I Will Remember How Happy I Was When We Were Together

Liu, Chen-weng (1232-1297)

Prologue. In 1275 A.D. 1, when I read Qing-zhou Li's poem, "I Will Remember How Happy I was When We Were Together" 2, I wept. It has been three years. Whenever I hear this poem of hers, I still cannot bear such a sad tune. Therefore, I follow her rhythm and use her metaphor to write this poem. Even though my writing is not as elegant as hers, my loss is worse.

    The rain has just stopped and the moon shines like jade. The dark clouds drift far away and become lighter. Who will be in charge of Spring? The delicate chill of the palace garden has not yet faded, the warmth of the lake dike makes people drowsy 3. Recent events have changed things so fast. Even though fragrant dust obscure the roads and splendid lamps are bright like day 4, I am not in the mood to enjoy going out with my friends 5.

    The beautiful scenery is the same as that in the old days during the Xuan-he Period 6 or that when Emperor Gao crossed the Yangtze River and established Lin-an as the capital 7. With weathered hair bun and surrounded by numerous light yellow book jackets 8, I feel it is painful to write poems during this Lantern Festival 9. There is no trace of Spring on roads south of the Yangtze River 10. When I recall Fu Du's longing to return home to Fu-zhou City 11, who can understand my sorrow? I cannot fall asleep and face the drying lamp in vain. The village is filled with the sound of drums from the parade.

1 This year was one year before Kublai Khan destroyed the Southern Song dynasty.

2 Qing-zhao Li wrote "I Will Remember How Happy I was When We Were Together" to to show how she missed her late husband.

3 This sentence implies that the Southern Song dynasty was destroyed not long ago, but most people seemed to have forgotten it already.

4 Chinese people celebrated the Lantern Festival on the evening of the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar. Fragrant smell was everywhere. There was so many carriages coming and going that dust obscured the roads.

5 Liu grieved over the perished Southern Song dynasty.

6 "The old days during the Xuan-he Period" refers to the peaceful days during Emperor Hui's reign.

7 The troops of Kingdom of Jin successively captured Emperors Hui and Qing of the Northern Song dynasty. Emperor Gao fled south, crossed the Yangtze River, and established Lin-an (present day Hang-zhou City) as the capital of the Southern Song dynasty.

8 "Light yellow book jackets" refers to the author's books.

9 After Kublai Khan ruled China, free speech was denied to the Chinese.

10 This sentence implies that there was no hope of restoring the Southern Song dynasty.

11 In June of 756 A.D., the rebel troops attacked Tong-guan City. Fu Du fled to Fu-zhou City with his wife and children. In August, Fu Du wanted to go to Ling-wu City by himself to work for Emperor Su. On his way there, he was captured by rebels and brought back to Chang-an City. During his captivity, he wrote a poem, "The Moonlit Night" and sent it to his wife. It says, "Tonight you can only watch the moon of Fu-zhou City alone in your boudoir."