Peonies Cut Down
Hear the Music of Double-pipa in the Boat
The green plain extends far and wide,
The azure sky hangs over waterside.
The endless river flows with ripples purified.
On willowy lanes there’s no man in sight;
The willow falls down without shadow in flight.
People come back, drowned in slanting sunlight.
Girt with long belt and dressed with thin sleeves,
Girls vie in plucking flowers and green leaves.
They know how to tread on the waves, it seems,
On misty rivershore spring dreams,
Newly adorned with tassels red and ribbons green,
They live behind embroidered screen.
The painted boat goes without breeze.
The golden phoenix on the pipa sings with ease.
Who knows if the woe old or new is played?
Big and small pearls run riot on the plate of jade.
Flowers and eyebrows vie in beauty in vain.
When the princess sings of her dream,
It will calm down the moon and the stream.
The poet describes his boating on the lake and the music of pipa he hears in the boat. The princess refers to Wang Zhaojun married to the Tartar chief in 33 BC and dreaming of returning to her homeland.
“Peonies Cut Down Hear the Music of Double-pipa in the Boat” is a lyric composed by Zhang Xian in the Song Dynasty. The upper part of the lyric is about the dusk of the day, when the women are going home, saying goodbye to the hustle and bustle of the day, and all is silent. The next piece is about the lyricist in the boat listening to the pipa woman playing the song “Ancient and Modern Thoughts”, the song is still alive, leaving people with infinite reverie and reminiscence. The lyrics are written in a narrative way, depicting the scene with spirit and form, vividly; the author is good at sculpting words and phrases, using exquisite allusions.