Lyrics: translated by Mr. Laurence Picken (1910-2007)
'Pale yellow willows: a chin in the cheng-p'ing mode (1).'
"I stayed at Ho-fei in the south of the city, west of Red Magnolia Bridge. The streets were mournful - different from Left of the River (Kiangsu and Anhui Provinces). Only the colour of the willows lining the streets, fresh and green, moved one to pity. Accordingly I composed this piece to relieve my feelings while a guest."
In the desolate city, the daybreak horn sounds through the streets of pendant willows.
On horseback in thin clothes, the cold is painful.
I see everywhere pale yellow and tender green (2).
All are old acquaintances from South of the River.
Just now I am lonely; tomorrow's dawn, moreover is 'Cold Eating' (3).
With an effort I carry wine to the house of Small Bridge (4).
I fear the pear-blossom has fallen everywhere; all is autumn colour.
Swallows come flying and ask: Where dwells the spring?
There is only a green of the banks.
(1) A chin 近 is a small song, like a ling 令. Neither stanza (一節詩) occupies six periods, as Chang Yen's verse (p.134) seems to imply for chin; stanza I occupies 4, and stanza II 5, periods. Cheng-p'ing is a dorian serios with e' as final.
(2) The willows.
(3) The perios of three days when fires are extinguished.
(4) Small Bridge was one of the two legal wives of Tung Han (109-183). The other was Large Bridge. Tung himself had the personal name of Ch'iao-hsuan (High Heaven) in which ch'iao has the alternative meaning of 'bridge'.
Thanks to Qin friend, Renjie's providing of the above two photos.