望 月 懷 遠                                                 張 九 齡   ( 678-740 )

海 上 生 明 月 ,        
天 涯  共 此 時。        
情 人 怨 遙 夜,        
竟 夕 起 相 思 。        
滅 蠋 憐 光 滿,        
披 衣 覺 露 滋 。        
不 堪 盈 手 贈 ,        
還 寢 夢 隹 期 。

Thoughts afar in moonlight                    Zhang Jiu Ling        

A bright moon rising over the sea,
Shores apart, watching the same
Is someone dear to me.
I loath this endless night;
And could not sleep but think of thee.
In this full moon light,        
Who cares for candlelight?
Stepping out I don my gown,
And feel dew on the ground.
I wish to offer you moonlight in a handful,
But, to my real shame, ‘tis impossible.
Retiring to my bed, it seems,
I might find happier days in dreams.

Zhang Jiu Ling, 張 九 齡 Tang poet (678-740). Became advanced Imperial Scholar 進 士 and

appointed as Emperor’s counselor 右 拾 遺. In the reign of Xuan Zhong 玄 宗, and in year Kai Yuan 開

元 年 間, promoted to Chief Secretary and then Prime Minister. He criticized An Lu Shan 安 祿 山 as

viciously ambitious but was disregarded by Xuan Zhong.  When Xuan Zhong asked for his opinion in

appointing  Li Lin Po 李 林 甫 as Chief Minister, his answer was : a disaster to the Court and society

禍 延 宗 社. Xuan Zhong 玄 宗 was displeased.  Zhang was relieved in 736 and he died four years

after. His sagacity was proved twenty years later in the An-Shi Rebellion 安 史 之 亂 (755-763).

A far off place. See: 韓 愈 , 祭 十 二 郎 文 :一 在 天 之 涯 , 一 在 地 之 角,

The author did not mention what but it must be the moonlight in his hands.

怨  情                                            李  白

美 人 捲 珠 簾 ,
深 坐 顰 蛾 眉 。
但 見 淚 痕 濕 ,
不 知 心 恨 誰 。

Resentment                                 Li Bai

By a window is a lady fair,
Blinds rolled up with care.
Eyebrows knitted she sat,
Sinking in her seat, upset.
Traces of tears on her cheeks can be seen,
There is no idea whom she has grudge in.

江南曲                                                                    李益  (748-827)


A Song South of Chang Jiang                             Li Yi

I married my husband from Qu-tang engaged in trade,
Who always managed to miss his returning date.
Had I known more dependable is the tide,
I would have married a lad by the seaside.

The title was the name of a tune of the Imperial Music Academy 樂府曲名  at the time.

Author: Li Yi, poet of Tang Dynasty (748-827), qualified as an advanced imperial scholar進士 at 21.

Disillusioned by the imperial court duties, he self-exiled to the western frontiers and spent 26 years

with the armies there. He was later recalled to the court by Xian Zong憲宗.

Ji-tang瞿塘: Ji-tang Gorge瞿塘峽, one of the three famous gorges of Chang Jiang長江三峽, in present

day Sizhuan Province四川省.

贈  別                                                      杜 牧  

多 情 卻 似 總 無 情 ,         
唯 覺 樽 前 笑 不 成 。
蠟 燭 有 心 還 惜 別 ,         
替 人 垂 淚 到 天 明 。

Farewell                                                 Du Mu

Full of passion but words fail me,
Wine cup in hand but I find no glee.
The candle has a heart for this parting night,
Dropping tears for me till day is bright.

節 婦 吟                                                            張  籍  (768-830?)

君 知 妾 有 夫 ,
贈 妾 雙 明 珠 ;
感 君 纏 綿 意 ,
繫 在 紅 羅 襦。
妾 家 高 樓 連 苑 起 ,
良 人 執 戟 明 光  裡。
知 君 用 心 如 日 月 ,
事 夫 誓 擬 同 生 死。
還 君 明 珠 雙 淚 垂 ,
恨 不 相 逢 未 嫁 時。

Chants Of A Faithful Wife                                Zhang Jie

You know I have a husband abiding,
Yet you sent me a pair of pearls shining.
Knowing your sentiments would ne’er rest,
I wore them hanging from my silk under-vest.
My home, in a high chamber overlooking palms,
My husband serving the king, bearing arms.
I know bright as the sun and moon, is your heart,
But I’ve sworn to serve my husband, never to part.
I return not only your pearls but with my tears too,
Only lament marrying before meeting you.

