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.
1. 李白 月下獨酌 – Li Bai DRINKING ALONE WITH THE MOON
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
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
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
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 !
5. 李白 子夜四時歌 夏歌 – Li Bai BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: SUMMER
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
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?
7. 李頎 古意 – Li Qi AN OLD AIR
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
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
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
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.
11. 杜甫 蜀相 – Du Fu THE TEMPLE OF THE PREMIER OF SHU
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
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
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!
14. 王維 相思 – Wang Wei ONE-HEARTED
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
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
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
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
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
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.
20. 李益 江南曲 – Li Yi A SONG OF THE SOUTHERN RIVER
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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