Nursling Swallows’ Flight
The stone bank’s shadows shake in the waves of the lake;
In summer breeze a boat comes near
When the green shade at noon is clear.
A few miles away from the city wall,
Over mossy lanes and pine-clad hills clouds veil all.
With boots on foot and cane in hand,
We can see in mid-air the pavilion stand
With a far-flung view to command.
See floating peaks in beauty vie,
Marvels under the sky.
In vain have oldened men;
The scene’s the same as then.
Do you not know boats come and go
Now as long, long ago?
How many times has the sun set?
How many things not to forget?
Who would now enjoy the beautiful evening scene?
None but lotus in rain and mist-veiled willow green.
Who are my friends who know me?
Only the gulls and swallows keep me company.
Laughing and beating on the rail,
I ask General Fan to what avail
He had conquered the Northern land?
Now he had only a fishing line in hand.
Days pass by, rain or shine;
I’d drink a cup of wine.
Unable to save the tottering dynasty, the poet tries to enjoy the beauty of West Lake with his friends. General Fan refers to the general who had conquered the Kingdom of Wu in 473 BC and retired to fish on the lake.
The lyrics of “Nursling Swallows’ Flight” is a song written by Zhou Mi, a lyricist of the Southern Song Dynasty. The upper part of the lyric remembers the trip to Suwan, as the author has been here more than once, “the scenery has been well known before”, so the closing line of the upper part expresses his feelings, as the saying goes, “people are old, the scenery is as old as before”. The next stanza expresses the author’s sentiment when ascending to the temple, showing his negative thought of not wanting to fight for his career and being independent of the world. The lyrics are meticulously and beautifully worded, with a staccato, poignant, and depressing.