思 帝 鄉                                                韋  莊  (836-910)

春 曰 游,
杏 花 吹 滿 頭。
陌 上 誰 家 年 少,
足 風 流。
妾 擬 將 身 嫁 與 ,
一 生 休。
縱 被 無 情 棄 ,
不 能 羞 。

Tune of Heavenly Home                    Wei Zhuang

Outing in spring,
Almond flower petals in the air.
The wind lent them wing,
To adorn my hair.
Whose youth is that over there?
Perfectly handsome and fair!
I intend to condescend
Myself, offering him my hand
For life, and then,
Even if I be cast aside in the end,
There’s no cause for me to repent.

長 命 女                                          馮 延 巳  (903-960)                        

春 日 宴 。
綠 酒 一 杯 歌 一 遍 。
再 拜 陳 三 願 。
一 願 郎 君 千 歲  ,
二 願 妾 身 長 健 。
三 願 如 同 粱 上 燕 。
歲 歲 長 相 見 。

Longevity Girl                                Feng Yan-yi

Festivity in spring.
After a toast of green wine,
Once I sing.
Once more I bow,
With three wishes to bring.
First I wish my lord live long.
Second, I wish my body goes strong.
Third, I wish we’re like the swallows on the beam,
Staying together year-out, year-in.

謁 金 門                                         馮 延 巳 (903-960)

風 乍 起 ,
吹 皺 一 池 春 水。
閒 引 鴛 鴦 香 徑 ,
手 挼 紅 杏 蕊。
鬥 鴨 欄 干 遍 倚。
碧 玉 搔 頭  斜 墜。
終 日 望 君 君 不 至 ,
舉 頭 聞 鵲 喜。

Visiting Golden Gate                     Feng Yan-yi

Breeze comes in sudden puffs,
Turning a pond with springtime face,
Into rippling waves.
She idles along the scented path,
To while away the hour,
Teasing a pair of mandarin ducks
And pinching the pistil of a red almond flower.
On a banister watching ducks, she leans around,
Her jade hairpin, slanting down.
All the time she waited for her date,
But he never shows up at the gate.
Then she looks up to see a magpie  
Calling out for her to wait.

生 查 子                                                 歐 陽 修  (1007-1072)

去 年 元 夜 時 ,
花 市 燈 如 晝。
月 上 柳 梢 頭 ,
人 約 黃 昏 後。

今 年 元 夜 時 ,
月 與 燈 依 舊。
不 見 去 年 人 ,
淚 濕 春 衫 袖。

Tune of Hawthorn                                Ouyang Xiu

In the Lantern Festival  last year,
Lit bright as day was the flower fair.
Atop the willow tree hang the moon,
My date came in the evening soon.

It’s the same Festival this year,
The moon and the lanterns are still there.
But this year my love was gone,
With tears soaking my sleeves, I’m forlorn.

鷓 鴣 天                                                 晏幾道 (1030-1106)

小 令 尊 前 見 玉 簫  ,
銀 燈 一 曲 太 妖 嬈。
歌 中 醉 倒 誰 能 恨?
唱 罷 歸 來 酒 未 消。
春 悄 悄 , 夜 迢 迢。
碧 雲 天 共 楚 宮  遙。
夢 魂 慣 得 無 拘 檢 ,
又 踏 楊 花 過 謝 橋 。

Partridge Sky                                        Yan Ji-dao

Listening to music at a wine party,
I first met Jade Flute, a soloist.
Under a silver light, I heard her song,
Which was soul enchanting.
How can I blame doing myself wrong
For feeling drunk during the singing?
After returning home on my bed,
I still felt wine and melody in my head.

A lonely spring in solitude,
Endless nights with dawn overdue.
Though under the same blue sky,
We are separated far and wide.
Only in a dream can I freely reach
Her without diffidence,
Over a bridge,
And a flowery walk to her residence.

