Yearning for Love

He, Zhu 1 (1052 A.D.-1125 A.D.)

    Her steps, light enough to ride the waves, never pass by Heng-tang Road 2. I can only see the fragrant dust in the wake of her carriage. I am still in my "colorful harp years 3", but who wants to share a life with me? Are you by the Moon Bridge or in a garden? Are you by the jade window of the red mansion? Only Spring knows your whereabouts. As the night falls on the lake surrounded by fragrant grass, flying clouds 4 drift with the wind 5. Taking up my writing brush, I write new sad lines. I wonder how much sorrow I have. It seems as much as all the misty grass along the river, all the drifting willow seeds in the city, and the rain when the plums turn yellow.

1 The Biography of Zhu He, written by Meng-de Ye, says, “Fang-hui was Zhu He's other first name. He was a native of Wei County (present day Ji County of Henan Province). Zhu He said that he was a descendent of Adviser Zhi-zhang He of the Tang dynasty, so he called himself "Jian-hu Yi-lao" (Jian-hu means "Jian Lake"; Yi-lao means "a veteran of the preceding dynasty"). He had a protruded forehead and an iron-colored face. He loved to discuss state affairs in a straightforward manner that led people to consider him chivalrous. However, he studied broadly and mastered the language. His essays were deep, euphemistic, graceful and tightly-structured like embroidery. He was also good at writing poetry. He collected what people had discarded, modified it somewhat, and then assimilated it into his own; it became fresh and outstanding. He claimed that his writing had reached such an advanced level that Shang-yin Li and Ting-yun Xun could not catch up no matter how hard they tried. His first position was the supervisor of Tai-yuan City. After Ting-jian Huang returned from his exile and read Zhu He's poems, he compared Zu's poems to those of the great poet Yuan-hui Xie. However, Zhu was unable to advance politically because of his irascibility and excessive drinking. Later, he became the judge of Si City. He was unsatisfied with his position, so he retired early to Wu-xia (in present day Zhejiang Province). During his retirement, he compiled his poems into a book titled Poetry of Eastern Mountain.
    Zhu He was the grandson of Queen Xiao-hui and married a daughter of the imperial family. A prodigy in childhood, he later succeeded in his political career and became the emperor's advisor. His only weakness was his ugly face. The Notes in the Old Study Hut, written by You Lu, says, "People called Zhu He Gui-tou (Gui means "ghost"; tou means "head") He." Therefore, during is lifetime Zhu He could hardly capture the heart of any beautiful woman.

2 Zhu He's house was located along Heng-tang Road.

3 "Colorful harp years" means the prime of one's life. To see this connection, read the poem "A Colorful Harp" written by Shang-yin Li.

4 It is said that the king of the State of Chu (c. 300 B.C.) once visited Hill T and he made love to a woman in his dream. She told him, "I am a goddess living south of Wu Mountain. Because the mountain is an obstacle between us, I will become morning clouds and travel as night rain to meet you at your balcony." Here "flying Clouds" refers to beautiful women.

5 "Drift with the wind" means "they cannot make up their minds".