Tune: Che-ku t’ien
Title: On the Ninth,1 outside Feng-yi Gate, I Passed by P’ei-ts’un’s2 Country House.
Wild water and an arching bridge,
left from another time:
I try to confess to the old gulls
a heart full of sorrow.
Sad and confused in a southern suburb3
I dropped my whip as I passed.
Toward the clear and bitter western range
I peer from under my hat.4
These tears newly dried,
These poems set to ancient tunes.
Butterflies seldom come
to the lonely house gates.
Red dogwood, white chrysanthemums
have survived unharmed.
Only: before the wind there
there is what I brood on.
1. On the ninth of the ninth month, when friends usually gather to climb the heights together.
2. Courtesy name of Liu Kuang-ti(1858-1898), a poet and one of the “Six Gentlemen” who met a martyr’s death after the failure of the abortive 1898 Reform Movement.
3. Alluding to the letter, an apologia for his way of living, sent by the recluse Wang Seng-yu (?-ca. 493) to his cousin, containing the following lines:
Your home is near the marketplace ;
Mine is at the southern suburb.
Your home is crowded with guests;
Mine is full of sparrows.
4. Alluding to the story about the handsome general Tu-ku Hsin of the Tsin and Eastern Wei period, who one day came back into the city from hunting at dusk, wearing his hat aslant, thus unwittingly setting a fashion when his admirers in the city on the next day all wore their hats the same way.