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To the Tune of "Expressing My Innermost Feelings" 1

Ou-yang, Xiu (1007-1072 CE)

The window curtain rolled up with a layer of light frost in the early morning.
She warmed her hands with her breath
And tried dressing herself in the plum blossom costume 2.
Because she was about to leave,
She penciled her eyebrows as long lines,
Shaped like distant mountains.

She easily falls into melancholy
When recalling the past and treasuring the time lost.
It is especially disheartening
To see her assume a serious expression before she sings,
And still furrow her brow while she smiles 3.

Notes

1 The title of the following video is "Expressing My Innermost Feelings":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgAsA9_-7wU

2 The plum blossom costume was designed by Princess Shou-yang, the daughter of Emperor Wu-di, during the Liu-song dynasty (420-479), one of the Southern Dynasties. One day she took a nap outside Han-zhang Palace. The plum flower petals fell on her brow. She could not brush them away. The pattern they made motivated her to design the plum blossom costume.

3 Because of the corruption in the emperor's court, Ou-yang could not realize his political dreams. Therefore, he expresses his sorrow metaphorically through a woman’s sadness.