Letter to Judge Ch'o Han in City Yang

Tu, Mu (803 A.D.-852 A.D.)

Green mountains are indistinct at the end of the blue sky;
The river flows to the distance where my friend has gone.
On the south side of the Yangtze River,
Trees and grass wither when the autumn ends 1.
There are twenty-four picturesque bridges 2 in City Yang;
I wonder on which bridge Han is teaching female musicians to play clarinets on this moon-lit night.

1 Between 833 and 835, Tu and Han worked for the same general. Tu was a secretary and Han was a judge. At the time this letter was written, Han had traveled to a big city, City Yang, famous for great scenery and beautiful women. Tu remained at a small town, south of the Yangtze River. City Yang was to the North of the Yangtze River. The weather in the north was supposed to be more severe than that in the south. Since the small town lacked great scenery and beautiful women, Tu's romantic perspective led him to portray it as more boring and depressing than City Yang.

2 The names of the bridges: The Bridge in the Field of Tea, the Big Bright Bridge, the Nine-Bends Bridge, the Rainbow Bridge, etc. A pavilion was built on the Rainbow Bridge in 1751. Lacking proper maintenance over a long period of time, the bridge finally collapsed. In 1972, the Rainbow Bridge was rebuilt at its old location.