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  • Julia Min

上枢密韩肖胄诗二首 - 第二首 (七言)Two poems to Lord Han Xiaowei - Two




第二首 (七言)





Two poems to Lord Han Xiaowei, the Minister of Military Affairs

written by: Li Qingzhao

translated by: Julia Min


I could see the old capitals of Tang and Song,

awaiting your coming on roadsides, galleries long;

A pleasant surprise for magpies of Hua’e Tower,

and a treat for the peach trees in Palace Lianchang.

As every creature on this earth is loved by Heaven,

so does His Grace care for the Song’s descendants.

His mind is as clear and wise as a glorious saint,

so should know no treaty could end the invasion.


This two long poems reads like epic poems as there are so many historical events being associated with Lord Han’s dangerous mission to negotiate with the Jin in an aim to stop the war. Considering it was a letter to the Premier, to be shared among the well-educated class, it’s understandable why she made so many historical references, where we also get a glimpse of Yi’an’s profound knowledge of Chinese history. The Song Dynasty is marked with an emerging number of historians, schools of philosophy and religions. Stage drama, or zaju, made its appearance in its simple form, consisting in humorous and satirical recitations and dialogues, later with songs and dances, too. The "Wenshou Drama", or southern drama, from Wenzhou and other coastal regions in Zhejiang Province, came into being at this time, and consisted in, again, songs and dances and recitations, but with a purpose of telling a continuous or epic tale. Hua Ben was ever more popular, later transforming to short and lone novels in the Song dynasty and early Ming dynasty. (please refer to this blog's "Historical Background' under Li Qingzhao:

Although the poem mainly focuses on the mission, reminding the Lords of the dangers ahead, Li Qingzhao spared not much effort in depicting a treaty for future peace, instead, she touched heavily with sarcasm on the Emperors’ weak response by suing for peace, a bad influence from treacherous court officials, and sentiments on the conquered homeland and people. The Court at this time saw a division of ‘doves and hawks’. We all know our poet was a ‘hawk’, wishing to claim the lost lands from the Jin, and it was in fact the only solution to avoid the fall of the Song.

It’s another heroic piece, a style never lost since she wrote “ The Great Revival” at 17. For that alone, this lady has earned my high respect for her bravery at a time of war.


1. Hua’e Tower: a tower built after the Hua’e Tower named by the Tang Emperor Minghuang in 735.

2. Palace Lianchang: a Tang palace in Luoyang.


1. (百度百科)



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