He's gone gathering herbs among/in deep clouds.

arueng

Senior Member
CHINESE
#1
I ask a boy under a pine tree,
"Where is your master?"
"He's gone gathering herbs,
Among/in deep clouds," answers he.


Hi,
I translated a Chinese short poem into the above English version, and I ran into a problem. Should I use in or among in the context? Thanks.
 
  • Eigenfunction

    Senior Member
    England - English
    #2
    I gather you are translating a poem about visiting an absent hermit.

    Short answer: As it's a poem, there isn't necessarily a clear and concise meaning to convey. As such, either in or among (or amongst) would work from a grammatical point of view.

    Long winded waffling answer: Another translation of the poem I found on the internet explicitly states that the master has gone up a mountain and is thus hidden by thick cloud. While this could be the case in your translation, you should be aware that, as with much poetry, different people may read it differently. What sounds a little odd to me is the mention of being in/among clouds without any mention of altitude. When I read it my thoughts are as follows:
    If they were low down clouds, I would call them fog, so…
    Are they metaphorical clouds or is he high up?
    I'm not saying that you need to make it clearer. I'm just trying to explain why it is difficult in cases like these to provide a hard and fast answer as to which word is correct or more idiomatic.
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    jp
    #3
    Hi.

    I somehow think "into" might be better!

    I thought the master was flying into the clouds.
    Because he was dead already. His body was no more exist, only his spirit.

    What do you think?
     

    arueng

    Senior Member
    CHINESE
    #4
    I gather you are translating a poem about visiting an absent hermit.

    Short answer: As it's a poem, there isn't necessarily a clear and concise meaning to convey. As such, either in or among (or amongst) would work from a grammatical point of view.

    Long winded waffling answer: Another translation of the poem I found on the internet explicitly states that the master has gone up a mountain and is thus hidden by thick cloud. While this could be the case in your translation, you should be aware that, as with much poetry, different people may read it differently. What sounds a little odd to me is the mention of being in/among clouds without any mention of altitude. When I read it my thoughts are as follows:
    If they were low down clouds, I would call them fog, so…
    Are they metaphorical clouds or is he high up?
    I'm not saying that you need to make it clearer. I'm just trying to explain why it is difficult in cases like these to provide a hard and fast answer as to which word is correct or more idiomatic.
    Thanks, Eigen, for going great lengths to reply my question.

    Got it!
    The pine tree can a good clue on the altitude. He is really in a high mountain!

    It struck me that I missed translating a line of the poem. Here is a new version:

    I ask a boy under a pine tree,
    "Where is your master?" The boy says,
    "He's gathering herbs in the mountain,
    In deep clouds, nowhere to be found."
     
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