Courtyard Full of Fragrance
A belt of clouds girds mountains high
And withered grass spreads to the sky.
The painted horn at the watchtower blows.
Before my boat sails up,
Let’s drink a farewell cup.
How many things do I recall in bygone days,
All lost in mist and haze!
Beyond the setting sun I see but dots of crows
And that around a lonely village water flows.
I’d call to mind the soul-consuming hour
When I took off your perfume purse unseen
And loosened your silk girdle in your bower.
All this has merely won me in the Mansion Green
The name of fickle lover.
Now I’m a rover,
O when can I see you again?
My tears are shed in vain;
In vain they wet my sleeves.
My heart to find your bower out of sight;
It’s lost at dusk in city light.
The poet writes this lyric for his beloved songstress in the Green Mansion.
The lyrics of “Courtyard Full of Fragrance” are written by Qin Guan, a lyricist of the Song Dynasty. Although this lyric is about eroticism, it can be integrated with the feeling of life and death, which is like a dream in the past. In the first section, he writes about the scenery and introduces the idea of parting. The two verbs “wipe” and “even” show the spirit of the landscape painting, revealing the coldness and sorrow in the high and vast landscape, which matches the poignant mood of the whole song. Then, “how many old things in Penglai” are dissolved in a flurry of smoke and mist, expressing in a nutshell the sadness and confusion of both parties in parting. The three lines of “outside the slanting sun” open up the scene, and the meaning of parting is deeply embedded in it. The next section uses white descriptions to express the sadness and hatred, showing his own feelings of being out of the way in the jungle. The whole lyric is a combination of scenery and emotion, and is very popular.