my feet under a bushel” (op. cit.) and Jake Holman’s “Than cover up my feet” (op. cit.), the word should not be taken to mean “hide/cover up”, but “cause pain/suffering”, e.g. 民隱 “people’s pain/suffering. The “pain” here, or just “discomfort”, is caused by the rough and hemmed in side of the cloth material of such socks being worn properly in, so as to show off on the outside the smooth side of the material.  I have, therefore translated it as “hurt”.   To end the line, I have added “daylong (the whole day long)” to rhyme with line 2 (“wrong”).  The addition is reasonable as such socks were worn as informal daytime shoes.
    
*Alternative Rendition in Ballad Form:
1    My socks, Fanzhi’s, worn inside out,
2    Ev’ryone says it’s wrong.
3    I’d rather have them prick your eyes,
4    Than hurt my feet daylong.


04 April 2016

于謙 Yu Qian: 石灰吟 The Limestone Rhyme

Today, I am posting my rendition of a quatrain by the 15th century Ming 明 dynasty poet Yu Qian 于謙 entitled "The Limestone Rhyme" 石灰吟.  The poem is simple enough.  It uses the analogy of limestone turned lime to whiten the world (even at the expense of one's own life) to air one's noble aspirations to serve his country  

The last 2 lines of the poem have recently been used by the University of Hong Kong's "Students' Strike Organising Committee" to entitle their 29 January 2016 statement in Chinese made in response, inter alias, to the University's governing Council's refusal to accede to their demands at the Council meeting on the 26th and to the Council Chairman Prof. Arthur Li's accusations made at a press conference on the 28th. http://www.inmediahk.net/node/1040315 

Their version of the 2 lines 粉身碎骨渾不怕 但留清白在人間 differs slightly from my 粉骨碎身渾不怕 要留清白在人間, but the message is the same: "My bones be crushed, body severed, /shall brave it all, and more, //To leave behind an impeccable white /to remain with humankind."  My young friends, I salute you. 

I am not here to discuss the rights and wrongs in this controversy.  But there is a saying which goes: "The road to hell is often paved with the best of intentions."
I am inclined to ask: given the best of intentions, have you, young students, ever considered that your demands and actions may not be right?  Similarly, but much more importantly (as power and duty commensurate), I am asking: given the best of intentions, have you, Chairman and Members of the governing Council, ever considered that your views and decisions/actions could be wrong?  My older friends, is it really so hard to admit that, as no man is infallible, one could be wrong?

I pray we will all take the right actions to whiten and brighten our tomorrow. Here goes my rendition of the poem:- 

Yu Qian (1398-1457): The Limestone Rhyme

1    Pounded, chiselled myriad times, deep in the hills I was mined;
2    Be burned and blazed in raging fire is but nothing, to my mind.
3    My bones be crushed, body severed, shall brave it all, and more,
4    To leave behind an impeccable white to remain with humankind.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)    譯者: 黃宏發
12 February 2016 (revised 14.2.16; 15.2.16; 16.2.16; 17.2.16; 18.2.16; 19.2.16; 18.3.16; 21.3.16)
Translated from the original - 于謙: 石灰吟

1    千錘萬鑿出深山
2    烈火焚燒若等閒
3    粉骨碎身渾不怕
4    要留清白在人間

Notes:-

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  The original is a 7-character quatrain with a rhyme scheme of AAXA.  This English rendition is in heptameter (7 feet or beats) with the same rhyme scheme.  The end rhyme of “mined” and “mind” in lines 1 and 2 respectively is less than perfect as the sound is identical.  I have dropped all the “I’s” and “my’s” in this rendition, making it possible to read the poem as in the first person (referring to oneself as “lime”), or in the third person (describing/praising him/her as such), or even in the second person (presenting the lines to the “you” for being such) .

*Line 1:  “hammer, hammered” is rendered as “Pounded”.  For “chisel”, I have considered “dug”, “drilled” and “wedged”, and have decided for “chiselled”.  I have translated their respective adjectives “thousand” and “ten thousand” in combination as “myriad times” as both words refer not to numbers but simply mean “numerous”.  “come out, produced” is rendered as “mined” (“quarried”) for the rhyme .

