• 《留客》 Detain your guest
If you must needs be gone, you should not to-day have set out hitherwards.
Despite myself I part from you, lest I suffer distress time upon time.
Men say that we flowers of the wilderness, however fair, yet are of no value.
Why then does youth in lust of flowers dote on the wild blosoms?
My lover, though high of worth, yet is another’s husband.
Hence passion’s transport in the wanton must needs excite resentment in the wife.
I were best sever passion’s silk thread and escape from memory of you:
So, when I can no longer see my lover’s face, let me sob with sighs by day and night.
‘Tis hard for you and me to repress our love.
Well met are we after long parting: how, then, tell me, could I bear to leave you and go home?
Not one in a thousand lives with his love: not one in a thousand is constant to the end.
Ah! Truly the world is baneful.
You and I each have one who constrains us not to meet.
In life I could not share your coverlet: but in death we shall be united.
• 《唔好熱》 The bane of heat
A baneful thing is such heat: from heat’s excess is born the wind.
Methinks the weather of the sky and the affairs of men are in the main alike.
You doubt? Then, look! When for a length of days the wind has veered southward, a cold gust speeds along.
So, though devoted to your lover, you must part, and for a while you must let each other go.
Methinks that in human life there are occasions of union, which it is not in your power to forgo.
Year by year the seventh night of the seventh moon is a date of meeting.
Folk say that meeting for but a single day is useless.
A day has twelve hours only, how can one therein tell the full tale of the heart’s sadness?
But I say that meeting for a day should not be deemed useless:
Year by year a single day will in length of days bring its guerdon.
Would men could imitate the Seven Sisters in love’s longevity, that union might last for a thousand years.
Herein is true passion’s test:
That parting comes but in life and not in death. Marvellous is such love’s strength.
• 《義女情男》 Virtuous maid and loving man
Why is your wrath so hasty? At sight of me your heart takes fire at once.
Long have we been acquainted: often have we been wroth.
I have been wroth with you and have been reconciled again: now even the word ‘passion’ cloys.
My lord, since your wrath is thus constant, certes I feel hardly used.
Submissive I have bent the neck too humbly: so I fear me that I have made sport for the passion of your nature.
In mine own despite I spoke out once in wrath with you, lest your cruelty should grow too savage.
Maybe hereafter you will take though, and listen again to my warning.
Now let us follow anew the way of friendship, avoiding other men’s blame:
For I have seen that between us two there is concord, therefore I cannot endure to part from you and choose another.
Though I have ever shown wrath toward you in my face, yet have I set you in my heart.
Would I could display my heart’s emotion, so that it might follow my lord and pass before his eyes!
Then I shall but grieve that it was nightfall e’er we saw each other.
Henceforth let not us two unclasp hands; we must ever be virtuous maid and loving man.
• 《自悔》 Repentance
Truly I also am ill-content.
‘Think you my love’s lightness casts a slur on you?
Wait! My passion’s mood is veering round, now I’ll be good to you, and none too late.
Folk say that, if wine be choice, you must drain half the bottle e’er you know its flavour.
Since erstwhile my ears were weak to your cozening, therefore I am so infatuate.
To-day, though the river water be so deep, yet together you and I must punt our craft to the end.
Ah! Almost half my life is spent.
‘Twas not my reckoning to live without you.
As thoughtfully I muse how once your heart’s care guarded me, tell me, how can I venture to ill-treat you?
• 《想前因》 On Predestination
Prithee, ponder a moment on predestined fate.
Why do I, in this life, sink into the red mundane dust?
Methinks committal to the world in woman’s sex of itself is pitiable.
The more, then, in green arbours does a girl suffer breaking of stalk and lack of root.
Splendour’s glamour lasts but during wassail over of the wine.
Wait till the guests scatter and the lamp grows cold, then you will feel heart-broken.
If I have a guest-gallant, then I am styled ‘my lady’: if none, then I am degraded.
An instant’s dullness makes me threefold viler.
If haply you meet an impassioned guest, then you still have some reliance.
But sorely I fear those unloving drunkards; they are as a blighting pest.
In fine, ‘twas from the day when I sank into the green arbour, that I sowed the seed of remorse.
Ah! Let me vent my spite!
Withal we must endure till flowers are bruised and tears run dry: e’er we have lived a single human life.
• 《蝴蜨夢》 A butterfly dream
The butterflies dream: they dream of circling round the flowers.
Butterfly! ‘Tis because you lust to ravish the famous flowers, that your dream is so frenzied.
Methinks, when mortal man meets passion madness, then even his pure dreams turn riotous.
Once the soul is bemused and the heart intoxicate, then its dream is of the sea of sin and of the heaven of passion.
Moreover, when love wins union, how can the insensate dream believe its brevity?
Indeed, it behoves you to seek for sweet dreams, and in the dream be close united:
Then day by day, and evening after evening, in dreams you will form a fairy family.
When soul-bereft I lie upon my pillow, I become in dreams peer of the wandering fairies.
Lo! His fantastic dreams are so steeped in trance, that, though I shout, he does not turn back.
The teal are wont, in united dream, to change into twin lotus-flowers on a single stalk.
Nay, say not that dream visions are in essence unsubstantial, and that human things may change.
How can I think that my spring-dream is but a transient cloud-vapour?
In fine, though dream-land be pleasure-land, I warn you cease from doting thereon.
Ah! The flower-dream easily is broken.
To-day, as I wake from my dream, my love is gone far away.
I grieve, I do but grieve, that the man of my heart was bound to me only by a dream-destiny.
• 《月難圓》 The waxing moon
Flowers fall easily: but the moon toilfully waxes round.
Flowers and moon have deep passion, therefore they are involved in this dire distress.
Flowers and moon of themselves are passionless, but men go doting upon them.
I grieve, I do but grieve, that both alike age men’s faces so hastily, and infect men with pity.
If flowers have passion, then sadly they gaze at the moon.
O Moon! Thou waxest round with such toil, how canst thou fail to make my heart sour?
If the moon knew how to pity fragrance, would she be willing to think slightingly of flowers?
But if the moon’s orb shine upon you long, then, though the flowers fade, yet you are in heart’s ease.
Though in all there be twelve months of the year, thine orb, O Moon, only twelve times waxes round:
And though flowers bloom in all four seaons, yet only for a moment they are fresh.
Since we are frail-fated as flowers, it is hard for us, O Moon, to look thee in the face:
If I look, yet when my blossom opens before thee, I fear thou wilt have lost half thine orb.
Though the moon wax round so toilfully, yet it is full, meseems, only for a day.
When the flowers fade, men wait till they reopen, but a whole year intervenes.
When our lover is far off at heaven’s verge, then we lament ourselves to flowers and moon.
Ah! The heart’s thread is tangled.
My eyes are strained: my heart is like to break.
My lord, I ever fear that constantly the open flowers will fall before your eyes, and constantly the waning moon wax round.