Prelude to the Song of Six States
· The Temple of Xiang Yu
At the Qin’s close
Liu and Xiang rose.
Whipping the world driving dragons and tigers away,
Killing the whales and sweeping the comets in array.
Beating the foe,
Quelling the woe,
Liu won the war
With an uproar.
Xiang’s army dispersed in moonlight,
His flags pellmell at the dead of night.
He listened in the tent for long
His native Southern song
With Lady Yu in tears,
Her jade-like soul in fears.
The beauty grieved to lose her lord;
She killed herself with snow-bright sword.
Unfortunately he could not run his horse;
Surrounded he could still frighten the pursuing force.
Could sky and earth not be moved to tears?
Gazing on homeward way ahead,
Could he survive the dead?
O where to find the hero’s soul at last?
The river’s still, the mist and water freeze,
It ripples in the breeze
Before the withered ancient trees.
Visitors would be moved none the less.
Could a hero be judged by failure or success?
By the end of the Qin Dynasty Xiang Yu (232—202 BC) and Liu Bang (256—195 BC) fought for the throne. Defeated, Xiang and his favorite Lady Yu committed suicide.
The Song Dynasty’s Li Guan’s “Six States’ Songtou – Xiang Yu Temple” is a nostalgic lyric from history. The whole lyric categorizes “The Chronicle of Xiang Yu” in “The Records of the Grand Historian”, and melts Xiang Yu’s tortuous journey from his rise to defeat into the lyric, focusing on Xiang Yu’s heroic spirit.