Courtyard Full of Fragrance
For fame as vain as a snail’s horn
And profit as slight as a fly’s head,
Should I be busy and forlorn?
Fate rules for long,
Who is weak? Who is strong?
Not yet grown old and having leisure,
Let me be free to enjoy pleasure!
Could I be drunk in a hundred years,
Thirty-six hundred times without shedding tears?
Think how long life can last,
Though sad and harmful storms I’ve passed.
Why should I waste my breath
Until my death,
To say the short and long
Or right and wrong?
I am happy to enjoy clear breeze and the moon bright,
Green grass outspread
And a canopy of cloud white.
The Southern shore is fine
With a thousand cups of wine
And the courtyard fragrant with song.
The poet talks about his attitude toward fame and wealth, his detached, transcendental way of living.
“Courtyard Full of Fragrance”” is a lyric by Su Shi, a writer of the Song Dynasty. The upper part of the lyric ranges from sarcasm to cynicism, and the lower part from self-sighing to self-comfort, showing the author’s inner world of cynicism and open-mindedness after a major setback in his life, expressing the author’s attitude of forgetting both favor and disgrace and transcending things. The whole lyric is mainly a discussion, interspersed with lyricism, with a blend of emotion and reason, unrestrained and unrestrained, with a frank and natural language, and a spirited and spacious style.