*Line 2:  烈火 is translated literally as “raging fire”, and 焚燒 also literally as “burned and blazed”.  I had considered using “baked” for “blazed”, but have decided against it because of its food connotations.  It must be pointed out that what is blazing is not the limestone, but the furnace fuel.  (Lime is made by heating limestone or sea shells in a kiln to a temperature of over 1,000 degrees Celsius.)  For 若等閒 “I see/regard as unimportant/no big deal”, I had considered “is a trifle, to my mind”, “is a matter I care not mind”, “is a trifle I hardly mind” and “is a trifle I just don’t mind”, but have decided for “is but nothing, to my mind”.

*Line 3:  “crushed/ground into powder” “bones” is rendered as “My bones be crushed”, and “cut up” “body”, as “body severed”.  There exist versions of this poem which feature these 4 words as 粉身碎骨 (with “body” preceding “bones”) which is the more common formulation of this proverbial saying.  However, I venture to suggest that the more popular version of the proverb is a corruption of the original 粉骨碎身 (with “bones” preceding “body”) which had been in use as early as the Tang dynasty.  For (which means) “all” 不怕 “not afraid of”, I had originally penned “I fear not, O not at all” but, in order to bring out the very active and positive meaning hidden behind the expression渾不怕 and the word “want to” in the following line, I have decided for “shall brave it all, and more”.

*Line 4:  For 要留在人間, I had considered “To leave (or give or bring) to the world … for the sake of humankind” and “To paint (or wash) the world … for the good of all mankind”, but have decided for the more literal “To leave behind … to remain with humankind”.  For 清白 “clean (or pure), white”, I had originally considered translating it literally as “to leave … the clean, the white” or “to paint … all clean and white” as this poem was written by Yu Qian when he was purportedly just a teenager long before he was accused of disloyalty and executed by the Emperor Ying Zhong 英宗 whom he helped re-instated and, hence, any suggestion of “innocence” could be out of place.  However, the idea of “innocence” is ever present even in words such as “clean”, “pure” (even “white”).  I, therefore, moved on to consider “stainless”, “taintless”, “immaculate”, “unblemished” as alternatives to “clean” and “pure”, and have decided for “impeccable”.  The whole line 要留清白在人間 is now rendered as “To leave behind an impeccable white to remain with humankind”. 


07 March 2016

杜甫 Du Fu: 絕句 4首 其2 (1- 兩個黄鸝...) Quatrain 2 of 4 (1- A twosome of golden orioles...)

Further to my January 2016 post on Wang Wei's "Pastoral Bliss, VI of Seven", I am posting for your pleasure another perfect example of parallelism in classical Chinese poetry.  This is a 7-character quatrain by Du Fu whose skills in parallel matching is manifest in the poem.  I hope you will enjoy my rendition of it as much as the original.

Du Fu (712-770): Quatrain 2 of 4 (1- A twosome of golden orioles...]

1    (A twosome of golden orioles, in the verdant willows sing;)
      A twosome of golden orioles, from the verdant willows sing;
      (revised 22.3.16)
2    One flock of silvery egrets, up high to the blue sky soar.
3    West Range’s ancient snow caps, captured within my window;
4    East bound, the long-haul sail-boat, berthed outside my door.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者: 黃宏發
4th January 2016 (revised 22.1.16)
Translated from the original – 杜甫: 絕句 4 其2 (1- 兩個黃鸝...)

1    兩個黄鸝鳴翠柳
2    一行白鷺上青天
3    窗含西嶺千秋雪
4    門泊東吳萬里船  

Notes:-

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  The original is a rare quatrain which features perfect parallelism, i.e. words and phrases in the odd number line are matched by words and phrases in the even number line which follows. The original is in 7-character lines with a rhyme scheme of XAXA.  In this hexameter (6 feet or beats) English rendition with the same rhyme scheme, I have attempted, with success, I hope, to reproduce Du Fu’s perfectly matching parallels.

