Farewell to Bo-gu 1 As he Departs for Wu-zhong 2

Su, Dong-po (1036 A.D.-1101 A.D.)

    The roads in Wu-zhong have appeared in my dreams for three years. Now that you are returning to Wu-zhong, I send my yellow dog 3 to accompany you. When you call a boat to cross the Song River, do not disturb egrets and mandarin ducks; Lao-zi used to pass by the four bridges on the river 4. Gazing at the painting of the Wang River 5, I admire the scenes of late Spring. The painting often reminds me of the great poems of You-cheng 6. If I choose a date to return to Wu-zhong, God will surely approve. My present Spring robe is still the needlework of Shao-man 7. It was once soaked by the rain of Xi-hu 8.

1 Bo-gu was Jian Su's other first name. Jian Su and Dong-po Su had the same surname. There is a Chinese saying, "People with the same surname are descendents of the same family 500 years ago." They considered each other a distant relative. Jian Su had stayed with Dong-po Su in Hangzhou City for three years before he left for Wu-zhong to assume the office of Defense Minister.

2 Wu-zhong refers to Chang-zhou City in present day Jiangsu Province. For a long time, Dong-po Su planned to retire to Chang-zhou City. In fact, he died there.

3 Ji Lu of the Jin dynasty had a dog called "Huang-er" ("Huang" means "yellow"; "er" means "ears"). While Lu lived in Lo City, he tied a letter to Huang-er's neck and sent the dog to his old home by the Song River. Later, the dog returned to Lo City with a reply. See "The Biography of Ji Lu" in The History of the Jin Dynasty.

4 Lao-zi is the founder of Taoism. Taoists, like Buddhists, revere animals because they believe the prior life of an animal may have been that of a human.

5 Wei Wang had a summerhouse by the Wang River. He once painted a picture of the Wang River on the wall of Qing-ling (cool) Temple at Lan-tian City in present day Shaanxi Province.

6 "You-cheng" means "deputy prime minister". At the peak of his career, Wei Wang was the deputy prime minister. Therefore, people called Wei Wang "You-cheng Wang". Wei Wang wrote a poetry book titled The Wang River. It praises various attractions of the Wang River.

7 Qu-yi Bai's wife, Su Fan, sang beautifully and his concubine, Shao-man (little barbarian) danced gracefully. Bai's poem says, "The mouth of Su Fan is like a cherry. The waist of Shao-man is like a willow branch." Here Shao-man refers to Dong-po Su's late wife, Zhao-yun Wang.

8 Xi-hu (Western Lake) is an attraction of Hangzhou City.