By Li Bai
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original in my idea of what educated 8th century Chinese sounded like
Click to hear me recite it in Modern Chinese pronunciation (i.e. Mandarin)
Eastward from Flaxcrane Tower2, my old friend you sail away
Toward Risingshire3 as smoke of Spring plumes in the willow-tree.
The sail, a single shade, is blotted into the blue void
Till I can only see the heaven-reaching, long Yangtze.
1- Broadhill City: i.e. Guangling, the oldest urban area within Yangzhou. In this translation I have nativized the placenames for aesthetic reasons.
2- Flaxcrane Tower: i.e. Huánghè Lóu, also known as Yellow Crane Tower- a large tower at the bank of the Yangtze in Wuhan City.
3- Risingshire: i.e. Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province where Broadhill City was located, also another name for Broadhill City itself
The Original, with transcriptions:
|Han Characters |
|Medieval Chinese |
sùng1b mèing2a gháu1 nyan3b tsyi3d kwáng1 leng3
kùo1 nyen3b sei4 zi3d ghwang1 ghak1 lou1
an4 hwa2 sam1b ngwat3a ghà2 yang3 tsyou3b
kuo1 bam3a ghwàn3a èing3a peik3b khung1b dzèn3b
ywi3c kán4 drang3 kong2 than4 tsèi3b lou3b
|Modern Chinese |
Sòng mènghàorán zhī guǎnglíng
Gùrén xi cí huánghèlóu,
yānhuā sān yuè xià yángzhōu.
Gū fān yuǎn yǐng bìkōng jìn,
wéi jiàn chángjiāng tiānjì liú.