Eight Beats of Ganzhou Song
Shower by shower
The evening rain besprinkles the sky
Over the river,
Washing cool the autumn air far and nigh.
Gradually frost falls and blows the wind so chill
That few people pass by the hill or rill.
In fading sunlight is drowned my bower.
Everywhere the red and the green wither away;
There’s no more splendor of a sunny day.
Only the waves of River Long
Silently eastward flow along.
I cannot bear
To climb high and look far, for to gaze where
My native land is lost in mist so thick
Would make my lonely heart homesick.
I sigh over my rovings year by year.
Why should I hopelessly linger here?
From her bower my lady fair
Must gaze with longing eye.
How oft has she mistaken homebound sails
On the horizon from mine?
How could she know that I,
Leaning upon the rails,
With sorrow frozen on my face, for her I pine!
The first stanza describes the autumn scenery and the second the poet’s homesickness and lovesickness for a fair lady he loves.
“Eight Beats of Ganzhou Song” is a work by the Song Dynasty lyricist Liu Yong. It expresses the author’s sorrowful thoughts of wandering in the rivers and lakes and his disappointment in his career. The first piece depicts the bleak scene of the cold sunset on the Guan River in the evening after the rain; the second piece expresses the lyricist’s eagerness to return home after a long stay in another country. By describing the hardships of travel, it expresses the strong emotion of longing for home and the typical feelings of the intellectuals in feudal society who were unsuccessful in their endeavors, thus becoming a famous piece recited for thousands of years.