The peach-blossom fan
The peach-blossom fan has written upon it a poem of heart-breaking verse.
If you write of deep passion, the fan will be but a source of anguish.
No fate is more frail than the peach-blossom, no passion more frail than paper:
Wherefore you readily may know that peach-blossom painted on paper is more fragile still.
My lord, since you depict flower-faces, you first should understand the thoughts of flowers:
The green spring is hard to gain! Spoil not the flower-season.
Methinkgs that joyance, if unattainable in this world, is not greatly to be trusted.
The round fans of autumn bring their dirge into the sequestered bower,
Where maidens paint thereon then thousand leaves and a thousand flowers, all for the sake of the one word ‘passion’:
You doubt it? Then behold the loves of the poets Hau and Lei Hong-kwan: had not their passion been deep, how could they have reached the halcyon days?