Song of Gallantry
The little pond is newly greened;
The breeze ruffles the window screened.
The broken shadows dance with slanting sunny rays.
I envy swallows flying to and fro
Under the eaves of golden hall,
And rampant flowers creeping high and low
Upon the age-old earthen wall.
I hear in curtained tower deep she plays
And vibrates zither strings.
She stops before she says anything,
She’d not betray her spring.
She sobs before she sings,
So sad as to decline
A cup of sweetest wine.
I know that after making up her face
She’d open crimson doors and pace
To view the moon from western bower.
It grieves me most tonight
That I can’t bring fresh shower for the thirsting flower.
When will she tell me with delight
The time for us to meet?
When may I send her mirror bright
And she in turn her incense sweet?
O Heaven! O what harms
If I stay a while in her arms!
This lyric describes the poet’s lovesickness for a married woman.
“Song of Gallantry”, a lyricist Zhou Bangyan of the Northern Song Dynasty, is to express his feelings of longing for a woman. The entire lyric is imaginative, with realistic and delicate descriptions. The first piece imagines a woman in the embroidered pavilion at dusk on a spring day, singing a song of sorrow, expressing the sadness that the woman is unattainable; the second piece continues to imagine the scene of a woman waiting for the moon in the west wing, expressing the painful resentment and strong hope of seeing each other from afar. The whole lyric is about the deep love for each other, and it’s very smooth. The language is beautiful, the use of allusions is natural and apt, and the expression of one’s longing is vivid and sincere. The whole lyric is from scenery to emotion, from the hidden to the obvious, step by step, until it reaches the climax of emotion.