Eight Beats of Ganzhou Song
· Ancient Battlefield
The shore of the ancient capital in rank grass drowned,
The River Huai still goes around
The lonely ancient battleground.
The black-gowned young heroes like orchid bright
Wielded their spears to bar the cloud.
They beat the hostile army proud
Crossing the River Long
Like surging waves to frighten away the whale strong.
O how I wish the river which eastward flows
Would turn back to beat the foes!
A thousand years have passed,
At the foot of the mountain grass grows thick and fast,
The broken cliffs remember still the glory past.
Though clouds break on high and waves surge below,
Where to find heroes of so long ago?
All labor lost now as then will pass away.
Why should I come to grieve over the bygone day!
In Eastern Hills the hero’s old.
Could he alone in his late years hear the lute cold?
The poet overlooking an ancient battlefield from the mountain top thinks of General Xie who defeated at heavy odds the Northern enemy on River Fei in 382.
“Eight Beats of Ganzhou Song · Ancient Battlefield” is a lyric by Ye Mengde, a writer of the Song Dynasty. The first piece is a nostalgic piece, describing the topography of Bagong Mountain and recalling the battle of Interflow. The lyrics “Think of the young man in Wu Yi, the young man with beautiful hair, and the young man with a sword and a halberd” depict the image of Xie’s children and the majestic army of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. “The next piece describes the collapse of the former Qin army, like a flood of sinks and whales running. The next piece is from the past to the present. The next piece is a twist of the brush, which is out of the ordinary. The next piece expresses the admiration for the heroes, but also politely expresses the dissatisfaction with the peacemakers. Then it is the opposite, to deny Xie’s uncle and nephew, deny themselves, to tell the strong feelings of resentment in their hearts. In the last three lines, the writer expresses the painful situation that he is not relied upon for his ambition but is subject to suspicion. The whole lyric expresses the author’s sentiment that his ambition is difficult to be rewarded, which is generous and desolate, and his voice is intense.