Song Qi Poem: Spring in Jade Pavilion – 宋祁《玉楼春·春景》



Spring in Jade Pavilion
Song Qi
The scenery is getting fine east of the town;
The rippling water greets boats rowing up and down.
Beyond green willows morning chill is growing mild;
On pink apricot branches spring is running wild.
In our floating life scarce are pleasures we seek after.
How can we value gold above a hearty laughter?
I raise wine cup to ask the slanting sun to stay
And leave among the flowers its departing ray.

The poet values time above gold.


“Spring in Jade Pavilion” is a lyric by Song Qi of the Song Dynasty. This lyric praises the bright spring light and expresses the interest of having fun in time. The first section depicts the splendid scenery of spring. The phrase “East City” is a general statement about the gradual improvement of spring light; the phrase “the wrinkles of silk” is dedicated to the softness of spring water; the phrase “the smoke of green poplars” and “the branches of red apricots The phrase “the green poplar smoke” and “the red apricot branches” reflect each other, and the layers are sparse and dense; the phrases “the cold at dawn” and “the spring mood” render each other, showing the vibrant scenery of spring. The next section expresses the sentiment of cherishing spring and seeking happiness. The two words “floating life” point out the meaning of cherishing the years; the two lines “for you” are obviously for the sake of disappointment, but in fact they are for the spring light, and the feelings are very strong and beautiful. The lyrics are well organized, with gorgeous but not frivolous language, straightforward but not sophomoric words, and vivid descriptions of scenes with little ink.

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