Subscribe
dedicated to promote Cantonese culture
 

Chanting of Li Bai’s Two Poems by Professor Chao Yuen Ren (Changzhou dialect)

Li Bai (701–762) was one of the greatest poets of the Tang Dynasty. He was both a prolific and a profound poet. He was brilliant, romantic and uninhibited.

Li Bai Drinking Alone with the Moon
Translated by Witter Bynner (1929).

From a pot of wine among the flowers
I drank alone. There was no one with me —
Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three.
Alas, the moon was unable to drink
And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
But still for a while I had these friends
To cheer me through the end of spring….
I sang. The moon encouraged me.
I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
…Shall goodwill ever be secure?
I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

Li Bai A Farewell to Secretary Shuyun at the Xietiao Villa in Xuanzhou
Translated by Witter Bynner (1929).

Since yesterday had to throw me and bolt,
Today has hurt my heart even more.
The autumn wildgeese have a long wind for escort
As I face them from this villa, drinking my wine.
The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the School of Heaven,
And I am a Lesser Xie growing up by your side.
We both are exalted to distant thought,
Aspiring to the sky and the bright moon.
But since water still flows, though we cut it with our swords,
And sorrows return, though we drown them with wine,
Since the world can in no way answer our craving,
I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishingboat.

Chao Yuen Ren (1892-1982)
Famous linguist, philosopher, composer, best known for his contributions to the modern study of Chinese phonology and grammar.

Private school tune chanting goes back 3,000 years. It has been passed down through private schools and family tutors from generation to generation. Similar to singing, there is a scale, but the scale is not pre-set.