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The King of Lan-ling 1 (Seeing Spring off in 1276 2 )

Liu, Chen-weng 3 (1232-1297)

    Now that Spring has left 4 we can hardly find its trace. Beyond the swing, the fragrant grass meets the sky. Who sends the sandstorm to darken the southern shore 5 ? I recall the flying catkins at Hai-men (sea door) City 6. After the mobbish ravens flew by, the capital suddenly became a ruin 7. Now I no longer see the lanterns and streamers that decorated the streets when I arrived 8.

    After Spring is gone, who suffers most? I only see wild geese fly like arrows toward the horizon 9. The swallows on the beam do not know what to do 10. While cuckoos cry 11, the sun sets beyond Chang-men Palace. Jade trees are buried in the earth 12. The plate for catching divine dew is filled with tears of the god 13. After I bid farewell to my guests at the capital, I turned back to look at them many times. I could not go with them because the sun had set in the west.

    Will Spring return? I feel as sad as Yan Jiang did when he wrote his "Farewell" 14 or Xin Yu did when he wrote his "Lament South of the Yangtze River" 15. Su Dike is battered by wind and rain all day. I often dream that I have returned to my hometown. I especially remember the blooming flowers when I visited there last. Now I wander about destitute. All I can do is look after my child 16 and talk with him in the night.




1 The eldest son, Chang-gong, of Wen-xiang of the Kingdom of Northern Qi was given the title "the King of Lan-ling (orchid hill)". He was brave, but his face looked like a woman's. He thought his face was not manly enough to daunt his enemy. Therefore, when he fought against the troops of the Kingdom of Zhou, he wore a mask. After he defeated Zhou's army at Jin-yong City, his soldiers created a song, "The King of Lan-ling comes out for combat" to praise his bravery. The royal music school modified the song and performed it in the palace.

2 In 1276, the capital of the Southern Song dynasty fell to Kublai Khan's army.

3 Hui-meng was Chen-weng Liuís other first name. He was a native of Lu-ling City (present day Ji-an City in Jiang-xi province). When he was young, he was a student of Xiang-shan Lu, a great lecturer in the Royal University. In 1262, Liu attended the oral exam in the palace. He was given a third grade position because he offended the premier, Si-dao Jia. Later, he was recommended for two jobs: compiling history books and teaching at the Royal University. He refused both offers using the excuse that his elderly parents needed him to take care of them. Then he became the president of Lian-xi School. After the Southern Song dynasty was destroyed, Liu withdrew from society and lived in seclusion.

4 In March of 1276, Lin-an (present day Hang-zhou City), the capital of the Southern Song dynasty, fell to Kublai's army.

5 "The southern shore" refers to a place where two people part. Nine Songs says, "I send a good man off along the southern shore." Here the southern shore represents the Southern Song dynasty, which was located south of the Yangtze River.

6 This sentence refers to the emperor of the Southern Song dynastyís flight to the seashore.

7 This sentence refers to the fact that barbarous Mongolians captured and destroyed the capital.

8 This sentence describes how the Chinese people had prepared for the Lantern Festival before Kublai Khan's army arrived.

9 This sentence refers to the fact that the Chinese people fled from the capital.

10 This sentence refers to the Chinese people who were trapped in the capital when it fell to Kublai Khan's army.

11 The poem, "A colorful harp", written by Shang-yin Li says, "King Wang lost his kingdom;/ After he died, he became a cuckoo/ Expressing his hope and sorrow through his song." King Wang was the King of the State of Shu in the end of the Zhou dynasty. Yu Du was his other name.

12 Shi-suo-xin-yu (New phrases in Contemporary Chinese) says, "Wen-kang Yu died. Yang-zhou (a.k.a. Sun) He attended the funeral and said, 'A jade tree is buried in the earth. How can we not miss him?'" Here "jade trees" refers to the loyal officials who laid down their lives for the Southern Song dynasty.

13 San-fu (three advisors to the emperor) Gu-shi (stories) says, "Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty used bronze to build a plate ten feet in diameter to catch divine dew. A god statue, 200 feet tall, held the plate in his outstretched palm. People sought to become immortal by drinking the divine dew with jade flecks."
    The preface of the poem, "The Bronze God Said Farewell to the Han Palace", says, "In August of 233 A.D., Emperor Ming of the Wei dynasty ordered his officials to send wagons westward and try to move the god holding the dew plate from the Han Palace to his palace. When the officials removed the plate from the statue, the god wept before he was carried away."

14 Yan Jiang was demoted to be the Mayor of Wu-xing City during the Jian-an Period of the Han dynasty. Before he went to his new office, he wrote the poem, "Farewell", to his colleagues.

15 Lan-cheng was Xin Yu's other first name.

16 My child refers to the author's son, Jiang-sun Liu, who was also a poet.