This is such a hard poem to translate.  It is so long.  I hate translating long poems as it makes my brain work.  Aided by the reference below, I tried to portray the essence of the poem based on their interpretation.  I still struggle to completely convey the beauty of this poem with my translation and at the same time make it rhyme.  Anyway, this is all you get for now, as my brain needs some pampering.


Translation by Elisa English on 2/26/10  

All rights reserved



A Moonlit Night by the Vernal River


春江潮水連海平, 海上明月共潮生。

灩灩隨波千萬里, 何處春江無月明?

Up surge the spring tides to meet the sea.

So rises the radiant moon over the deep blue sea.

Thousands of miles away, the moon shimmers,

enveloping the river, with all its glimmers.


江流宛轉繞芳甸, 月照花林皆似霰,

空裡流霜不覺飛, 汀上白沙看不見。

The river winds through the blooming plains where

the moonlight blankets, as if with layers of soft hail.

Bathing in the moonlight, unnoticeable are the frost in the air,

and the white sands on the sandbank that unveil.



江天一色無纖塵, 皎皎空中孤月輪。

江畔何人初見月, 江月何年初照人,

Not a single dust, in one color mingle the water and the sky. 

What’s in the sky is the lonesome moon that glitters high.

Who first saw the moon rise by the riverside? And

when did it first shine upon a man on the river strand?


人生代代無窮已, 江月年年相似

不知江月待何人, 但見長江送流水
Generation after generation lives change and carry on.

Yet the moon looks the same from dust to dawn.

Whom does the moon await?  I do not know.

Only to see the Yangtze River’s incessant flow.


白雲一片去悠悠, 青楓浦上不勝愁

誰家今夜扁舟子? 何處相思明月樓? 

Up in the sky, I see blobs of white cloud leisurely floating away.

By the Green Maple Shore, insufferable is my melancholy, I wither away.

Who’s that wanderer, lonesomely riding a canoe tonight?

And who in that chamber is pining for her beau under the moonlight?



戶簾中卷不去, 擣衣砧上指還來。

In that chamber, pitiful is the moon that lingers to and fro.

Reflecting on the dresser mirror is her yearn for her beau.

Peeping through the curtains is that glistering moonlight, unable to lock away.

Shinning on the anvil, it keeps shining through, unable to wash away.





Yearning for each other from afar, watching the moon as if seeing her beau.

She wishes to follow the shimmering moonlight to shine upon her beloved, though.

Up in the sky, the swans fly far, yet bounded by the moonlight, unable to reach him.

Down in the sea, the fish leaps high, yet to deliver messages to him is so dim.


昨夜閑潭夢落花, 可憐春半不還家
江水流春去欲盡, 江潭落月複西斜

Last night, in her dreams, on the serene lake, the flowers wilted.

How pitiful!  Spring has almost passed, yet away from home, he still drifted.

The river keeps flowing, sending away the spring.  Gone is our youth too.

And, by the river and the lake, the moon descends in the west anew.

斜月沉沉藏海霧, 碣石瀟湘無限路
不知乘月幾人歸, 落月搖情滿江樹

The descending moon hides in the thick misty sea.  So serene!

Like heaven and earth, Jieshi and Xiaoxiang, such an infinite distance in between.

How many have come home riding on the moon?  I do not know.

All I see is the passionate moonlight sprinkling on the riverine trees below.


** 版權所有 – Elisa English 


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