Rank grasses grow, six dynasties’ splendors no more;
The sky is lightly blue and clouds free as of yore.
Birds come and go into the gloom of wooded hills,
And songs and wails alike merge in murmuring rills.
Like countless window curtains falls late autumn rain:
High towers steeped in sunset, wind and flute’s refrain.
O how I miss the lakeside sage of bygone days!
I see but ancient trees loom rugged in the haze.
The poet describes the ruins to show his regret for the past splendor. The lakeside sage refers to General Fan who was said to have retired by the lakeside with the beautiful Lady of the West after his victory over the King of Wu in 473 BC.
The poem titled “Ruined Splendor” is a seven-line poem written by Du Mu, a poet of the Tang Dynasty. The first six lines of the poem contrast the disappearance of the relics of the Six Dynasties with the still bright water of the sky, expressing a feeling of the impermanence of human affairs and the eternity of nature. In the last two lines, he suddenly thinks of Fan Li and laments that he has no chance to meet him and can only pay homage to his legacy with admiration.