Sing Tenting Tonight in Chinese

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“Tenting on the Old Camp Ground”, also known as “Tenting Tonight”, is a sorrowful anti-war song with words and music composed by Walter Kittredge during the American Civil War. It describes the atrocities of war and reveals how soldiers actually long for peace and don’t really want to go to war.

露营 means to camp out, usually in a tent. 扎营 is to set up a tent. Here, we are talking about a military camp. My brother liked to sing this song, and that’s how I came to know it. I’ve made the Chinese translation easy to sing, while still closely following the English verses.

 

今夜在这里露营 Tenting Tonight
 Jīn yè zài zhelǐ lùyíng

今夜又在老战场扎下营,               
Jīn yè yòu zài lǎo zhànchǎng zhá xià yíng
We’re tenting to-night on the old camp ground,

唱只歌来听听.                             
Chàng zhī gē lái tīng tīng.
Give us a song to cheer

唱唱家园, 朋友的情景,                 
Chàng chàng jiāyuán péngyǒu de qíngjǐng
Our weary hearts, a song of home,

安慰我们疲惫的心.                       
ānwèi wǒmén píbèi de xīn.
And friends we love so dear.

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,           
Yǒu duōshao de rén jīnwǎn xīnqíng bù níng,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,

期望战火快快停.                           
Qíwàng zhànhuǒ kuài kuài tíng.
Wishing for the war to cease,

有多少的人渴望能有幸
Yǒu duōshao de rén kěwàng néng yǒu xìng
Many are the hearts looking for the right,

看到宝贵的和平.                           
kàndào bǎoguì de hépíng.
To see the dawn of peace.

今夜露营, 今夜露营,                     
Jīn yè lùyíng, jīn yè lùyíng,
Tenting to-night, tenting to-night,

今夜在这里露营.                          
Jīn yè zài zhelǐ lùyíng.
Tenting on the old camp ground.

 

今夜又在老战场上露营,                ,
Jīn yè yòu zài lǎo zhànchǎng lùyíng
We’ve been tenting to-night on the old camp ground

思乡之情更切.                               
Sī xiāng zhī qíng gèng qiè.
Thinking of days gone by,

想到家人握着手叮咛,                   
Xiǎngdào jiārén wò zhe shǒu dīngníng,
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand

依依挥泪道别.                               
Yīyī huī lèi dào bié.
And the tear that said “Good-by!”

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,
期望战火快快停.
Wishing for the war to cease,
有多少的人渴望能有幸
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
看到宝贵的和平.
To see the dawn of peace.
今夜露营, 今夜露营,
Tenting to-night, tenting to-night,
今夜在这里露营.
Tenting on the old camp ground.

 

我们不再热切逞英勇.
Wǒmén bùzài rèqiè chěng yīngyǒn,
We are tired of war on the old camp ground.

有些人已把命送.
Yǒuxiē rén yǐ bà mìng sòng.
Many are dead and gone.

其他离乡背井的弟兄
Lí xiāng bèi jǐng de dìxiōng
Of the brave and true who’ve left their homes,

大都负伤惨重.
Dàdū fùshāng cǎnzhòng.
Others been wounded long.

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,
期望战火快快停.
Wishing for the war to cease,
有多少的人渴望能有幸
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
看到宝贵的和平.
To see the dawn of peace.
今夜露营, 今夜露营,
Tenting to-night, tenting to-night,
今夜在这里露营.
Tenting on the old camp ground.

 

今夜又在老战场上火拼,               
Jīn yè yòu zài lǎo zhànchǎng shàng huǒ pīn
We’ve been fighting to-day on the old camp ground,

诸弟兄遍地躺.                               
Dìxiōng zhū biàndì tǎng.
Many are lying near;

有些已逝, 有些奄奄呻吟,               
Yǒuxiē yǐ shì, yǒuxiē yǎnyǎn shēnyín,
Some are dead, and some are dying,

也有人泪满眶.
Yě yǒurén lèi mǎn kuàng.
Many are in tears.

有多少的人今晚心情不宁,
Many are the hearts that are weary to-night,
期望战火快快停.
Wishing for the war to cease,
有多少的人渴望能有幸
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
看到宝贵的和平.
To see the dawn of peace.

