A Shrub of Flowers
· The Moon Viewed from the Hillside Hall
The wheel-like icy moon rolls in mirrorlike sky,
The silklike stream exhales a silvery light.
Drunk, I lean on picturesque balustrade high.
Who’s catching fish by beating the deck at night?
Tired crows and magpies rest in their dark nest;
The startled fish and dragon leap from water deep,
Stars hang and freeze on willow trees.
The waterside reed’s bed for miles and miles outspread,
The village veiled in autumn hue.
Fantastic bowers seem to mingle with wild dream.
I doubt if the riverside is where fairies abide.
The breeze brings dew to the land anew,
And sheds a light dreary and cold now as of old.
Icy moon, freezing stars, dreary light, all reveal the poets grief for the lost land.
“A Shrub of Flowers · The Moon Viewed from the Hillside Hall” is a lyric written by Chen Liang, a lyricist of the Southern Song Dynasty. The lyricist uses “playing with the moon” as the main theme, depicting the charming scenery of Jiangnan water town under the moon in multiple levels and angles. In the first two lines, he writes about the moonlight slanting over the river, giving a sense of poignancy and clarity; then he writes that he is enchanted by the picturesque moonlight, outlining a magnificent scene of moonlight and water reflecting each other. The next piece follows the previous one, writing about the scene of drifting reed flowers and pale water, and further expressing the feeling of “playing with the moon” by the fence; the ending has a steep change in tone, the scene has actually changed, and the mood is sad, implying the lyricist’s feeling of the country’s rise and fall. The lyric is picturesque, with movement in the stillness, writing about stillness with movement, combining reality and imagination, and expressing the will of the object, with a clever idea and a strict structure.