Memories of Jinling
The kingdom collapsed after the Song of Jade Tree;
The garrison deserted when came the enemy.
Planted with pines, a thousand tombs spread far and nigh;
Buried amid the weed, palaces stand low and high.
The swallow of stone scrapes the white cloud, rain or shine;
The night breeze blows with waves raised by the river swine.
The splendor fades when heroes are gone one and all;
Only green hills look like the ancient capital.
Jinling was the capital of the six dynasties. The last king of Chen, author of the Song of Jade Tree, surrendered and the kingdom collapsed in 604. The swallow of stone was a statue in the palace and the river swine was said to be capable of raising waves.
Four Poems from the Golden Lings” is a group of poems by Wang Anshi, a writer of the Song Dynasty. The main theme of these four poems is to lament the rise and fall of the dynasty. The first poem is apparently a lament for the past and the present, but in fact it implies the idea that the rise and fall of historical dynasties are inevitable. The remaining three poems build on the tone of the first one. The first half of the last three poems is a tribute to the Song Emperor’s success in seizing the Jinling and unifying the country, while the second half of the poem is mostly a lament for the rise and fall of the Song dynasty, summarizing the pattern of the rise and fall of successive dynasties. The language of the poem is highly concise, the theme is clear, and the emotion is full of rich feelings and imagination of the poet, as well as the deep wisdom of the thinker and the ambition of the politician to protect the country.