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  • Gordon Osing and Julia Min

如梦令.昨夜雨疏风骤 Last Night Fierce Gusts of Autumn Rain - to the tune of Rumengling

如梦令 - 昨夜雨疏风骤









Last Night Fierce Gusts and Big Drops of Rain

- to the Tune of Rumengling

written by Li Qingzhao Gordon Osing and Julia Min

Last night fierce gusts and big drops of rain

lashed where I slumbered in my wine dreams.

I started and my girl at the morning screens

answered, "Ah, the crabapple’s just the same."

She won't see … and she can't discern……

The green now darkens with crimson thinning.

Warm Wind Sends Rain Melting the Ice - to the Tune of Dielianhua 蝶恋花·暖雨晴风初破冻 liqingzhao
Photo retrieved from: Google


It is again late Spring, which is to say nearly early summer, when the flowers are thinning out on the trees and bushes. The large, scattered raindrops are also metonymical here, a familiar motif in Chinese poetry. The Tang Dynasty poet Meng Haoran wrote, " I heard last night's wind and rain. / who knows how many flowers have fallen?" This motif corresponds to the "snow and roses of yesterday" in Western poetry. This ci is usually placed in the early years of Li Qingzhao's married life, before 1107, when her husband was frequently away on official duties. She was in her twenties, and confessed painful loneliness, erotic, too, it seems, for her absent husband. Night storms and lonely drinking had left the familiar crabapple outside her bedroom to be faced in the morning. The crimson blossoms, if not ravaged by the rains, would have now lost their vitality to the change of seasons anyway. The motif is a sigh over youthful days going away so quickly and helplessly.


1. "yu shu": big raindrops, often referring to autumn rain.

2. "feng zhou": wind driven, or chased.

3. "juan lian ren": roll screen girl, i.e. her maid.

4. "que dao": reply instead, a phrasing which simply omits the lady's question: What is the condition of the flowering crabapple? Apparently she hardly needed to ask. Her maid knows her mind.

5. "zhi fou": denies the maid her matter-of-fact second guessing of her mistress. There is in this language not a little disdain for the maid's commonplace unawareness of the lady's passionate regard for her own aristocratic sensuality.

6. "lu fei hong shou": literally, blossoms drawn against big green leaves, meaning the lady's look is Monet-like, intimate with the altered shape and color with which she identifies her most private feelings.

Pinying and Word -For-Word Translation:

rú mèng lìng - to the tune of Rumengling

zuó yè yǔ shū fēng zhòu - last night rain sparse wind sudden/violate;

nóng shuì bú xiāo cán jiǔ – deep sleep can't waken drunkenness;

shì wèn juàn lián rén - try to ask roll up curtain person;

què dào hǎi táng yī jiù - but replied " the flowering crabapple is still the same."

zhī fǒu ?zhī fǒu ?- "Dont you know? Don't you know?

yīng shì lǜ féi hóng shòu - It should be green fat red thin."


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