Wen Tingyun Poems with English Translations: Tune: Dreaming of the South – 温庭筠《梦江南·梳洗罢》

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Wen Tingyun – 温庭筠














Tune: Dreaming of the South

Wen Tingyun

After dressing my hair,

I alone climb the stair.

On the railings I lean,

To view the river scene.

Many sails pass me by,

But not the one for which wait I.

The slanting sun sheds a sympathetic ray,

The carefree river carries it away.

My heart breaks at the sight

Of the islet with duckweed white.

Wen Tingyun (813—870) was traditionally regarded as the first major lyricist. His lyrics are richly embellished and full of implicit meaning, but this poem simply narrates in the folk-song manner the sorrow of a young woman who, gazing on the river and the islet where people used to bid farewell, is waiting all day long for the return of her husband.

Wen Tingyun – 温庭筠


The song “Tune: Dreaming of the South” is a composition by Wen Tingjun, a writer of the Tang Dynasty. It is a small order about a girl’s grievance. With the backdrop of the river, the distant sails and the slanting sun, the lyric captures the scene of leaning on a building and looking at it, creating an image of a pining woman who looks forward to her husband’s return with sorrow and hatred. The whole lyric expresses the heroine’s feelings from hope to disappointment and finally “broken heart”, with sincere and heartfelt feelings.

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