A Legend of Christina Rossetti’s “Song” in China

Christina Rossetti, “Song”, Translation, Legend, China


  • Jianxin Zhou
    Professor, School of Foreign Languages, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
August 14, 2022


“Song: When I am Dead, My Dearest”, a poem by the 19th-century British poetess Christina Rossetti, has been translated into more than one Chinese version and cherished by Chinese admirers since the beginning of the 20th century, among which modern poet Xu Zhimo’s translation is most well-known. Xu’s translation was later set to a song by the Taiwanese singer Luo Dayou and was popularly sung, even by the leading actress in TV series. The translations of the “Song” have also been anthologized into textbooks in colleges, middle schools, and primary schools and so have been widely read by Chinese students. The “Song” is now by no means an unfamiliar poem to Chinese literature lovers, music fans, TV audiences, and students; rather, it has created a legend of reception of foreign poems in China.