*Line 1: To translate 兩個 I had considered “A pair of”, “A couple of” and just "Two" or "Twosome", but have decided for “A twosome of”.  For “yellow” in 黃鸝 “orioles”, I have used “golden”.  [Added 22.3.16:  I had originally penned "in the verdant willows sing" but have now decided for "from the verdant ..."]

*Line 2:  For “one” in , I had considered “A …” but have decided for “One …” which better matches “A twosome” in line 1.  I have rendered “line, row, file” as “flock” as I am not sure if egrets at all fly in lines.  For “white” in 白鷺 “egrets”, I have used “silvery” to better match “golden” in line 1.

*Line 3: For 千秋 “thousand autumns (years), I had originally penned “ageless/timeless”, but have now decided for “ancient”.  “snow” is rendered as “snow caps” to make clear this is snow on the mountain tops of  the "West Range" 西嶺窗含 is rendered as “captured within my window” (rather than the beautiful formulation of “framed within my window”) so as to capture the consecutive repetition of the “cap” sound.


*Line 4:  萬里 “ten thousand li’s (miles)” “ship(s)” is rendered as “the long-haul sail-boat”.  I had originally penned "the long-haul sail-boats" but have now rejected it for being too crowded and noisy.   “East” “a place called Wu” is rendered as “East bound” with “Wu” omitted.   “door” “berth” is rendered as “berthed outside my door” (rather than “moored outside my door”) so as to capture the alliteration of the “b” sound.
   

01 February 2016

盧綸 Lu Lun: 塞下曲 6首 其4 (1- 野幕敝瓊筵) Border Song, 4 of 6 (1- A sumptuous banquet...)辜

This is number 4 of Lu Lun's "Border Song", numbers 1, 2 and 3 having been posted here in August 2014, January 2015 and March 2015 respectively.  You may wish to also go back to these.  I do hope you will enjoy them.  Here goes number 4:-   

Lu Lun (748-800?): Border Song, 4 of 6 (1- A sumptuous banquet is spread...)

1    A sumptuous banquet is spread, in the wild, the open air:
2    Our tribal allies have come, our hard-won victory to share.
3    (We dance in our battle armour, we drink, O let’s be drunk, with)
      We dance in battle armour, we drink, O let's be drunk, with
      (revised 7.2.16)
4    (Hills and rivulets swaying to the drum-beats’ thundering blare.)
      (Hills and rivulets swaying, to the drums' thundering blare.)
      (revised 7.2.16)
      Hills and rivers a-swaying to drum-beats' thundering blare.
      (revised 18.2.16)
Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)   譯者: 黃宏發
11th June 2015 (revised 12.6.15; 13.6.15; 7..2.16)
Translated from the original - 盧綸: 塞下曲 6首 其4 (1- 野幕敝瓊筵)

1    野幕敝瓊筵
2    羌戎賀勞旋
3    醉和金甲舞
4    雷鼓動山川  

Notes:-

*Form, Metre and Rhyme:  This English rendition is in hexameter (6 beats or feet) while the original is in 5-character lines.  The rhyme scheme is AAXA as in the original.

*Line 2:    ”Qiang”  and “Rong” are the ancient names of 2 ethnic groups friendly to the “Han” majority and are, here, translated as “Our tribal allies”.   “labour”   “victory” are translated as “hard-won victory”.    “congratulate” is translated as “have come … to share” to rhyme with “air” in line 1 and “blare” in line 4.  I had considered “our victory, our joys to share” but have decided for “our hard-won victory to share”.

*Line 3:  甲  is translated literally as “armour”.   As means both “gold” and “metal”. I had considered translating金甲 as “golden armour” or “metal armour”, but have now decided for “battle armour”.  For ”dance”, I had considered words such as “rollick” or “frolic” which are more appropriate for the occasion, but have decided for the literal “dance”.

*Line 4:  I have rendered 雷鼓動 as “swaying to the drum-beats’ thundering blare” [added 7.2.16: now revised to "to the drums' thundering blare"] [added 18.2.16: now further revised to "a-swaying to drum-beats' thundering blare" and "rivulets" amended to read "rivers".].