Tao Yuanming: Reading the Book of Mountains and Seas ~陶渊明·《〈读山海经〉十三首·其一》 with English Translations











Reading the Book of Mountains and Seas

Tao Yuanming


In early summer, grass and trees grow tall,

With profuse foliage sheltering the hall.

The flocks of birds have fondest place to rest

While I love my cosy house the best.

When I have ploughed the field and sown the seed,

I, now and then, find time to write and read.

There are no deep ruts in the humble lane,

Where carriages will turn away with disdain.

Alone I taste the new spring wine in leisure

And pluck my garden vegetable with pleasure.

When gentle showers from the east draw near,

Now a pleasant breeze approaches here.

On such occasions, I leaf through King of Zhou,

And Maps of Hills and Seas of long ago.

Since I can tour the whole world at a glance,

What can be better pastime than this chance?

(汪榕培 译)

Reading the Book of Mountains and Seas

Tao Yuanming


‘Tis summer, now the plants grow tall,

Round my cottage the leafy trees sway.

Here the birds are glad to take shelter,

So do I love my country retreat.

After plowing the land and sowing the seeds,

I often sit down to read my books.

This deserted lane, too rutty for high carriages,

Has turned back the steps of many an old friend.

None the less I rejoice in the spring wine,

And from my garden I pluck the herbage green.

When the light shower visits me from the east,

A warm soft wind bears its company.

Now I turn the pages of the Book of King Chou,

And glance over the Maps of Mountains and Seas; 1

Up and down the whole creation I am scanning—

O, greater joy than this there is none!

1. The Book of Mountains and Seas, with maps, and The Story of King Chou were early collections of ancient legendary lore.

(方重 译)

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