I thought of looking in a neglected pre-Han/Han text, the Chuci 楚辭, specifically Qu Yuan’s famous poem Li Sao 離騷, for passages containing either the Chinese Dao 道 and Lu 路, or David Hawkes’ “way,” “path,” and “road.” Although it reads well, I have often found Hawkes’ translation somewhat odd (when I look at the Chinese text), but I am no expert, so…
With regards to Dao and Lu, the differences aren’t all that obvious to me. Some references seem to refer literally to a road and some metaphorically. I welcome any thoughts on this.
Hawkes: “Glorious and great were those two, Yao and Shun, Because they had kept their feet on the right path. And how great was the folly of Jie and Zhou, Who hastened by crooked paths, and so came to grief.” (p. 69)
First thing to catch my eye:
“Because they had kept their feet on the right path.” (既遵道而得路)
Is this a good translation? Zun Dao 遵道 = follow/obey (the) Dao (the Right Way, the way, the road, etc.) De Lu 得路 = obtain/attain/comprehend (the) road, path.
“Who hastened by crooked paths, and so came to grief.” (夫唯捷徑以窘步)
Is this a good translation? Jie Jing 捷徑 = quick path/way and thereby (以) Jiong Bu 窘步 = distressed steps/walk
Hawkes: “The fools enjoy their careless pleasure, But their way (Lu 路) is dark and leads to danger.” (p. 69)
Hawkes: “How can the round and square ever fit together? How can different ways of life (Yi Dao 異道) ever be reconciled?” (71)
Hawkes: “Repenting, therefore, that I had not conned the way (Dao 道) more closely, I halted, intending to to turn back again – To turn about my chariot and retrace my road (Lu 路) before I had advanced too far along the path to folly.” (71)
Is the last line a good translation?
Hawkes: “Tang of Shang and Yu of Xia were reverent and respectful; The House of Zhou chose the true way (Dao 道) without error…” (72)
I’m not sure how he came up with chose the true way, since Lun 論 means “to discuss.”
Hawkes: “How can I live with men whose hearts are strangers to me? I am going a far journey to be away from them. I took the way (Dao 道) that leads to Kun-lun mountain: A long, long road (Lu 路) with many a turning in it.” (77)
Note: Hawkes’ translation and commentary will be re-released later this year by Penguin Classics. Amazon link.