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  #11  
Old 05-16-2018, 08:46 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Here is my friend's crib. He wrote: "The words in the bracket mean they are not in the original poem, I added them to make them read ok."

秋菊chrysanthemums in autumn (or daisy)有 has 佳色 great color,
裛露 (it was) dip in the dew掇 (and I) pluck其its英 petals。

泛此float these 忘忧物 things (daisy in the wine) that make me forget,
远我distance me from 遗世情 the (rest) feelings from this world。

一觞one cup虽 although 独进 (I) drink alone,
杯尽 (I) emptied cup (with) 壶 jug 自倾 pour itself。
(like someone is pouring it for me)

日入(when) sun comes down 群 the crowd 动 (that) moves息 (start to) rest ,
归鸟 the birds that return 趋林 fly to the woods鸣 (and) sing
(or cry, depending on the mood I guess) 。

啸傲sing (or shout out loud, usually with proud and confidence)
东轩eastern window (of the house) 下down ,
聊复leave everything aside for the moment
得此生 (and) know (or get) the mean of (my) this life。
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  #12  
Old 05-17-2018, 06:33 AM
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Thanks Matt, Julie, Aaron, Andrew, John, and Martin.

Matt, I struggled a lot with the third stanza, and I think you're right that I need to struggle with it more. Part of the issue is that 虽 (sui) can stick out less in the Chinese than "though" does in the English. Thanks for pushing me. For the fifth stanza, I take the point about the two preliminary clauses, and I've modified the last line to resolve it. I see your point about defiance vs. arrogance/haughtiness. I'll need to talk to my wife about whether the self-send-up is in the original. For now I'm leaving it as is.

Julie, I don't fully understand your issue. I think you're right about the context of the drinking. Is the question why he finishes the jar? I think he just likes wine. He was probably an alcoholic. I had a long discussion with my wife about whether "日入" could be sunrise, motivated by many of the same concerns as you are, and was politely but firmly shot down. He gathers the petals in the morning and drinks the wine in the evening. It's definitely the N who is defiantly howling (each stanza is a unit).

Aaron, I'm not sure! My grammar is weak. I was trusting my wife, who insisted that the N is the one getting damp. Martin's friend is equally insistent in the opposite direction. I'm not competent to judge—not yet.

Andrew, I really don't understand your issue here. In English, S1L2 as written unambiguously indicates that the speaker is damp with dew. Similarly, in S2L1, "these" can only refer to the blossoms. They're the last thing referenced, so "these" very naturally refers back to them. If it were his desire floating there would be singular/plural disagreement.

John, hmmm. "The sun retreats; all moving things rest"—at first that read poorly to me, but the more I sit with it the more I like it. Or "The sun retreats; the moving things rest." I'm going to sit on this one and think about it.

Martin, thanks for talking to your friend—very helpful! Yes, the original rhymes, but I don't tend to find that translating rhyme in Chinese poetry works very well—usually it's best to capture the beauty some other way.


Still more work to be done on this one beyond the one minor change I've made, but Yujing just left town so I'm going to have to wait until she gets back to go over some of the issues raised. Thanks again, all.

Edit: some tentative changes to S3 and S4.

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 05-17-2018 at 06:52 AM.
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  #13  
Old 05-17-2018, 07:35 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Novick View Post
Andrew, I really don't understand your issue here. In English, S1L2 as written unambiguously indicates that the speaker is damp with dew. Similarly, in S2L1, "these" can only refer to the blossoms. They're the last thing referenced, so "these" very naturally refers back to them. If it were his desire floating there would be singular/plural disagreement.
Hi Aaron,

In the first instance, it strikes as--like Martin suggested--that you have the wrong thing wet. Hence assumption of a dangling modifier.

In the second instance, you do have a dangling modifier. Your participial phrase "Floating them in the drink of forgetting" (as all participial phrases) lacks a subject, and for the phrase to function grammatically the next word must be the subject of that phrase. The next word here is "my desire."

Hence, your sentence literally says:

"My desire floats [the blossoms] in the drink of forgetting."

If that is what you mean, rather than "I float them in the drink of forgetting and my desire to lose the world deepens," then I apologize.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:43 AM
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So, in the first instance, we're agreed that the grammar unambiguous says that the N is the one "damp with dew", and that it's purely the assumption that it ought to be the petals that are damp that's causing the mischief here, right?

For the second, I see I was not understanding your point initially. You're right, and I've fixed it.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:45 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Aaron, we're in agreement. I made the assumption, in reading it, that the petals were wet. I think that's what it's supposed to be myself, but if you're going with the narrator is what is wet, the grammar is right.
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  #16  
Old 05-17-2018, 08:01 AM
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Gotcha, thanks.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:55 PM
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Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I think the key to making this a poem that reads well in English is to decide what you want to do with lines 4 and 16, which I see as the crux of its argument. Right now you have:

my desire to lose the world deepens.

I am, for now, satisfied with this life.

These seem to be at odds with each other, or at least their relationship is not quite clear. Comparing the other translations, I find:

Even my passion for living apart
soon grows distant.

I've found my life again. (Hinton)

Or:

To leave far behind thoughts of the world.

Iíve found again the meaning of life. (Anonymous)

These seem to be working together in a way that yours isnít yet.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:03 PM
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Thanks, Edward. I'm not sure I see the conflict. A somewhat more literal translation of "lose the world" would be "leave behind worldly affairs", which the N does successfully by drinking, and hence is "satisfied with this life". He is satisfied in the last line precisely because he's achieved the desire expressed in the earlier line.

Does that make sense? And if it does, where is the poem failing to convey it?
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:20 PM
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For me, "my desire to lose the world deepens" implies that he hasn't "lost" (left behind) the world yet. After all, it's still only a desire, a wish that is yet to be fulfilled. So, it seemed strange that the poet would be satisfied with this state of affairs.
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  #20  
Old 05-17-2018, 01:33 PM
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OK, so the issue is that the temporal progression between the stanzas isn't clear. I see S5 as later than S2: in S2, he's just started drinking, whereas in S5, he's drunk. I'm not sure what to do about that—S3 is the key stanza here, probably. Hmmm...

Thanks for clarifying.
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