On January 7th, I stayed in the guest house, Hall for Observing
Administration, of the Judge of Chang-sha City, De-zao Xiao. There is a curved
pond to the south of the hall. A ancient, low wall stands to the west of the
pond. A deep path winds through the thick grove of loquat and bamboo trees.
Following the path south we found scores of plum trees belonging to the city.
Their blossoms looked like those of peppers or beans: red bursting out of white
dew. The shadows of branches were abundant. While walking in clogs among green
moss and fine stones, I was greatly excited by the rural scenery. I made an
urgent request to ascend the Tower of King Ding 1. After the boat
crossed the Xiang River, I began to climb Lu Mountain 2. The clouds
were hanging low and the river's waves were peaceful. After my excitement faded,
sadness snuck in. While drinking wine, I composed this verse for the music.
There are scores of plum trees to the south of this ancient city. The red
blossoms are not suited to be decorative hairpins. The icy surface is sticky
like glue. Thick snow rises to the wall‘s waist. The clouds are dark and heavy.
The vines snake back and forth along the path lined with bamboo trees. The
laughter and conversation gradually coming from the path surprise the waterfowl
on the shoal. The secluded spring, woods, and the Monument of King Ding invite
me to climb the mountain.
Why do I wander from south to north? Currently, I visit the clouds and rivers
of Xiang 3. What I have seen saddens me. The local residents love to
post drawings of chicken 4 on their doors. In the beginning of Spring
they present gold plates with chicken as their offerings. I sigh in vain that
the time flies. I recall our exquisite meeting at the western tower
the hanging willow branches 6 waved in the wind like a thousand gold
threads. I am afraid that the Spring will have ended by the time we meet again.
1Scenic Locations in China says, "The tower of King Ding was located
east of Chang-sha City. The tower was built by King Ding of Chang-sha during the
Lu Mountain, also called Yue-lu Mountain, is located southwest of Chang-sha
Xiang is an abbreviated name for Hunan Province.
4Times and Seasons in Jing and Chu Counties says, "People post drawings
of chicken on their doors and hang reed ropes above the pictures. They also put
charms beside the pictures to expel evil spirits."
This sentence refers to the beautiful woman Jiang met at He-fei City.
This sentence refers to the hair of the woman Jiang met at He-fei City.