Spring, flowers, autumn, moon.
Spring! Go not yet! I still must speak a word of counsel with you.
As year by year I part from you, my passion is wrung with pain.
When I see how fitful is the plight of flowers, then my soul is distraught.
In fine, it is because meetings and partings have no norm, that a man’s life is uncertain
If indeed my fate were not wedded to yours, I should not dare thus to force myself on you.
Why, after taking counsel together for three spring months, are we sundered in separate places?
Behold, my prince has gone home, therefore my anguish increases.
I have no means of detaining you, meseems I have flouted spring’s radiance.
Methinks, the glorious scenes of spring are but an empty circumstance.
Ah! I have naught else to say.
I speed my lord down the Nam-pho river.
Now, though a letter is in my hand, I find it hard to write. Pity that my paper is so brief and my love so lasting!
Flowers! Fade not yet! Let me still enjoy your fragrant features.
In hopeless sorrow I gaze upon you in the pelting rain.
Whose heart is not hurt at mention of beauty’s brevity?
Methinks this human world is as fitful as are ye.
O flowers! Sometimes in stillness of night you waft me your fragrance.
Truly you spite men by your charms, whether ye be faintly tinted or deep-stained with red.
If you, O flowers, were not fragrant, you could not infect me with true love’s emotion.
Only ‘tis pity that I am strengthless to protect flowers. I grieve at the East Wind.
Now also I cannot avail you against madness of bees or errantry of butterflies.
Ah! Your handmaid’s sorrow has a myriad phases.
Bygone things are most like a dream.
Whoso has a heart to pity fragrance, it behoves you to record his memory on the silk-stringed lyre of dryandra wood.
O Autumn! Age not yet! Still must thou detain the splendour of the year.
Sorrow-fibres are knotted all around my breast, as I stand facing the sedge.
Folk say the autumn wind’s whistling makes men afraid.
But I love to watch the flooding and flowing autumn waves submerge the red clouds of sunset.
Since thou, O Autumn, art passionless, I doubt whether thou wilt long tug at my heart.
I see thou art wont to detain the bright moonshine upon my window curtains.
In fine man’s pleasure is all centred in those phases of graceful animation.
Say not that, because the wind is sad-sounding, therefore you are grown thinner than the yellow aster’s stalk.
Methinks, Sung Yuk’s lament for autumn is all an empty tale.
Who does not yearn, in face of autumn, to go afloat upon the fairy raft?
Now, since I pity the autumn, autumn too should pity me this once.
Alas! Your maid is stifled with dumb sobbing.
I gather asters beneath my eastern lattice.
Lo! Upon the Tsham-yong river, tears are shed over the guitar.
O Moon, sink not yet! Still shouldst thou shine on me throughout the night.
When in the dark I think of my lover, then I feel but the more forlorn.
Men only understand that thou, O Moon, waxest full and round, therefore their heart laughs with gladness:
How can they understand that, after the moon is full, little by little it waneth?
O Moon! Your orb is full but once a month: methinks ‘tis far too seldom.
Would I could meet thee night by night for all the thirty nights, being summoned to see thee.
Hazard, a question to Shong Ngoa, whether our fate be union or parting! She should have some cognizance thereof.
Why may not fate lead me to wedlock? Wherefore is the Blue Bridge thus pulled in pieces?
My love-affairs are overmany: fain would I that thou, O Moon, shouldst settle them for me.
Ah! Your handmaid’s sorrow knows no end.
Who will unfold my piteous passion?
Would that I could meet my lord night by night at tryst as certain as the ocean-tides!