Courtyard Full of Fragrance
After thirty-three years.
Who still remains today?
Only you and the long, long river stay.
Upright like the cypress evergreen,
Frost-proof, you have no compeers.
In your old county I have seen,
Your cot surrounded by bamboos
Stands by the cloudy stream framed with pine tree on tree.
If you leave the southern shore not to say adieus,
How could you come to see me?
After a sudden shower the trees
Dance in the breeze,
A veil of mist rises with cloud screen.
I hold high the wine cup
And invite you to drink it up.
Now old, I think it’s like a dream sweet
To drink face to face with you.
We hear no more songs of adieu,
For early risers, drums begin to beat.
The poet writes this farewell poem for his friend Chen Jichang.
“Courtyard Full of Fragrance” is a lyric by Su Shi, a writer of the Song Dynasty. This lyric focuses on portraying the image of Wang’s outstanding scholar and expressing his sentiment that he is like his old friend. The first three lines compare Wang’s longevity with the Yangtze River in front of him; the two lines of “awe-inspiring” compare his appearance with the frosty stem of the cypress; the three lines of “hearing the way” describe the excellence of his residence; the two lines of “not because of” echoing the sequence of words, pointing out that he visited because of sending Chen’s legacy; “Tahiti” in the fourth sentence writes that the rain and wind rose because of his arrival, and the forest broke into smoke, to show the excellence of his action; “I wish to hold “The following five lines are about drinking with him and admiring his health as frosty juniper with his own decline; the last three lines are about the regret of meeting in a hurry, but without the usual sadness of a farewell poem. The whole lyric melts narrative, writing, scenery, and lyricism in one, and the whole piece is one, with strong arguments, concise language, and commensurate sentiment.