The soul-melting willow
The willow, that melts souls in sorrow, plucks darkly at my garment.
O Willow! Since thus thou canst evoke passion, how canst thou suffer men to part?
The east wine has blown for a night: my love is a thousand miles away.
The evening clouds and vernal trees tinge my thoughts with love.
Barrier and hills are so distant, your handmaid can scarce post her letters;
Yet should your heart be unchanging as gold or rock, eternally immutable.
Say not that for the nonce, while hands are clasped, passion will endure: but that in a while, when hands unclasp, virtue will be flouted.
Remember how at Yong Kwan I gave my lord the willow-twig.
‘Tis mainly for your sake that since youth I have lost my maidenhood.
Alas for the word ‘passion’!
My lord, you heed not the present; yet should you remember the olden time.