Charm of a Maiden Singer
· Thinking of Ancient in Red cliff
The endless river eastward flows;
With its huge waves are gone all those
Gallant heroes of bygone years.
West of the ancient fortress appears
Red Cliff where General Zhou won his early fame
When the Three Kingdoms were in flame.
Rocks tower in the air and waves beat on the shore,
Rolling up a thousand heaps of snow.
To match the land so fair, how many heroes of yore
Had made great show!
I fancy General Zhou at the height
Of his success, with a plume fan in hand,
In a silk hood, so brave and bright,
Laughing and jesting with his bride so fair,
While enemy ships were destroyed as planned
Like castles in the air.
Should their souls revisit this land,
Sentimental, his bride would laugh to say:
Younger than they, I have my hair turned grey.
Life is but like a dream.
O moon, I drink to you who have seen them on the stream.
The poet praises General Zhou who defeated the strong Northern army by setting their warships on fire at the Red Cliff in 208.
“Charm of a Maiden Singer · Thinking of Ancient in Red cliff” is a lyric by Su Shi, a writer of the Song Dynasty, and is one of the masterpieces of bold lyrics. Through depicting the magnificent scenery on the river on a moonlit night, the lyric expresses in a twisted way the author’s sorrow and indignation for not having met his talent, not having accomplished his work, and not having achieved anything in his old age, and expresses the author’s open-mindedness and concern for history and life through the remembrance of ancient battlefields and the talent, temperament and achievements of the great men. The whole lyric expresses nostalgia through ancient times, is majestic, majestic, vigorous, and broad in scope, blending scenery, history, and lyricism into one, giving people a soul-stirring artistic power, and was once called “the best song of the past and present”.