Poets Lu You (1125-1210) and Tang Wen were deeply in love but forced by circumstances to divorce. They met again nine years later when Lu wrote Phoenix Hairpin on a garden wall and Tang replied with another. Here is my translation of their Song Verses:
Lu You’s Lyrics:
Fine, pink hands; yellow sealed wine –
The town is filled with Spring’s colours but
The willows remain trapped within the palace.
Fine east winds, short happiness –
Gloomy spirits, separated for years.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Same old Spring, haggard looks,
Silk handkerchief stained pink with tears.
Peach blossoms fall, ponds and pavilions empty.
Oaths and promises remain but brocade undelivered.
No! No! No!
Tang Wan’s reply:
Sympathy is lacking, people are unkind,
Rain at dusk cause flowers to tumble.
Dry whipping winds, drying sad tears.
Wishing to unfold matters of the heart,
Murmuring alone by the banister.
Hard! Hard! Hard!
On our separate ways, we’re now different from before,
The ailing spirit often drifts and sways like the swing.
Cold horn signals, night will soon end.
Fear of being questioned,
Tears are awallowed to feign contentment.
Pretend! Pretend! Pretend!