Custom Search

A Yard Filled with Fragrance 1

Qin, Guan (1049-1100 CE)

    The Mountain was painted with a thin layer of clouds. The sky stuck to an expanse of withered grass. The sound of military bugles died in the watchtower on the city wall. I resolved to delay my long sailing journey for the moment so that we could drink together before we parted. In vain, I recalled many past events that occurred in Peng-lai Pavilion 2. Only heavy mist and clouds remained there now. At sunset there were a few winter crows in the distance. Running water surrounded a lonely village.

    When I saw her secretly remove her sachet 3 and quietly untie her sash, I was overwhelmed with joy. I became a notoriously apathetic man in a green tower 4. I wondered when we would meet again after I departed. Tears stained our sleeves in vain. Broken-hearted, I stood on the tall city and looked into distance. I was oblivious to the blooming lights and the setting sun.

1 This melody title refers either to the flowers in a garden or to wine and music in a garden.

2 While Pi Cheng was the Mayor of Kuai-ji City, Guan Qin visited Cheng and lived in the guest house, Peng-lai Pavilion. One day Qin attended the mayor's banquet and fell in love with a courtesan who waited on him. Guan Qin could not forget her.

3 In ancient China, sachets were fastened behind a woman's elbows. Qin Fan's poem says, "Why does she make a shaking sound when she moves? It is because sachets were fastened behind her elbows."

4 "A green tower" means a brothel or a geisha house.