The Lovers’ Return
· Meeting a Friend on My Way to Luoyang
At the foot of the hills lamplights hasten nightfall;
Over the hills clouds come and go like a pall.
Passing the village, I hear the partridge’s homesick song,
I’m glad to meet an old friend on my journey long.
Head covered with silk hood, a feather fan in hand,
While young, our steeds raised dust on the land.
Now languid, we’re in spirits low,
The scholar’s habit has brought us woe.
The poet regrets he is not a warrior but a scholar.
“The Lovers’ Return · Meeting a Friend on My Way to Luoyang” is a lyric written by Xin Qiji of the Southern Song Dynasty. The first stanza depicts the natural background of a coincidental encounter with his late friend, with the dim lights of a mountain village, few inhabitants, and a cold atmosphere, which gives a hint of Zhang’s humble and difficult retirement. The next piece recalls the youthful military career of his friend, with his dashing attitude and galloping horses. In the end, he turns to the present, showing that his career has fallen and his heart is depressed. The whole lyric uses allusions cleverly and naturally, although the words are short but the feelings are long and sincere and simple.