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Du, Mu (803-852 CE)

Beautiful, slim, graceful and young,
Like the bud on the nutmeg tree at February's beginning.
As the Spring wind blew along the magnificent mile of Yang-zhou City,
None of the girls I saw drawing up their beaded curtains 1 were as beautiful as she.


Though deep in love I was speechless.
I felt I could not smile as I raised my wine cup.
Only the candle had the heart to say farewell
And shed tears for us until dawn.

1 Under old Chinese traditions marriageable women lived in their boudoirs behind curtains except when they went on a picnic, attended a festival, or drew up their curtains to see outside. One rarely had a chance to see their faces. This increased their mystique. Given the advantage of makeup and mystery, these rich girls still could not compete with the beauty of the girl Du had admired.