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  • Julia Min

庆清朝慢 ’Tis the Last Flower of Spring Days

























Tis the Last Flower of Spring Days

- to the tune of Qingqingchaoman

translated by Julia Min

’Tis the last flower of Spring Days

Behind the palace red rail in half shade.

She’s blooming in joy with gentle grace,

Unaware that Spring’s going away.

Fresh dews kiss her lips unfolded by Wind,

She’s more charming than the rose of May.

The Moon speechless envies the sight,

And Spring is teased for being delayed.

The sun is cosier from town’s south to east,

Where dust of fragrance fills the wheels way.

Will the lakeside terraces bustle again

To beat the glamour after she fades?

Come to Bright Palace to see species rare,

Early blooms on sunny side, lushy buds behind.

Let’s fill the cups again till the last candle light.

Who cares if sunset replaced by dark night?

Picture retrieved from Google



The first stanza simply talks about how this last flower of spring is blooming under good care in half shaded sunny area in the Royal Palace. Unaware other flowers of the season are fading away, she stands proud in full bloom like the queen of flowers, as if Spring God would stay forever with her.

In the second stanza, the scene expands to the best sunny places in town, the well decorated terraces, the pool sides in front of luxury mansions, … . Even the carriage wheels bring you the fragrance of the flower fair.

The interesting feature of this poem works also like a riddle where the whole poem focus on the beauty and sentiments of the flower, but not a line tells the actual name of the flower. The readership is intrigued for a guessing game.

The poet applies the situation further to herself, sighing how short her young days would be. What’s next? So why not indulge in the beautiful moment and forget about future loss.

From a broader picture of the time, we could associate it with the last chapter of the Northern Song dynasty when the Jin on the north plotted an invasion which resulted in the fall of Song’s capital city. Historians hold the view that the gentlemen’s society were then enjoying a luxury life despite endless battles at the borders, unaware such life style would come to an end. Some politicians of the Court tried new reforms but all too hasty an effort. Being so close to the Throne and a poet of time and tides, Li Qingzhao wrote many poems criticising the social phenomena in her teenage years, a style never lost in her later works. So, this poem could be a warning call to the public about the danger ahead.


1. “jin”:forbidden place,the Royal Palace;

2. “chou yue”: graceful,beautiful;

3. “ti”:hold up;“dong jun”: the governor of the East, Spring God. The four directions in Chinese culture also represent the four seasons. Spring usually blows east wind as you may know;

4. “xiang lun”: fragrance from the wheels travelled in the flower show;

5. “qi yan”: a luxury banquet held by the Royal Palace;

6. “fang chen”: sweet scent from the bustling traffic dust

Pinying and Word -For-Word Translation:

qìng qīng cháo màn

jìn wò dī zhāng ,

diāo lán qiǎo hù ,

jiù zhōng dú zhàn cán chūn 。

róng huá dàn zhù ,

chāo yuē jù jiàn tiān zhēn 。

dài dé qún huā guò hòu ,

yī fān fēng lù xiǎo zhuāng xīn 。

yāo ráo yàn tài ,

dù fēng xiào yuè ,

zhǎng tì dōng jun1 。

dōng chéng biān ,

nán mò shàng ,

zhèng rì hōng chí guǎn ,

jìng zǒu xiāng lún 。

qǐ yàn sàn rì ,

shuí rén kě jì fāng chén ?

gèng hǎo míng guāng gōng diàn ,

jǐ zhī xiān jìn rì biān yún 。

jīn zūn dǎo ,

pīn le jìn zhú ,

bú guǎn huáng hūn 。



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