The Swallow's Song

BY EMPEROR WEN

Of the Wei Dynasty (a.d. 220-264)

The autumn winds are blowing,
The air is cool and drear,
The forest leaves are falling,
The grass is scant and sear.
The dew to hoar-frost changes,
And swallows southward fly;
While from the North in batches
The wild swan cloud the sky.
And I such signs discerning
Think of you, husband dear,
And long for your home-coming
From marches long and drear.
Why do you longer tarry
In such a distant place?
Think of my lonely vigils,
Sad thoughts and tear-stained face!
The harp I often finger,
And try to sing a song;
But soon I sigh and falter,
And for your coming long.
The Moon's pure light is shining
Upon my lonely bed;
The 'Star-Stream's' westward flowing,
The night is not far sped.
The Cowherd and the Spinning-Girl
Lament the doom that bars
The meeting of true lovers,
Across the Stream of Stars.
What folly did they ponder
To meet so dire a fate?
I wonder if we also
Are doomed to trial as great!