If swallows go away, they will come back again. If willows wither, they will turn green again. If peach blossoms fade, they will flower again. But, tell me, you the wise, why should our days go by never to return? Perhaps they have been stolen by someone. But who could it be and where could he hide them? Perhaps they have just run away by themselves. But where could they be at the present moment?I don’t know how many days I am entitled to altogether, but my quota of then is undoubtedly wearing away. Counting up silently, I find that more than 8000 days have already slipped away through my fingers. Like a drop of water falling off a needle point into the ocean, my days are quietly dripping into the stream of time without leaving a trace.At the thought of this, sweat oozes from my forehead and tears trickle down my cheeks.
What is gone is gone, what is to come keeps coming. How swift is the transition in between! When I get up in the morning, the slanting sun casts two or three squarish patches of light into my small room. The sun has feet too, edging away softly and stealthily. And, without knowing it, I am already caught in its revolution. Thus the day flows away through the sink when I wash my hands; vanishes in the rice bowl when I have my meal; passes away quietly before the fixed gaze of my eyes when I am lost in reverie.
Aware of its fleeting presence, I reach out for it only to find it brushing past my outstretched hands. In the evening, when I lie on my bed, it nimbly strides over my body and flits past my feet. By the time when I open my eyes to meet the sun again, another day is already gone. I heave a sigh, my head buried in my hands. But, in the midst of my sighs,a new day is flashing past.
Living in this world with its fleeting days and teeming millions, what can I do but waver and wander and live a transient life? What have I been doing during the 8000 fleeting days except wavering and wandering? The bygone days, like wisps of smoke, have been dispersed by gentle winds, and, like thin mists, have been evaporated by the rising sun. What traces have I left behind? No, nothing, not even gossamer-like traces. I have come to this world stark naked, and in the twinkling of an eye, I am to go back as stark naked as ever. However, I am taking it very much to heart: why should I be made to pass through this world for nothing at all?
O you the wise, would you tell me please: why should our days go by never to return?
(1) 原文开头三个句子结构类似，译文采用三个相应的句式，力求形似。同时，每句均以if从句为首，使人想起英国诗人雪莱(Shelley)的名句If Winter comes, can Spring be faraway，有助于烘托原文的韵味。
(2) “现在又到了那里呢”译为But where could they be at the present moment，其中at thepresent moment等于now，也可用at the moment或at the moment in time等表达。
(3) “我不知道他们给了我多少日子”译为I don’t know how many days I am entitled to altogether，其中entitled to相当于qualified for，作“能有……”或“有权得到……”解。此句也可译为I don’t know how many days been given to live。
(4) “但我的手确乎是渐渐空虚了”不宜逐字直译，现以意译法处理：but my quota of them is undoubtedly wearing away，其中quota of them的意思是“一定数额的日子”，也即“寿命的预期数额”。也可用my allotted span 代替my quota of them。
(5) “八千多日子已经从我手中溜去”译为more than 8000 days have already slipped away through my fingers，其中to slip away through one’s fingers是英语习语。
(6) “我不禁头涔涔而泪潸潸了”的译文中添加了At the thought of this（一想到这儿），承上启下，原文虽无其字而有其意。
(7) “两三方”译为two and three squarish patches，其中squarish的意思是“似方形的”比square模糊些，似较可取。
(8) “挪移”在此有“慢慢离开”的含义，现以英语短语动词(phrasal verb) to edge away表达。注意原文第三段中若干表示动作的词语在译文中均挑选恰当的英语短语动词表达，效果较好。如：“从……（双眼前）过去”译为to pass away before…；“伸出手遮挽……”译为to reach out for…；“从……（手边）过去”译为to brush past…；“从……（身上）跨过”译为to stride over…；
“从……（脚边）飞去了”译为to flit past…；“闪过去了”译为to flash past。
(9) “不能平的”意即“为之耿耿于怀”或“为之想不开”，现译为Iam taking it very much to heart，其中to take…to heart是英语成语，作“为……烦恼”或“为……想不开”解。