Melancholy in the Women’s Apartments by Jiang Zong

A silent, blue pavilion by the highway,
With white snow fluttering past its silken windows.
The love-birds on the lake are not alone,
Behind the curtains Suhe incense smokes.
The screen seems bent on shutting out the moonlight,
The unfeeling lantern-flame glares on her, sleeping alone.
“In Liaoxi with its frozen rivers, spring is very short,
From Jibei the geese are coming, several thousand leagues.
May you cross quickly over the mountain passes,
Knowing my beauty, like peach or plum, will last but a moment.”

From: Minford, John and Lau, Joseph S. M. (eds.), Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations, Volume I: From Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty, 2000, Columbia University Press: New York and The Chinese University Press: Hong Kong, p. 561.

Date: 6th century (original); 1967 (translation)

By: Jian Zong (518-590)

Translated by: John David Frodsham (1930-2016)

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