Say It Right Series
speak chinese like a native

第一回: Chunk 4

Posted by henning July 13, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: 红楼梦, 第一回, 古文, classic

当此, 则自欲将已往所赖天恩祖德, 锦衣纨绔之时, 饫甘餍肥之日, 背父兄教育之恩, 负师友规谈之德, 以至今日一技无成,半生潦倒之罪,编述一集,以告天下人:我之罪 固不免, 然闺阁中本自历历有人,万不可因我之不肖,自护己短,一并使其泯灭也.

My try:
Therefore I am longing for those formerly times of milk and honey which relied on the good deeds of the forefathers (which have been inherited from the forefathers). Bearing the positive education of the rules of my father’s generation and the virtues discussed with teachers and friends – not even a single skill became satisfying, half (my) lifetime I disappointed.

I compose this story to tell the world – my sins are utterly unavoidable. But in the lady’s chambers there is clearly and naturally someone who absolutely should not due to my unworthiness and shortcomings be – along with the others –be spoiled.


So (当此), therefore (则) I desire (自欲)

Passive with 将 (functions like 把 here)


the past (已往) [days -->之日c.f. below] relying (赖) on the good deeds (天恩祖德) of the forefathers


The days full of good clothes (锦衣纨绔) and sweet and rich (lit. “fat”) food (饫甘餍肥)


Carrying (背) the kindness of the education (教育之恩) of  the father’s generation (父兄)


bearing (负) the virtues (之德) of the rules discussed (谈) with teachers and friends (师友)


up to (以至) today (今日) where not even one skill is up to par (一技无成)


Half a lifetime (半生) disappointing (潦倒) the sin (之罪) [the sin of disappointing]


composing (编述) this work (一集)


by telling the people in the world


my sins are utterly (固?) unavoidable (不免)


But (然) in this lady’s chamber (闺阁中)


naturally (本自?) clearly (历历) there is someone (有人)


absolutely cannot (万不可) [à should not] because of me being unworthy (因我之不肖)


Having deficits [?]


Along with the others (一并)

Let them (使其) be spoiled (泯灭) / be destroyed

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