鷓 鴣 天 (二)

彩 袖 殷 勤 捧 玉 鍾 ,
當 年 拚 却 醉 顏 紅。
舞 低 楊 栁 樓 心 月 ,
歌 盡 桃 花 扇 底 風。
從 別 後 ,
憶 相 逢 ,
幾 回 魂 夢 與 君 同。
今 宵 剩 把 銀 釭 照 ,
猶 恐 相 逢 是 夢 中。

Partridge Sky (2)

You, in dancing dress, offered me tenderly goblets of wine.
I, putting drunkenness to the back of my mind,
And with a blushing face, drank to my heart’s content.
The moon was high above when dancing began,
Which continued until it reached the willow branches’ end.
Dances and songs carried on until fatique, and then,
No energy was left even to wave a peach-blossom fan.
Ever since we parted, my only thought was to see you again,
How many times I’ve dreamed of meeting you hence.
Tonight, I raised the silver lamp to light up the place,
But still doubt if i am in a dream or this’ your real face.

江 城 子                                                 蘇  軾 (1037-1101)

十 年 生 死 两 茫 茫,
不 思 量, 自 難 忘。
千 里 孤 墳 ,
無 處 話 淒 涼。
縱 使 相 逢 應 不 識:

塵 滿 面, 鬢 如 霜。  

夜 來 幽 夢 忽 還 鄉。
小 軒 窗, 正 梳 妝。
相 顧 無 言,
唯 有 淚 千 行。
料 得 年 年 腸 斷 處:
明 月 夜, 短 松 岡。

Tune of Jiangzheng                              Su Shi
(Dreaming of My Wife )  

For ten years you have died,
And we lost each other.
I cannot put it aside,
Nor forget about it either.
A solitary grave so far away,
Sorrow beyond what words can say.
If we meet, can we know each other’s face?
Covered with dust,
My hair all grey.

In the middle of night,
My dream took flight;
And brought me to my village home.
I saw you in our little room,
By the window,
Titivating your hair.
In silence, at each other we just stared,
Then our tears started to flow.
Each day of the year,
I know where my sorrow would go.
In a moon-lit night,
Among the pines on a knoll.

Composed about 1077 after dreaming about his wife Wang (王氏) and as a condolence.

永遇樂                                                    蘇軾


Happy Encounter                                   Su Shi

Bright as frost is a moon serene,
Refreshing as water is the leisurely wind,
Composing an infinite tranquil scene.

In the winding lagoon fish jump at will,
Rolling off the lotus leaves are pearls of dew,
A quiet world with no people around.

The watchman's drum solemnly beats three counts,
One can hear a leaf falling on the ground,
In the dark, from a broken dream I wake up astound.

The night’s deep without end,
Nowhere can I pick up my dream again,
My small lawn, I cover from end to end.

In a corner of the Earth is a tired traveler alone,
Seeking his way through the woods for home,
Longing to redeem his home-craving wound.

The Swallow Tower is now bare,
Whereabout is its mistress, the lady fair?
Now only housing a few swallows there.

Life has always been a dream, empty and bare,
Who’s ever woken up, sound and fair?
Only good old days and new laments are there.

In posterity, for those who care,
Evening time at Yellow Tower,
Will heave many a sigh in the air.

滿 庭 芳                                                秦  觀 (1049-1100)

曉 色 雲 開 ,
春 随 人 意 ,  
驟 雨 才 過 還 晴。

古 台 芳 榭  ,  
飛 燕 蹴 紅 英。
舞 困 榆 錢 自 落 ,
鞦 韆 外 ,
綠 水 橋 平。
東 風 裡 ,
朱 門 映 柳 ,
低 按 小 秦 箏 。

多 情 ,
行 樂 處 ,
珠 鈿 翠 蓋 ,
玉 轡 紅 纓。
漸 酒 空 金 榼  ,
花 困  蓬 瀛 。
豆 蔻 梢 頭 舊 恨,
十 年 夢 ,
屈 指 堪 驚。
凭 闌 久 ,
疏 煙 淡 日 ,
寂 寞 下 蕪 城 。

Fragrance In The Courtyard                   Qin Guan

Twilight had broken with clouds clearing
Nature of spring was really mind-reading.
A sudden drizzle stopped before long,
Showing a clear sky of dawn.
Historic pergola and pavilion,
Were overlooking water in the pond.
Swallows shuttled among the flowers
Causing petals to scatter.
Elm-nuts in the wind fluttered;
Became tired and drifted down.
Beyond the garden swing, I found,
The river had swollen to bridge level.
One could catch a glimpse, in the east wind,
Of the scarlet doorway shaded by willow.
The faint melody of a Qin qin .
Came from the house within.

