Bai Juyi: Autumn Butterfly ~ 白居易·《秋蝶》 with English Translations

白居易(772年-846年),字乐天,号香山居士,又号醉吟先生,祖籍山西太原,到其曾祖父时迁居下邽,生于河南新郑 。白居易是唐代伟大的现实主义诗人,唐代三大诗人之一。白居易与元稹共同倡导新乐府运动,世称”元白”,与刘禹锡并称”刘白”。








Autumn Butterfly

Bai Juyi

A purple autumn flower,

a golden autumn butterfly;

the flower is a new blossom,

the butterfly just born,

flitting happily between one

flower and the next; then

at night, a cold wind comes

and the flower petals fall to

the ground, while among

them lies the little butterfly

now dead; in the daytime, both

were alive; come night, both

were dead; everything that lives

is the same; have you ever seen

a thousand year-old crane?

It is said they live only

on top of tall and ancient pines!

(Rewi Alley 译)

Autumn Butterflies

Po Chü-I

Blossoms a deep maroon haze, autumn

butterflies appear everywhere: teeming

yellow flecks, they hang from blossoms,

frolic in crowded flight east and west.

At nightfall, when the cold winds come,

a confusion of crowded blossoms falls,

and in the depths of night, dew ice-cold,

butterflies fill out the crowds of death.

It’s true of all things kindred in ch’i:

born this morning, dead tonight. No one

sees thousand-year immortality cranes:

they perch high in thousand-foot pines.

(David Hinton 译)

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