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Hello, and just for fun
Here are 7 translations of this poem, including the ones from above.|
IN THE QUIET NIGHT
Beside my bed a pool of light---
Is it hoarfrost on the ground?
I lift my eyes and see the moon,
I bend my head and think of home.
(Tr. Xianyi and Gladys Yang, 1984, from "Poetry and Prose of the Tang and Song")
Before my bed a pool of light –
Can it be hoar-frost on the ground?
Looking up, I find the moon bright;
Bowing, in homesickness I am drowned.
This versionshows up the same in 2 books, and both editions of the second book. I don't know who translated it first.
( Tr. Li Ziliang, Li Gouqing and Zhao Feifei, from "Chinese Literature, Cultural China Series")
(Also, Tr. Xu Yuanchong, 1988 and 2001, from "300 Gems of Classical Chinese Poetry")
So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed --
Could there have been a frost already?
Lifting myself to look, I found that it was moonlight.
Sinking back again, I thought suddenly of home.
(Tr. Witter Byner, 1920, from "300 Tang Poems")
The floor before my bed is bright:
Moonlight - like hoarfrost - in my room.
I lift my head and watch the moon.
I drop my head and think of home.
(Tr. Vikram Seth, 1992, from "3 Chinese Poets")
I saw the moonlight before my couch,
And wondered if it were not frost on the ground.
I raised my head and looked out on the bright moon;
I bowed my head and thought of my far-off home.
(Tr.Lewis S. Robinson, 1978, from"China's Ancient Poets")
Moon's bright light descends
Like a blanket of snow around
My bed. I raise my head to the bright moon,
Then bow it low and long for home.
(Tr. Liu Yingkai and Steven Schroeder, 1999, Roosevelt University Press)
Before my bed there is bright moonlight
So that it seems like frost on the ground:
Lifting my head I watch the bright moon,
Lowering my head I dream that I'm home.
(Tr. Arthur Cooper, 1973, from "Penguin Classics, Poems Selected and Translated")
Among English speaking poets, most favor the translations of the Yangs, and Vikram Seth. Personally, I like the Yang's version best. It preserves rhythm and a little rhyme, and says the things Li Bai said. The version by XYZ is difficult to scan, which means to read easily and smoothly, and in English it is awkward to follow, as well.
This is the difficulty of the translator, to keep the poets intention, and also render a poem beautiful in another language.
Last summer, I posted 14 translation of a Wang Wei poem, which is a standard exercixe for American translators of poetry.
I hope you all enjoy these interludes, and the poems.
tata for now.