A Maiden's Reverie

The plum-tree's flower awakens
Thoughts of my lover now,
And I would pluck some blossoms
And send to far Si-chow.

But such a distant region
The flowers might never reach,
While if I go in person,
How great the joy to each!

I'll brush my glossy tresses,
More dark than raven's plume;
I'll wear my plum silk mantle,
And banish tears and gloom.

But where, alack, is Si-chow?
Far in the North, I know;
Oh, when I've crossed the river
I'll ask which way to go!

Ah me, the sun is setting,
Si-chow is far away;
The birds are homeward turning,
I cannot start to-day.

I'll keep an evening vigil
Beneath the cedar-tree
That stands outside the porch-way;
My love may come to me!

The jewels my hair adorning
Are glistening with the dew;
But still my lover tarries;—
What keeps him from my view?

A gentle breeze is blowing,
The night is bright as day;
I'll go and gather lilies,
And meet him on the way.

In the early Autumn season
The lotus lilies red
Are in the south pool growing,
And reach above my head.

My thoughts on old times musing,
I stoop to pluck some seeds,
In their shimmering greenness
As water 'mongst the reeds.

I put some in my bosom,
For the core is red as blood,
As the heart of a true lover,
When love is at the flood.

Pressed to my bosom closely—
No safer place, I wot,
For tokens of betrothal;
And yet my love comes not!

Above my head in batches
The wild geese northward hie,
And they will pass o'er Si-chow!
Oh, would that I could fly!

I'll mount the northern turret;
Perhaps from that lofty height
I'll see my lover coming,
The herald of the light.

Although the tower is lofty,
I cannot see afar
To where my love is dwelling,
Beneath the Northern Star.

From morn until the evening—
How long the hours do seem!—
I've paced around the turret,
As in a weary dream.

Once more I'll raise the curtain,
And show my lamp's pale light;
My love may miss the pathway,
And wander in the night.

How lofty are the heavens!
How vast the heaving sea!
Ah, life is sad and dreary
When love comes not to me!

But though my heart is weary,
I trust my lover's vow;
The south wind knows my longings
And will bear them to Si-chow.

And though the seas divide us
Our hearts are one for ay,
And in sweet dreams will mingle
Until the meeting day.
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