On Jing Ke
Prince Dan of Yan had heroes in his court
And sought revenge on Qin with their support.
Among the hundred warriors free from fear,
Jing Ke was chosen at the end of the year.
Prepared to help his friend, an honest man,
Jing took his sword and left the state of Yan.
White horses neighed upon the open fields;
Men wished his good luck with their swords and shields.
His hat appeared to rise with indignation;
His tassels seemed to quiver with vexation.
In the farewell banquet by the Yishui Stream,
Sat at table heroes of esteem.
Gao Jianli struck up a poignant note;
Song Yi sang songs at the top of his throat.
High and low, the wind whined sad and bold;
Up and down, the waves sobbed mad and cold.
The low-pitch notes moved heroes into tears;
The high-pitch notes freed warriors out of fears.
Jing was aware that he could not return
But his fame as a hero he would earn.
He ne’er looked back when he stepped on his cart,
Riding to the Qin court with a valiant heart.
Ten thousand miles were passed without delay;
A thousand towns were travelled on the way.
When the map was unrolled, he thrust his sword
At the king of Qin, a tyrannous lord.
Pity that his thrust had missed the king,
A spoiled exploit of which the bards would sing.
Although the noble-minded Jing is dead,
For a thousand years or more his name will spread.