Partridge in the Sky
· To the Laurel Flower
You are so tender, though of pale, light yellow hue;
Far from caress of heart and hand, fragrant are you.
How can you need the color of rose and green jade?
Beside you there’re no beautiful flowers but fade.
Envious mumes should grow;
Chrysanthemums feel shy;
By balustrade you blow
Under mid-autumn sky.
The poet Qu must be insensible of your beauty,
Or how could he neglect to praise you as was his duty?
The poetess describes the purity of the laurel flowers and regrets that Qu Yuan did not praise their beauty in his long poem Sorrow after Departure.
“Partridge in the Sky · To the Laurel Flower” is a lyric by Li Qingzhao, a female lyricist of the Song Dynasty. This lyric praises the osmanthus, using the group of flowers as a foil and the plum blossoms as a comparison, and develops three layers of discussion, figuratively expressing the lyricist’s heartfelt praise of the osmanthus. From the beginning to the end, it seems like she is complaining for the osmanthus, but in fact, she is expressing her own sorrowful feelings.