Liu Zongyuan: The Rocky Gorge ~ 《石涧记》 柳宗元 with English Translations

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《石涧记》 柳宗元


The Rocky Gorge
Liu Zongyuan

After exploring the trough I struck northwest from the bridge down the north side of the hill, to where another bridge has been made. The water here is one third wider than at the trough. And from bank to bank the brook is paved with rock which resembles in turn a couch, a hall, a banqueting table, or an inner chamber. The water flows smoothly over, with ripples like patterned silk and a sound like the strumming of a lyre. I tucked up my clothes and went barefoot, breaking off bamboos, sweeping away dead leaves and clearing the rotten wood, so that now eighteen or nineteen people can recline on hammocks here. The waves eddy and gurgle beneath these hammocks, which are shaded by trees with green plumage and rocks with dragon scales. What men of old knew such enjoyment as this? Will later generations tread in my footsteps? My pleasure that day was as great as when I discovered the trough.
From Yuan Family Ghyll you come first to the trough, then to this gorge. From Hundred Families Creek you come first to the gorge, then to the trough.
The only accessible part of the gorge is southeast of Stone Town Village, where there are several delightful spots. Further up, the high hills and dark forests grow steep and impenetrable, and the narrow paths are difficult to follow.

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