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Top 20 Chinese Tang Poems in English Translation

Top 20 Chinese Tang Poems in English Translation

If you are interested in learning Chinese literature, you may come across the Chinese poems. You may not how to read it because it is written in Chinese. Today I combined the top 20 Chinese Tang poems in Chinese – English translation for you so that you can understand the meaning of the poem verse. I will include several types of Chinese poems in this post so that you will know the structure of Chinese poems and the meaning.

Top 20 Chinese Tang Poems in English Translation


Five-character-ancient-verse (五言古詩)

1.  李白 月下獨酌  – Li Bai DRINKING ALONE WITH THE MOON

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。

李白 月下獨酌 English Translation (DRINKING ALONE WITH THE MOON)

From a pot of wine among the flowers

I drank alone. There was no one with me—

Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon

To bring me my shadow and make us three.

Alas, the moon was unable to drink

And my shadow tagged me vacantly;

But still for a while I had these friends

To cheer me through the end of spring….

I sang. The moon encouraged me.

I danced. My shadow tumbled after.

As long as I knew, we were boon companions.

And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.

…Shall goodwill ever be secure?

I watch the long road of the River of Stars.


2.  王維 送別   – Wang Wei AT PARTING

下馬飲君酒, 問君何所之?

君言不得意, 歸臥南山陲。

但去莫復問, 白雲無盡時。

王維 送別 English translation – PARTING

I dismount from my horse and I offer you wine,

And I ask you where you are going and why.

And you answer: “I am discontent

And would rest at the foot of the southern mountain.

So give me leave and ask me no questions.

White clouds pass there without end.


3. 王維 西施詠 –  Wang Wei THE BEAUTIFUL XI SHI

艷色天下重, 西施寧久微?

朝為越溪女, 暮作吳宮妃。

賤日豈殊眾? 貴來方悟稀。

邀人傅脂粉, 不自著羅衣,

君寵益嬌態, 君憐無是非。

當時浣紗伴, 莫得同車歸。

持謝鄰家子, 效顰安可希?

王維 西施詠 English Translation (THE BEAUTIFUL XI SHI)

Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire,

How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home?—

Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake—

And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north:

Lowly one day, no different from the others,

The next day exalted, everyone praising her.

No more would her own hands powder her face

Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.

And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked,

Blinding him away from wisdom.

…Girls who had once washed silk beside her

Were kept at a distance from her chariot.

And none of the girls in her neighbours’ houses

By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.


4.  孟浩然 夏日南亭懷辛大 –  Meng Haoran IN SUMMER AT THE SOUTH PAVILIONTHINKING OF XING

山光忽西落, 池月漸東上。

散髮乘夜涼, 開軒臥閑敞。

荷風送香氣, 竹露滴清響。

欲取鳴琴彈, 恨無知音賞。

感此懷故人, 中宵勞夢想。

孟浩然 夏日南亭懷辛大 English Translation (THE SOUTH PAVILIONTHINKING OF XING)

The mountain-light suddenly fails in the west,

In the east from the lake the slow moon rises.

I loosen my hair to enjoy the evening coolness

And open my window and lie down in peace.

The wind brings me odours of lotuses,

And bamboo-leaves drip with a music of dew….

I would take up my lute and I would play,

But, alas, who here would understand?

And so I think of you, old friend,

O troubler of my midnight dreams !


Folk-song-styled-verse  樂府


5. 李白 子夜四時歌 夏歌  – Li Bai BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: SUMMER

鏡湖三百里, 菡萏發荷花。

五月西施采, 人看隘若耶。

回舟不待月, 歸去越王家。

On Mirror Lake outspread for miles and miles,

The lotus lilies in full blossom teem.

In fifth moon Xi Shi gathers them with smiles,

Watchers o’erwhelm the bank of Yuoye Stream.

Her boat turns back without waiting moonrise

To loyal house amid amorous sighs.


 

6.  孟郊 遊子吟 –  Meng Jiao A TRAVELLER’S SONG

慈母手中線, 遊子身上衣;

臨行密密縫, 意恐遲遲歸。

誰言寸草心, 報得三春輝?

