A stanza from An Old Sweetheart of Mine – by James Whitcomb Riley
translation by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發
My wife and I want to say a special thank you to Mr. Andrew W.F. Wong 黃宏發 (Andrew was the last President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong during British rule) for taking time to translate the special stanza from “An Old Sweetheart of Mine” I used in my marriage proposal and wedding announcement (of which I only shared the first line).
Here is Andrew’s translation (which he humbly calls “hastily attempted … translation”, borrowing 同心, 情依依, 異路, 相…時 from Lin Yu-tang 林語堂‘s attempt) of the same stanza in four 7-character lines (七言絕句):-
credit: translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發
“An Old Sweetheart of Mine” stanza by James Whitcomb Riley (1902)
“When I should be her lover
forever and a day,
And she my faithful sweetheart
till the golden hair was gray;
And we should be so happy
that when either’s lips were dumb
They would not smile in Heaven
till the other’s kiss had come.”
林語堂 (再遇幽默大師林語堂) 翻譯的同一節詩 Lin Yu-tang‘s translation of the stanza:
An Old Sweetheart of Mine – by James Whitcomb Riley
with Lin Yu-tang 林語堂 translation
P.S. I wish I had the opportunity to meet Andrew in person but I haven’t had the pleasure yet. Andrew’s fair minded and excellent work during his time as President of the Legislative Council of HK remind HKers the fond memories we miss these days in HK. My wife and I were really happily surprised to see Andrew taking time to translate the beautiful stanza for our wedding which we take as a special gift.
In recent years, it has been my pleasure to read Andrew’s poetry translation work at his fascinating blog “Classical Chinese Poems in English” once in a while to revisit some classic Chinese poems along with Andrew’s graceful English translations to relax my mind. Which is why I reached out to Andrew to ask him a translation question about“An Old Sweetheart of Mine”. Thanks again Andrew for your beautiful translation to help celebrate our wedding!
And yes Andrew, it is indeed been my (now “our”) ambitious plan to work hard on our marriage, love each other dearly, stay healthy for each other, etc etc so that I can present this stanza to my wife on our 50th Wedding Anniversary in 50 years time.
Sept 11th, 2018 Update: Facebook video, 國學大師林語堂的最後10年：一屋書，一棟房，一生只愛一人
In 1966, Lin Yutang designed and constructed his own villa in Yangming Mountain, Taipei. He named it “Youbuwei House”, implying that a noble man should know what to do and what not to do. With his favorite study, bedroom, pond, and, most importantly, his wife Liao Tsui-feng, he spent the last 10 years of life there comfortably and cozily.//