In my last post, I recalled the Chinese version of Auld Lang Syne, commonly sung at graduation assemblies and funerals. Now, I’m going to share with you an original Chinese farewell song, elegantly written as a poem in 1915 by the charismatic and talented artist, LI Shutong 李叔同 (1880 to 1942), three years before he abandoned all worldly desires to become a Buddhist monk. This classical song with shared Chinese symbols is also often top choice for graduation assemblies.
LI Shutong, as Buddhist monk, is famously known as Master Hong Yi. The timeless appeal of this song, Farewell, has connected the Chinese people across the globe. The tune of the song is adapted from “Dreaming of Home and Mother,” composed by John Pond Ordway in 1868.
Please listen to this song, and try to picture in your mind the images of long pavilion as a departure place, gentle wind caressing the willow, Chinese flute faintly playing in the background, enchanting sunset, with a glass of murky wine in your hand (Jack Daniels would be lovely).
- 长亭外，古道边，芳草碧连天 Outside the long pavilion, near the ancient road, splendid grass connects to the sky.
- 晚风拂柳笛声残，夕阳山外山 Breezy evening wind caresses the willows. The sound of flute faltering, the setting sun sits beyond many a mountain.
- 天之涯，海之角，知交半零落 Friends have scattered to the reaches of heaven and the ends of the sea, with only very few left.
- 一瓢浊酒尽余欢，今宵别梦寒 Let’s enjoy this pot of murky wine to indulge ourselves in the remaining joy we have. Dreaming in the chilling night, I wave goodbye. Continue reading