Drinking to the Moon on the River
· Roply to Fanewell in Post Houso
Immense is the universe.
Could dragons be imprisoned in pools so small?
How can we stay in wind and rain,
In grief and pain?
How can we bear
Cold crickets’ chirp at the foot of the wall?
Where is the hero, spear in hand, crooning his verse?
And where’s the talents’ tower? All
Has vanished like snow in the air.
Seeing the river
We need not fear
No hero would appear.
Alas! Like wafting leaves, you and I,
We come again to River Huai,
When the cold breeze begins to blow.
In the mirror we find a face aged in woe,
But still unchanged is our loyal heart.
Now for the northern desert we start;
Turning our head,
We see a hairlike stretch of land outspread.
If my old friend should think of me,
Listen to the wailing cuckoo on the moonlit tree!
The poet, prime minister of the Southern Song Dynasty and captive of the Tartar invaders, writes this lyric in reply to a fellow captive on their way to the Tartar capital. The lyric shows his loyalty to the Song Dynasty.
The libation is a lyric by the patriotic writer Wen Tianxiang in the late Song Dynasty. It describes the author’s life as a prisoner and his feelings arising from it, showing that the author not only preferred to die, but also believed that more great men would rise up to continue the struggle in the future. The whole lyric is straightforward, impassioned and generous, bleak and mournful, fully expressing the author’s loyalty to the Southern Song Dynasty and his noble national temperament.