English Translation:

The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

Makes clothes for the body of her wayward boy;

Carefully she sews and thoroughly she mends,

Dreading the delays that will keep him late from home.

But how much love has the inch-long grass

For three spring months of the light of the sun?


Seven-character-ancient-verse  七言古詩


7. 李頎 古意 –  Li Qi AN OLD AIR

男兒事長征, 少小幽燕客,

賭勝馬蹄下, 由來輕七尺;

殺人莫敢前, 鬚如蝟毛磔。

黃雲隴底白雪飛, 未得報恩不能歸。

遼東小婦年十五, 慣彈琵琶解歌舞,

今為羌笛出塞聲, 使我三軍淚如雨。

English Translation

There once was a man, sent on military missions,

A wanderer, from youth, on the You and Yan frontiers.

Under the horses’ hoofs he would meet his foes

And, recklessly risking his seven-foot body,

Would slay whoever dared confront

Those moustaches that bristled like porcupinequills.

…There were dark clouds below the hills,

there were white clouds above them,

But before a man has served full time, how can he go back?

In eastern Liao a girl was waiting, a girl of fifteen years,

Deft with a guitar, expert in dance and song.

…She seems to be fluting, even now, a reed-song of home,

Filling every soldier’s eyes with homesick tears.



8.  李頎 琴歌 –  Li Qi A LUTE SONG

主人有酒歡今夕, 請奏鳴琴廣陵客。

月照城頭烏半飛, 霜淒萬樹風入衣;

銅鑪華燭燭增輝, 初彈淥水後楚妃。

一聲已動物皆靜, 四座無言星欲稀。

清淮奉使千餘里, 敢告雲山從此始。

English Translation

Our host, providing abundant wine to make the night mellow,

Asks his guest from Yangzhou to play for us on the lute.

Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying,

Frost is on ten thousand trees, and the wind blows through our clothes;

But a copper stove has added its light to that of flowery candles,

And the lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.

Once it has begun to play, there is no other sound:

A spell is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin….

But three hundred miles from here, in Huai, official du- ties await him,

And so it’s farewell, and the road again, under cloudy mountains.



9. 李白 金陵酒肆留別 –  Li Bai PARTING AT A WINE-SHOP IN NANJING

風吹柳花滿店香, 吳姬壓酒喚客嘗;

金陵子弟來相送, 欲行不行各盡觴。

請君試問東流水, 別意與之誰短長?

 

English Translation

A wind, bringing willow-cotton, sweetens the shop,

And a girl from Wu, pouring wine, urges me to share it

With my comrades of the city who are here to see me off;

And as each of them drains his cup, I say to him in parting,

Oh, go and ask this river running to the east

If it can travel farther than a friend’s love!



Five-character-regular-verse  – 五言律詩

10. 杜牧 旅宿 

旅館無良伴, 凝情自悄然。

寒燈思舊事, 斷雁警愁眠。

遠夢歸侵曉, 家書到隔年。

滄江好煙月, 門繫釣魚船。

English Translation:

Solitary at the tavern,

I am shut in with loneliness and grief.

Under the cold lamp, I brood on the past;

I am kept awake by a lost wildgoose.

…Roused at dawn from a misty dream,

I read, a year late, news from home—

And I remember the moon like smoke on the river

And a fisher-boat moored there, under my door.



Seven-character-regular-verse  七言律詩


11. 杜甫 蜀相 –  Du Fu THE TEMPLE OF THE PREMIER OF SHU

丞相祠堂何處尋? 錦官城外柏森森,

映階碧草自春色, 隔葉黃鸝空好音。

三顧頻煩天下計, 兩朝開濟老臣心。

出師未捷身先死, 長使英雄淚滿襟。

English Translation:

Where is the temple of the famous Premier?—

In a deep pine grove near the City of Silk,

With the green grass of spring colouring the steps,

And birds chirping happily under the leaves.

