by Ch'ang Ch'ien (flourished 720)
Translation by Launcelot Alfred Cranmer-Byng (1872 - 1945)

The tomb of Chao‑Chün
Language: English  after the Chinese (中文) 
Death would have ravished her some hapless day
Even among the palaces of Han,
But she was never born to taste
The bitterness of fate so far away --
This pearl of beauty for whose sake did haste
The camels' golden-gleaming caravan.
To-day but dust and bones remain
Of her whose ransom threaded the cold steppes in vain.

Night fell on chariots to the frontier ranged,
But horses champed, for none were fain to part.
Each cursed the lying hand, the traitor's heart.
The moon surprised us scattered round the tomb,
And all our tears were changed
To little piteous lights that ringed the gloom.

Note: Chao-Chün may also be transliterated as Zhaojun. Chinese characters: 昭君墓


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2011-01-18 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:09
Line count: 14
Word count: 104