Song of the Immortal
Wine cup in hand, I listen to Water Melody;
Awake from wine at noon, but not from melancholy.
When will spring come back now it is going away?
In the mirror, alas!
I see happy time pass.
In vain may I recall the old days gone for aye.
Night falls on poolside sand where pairs of lovebirds stay;
The moon breaks through the clouds, with shadows flowers play.
Lamplights veiled by screen on screen can’t be seen.
The fickle wind still blows;
The night so silent grows.
Tomorrow fallen reds should cover the pathway.
The poet regrets that life will pass away just as flowers will fall.
The lyric “Song of the Immortal” is a composition by Zhang Xian, a writer of the Song Dynasty. In the first section, he writes about the infinite sorrows of spring and the regrets of life. In five sentences, he writes about five sad events: the song “Water Tunes” has a sorrowful sound, and he wakes up from drunkenness. In the next section, the author’s loneliness is described through “and birds”, and the moon’s shadow of flowers brings out the hopelessness of life. The whole lyric is an organic blend of the author’s lament about his old age, low status and uncertain future with the scenery of late spring, with a melancholy and sad tone, and with precise phrasing and skillful work on words and phrases, reflecting the main artistic characteristics of Zhang’s lyrics. Among them is the famous line “The clouds break through the moon and the flowers make shadows”, which has been recited for thousands of years.