Chinese & Art Classroom

Chinese Classical Poem 0101 -- Lyric 002(By Wen Tingyun) & Shirley Created Music-0083-01: Meng Jiangnan -- Dreaming of the Southern Yangtze

This is a famous Chinese class poem/lyric that wrote a sad love. I translated it in Dec, 2007 and I tried to sing it in English, too. Today, when I heard it once more, I did want to re-sing and re-record it. However, my music instrument of CASIO here can not play out the same result as my Yamaha did in China. So, I think that maybe I should keep the original one there even though I do not satisfy the English part. But, since the Chinese part does not sounds like too bad, I think, maybe it will be help to you to know more about Chinese culture and to learn Chinese language?

Shirley Zhang

Feb 15, 2009 in the US

Listen the Text by Shirley Oct 28, 2007
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese Oct 28, 2007
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English Oct 28, 2007

I guess that many friends have had the experience that after waiting for someone with much hope and love for a long time, but, the one you were waiting did not appear finally.

In ancient China, traffic was inconvenient and there was no a telephone or the other great connection tools as now. So, people were not easy to receive a letter or get a traveler's news. That is why, there were many literature works expressing the feeling of people waiting for their family members, lovers and   friends far way, especially, to express the women at home to think of and to look forward their husbands or lovers in the far away to come back to them.

As the first main Lyrics Writer in Tang Dynasty, Wen Tingyun (813 --870) had written a lot of lyrics to express women's life in that times. To express the women’ feeling of missing and waiting for their beloved ones.

The Lyric Meng Jiangnan --   Dreaming of the Southern Yangtze just writes out how a young lady freshened herself up carefully in the early morning, then she climbed up to a tower by a river to wait for her husband or lover. After waiting for whole of the day, after thousands ships or boats had passed, the one she was waiting for did not appear at all there were only both of slanted setting sun and the affectionately water were around of the little island that both of she and hers parted. So that she felt that her heart is broken at this time.

You see, in the little lyrics with only 27 characters, it has written out so much content. The biggest characteristic I think, it has expressed a young lady's psychology with very few characters very well.

For meeting her husband or lover and gave him a good first impression, she freshened up herself before she went to the tower. As soon as he made up, she climbed up the tower in the early morning. The heart of being afraid of missing any sail and being in a hurry to meet hers has been showed in the writing. Since this is an intimacy feeling of a young lady, she did not want the others to share it; she went up the tower alone, instead of taking any handmaid with her together. After she has waited for whole of the day time and after she has looked at thousand sails past, she did not find his yet, there was only both of the slanting setting sunshine and the loving water there to accompany each other around of the little islet. As every single lady, when she was in an extra disappointed while she saw the others kind to each other and love each other, also, they were just on the place where both of she and her husband or lover apart days ago. Naturally, she felt that her heart was broken.

As far as how did she look at every sail and to look for his among the thousand sails, how did she look like after a carefully freshened up with much hope in the early morning and be in the deeply disappointed and broken heart in the dusk, it has offered us a hug room to imagine.   

So, I did feel it is a very excellent works to express a woman’s psychology activity with only 27 characters, so, I have chosen it for you and wish you to share it, and to feel the Chinese language and character’s charming...

As lyrics, the title Meng Jiangnan is the Tune of this lyric with some special music and it could be filled into the other lyrics with some rules by the others according to some rules, such as the first line with 3 characters, the 4th line with 7 characters and different tones of every line and so on.

Along with time, the original music had been lost, so, I have tried to write a piece of music to match it.

For helping your to understand this lyric better, I have sung it in both English and Chinese. That is why, I translated two versions for you. the simple version is for my singing and just follow the surface meaning of the meaning, the other version is for you to understand something under the words themselves.   

I do wish my effort will be a little bit help to you to understand this lyrics, to learn learn Chinese culture and to improve your listening ability.

Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese Oct 28, 2007
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English Oct 28, 2007

Dreaming of the South

By Wen Tingyun ( Tang )

Freshening up myself,
I lean against the tower,
thousand sails have passed by,
there is no yours among them.

There are only
the slanting sunshine lovingly
and the water leisurely,
my heart has broken
on the Baipin Islet.

Attaching: Translation By 100 Tang & Song C/Poems by Xu Yuanchong:

After dressing my hair,
I alone climb the stair.
On the railings I lean,
To view the river scenes,
Many sails pass me by,
But not the one for which wait I.
The slanting sun sheds a sympathetic ray,
The carefree river carries it away.
My heart breaks at the sight
Of the islet with duckweed white.


Note: Please hit any Chinese character that you need helped, to see its Chinese pinyin, pronunciation, meaning and follow me to read it.



温庭筠 ( )


Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in Chinese Oct 28, 2007
Listen to Shirley Singing the Poem in English Oct 28, 2007

If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to , or,You are welcomed.

Shirley Zhang

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