The Terrace Wall
Gallant the Southern land far and wide,
Six Dynasties in opulence vied.
Wine, woman and song on Terrace Wall,
Eight beauties wrote verse in palace hall.
In summer clear they mounted the cloud-scraping height,
Under the jadelike moon they loitered in long night,
They drank and crooned the years away.
Leaving the lovebirds tiles pell-mell
They tried to hide like frogs in a well.
On street of mansions overgrown with grass
No cabs could pass.
The swallows in the mansions of bygone days,
In whose hall now do they stay?
Over the tower the Silver River bars the sky,
The Plough hangs high.
The tide runs up and down on frosty River Huai.
The shadow of townwalls on cold sand falls.
Through the window gap of the bower
I see the songstress sing the Backyard Flower.
The poet sighs for the rise and fall of the Six Dynasties (317—589) .
This is a poem by He Chuan of the Northern Song Dynasty. The first piece uses the scenery to narrate the old events of the Six Dynasties, describing the desolation of Lord Chen, his indulgence in singing and dancing, and his pursuit of pleasure, which eventually led to the destruction of the country and his family, and the loss of his reputation. The next piece is about visiting the relics and sighing at the changes of the times, with a touch of sorrow surging in the heart. The author is saddened by the fact that the people in power in the world still do not learn their lesson and are extravagant and desperate. The author’s empty ambition, but there is no way to serve the country, but only to be a district warlord, he put his feelings of hanging the past and sorrowing the present into the reflection of history and the bleak and cold picture, which is thought-provoking and makes people sigh infinitely.
The lyrics are well-structured, clear and contrasting, with allusions to the past and the present. The whole work is good in both rhetoric and sentiment, and can be compared to Wang Anshi’s “Fragrance of Cinnamon – Ascent to Send the Eyes” and Zhou Bongyan’s “West River – Jinling Huai Gu” among other works of the same title in the Northern Song Dynasty.