Water Dragon’s Chant
· Mount The Shangxin Arbour in Jian Kang City
The Southern sky for miles and miles in autumn dye
And boundless autumn water spread to meet the sky,
I gaze on far-off northern hills
Like spiral shells or hair decor of jade,
Which grief or hatred overfills.
Leaning at sunset on balustrade
And hearing a lonely swan’s song,
A wanderer on southern land,
I look at my precious sword long
And pound all the railings with my hand,
But nobody knows why
I climb the tower high.
Don’t say for food
The perch is good!
When west winds blow,
Why don’t I homeward go?
I’d be ashamed to see the patriot,
Should I retire to seek for land and cot.
I sigh for passing years I can’t retain;
In driving wind and blinding rain
Even an old tree grieves.
To whom then may I say
To wipe my tears away
With her pink handkerchief or her green sleeves?
The poet, seeing the lost Northern land from the Southern capital, sighs for he cannot drive the Jurchen invaders away.
“Water Dragon’s Chant · Mount The Shangxin Arbour in Jian Kang City” is a lyric written by Xin Qiji, a writer of the Southern Song Dynasty. The whole lyric is about what he saw on the way up, from writing about the scenery to expressing his emotions, and the emotions and the scenery are inextricably blended, writing his inner feelings in a subtle and full-bodied way. Although the words are painful and sorrowful, the tone of the whole lyric is still impassioned and generous, showing the bold style characteristic of Xin’s lyrics.