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To the Tune of "Honoring the Stars and the Moon" 1

Zhou, Bang-yan 2 (1056-1121 CE)

The darkness of night hastened the watchman's drums 3;
The dew condensed the dust in the street.
The winding alley looked serene in the dim moonlight.
The bamboo fence and lit window guided me to Qiu-niang's yard 4.
When I met her, she smiled at me.
I felt as if we were a jade tree and a gold branch intertwined with each other.
She was like bright sunset on a warm day.
Her eyes were deep like autumn water.
Her love was as pure and fragrant as an orchid.
I had never had such a feeling before.

After seeing a painting with her smile like Spring wind,
I had longed to meet her.
After I arrived in her heavenly neighborhood,
I enjoyed being nurtured by misty rain and warm clouds.
It was a pity that a sudden strong wind blew us apart.
Now I travel to this cold and desolate area
And stay in a nearly vacant hotel.
Door after door is locked.
The only sound through the decayed wall is the sighing of autumn insects.
I wonder why my yearning continues to grow
Despite our separation by brooks and mountains.


1 The following two audio files have the same title, "Honoring the Stars and the Moon":

2 Mei-cheng and Qing-zhen-ju-shi ("ju-shi" means "master of the scriptures of Buddhism") were Bang-yan Zhou's other first names. He was a native of Qian-tang City (present day Hang-zhou City). Bang-yan Zhou mastered both music and poetry. Around 1080, as a student at the Imperial University, he wrote a 7,000-word poem, "Ode to the Capital" which praised Emperor Shen-zong's political reform. Soon after, Zhou was appointed as a professor at the university. Later, he was the mayor of Li-shui-xian City, Emperor Shen-zong's advisor, and then an official in charge of royal music.
    Guo-wei Wang (1877-1927) said, "Bang-yan Zhou mastered all styles of prose and poetry, but he failed to free himself from the influence of classics. Yan Zhang (1248-1318) criticized the lack of virtuous themes in the artistic conception of Zhou's poetry. However, although the poetry of Xiu Ou-yang, Dong-po Su, Guan Qin, and Ting-jian Huang is virtuous, their poems are not as refined and profound as Bang-yan Zhou's. If we compare the Ci poetry of the Song dynasty with the poetry of the Tang dynasty, Dong-po Su's style was like Bai Li's; Xiu Ou-yang and Guan Qin's style was like Wei Wang's; Yong Liu's style was like Ju-yi Bai's; Zhu He and Shu Yan's style was like that of the Ten Talented Poets During the Da-li Period. The only Ci poet whose style like Yu Han's was Qi-ji Xin of the Southern Song dynasty. People used to say Yong Liu’s style was like Fu Du's. It was incorrect to say so. Bang-yan Zhou was the only Ci poet whose style was like Fu Du's." Guo-wei Wang meant that Zhou's poetry epitomizes the poetry of the Northern Song dynasty.

3 This line says that the darkness makes one feel that the evening proceeds quickly into the dead of the night. In ancient China, the watchman's drums told people what time it was during the night.

4 Qiu-niang was a famous geisha girl during the Tang dynasty. Mu Du wrote a poem to her. Here "Qiu-niang" refers to the geisha girl Bang-yan Zhou admired.