The River All Red
On Mounting Yellow Crane Tower
I gaze on Central Plain from afar.
Beyond the wasteland drear and dry,
How many city wails and towns there are!
In years gone by,
As many pavilions and bowers
Were screened by green willows and red flowers,
The Royal Hill adorned with pearls and emerald,
The Fairy Palace filled with flute songs. Now behold!
Neath city wails enemy horses raise a dust
When the wind blows in gust.
Where are our armed men?
By swords they were slain.
And people alike
Have filled moat and dyke.
Alas! The land still seems the same,
But villages lie ruined in war flame.
When can I get the order
To lead my warriors brave,
Whipping my steed, to cross the river wave
And clear the border?
When I come back again,
I’ll make a southern trip on yellow crane.
The poet is a famous general fighting against the Jurchen invaders with many victories but put to death by the emperor who fears to be dethroned if the emperors captured by the invaders should come back to the capital and be restored to the throne.
“The River All Red On Mounting Yellow Crane Tower” is a lyric written by Yue Fei, a lyricist of the Southern Song Dynasty. The upper part of the lyric describes the tragic scene of the beautiful rivers and mountains of the Central Plains being trampled under the iron hooves of the enemy, and expresses the sorrow and anger of the country’s affairs from the contrast between the present and the past. In the second piece, the author expresses his heartfelt grief and impassioned emotion as he writes about the heavy price paid by the army and people to fight against the Jin soldiers. This song “Man Jiang Hong” starts from the grammar to the lyrics, from “thinking of the past”, “to the present”, “when” to “but to return”. “The structure is rigorous and clear, and the language is concise and clear.