今夜成仁, 今夜成仁,
Jīn yè chéngrèn, jīn yè chéngrèn,
Dying tonight, dying tonight,

今夜在这里成仁.                           
Jīn yè zài zhelǐ chéngrèn.
Dying on the old camp ground.

 

祝你有个美好的七月四日!
Zhù nǐ yǒu gè měihǎo de qīyuè sìrì!
Have a wonderful 4th of July!

The Monkey King in Chinese

Talking about (wù enlightenment) reminds me of a character in a major Chinese novel written during the Ming Dynasty. This book is titled “西游记 (Xīyóujì), often translated as “Journey to the West”. The general plot of this fantasy novel is not unlike that of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, involving a journey on which the main character is aided by a number of other characters. However, “西游记 (Xīyóujì), 100 chapters long, features many more varied characters, mystical creatures, demons and seemingly endless episodes.

The principal character in “西游记 (Xīyóujì) is a monk, and the objective of his journey is to acquire sacred texts of Buddhism from 印度 (yìndù India). You can find a well written summary at this link.

Each of the main characters in the novel serves to illustrate a certain set of human characteristics. Let’s see if we can use some of the adjectives listed in Chapter 8 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” to describe the personalities of these characters.

The monk, 唐三藏 (Táng Sānzàng), is dedicated to his cause. He is idealistic and benevolent, but his defenselessness and impracticality are often taken advantage of by the team’s adversaries.

唐三藏心地善良, 但是无能.
Táng Sānzàng xīndì shànliáng, dànshì wúnéng.
Tang Sanzang is of a kindhearted nature, but incompetent.

The most capable and the most interesting of the monk’s three disciples is a mystical monkey born out of a rock. He becomes the Monkey King, 猴王 (hóu wáng), and receives training from a mentor, who gives him the name 悟空 (Wùkōng). As the word (sūn) also means monkeys, the author humorously assigned to this monkey the common Chinese surname (sūn grandson). At this link is a section of cartoon with helpful English subtitles that describes the early days in the life of the Monkey King. See if you can catch a few Chinese words here and there.

If you would like to see in animation how 孙悟空 (Sūn Wùkōng) meets up with the monk, you could watch the following two videos in English. (Video 1, Video 2) In these videos, Sun Wukong is referred to as Goku because this is how 悟空 (Wùkōng) is pronounced in Japanese

With a name like 悟空 (Wùkōng), which means being enlightened to the nothingness of life, Sun Wukong is, however, anything but. He has to get involved in any and everything, jumping at every opportunity to utilize his prowess to right the wrongs.

孙悟空聪明, 能干, 勇敢, 但是时常冲动.
Sūn Wùkōng cōngmíng, nénggàn, yǒnggǎn, dànshì shícháng chōngdòng.
Sun Wukong is clever, capable and brave, but often acts impulsively.

他是许多男孩儿心中的英雄.
Tā shì xǔduō nánháir xīn zhòng de yīngxióng.
He is the hero in the heart of many young boys.

One cannot help but chuckle when thinking about the second disciple who takes on the form of a hog. This 猪八戒 (Zhū Bājiè) represents many human faults – avarice, laziness and sensualism, which are counterbalanced by his amicable personality, straightforwardness and extraordinary physical strength.

猪八戒懒惰, 好吃, 但是强壮, 热情.
Zhū Bājiè lǎnduò, hàochī, dànshì qiángzhuàng, rèqíng.
Zhu Bajie is lazy and gluttonous, but strong and affectionate.

沙和尚 (Shā Héshàng) is kind of an average guy. He obeys the rules, does his duty with an even temper and takes a down-to-earth approach to solving problems. Being thus not an exciting character, he only gets a small part in the novel.

沙和尚正直, 忠实, 任劳任怨.
Shā Héshàng zhèngzhí, zhōngshí, rènláorènyuàn.
Friar Sand is upright, loyal, works hard and puts up with chiding and criticism.

The idiom, 任劳任怨 (rènláorènyuàn), could be translated as “being willing to put one’s nose to the grindstone”.

In reality, each one of us probably has some of the above-mentioned personality traits. Hopefully our strengths will compensate for our weaknesses and help us eventually achieve our individual goals.

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