The roads in Wu-zhong have appeared in my dreams for three years. Now that
you are returning to Wu-zhong, I send my yellow dog 3 to accompany
you. When you call a boat to cross the Song River, do not disturb egrets and
mandarin ducks; Lao-zi used to pass by the four bridges on the river
Gazing at the painting of the Wang River 5, I admire the scenes of
late Spring. The painting often reminds me of the great poems of You-cheng
6. If I choose a date to return to Wu-zhong, God will surely approve. My
present Spring robe is still the needlework of Shao-man 7. It was
once soaked by the rain of Xi-hu 8.
Bo-gu was Jian Su's other first name. Jian Su and Dong-po Su had the same
surname. There is a Chinese saying, "People with the same surname are
descendents of the same family 500 years ago." They considered each other a
distant relative. Jian Su had stayed with Dong-po Su in Hangzhou City for three
years before he left for Wu-zhong to assume the office of Defense Minister.
Wu-zhong refers to Chang-zhou City in present day Jiangsu Province. For a
long time, Dong-po Su planned to retire to Chang-zhou City. In fact, he died
Ji Lu of the Jin dynasty had a dog called "Huang-er" ("Huang" means
"yellow"; "er" means "ears"). While Lu lived in Lo City, he tied a letter to
Huang-er's neck and sent the dog to his old home by the Song River. Later, the
dog returned to Lo City with a reply. See "The Biography of Ji Lu" in The
History of the Jin Dynasty.
Lao-zi is the founder of Taoism. Taoists, like Buddhists, revere animals
because they believe the prior life of an animal may have been that of a human.
Wei Wang had a summerhouse by the Wang River. He once painted a picture of
the Wang River on the wall of Qing-ling (cool) Temple at Lan-tian City in
present day Shaanxi Province.
6 "You-cheng" means "deputy prime minister". At the peak of his career, Wei
Wang was the deputy prime minister. Therefore, people called Wei Wang "You-cheng
Wang". Wei Wang wrote a poetry book titled The Wang River. It praises
various attractions of the Wang River.
Qu-yi Bai's wife, Su Fan, sang beautifully and his concubine, Shao-man
(little barbarian) danced gracefully. Bai's poem says, "The mouth of Su Fan is
like a cherry. The waist of Shao-man is like a willow branch." Here Shao-man
refers to Dong-po Su's late wife, Zhao-yun Wang.
Xi-hu (Western Lake) is an attraction of Hangzhou City.