The Romantic Man 1

Zhou, Bang-yan (1056 A.D.-1121 A.D.)

    There is a small pool surrounded by green trees. As the wind blows the bamboo-blind in the doorway, the fragmented shadows 2 dance with the slanting sunshine. The swallows that used to build their nests in this gold mansion 3 have passed by and then flown back. They circle around the garden and cross the mossy wall 4. I wonder how many curtains there are in your boudoir 5. As I approach your dwelling, I hear a band playing reed and stringed instruments 6. I wish to speak, but I do not after giving it a second thought. I want to leave, but I worry that I would break my promise to visit you. I feel choked even though I try to sing. The sorrow drives me to a wine jar. I know from a distance that you just dressed, opened the red door, and went to the west wing to wait for the moonrise 7. It was a pity for my soul that it failed to meet you in my dream last night. I wonder when I can tell a secret: I want to leave my Qin-mirror 8 with you in exchange for Han-fragrance 9. If God is willing to bring us together, why not let us meet for a little while?

1 While Zhou was the Mayor of Li-shui City of the Jiang-ning Metropolitan Area, the wife of his secretary was beautiful and intelligent. Zhou often invited her to his party to have a cordial chat with her. Consequently, later generations gave the melody of the above poem of Zhou the following title: "The Romantic Man".

2 "Shadow" refers to the shadows of the pieces of the bamboo-blind. The spaces between bamboo pieces will create bright lines in the shadow. As the wind blows, the bright spots seem to break the shadow of the bamboo-blind into pieces.

3 "Gold mansion" means "magnificent house". While Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty was a prince, Princess Chang wanted to marry her daughter to him, so she asked Wu, "Would you want to have A-jiao?" Wu replied, "If I had A-jiao, I would put her in a gold mansion."

4 "Cross the mossy wall" means "enter the house to build their nests".

5 Zhou was sad because the swallows could enter her house and build nests but he was outside of her curtains.

6 The music made Zhou more disheartened because she was having fun with someone else.

7 In the novel, The Love Story in the West Wing, written by Zhen Yuan, the heroine, Ying-ying, writes a poem to her boyfriend, Mr. Zhang. It says, "I am waiting in the west wing for the moonrise./ My door half opens to welcome the breeze."

8 During the Han dynasty, Shu Xu, the wife of Jia Qin, gave a bright mirror to her husband as a gift. Jia Qin wrote a poem to thank her. It said, "A bright mirror with dragons circling around was given to Jia Qin."

9 During the Jin dynasty, Wu Jia, the daughter of Chong Jia, loved Shou Han and gave him a bundle of incense. Chong Jia smelled the fragrance from Han's body. He knew his daughter gave Han the incense, so he married Wu to Shou Han.