Lost in frivolity we indulged in,
I played the part of a romantic lover.
She, wearing strings of pearls to her hairpin,
In a carriage with an emerald-feathered cover.
I put on a jade bridle,
Riding my horse with red tassels.
Then wine in the gold goblets ran low,
And my lover’s passion turned cold.

Much sorrow remained,
When I parted with my dame.
For ten years I lived in a dream of fog,
Counting the years passed, I’m shocked.
Against the balustrade I linger to find
Only a sun in a hazy smog,
Setting below the city skyline.

鵲 橋 仙                                                      秦  觀   (1049-1100)
(七 夕)        

纖 雲 弄 巧,  
飛 星 傳 恨,
銀 漢  迢 迢 暗 度。
金 風 玉 露 一 相 逢,
便 勝 卻 人 間 無 數。

柔 情 似 水,  
佳 期 如 夢,
忍 顧 鵲 橋 歸 路?
兩 情 若 是 久 長 時,
又 豈 在 朝 朝 暮 暮。

Fairy Of The Magpie Bridge                        Qin Guan
( Eve on the 7th )

The wispy cirrus is floating high;
A shooting comet carries my yearning to the other side,
Crossing the Milky Way in silvery hue,
In the autumn wind and dew.
Though we meet once yearly in the sky,
It surpasses countless earthly ties.

Tender like water, your passion,
Shall fill my dreams, our only liaison.
Retracing steps on the Bridge is a sorrow,
I don’t want to count each day and morrow.
If we join our hearts in this hour of gold,
To the end of time our affection will hold.

鳳 凰 臺 上 憶 吹 簫                                 李清照 (1084- c.1156)

香 冷 金 猊  ,
被 翻 紅 浪  ,
起 來 慵 自 梳 頭。
任 寶 奩 塵 滿 ,
日 上 簾 釣。
生 怕 離 懷 別 苦 ,
多 少 事,  
欲 說 還 休。
新 來 瘦 ,
非 干 病 酒   ,
不 是 悲 秋。

休 休 ,
者 回 去 也 ,
千 萬 遍 陽 關  ,

也 則 難 留。        
念 武 陵  人 遠 ,
煙 鎖 秦 樓 。
惟 有 樓 前 流 水 ,
應 念 我 終 日 凝 眸。
凝 眸 處 ,
從 今 又 添 一 段 新 愁。

Flute-playing On Phoenix Tower                Li Qing-zhao

The lion figurine of my incense pot
Has now turned cold;
My duvet left in careless red folds.
Getting up, I’m too lazy to comb my hair,
The mirror casket turned dusty, I don’t care.
On my blind, the sun is already hanging there.
Parting with my beloved, is the only thing I fear.
Too many things I wanted to say,
But yet refrained anyway.
Recently I lost weight,
Not because of wine,
Nor due to melancholy autumn time.

I‘ve to be resigned.
That he’s really leaving this time.
Even ten thousand goodbye verses combined,
Wouldn’t make him stay behind.
I imagine he’ll travel afar, lost in a maze,
While my chamber shall be locked by haze.
Only in front of my window,
The river that’s flowing,
Will witness my daylong gazing.
Such gazing
Shan’t help me, I’d say,
Feeling crestfallen day after day.

The Altair 牛郎星 and the Vega 織女星 are two stars on the opposite sides of the Milky Way 銀河 and

in Chinese legend, they were personified as Cowboy 牛郎 and Spinster 織女 who could   only

meet each other once each year on the evening of the 7th day of the 7th month  via a bridge formed

by magpies spreading their wings together across the sky 鵲橋.

釵 頭 鳳                                                              陸 游 (1125-1210)

紅 酥 手, 黃 縢 酒。
滿 城 春 色 宮 牆 柳。
東 風 惡,
歡 情 薄。
一 懷 愁 緒,,
幾 年 離 索。
錯! 錯! 錯!

春 如 舊, 人 空 瘦。
舊 痕 紅 浥 鮫 鮹  透 。
桃 花 落,
閒 池 閣。
山 盟 雖 在,
錦 書 難 托。
莫! 莫! 莫!

