Our love was pure As the snow on the mountains: White as a moon Between the clouds -- They're telling me Your thoughts are double That's why I've come To break it off. To-day we'll drink A cup of wine. To-morrow we'll part Beside the Canal: Walking about Beside the Canal, Where its branches divide East and west. Alas and alas, And again alas. So must a girl Cry when she's married, If she find not a man Of single heart, Who will not leave her Till her hair is white.
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Please note: this text, provided here for educational and research use, is in the public domain in Canada and the U.S., but it may still be copyright in other legal jurisdictions. The LiederNet Archive makes no guarantee that the above text is public domain in your country. Please consult your country's copyright statutes or a qualified IP attorney to verify whether a certain text is in the public domain in your country or if downloading or distributing a copy constitutes fair use. The LiederNet Archive assumes no legal responsibility or liability for the copyright compliance of third parties.Confirmed with A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, Translated by Arthur Waley, London, Constable and Company Ltd., 1918, pages 50-51.
Note: the poem is preceded by this explanation:
Ssŭ-ma Hsiang-ju was a young poet who had lost his position at court owing to ill-health. One day Cho Wēn-chün, a rich manâs daughter, heard him singing at a feast given by her father. She eloped with him that night, and they set up a wine-shop together. After a time Hsiang-ju became famous as a poet, but his character was marred by love of money. He sold love-poems, which the ladies of the palace sent to the emperor in order to win his favour. Finally, he gave presents to the "ladies of Mo-ling," hoping to secure a concubine. It was this step that induced his mistress, Cho Wēn-chün, to write the following poem.
- by Arthur Waley (1889 - 1969), "Song of snow-white heads", first published 1918 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Ernst Bacon (1898 - 1990), "Song of snow-white heads", alternate title: "Parting", published 1952 [ medium voice and piano ], from Quiet Airs, no. 10 [sung text checked 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2013-12-02
Line count: 24
Word count: 90