Year: 
2011
This is the second of Du Fu’s dreams about his friend and fellow famous poet, Li Bai, who was exiled. He compares Li Bai to a floating cloud and wandering child for being so far away from home. Then he describes his dream of seeing Li Bai and imagines what a difficult journey his spirit had in coming all the way past rivers and lakes, wind and waves, to visit him.

The next section talks about how Li Bai was ambitious to be successful in government, but failed and ended up in exile. Finally, Du Fu writes that his friend will be famous for thousands of years (because of his beautiful poetry) but contrasts that with his current poor state.

Translation

By Du Fu (712-770 AD)
杜甫
Dream of Li Bai #2
夢李白之二




Floating cloud—
drifting
all day

浮雲
終日
Wandering child—
a long time
from home

遊子
不至
***


Three nights—
again and again
I’ve dreamed of you

三夜
夢君
Feeling close—
thinking I see you

情親
見君意
When it’s time for you to return—
often you feel unease

告歸
常局促
It’s a bitter path—
coming is not easy

苦道
來不易
Across the rivers and lakes—
all the winds and waves

江湖
多風波
Oaring the boat—
fearful of sinking

舟楫
恐失墜
***


Before the gate of your journey—
you scratched
your head white

出門
白首
Seeming to carry a burden—
all your life
wanting to make a mark

若負
平生
The caps of officials
fill the capital—
magnificently

冠蓋
滿京
But this exiled man—
alone
is thin and pallid

斯人
憔悴
What clouds in heaven
catch the world’s net,
restoring fairness?

孰雲
恢恢
An old man was taken—
his body bound

將老
身反纍
***


In a thousand years
your name
will still be living

千秋
But until then,
desolate and lonely—
your body and self

寂寞
後事

Original Chinese

Traditional
Simplified
Pronunciation



杜甫
杜甫
Dù Fǔ
夢李白之二
梦李白之二
Mèng Lǐ Bái Zhī Èr



浮雲終日行,
浮云日行,
Fú yún // zhōng rì xíng,
遊子久不至;
遊子久不至;
Yóu zǐ // jiǔ bù zhì;
三夜頻夢君,
梦君,
Sān yè // pín mèng jūn,
情親見君意。
亲见君意。
Qíng qīn // jiàn jūn yì.
告歸常局促,
常局促,
Gào guī // cháng jú cù,
苦道來不易。
苦道来不易。
Kǔ dào // lái bu yì.
江湖多風波,
江湖多波,
Jiāng hú // duō fēng bō,
舟楫恐失墜。
舟楫恐失
Zhōu jí // kǒng shī zhuì.
出門搔白首,
搔白首,
Chū mén // sāo bái shǒu,
若負平生誌。
平生志。
Ruò fù // píng shēng zhì.
冠蓋滿京華,
冠盖
Guān gài // mǎn jīng huá,
斯人獨憔悴。
斯人独憔悴。
Sī rén // dú qiáo cuì.
孰雲網恢恢?
孰云网恢恢?
Shú yún // wǎng huī huī?
將老身反纍!
将老身反累!
Jiāng lǎo // shēn fǎn lèi!
千秋萬名,
千秋万名,
Qiān qiū // wàn suì míng,
寂寞身後事。
寂寞身后事。
Jì mò // shēn hòu shì.


Literal Translation

杜甫
Stop Begin [Du Fu (712-770 AD)]
夢李白之二
Dream Plum White ’s 2
[Plum White = Li Bai (701-762 AD)]


浮雲終日行,
Float clouds end sun go
[float clouds = floating clouds, fleeting, transient; end sun = all day long]
遊子久不至;
Wander child long-time no arrive
[wander child = person living/traveling far from home]
三夜頻夢君,
Three nights again-and-again dream you
情親見君意。
Feeling close see you think
告歸常局促,
Say return frequent circumstance press
[circumstance press = ill at ease]
苦道來不易。
Bitter path come not easy
江湖多風波,
Large-river lake much wind waves
[Large-river lake = rivers and lakes, around the whole country, vagrant; wind waves = disturbance, crisis]
舟楫恐失墜。
Boat oar fearful make-mistake sink
[make-mistake sink = loss]
出門搔白首,
Go-out gate scratch white head
[Go-out gate = go on a journey]
若負平生誌。
Seem carry-burden peaceful life record/mark/footnote
[peaceful life = all one’s life]
冠蓋滿京華,
Official-cap cover fill capital-city magnificent
斯人獨憔悴。
This/lop-off man only/alone worn-out suffer
[worn-out suffer = thin and pallid / haggard]
孰雲網恢恢?
Which? clouds net restore great
[restore great = vast / extensive]
將老身反纍!
Take aged/old body against bind/twist-around
千秋萬名,
Thousand autumn ten-thousand harvest name
[thousand autumn = a thousand years; ten-thousand harvest = live long / wish a long life]
寂寞身後事。
Still/desolate lonely body/life/self after affair
[after affair = future events, funeral arrangements]