Hairpin with Phoenix Figurine                                Lu You

Soft hands with fingernails painted in red,
Pouring wine sealed with yellow wax.
Everywhere shows the colour of spring,
Willows that palace walls cannot contain.
Relentless east wind,
Rendering passion thin.
A bosom loaded with regrets,
Lonely years of fret.
Regrets, regrets, regrets!

Springtime once again,
Bodyweight lost in vain.
Silk hanky remains
Marked with rouge and tear stains.
Peach blossoms drifting down,
Pond and pavilion with on one around.
Our old pledge, I can still remember,
My letter though, no one can deliver.
Never, never, never!

Lu married his cousin Tang Yuan and the two got on well. However, the mother-in-law was not in         

good terms with Tang and the couple separated. Each of them subsequently remarried. A few         

years later, Lu was visiting a famous spot, Shen’s Garden and met his ex-wife with her new         

husband. Tang ordered some food and wine to be sent to Lu who was totally regretful of the      

separation. He wrote this “Ci” on a wall in the garden unloading his feelings at the time.

題 都 城 南 莊                                        崔 護 (c.766 - ?)

去 年 今 日 此 門 中,
人 面 桃 花 相 映 紅。
人 面 不 知 何 處 去 ,
桃 花 依 舊 笑 春 風。

Village South of the Capital                   Cui Hu

Last year today, at this doorway,
Peach blossoms beaming next to a rosy face.
Now, the face has left without a trace,
Yet in the spring breeze, the flowers are still smiling today.

The poem was in fact untitled. The title only suggests that the poem was written somewhere at a         

village south of the capital.

女冠子                                                韦 庄 (860-910)


Song of Tiara                                      Wei Zhang

17th of May,
When we parted, last year today,
I held my tears with a lowered face.
Half-knitted eyebrows, half modest too,

But my soul had flown away.
Only my dreams would follow you,
A secret unshared,
Except to heaven’s luna fair.

無題                                           李商隱 (c.813-858)


Untitled                                      Li Shang-yin

It’s hard to be together, but harder to part still,   
When the east wind yields,
And in a season when the flowers wilt.
The silk does not end until the silkworms are dead,
Before turning to ashes, the candle drops its tears red.
The morning mirror finds her hair grow old,
Night verses add to the moonlight cold.
The ways to the fairyland are but few,
Only the bluebirds may have a bird’s-eye-view.

Note: In Chinese “silk” 絲and “thought” 思have the same phonetic pronunciation , hence the analogy
that the thoughts would continue until one is dead.

Twenty one
長干行                                      崔顥 (704-754)

停船暫借問 ,

同是長干人 ,

Song of Chang Gan                 Cui Hao    

The first poem describes a girl striking a conversation with the
man in the boat moored next to her. The second poem is the
man’s reply.

Sir, where’s you place of abode?
I ask, mooring my boat.
My home’s at Hangtang,
And we may come from the same hometown.

Upon Jiujiang is my home,
To and fro on the river I roam.
We live upon the same river somehow,
Yet we haven’t met each other till now.

Twenty two
祝英臺近                                     辛棄疾

寶釵分, 桃葉渡, 煙栁暗南浦。
怕上層樓, 十日九風雨。
斷腸片片飛紅, 都無人管。
情誰喚, 流鶯聲住。
髮邊覷, 試把花卜心期, 才簪又重數。

羅帳燈昏, 鳴咽夢中語。
是他春帶愁來, 春歸何處?

Zhu Ying-tai (Abridged)               Xin Qi-jie

At the ferry point we parted,
With hairpin halved , we’re broken-hearted.
On the southern river bank,
Enshrouded in haze, where willows hang.
I fret to go up a tower since then,
It is all stormy days, nine out of ten.
The flying petals make me more sad,
No one can save them, I regret.
The nightingales sing all day,
No way to stop them, I’m afraid.
I look at the flower adorning my hair;
And try counting the petals there,
In order to guess the days I’ve to bear.
Each time, it’s a new number I get,
And I ‘ve to begin again.

A dim light shines on the net above my bed,
In my dream, sobbing, I try to tell you:
It’s spring that brings all the woes,
Where now has spring gone to?
Why doesn’t it take away the woes too?

Note: It is ancient Chinese custom, for lovers to depart, to half a hairpin, each holding
one half, as a token of future reunion.


translated by YK Kwan © 2010 All Rights Reserved
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