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A Beautiful Barbarian Woman 1

Li, Yu [ 李煜 ]   (937 A.D.-978 A.D.)

    When the light fog flies in the dim moonlight, the blossoms are bright. Tonight is a good time to meet her boyfriend. Her stockings walk on the fragrant steps 2. Her hands carry gold silk shoes 3. After she meets her boyfriend south of the lobby, she leans close to him and trembles in his embrace. It is difficult for her to come out 4. This makes him love her even more tenderly.




1 This poem was written for Younger Queen Zhou. The History of Southern Tang says, "The second wife of Last King Li, Younger Queen Zhou, was the younger sister of Zhao-hui, King Liís first wife. Younger Queen Zhou was talented and demure. When Zhao-hui was sick, Younger Queen Zhou visited her boudoir frequently, but Zhao-hui was unaware of it. One day, when Younger Queen Zhou stood in front of Zhao-huiís bed curtain, Zhao-hui was astonished and asked, 'Is it you, my younger sister?' Younger Queen Zhou was young and did not suspect anything wrong, so she told her the truth, 'I have been here for several days.' Zhao-hui was disgusted with her younger sister, so she ignored her and went back to sleep. After Zhao-hui died, Younger Queen Zhou mourned her elder sister. She waited for a year and then married King Li. Even before her marriage, King Li's sentences 'Her stockings walk on the fragrant steps./Her hands carry gold silk shoes.' were well known throughout the Kingdom of Southern Tang."

2, 3, 4 These three sentences imply that Younger Queen Zhou did not want her dying sister to know about her date with King Li.