Li Bai: Pouring Myself Drinks Alone By Moonlight (From Chinese)

Pouring Myself Drinks Alone By Moonlight
By Li Bai
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original in a reconstruction of what 8th century Chang'anese pronunciation
Click to hear me recite it in Modern Mandarin pronunciation
Click to hear me recite the English


Amid the flowers — a flask of wine 
 I pour alone — no company
I raise my cup to invite the moon 
 Then moon, my shadow and I are three
But no the moon knows not how to drink  
 And my shadow does naught but follow me
Yet I quickly make friends of moon and shadow 
 Enjoy what spring there may yet be
I sing — the moon just maunders on 
 I dance —my shadow flails away
Still lucid — we share in common pleasure 
 Blind drunk — each goes his separate way
Let us join to roam beyond all cares 
 And meet afar in the Milky Way





The Original:
(Medieval Chinese transcribed using David Branner's lovely system)

Han Characters 

月下獨酌 
李白 

花間一壺酒,  
獨酌無相親; 
舉杯邀明月,  
對影成三人。 
月既不解飲,  
影徒隨我身; 
暫伴月將影,  
行樂須及春。 
我歌月徘徊, 
我舞影零亂; 
醒時同交歡, 
醉後各分散。 
永結無情遊, 
相期邈雲漢。 
Medieval Chinese 

ngwat3a ghà2 duk1b tsyak3
3d beik2a

hwa2 kan2b et3by ghuo1 tsóu3b
duk1b tsyak3 muo3c sang3 tshen3b
kúo3b pei1a au3y meing3a ngwat3a
twèi1a éing3a dzyeing3b sam1b nyen3b
ngwat3a kì3a pet3a ghèi2a ém3x
éing3a duo1 zwi3b ngé1 syen3b
dzàm1b bàn1 ngwat3a tsang3 éing3a
gheing2a lak1 suo3c gep3x tshywen3b
ngé1 ke1 ngwat3a bei1a ghwei1a
ngé1 múo3c éing3a leing4 lwàn1
séing4 dzyi3d dung1b kau2 hwan1
tswì3c ghòu1 kak1 pen3a sàn1
wéing3a kat4 muo3c dzeing3b you3b
sang3 gi3d mok2 wen3a hàn1
Modern Chinese 

Yuè xià dú zhuó 
Lǐ Bái 

Huā jiān yī hú jiǔ,  
dú zhuó wú xiāngqīn; 
Jǔ bēi yāo míngyuè,  
duì yǐng chéng sān rén. 
Yuè jì bù jiě yǐn,  
yǐng tú suí wǒ shēn;  
Zàn bàn yuè jiāng yǐng,  
xínglè xū jí chūn. 
Wǒ gē yuè páihuái,  
Wó wǔ yǐng língluàn; 
Xǐng shí tóng jiāo huān, 
Zuì hòu gè fēnsàn. 
Yǒng jié wúqíng yóu, 
Xiāngqī miǎo yúnhàn.  

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