Prelude to Water Melody
· Written at Huaiyin
In the capital then
We made merry in spring now and again.
With green belt and tassels red
We laughed and rode across the western river head.
At sunset we passed the ferry of peach leaves,
Flowers on head, we were retained by songstress’ sleeves.
Green wine poured out from vernal pot,
Hats off, we got drunk in the blue tower. Why not?
The Southern cloud in fright,
The Northern river flows away,
Both drift in different ways.
But languid now,
Where on earth could I unknit my brow?
I salute the old moon with wild geese in flight,
Without knowing on whom she sheds her light
Across mist-veiled river tonight.
In tears I see lush fragrant grass,
But no way leads to Western State, alas!
The poet leaves the Northern capital occupied by Jurchen invaders and, passing by Huaiyin, he writes this lyric for a songstress he loved in the lost Western State.
“Prelude to Water Melody · Written at Huaiyin” is a song written by Zhu Dunru, a lyricist of the Song Dynasty. It expresses the author’s deep feelings of longing for his relatives and his homeland. The first piece recalls the joy of spring excursions in the past, which is indulgent and heroic; the second piece speaks of the pain of wandering today, which is depressing and frustrating. The whole piece is a natural and heartfelt reflection of sorrow and happiness.