Chinese Language Learning – Seeking comments/feedback on my own translation of Qing Dynasty poem《洞仙歌·珊珊琐骨》by 吴藻 (Wu Zao)

Hi all! Yesterday, I posted on this sub asking for help locating the text of this Chinese poem, and you immediately helped me find it! <3 I then spent the day building my own translation, with the aid of lots of googling and Google Translate. My Chinese language skills are around an intermediate level — decent but not fluent.

I would love to receive any comments/feedback/discussion on the accuracy of my translation. (In the translation, I am primarily aiming for accurate literal meaning, and not as much for poetic style. However, I am definitely interested in understanding any double-meanings, word play, hidden connotations, or other poetic devices that a fluent speaker would pick up on better than me).

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The original Chinese text:

>珊珊锁骨,似碧城仙侣。一笑相逢淡忘语。
>
>镇拈花倚竹,翠袖生寒,空谷里、相见个侬幽绪。
>
>兰釭低照影,赌酒评诗,便唱江南断肠句。
>
>一样扫眉才,偏我清狂,要消受、玉人心许。
>
>正漠漠、烟波五湖春,待买个红船,载卿同去。

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My translation:

>Shimmering collarbones, seemingly a mystical being from a jade city. With one smile we met and I forgot how to speak.
>
>Gently we picked flowers and rested against bamboo, the cold dew collected on your blue-green sleeves. Inside that empty valley, I faced your ruminations.
>
>While the orchid lamp flickered dimly, we drank wine, read poetry, then sang a song of heartbreak from Jiangnan.
>
>We are equally matched in talent, I’m driven crazy, yes I want to bear this, if my beloved consents.
>
>It’s perfectly misty, springtime fog rises from five lakes, I’m going to buy a red boat, carry you away with me.

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Specific questions I have:

1. The character 珊 means coral. However, when it is repeated twice (珊珊 ) does this mean “coral-like” or have any literal association with coral? Or does 珊珊 simply refer to a general shimmery/shining appearance?
2. 幽绪 — the definitions I’ve found online say this means something like a deep contemplative mental state. I am having trouble picking a good English translation to capture this word. So far, I have gone with “rumination.” But are there any hidden connotations that I am missing? For instance, is there an emotional association? (Does it usually refer to a sad feeling of brooding, or is it emotionally neutral?)
3. The three characters 扫眉才 literally mean eyebrow-painting talent. But according to Google the four character phrase 扫眉才子 is an idiom that refers to other talents, such as literary talent. Should I interpret 扫眉才 in this poem as a shortening/abbreviation of the idiom, or should I interpret it as literally talking about painting eyebrows? Overall, I don’t feel very confident in my translation of the phrase “一样扫眉才”.
4. In the last line, the character 正 is causing me confusion. According to Google Translate, it means “straight” or “upright” or “correct.” I am not totally sure how that makes sense in the context of the poem. I ended up translating the character 正 as “perfect” or “perfectly,” but I am not really sure if that is fair.

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Other comments are welcome and appreciated too! Thank you so much. <3 <3 <3



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4 Comments

  1. Illustrious-Bus-3840 July 12, 2022
  2. hanguitarsolo July 12, 2022
  3. cela_ July 12, 2022
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