|蘭 亭 集 序
||lán tíng jí xù
||Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion
||(by Wang Xizhi)
||Yǒnghé jiǔ nián
||It is the ninth year of Emperor Mu of Jin's Yonghe era (20 Feb 353 - 8 Feb 354),
||suì zài guǐ chǒu
||The year of the Yin Water Ox,
||mùchūn zhī chū
||At the beginning of the third lunar month (after April 20, 353),
||huì yú Guìjī Shānyīn zhī lán tíng
||We are all gathered at the orchid pavilion in Shanyin County, Guiji Commandery,
||xiūxì shì yě
||For the Spring Purification Festival.
||qún xián bì zhì
||All of the prominent people have arrived,
||shào zhǎng xián jí
||From old to young.
||cǐdì yǒu chóngshānjùnlǐng
||This is an area of high mountains and lofty peaks,
||With an exuberant growth of trees and bamboos,
||yòu yǒu qīngliú jī tuān
||It also has clear rushing water,
||yìng dài zuǒyòu
||Reflecting the sunlight as it flows past either side of the pavilion.
||yǐn yǐ wéi liú shāng qū shuǐ, lièzuò qícì
||The guests are seated side by side to play the drinking game where a wine cup is floated down the stream and the first person sitting in front of the cup when it stops must drink.
||suī wú sīzhú guǎnxián zhī shèng
||Although we lack the boisterousness of a live orchestra,
||yī shāng yī yǒng, yì zúyǐ chàngxù yōuqíng
||With a cup of wine here and a reciting of poetry there, it is sufficient to allow for a pleasant exchange of cordial conversations.
||shì rì yě, tiān lǎng qì qīng
||Today, the sky is bright and the air is clear,
||huìfēnghéchàng, yǎng guān yǔzhòu zhī dà
||With a gentle breeze that is blowing freely. When looking up, one can see the vastness of the heavens,
||fǔ chá pǐn lèi zhī shèng, suǒyǐ yóu mù chěnghuái
||And when looking down, one can observe the abundance of things. The contentment of allowing one’s eyes to wander,
||zúyǐ jí shìtīng zhī yú, xìn kě lè yě
||Is enough to reach the heights of delight for the sight and sound. What a joy.
||fú rén zhī xiāngyǔ fǔyǎng yī shì
||Now all people live in this world together,
||huò qǔ zhū huáibào, wù yán yī shì zhī nèi
||Some will take all of their aspirations, and share them in private with a friend;
||huò yīn jì suǒ tuō, fànglàngxínghái zhī wài
||Still others will abandon themselves to reckless pursuits.
||suī qǔshě wàn shū, jìng zào bùtóng
||Even though everyone makes different choices in life, some thoughtful and some rash,
||dāng qí xīn yú suǒ yù, zàn dé yú jǐ
||When a person meets with joy, he will temporarily be pleased,
||kuài rán zìzú, bùzhī lǎo zhī jiāng zhì
||And will feel content, but he is not mindful that old age will soon overtake him.
||jí qí suǒ zhī jì juàn, qíng suí shì qiān
||Wait until that person becomes weary, or has a change of heart about something,
||gǎnkǎi xì zhī yǐ
||And will thus be filled with regrets.
||xiàng zhī suǒ xīn, fǔyǎng zhī jiān
||The happiness of the past, in the blink of an eye,
||yǐ wéi chén jī, yóu bùnéngbù yǐ zhī xìng huái
||Will have already become a distant memory, and this cannot but cause one to sigh;
||kuàng xiū duǎn suí huà, zhōng qī yú jìn
||In any case, the length of a man’s life is determined by the Creator, and we will all turn to dust in the end.
||gǔrén yún: sǐ shēng yì dà yǐ
||The ancients have said, "Birth and Death are both momentous occasions."
||qǐbù tòng zāi
||Isn’t that sad!
||měi lǎn xí rén xìng gǎn zhī yóu
||Every time I consider the reasons for why the people of old had regrets,
||ruò hé yī qì, wèicháng bù lín wén jiē dào
||I am always moved to sadness by their writings,
||bùnéng yù zhī yú huái
||And I can not explain why I am saddened.
||gù zhī yī sǐ shēng wéi xūdàn
||I most certainly know that it is false and absurd to treat life and death as one and the same,
||qí péng shāng wéi wàngzuò
||And it is equally absurd to think of dying at an old age as being the same as dying at a young age.
||hòu zhī shì jīn, yì yóu jīn zhī shì xī
||When future generations look back to my time, it will probably be similar to how I now think of the past.
||bēi fú! gù liè xù shí rén
||What a shame! Therefore, when I list out the people that were here,
||lù qí suǒ shù, suī shì shū shì yì
||And record their musings, even though times and circumstances will change,
||suǒ yǐ xìng huái, qí zhì yī yě
||As for the things that we regret, they are the same.
||hòu zhī lǎn zhě, yì jiāng yǒu gǎn yú sī wén
||For the people who read this in future generations, perhaps you will likewise be moved by these words.