The Highest Tower
I am old now.
Do I care for wealth and rank the world prizes?
Wealth and rank would lead to crisis.
Mu left the king who neglected to serve him wine,
And Tao would not bow for his stipend but resign.
I’ll learn from you.
I’ll build a garden called “Recluse”
And a pavilion where I may do what I choose.
I’ll drink at leisure
And chant with pleasure.
Land changes hands from year to year in north and south.
How many spoonfuls could one put at once in his mouth?
Stop your old song!
Do not tell me what’s right or wrong!
The poet shows how he values freedom above wealth and rank.
“The Highest Tower” is a work by Xin Qiji, a famous lyricist of the Southern Song Dynasty. The lyricist uses metaphorical expressions to scold the power-that-be and the profit-seeking commoners who persecuted him, and to express his intention to return to seclusion and seek happiness in the countryside because of his political disillusionment.