On the Love of the Lotus

壺蘆居士繙譯

 

 

 

 

 

Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073) of the Song dynasty

On the Love of the Lotus

Among flowering plants in water or earth, many are much admired.  During the Jin dynasty, Tao Yüanming cherished only the chrysanthemum.  And since the Tang dynasty of the imperial Li family, everyone has been enamored of the peony.  But I especially love the lotus, for it rises from the mud unstained, cleansed in rippling water, appealing, yet not seductive.  The center of the stem is unobstructed and clear; outside, it is straight, not tendrilled nor branched.  At a distance, its fragrance is all the purer.  Planted in elegant stands, the lotus is esteemed from afar and not to be trifled with.  I call the chrysanthemum the recluse of flowers.  The peony is the richest and aristocratic of flowers.  The lotus is the gentleman of flowers.  Alas, for admirers of the chrysanthemum after Tao Yüanming, few are known.  For love of the lotus, who can ever match me?  As for devotees of the peony, is it any wonder there be such a crowd!

 

宋周敦頤

愛蓮說

水陸草木之花可愛者甚蕃
晉陶淵明獨愛菊
自李唐來世人盛愛牡丹
予獨愛蓮之出淤泥而不染
濯清漣而不妖
中通外直不蔓不枝
香遠益清亭亭淨植
可遠觀而不可褻玩焉
予謂菊花之隱逸者也
牡丹花之富貴者也
蓮花之君子者也
噫菊之愛陶后鮮有聞
蓮之愛同予者何人
牡丹之愛宜乎眾矣

 

Source

Quan Songwen 全宋文, Ceng Zaozhuang 曾棗莊 (1937- ), Liu Lin 劉林 et al., comps., (BaShu shushe, 1992), juan 卷1073, pp. 263-264.

01. June 2011 by Steven D. Owyoung
Categories: Literature, Translation | Comments Off