…The third summons weighted him with affairs of state

And to two generations he gave his true heart,

But before he could conquer, he was dead;

And heroes have wept on their coats ever since.


 

12. 杜甫 登高 – Du Fu A LONG CLIMB

風急天高猿嘯哀, 渚清沙白鳥飛迴。

無邊落木蕭蕭下, 不盡長江滾滾來。

萬里悲秋常作客, 百年多病獨登臺。

艱難苦恨繁霜鬢, 潦倒新停濁酒杯。

English Translation

In a sharp gale from the wide sky apes are whimpering,

Birds are flying homeward over the clear lake and white sand,

Leaves are dropping down like the spray of a waterfall,

While I watch the long river always rolling on.

I have come three thousand miles away.

Sad now with autumn

And with my hundred years of woe, I climb this height alone.

Ill fortune has laid a bitter frost on my temples,

Heart-ache and weariness are a thick dust in my wine.



13. 皇甫冉 春思 –  Huangfu Ran SPRING THOUGHTS

鶯啼燕語報新年, 馬邑龍堆路幾千。

家住層城鄰漢苑, 心隨明月到胡天。

機中錦字論長恨, 樓上花枝笑獨眠。

為問天戎竇車騎, 何時返旆勒燕然。

 

English Translation

皇甫冉 春思 English translation – Huangfu Ran SPRING THOUGHTS

Finch-notes and swallow-notes tell the new year….

But so far are the Town of the Horse and the Dragon Mound

From this our house, from these walls and Han Gardens,

That the moon takes my heart to the Tartar sky.

I have woven in the frame endless words of my grievng….

Yet this petal-bough is smiling now on my lonely sleep.

Oh, ask General Dou when his flags will come home

And his triumph be carved on the rock of Yanran mountain!



Five-character-quatrain  五言絕句


14.  王維 相思  –  Wang Wei ONE-HEARTED

紅豆生南國, 春來發幾枝。

願君多采擷, 此物最相思。

English Translation:

When those red berries come in springtime,

Flushing on your southland branches,

Take home an armful, for my sake,

As a symbol of our love.



15.  李白 夜思 –  Li Bai IN THE QUIET NIGHT

床前明月光, 疑是地上霜。

舉頭望明月, 低頭思故鄉。

 

English Translation:

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.



16.  王之渙 登鸛雀樓 – Wang Zhihuan AT HERON LODGE

白日依山盡, 黃河入海流。

欲窮千里目, 更上一層樓。

English Translation:

Mountains cover the white sun,

And oceans drain the golden river;

But you widen your view three hundred miles

By going up one flight of stairs.

 



17. 李端 聽箏 – Li Duan ON HEARING HER PLAY THE HARP

鳴箏金粟柱, 素手玉房前。

欲得周郎顧, 時時誤拂絃。

 

English Translation:

Her hands of white jade by a window of snow

Are glimmering on a golden-fretted harp—

And to draw the quick eye of Chou Yu,

She touches a wrong note now and then.


 

18. 元稹 行宮 – Yuan Zhen THE SUMMER PALACE

寥落古行宮, 宮花寂寞紅。

白頭宮女在, 閒坐說玄宗。

English Translation

In the faded old imperial palace,

Peonies are red, but no one comes to see them….

The ladies-in-waiting have grown white-haired

Debating the pomps of Emperor Xuanzong.


19.  李商隱 登樂遊原  – Li Shangyin THE LEYOU TOMBS

向晚意不適, 驅車登古原。

夕陽無限好, 只是近黃昏。

 

English Translation

With twilight shadows in my heart

I have driven up among the Leyou Tombs

To see the sun, for all his glory,

Buried by the coming night.



Folk-song-styled-verse 樂府


20. 李益 江南曲 – Li Yi A SONG OF THE SOUTHERN RIVER

嫁得瞿塘賈, 朝朝誤妾期。

早知潮有信, 嫁與弄潮兒。

English Translation:

Since I married the merchant of Qutang

He has failed each day to keep his word….

Had I thought how regular the tide is,

I might rather have chosen a river-boy.

 

 

 

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