Fair Lady Yu (虞美人) was composed by Li Yu (李煜) to express the nostalgia of his past life. The poet was an emperor of late Song Dynasty, lamented the collapse of his kingdom.
As a former emperor, the poet’s sublime years were related to the golden palace period. When he composed the poem, in the past, prosperous and magnificent chapters were torn from his unbearable life. He has regretted neglecting his kingdom. Under the moonlight, his mind roamed to the old kingdom and those familiar faces were gone.
虞美人 Fair Lady Yu
chūn huā qiūyuè hé shí liǎo.
Spring flowers and autumn moon, when will this cycle be over.
Wǎng shì zhī duō shǎo.
So many past events to remember.
xiǎo lóu zuó yè yòu dōng fēng.
East wind again pierced through the small tower last night.
gù guó bù kān huí shǒu yuè míng zhōng
It was so unbearable to think of my lost kingdom in bright moonlight.
gù guó bù kān huí shǒu yuè míng zhōng.
Carved railings and jade steps should still be there.
zhǐ shì zhū yán gǎi.
Beautiful faces can no longer be as fair.