Expressing My Feelings About Historic Sites Through Five Verses (II)
Du, Fu (712-770 CE)
As leaves quake and fall, I deeply understand Yu Song's sorrow
Talented, romantic, scholarly, and refined, he is my role model.
I lament that people have misunderstood him for a thousand years
Yu Song and I were left out in the cold by the rulers in different eras.
His house still exists and people recognize only his literary talent.
Was "the balcony for receiving the Goddess of Clouds and Rain" written to
describe love alone?
Now all the buildings of the State of Chu including its palace are gone.
The passengers in boats point at various sites,
But they are uncertain of the balcony's true location.
1 Yu Song (298-263 BCE) was a native of the State of Chu during the Warring
States Period. He was a disciple of Yuan Qu. The Poetry of Chu includes
several of Yu Song's poems such as "Nine Arguments", "Gao-tang Shrine", and "The
Lechery of Master Dengtu (Lothario)", etc. The first two lines of "Nine
Arguments" are "It is sad to call it Killing Spirits./ It is bleak and desolate
because grass and trees wither as leaves quake and fall." "Nine Arguments" used
Autumn's desolation to lament that officials with lofty ideals suffered unfair
2 It is said that the King of the State of Chu (c. 300 BCE) once visited Gao-tang
Shrine 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." This was a fiction fabricated by Song Yu. Its purpose was to advise a
king not to seek pleasure, but people misunderstood him and considered him an
immoral and a frivolous poet.