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Li Qingzhao: Spring Finds also a Lady’s Seclusion with Returning Green -小重山.春到长门春草青
















Spring Finds a Lady’s Seclusion with Returning Green

– to the Tune of Xiaochongshan

wrtten by Li Qingzhao

translated by Gordon Osing and Julia Min

Spring finds a lady’s seclusion with returning green,

some plum trees are budded, and some blossoming.

Crushing tea-balls to jade dust, I reenter my dream,

till startled by a boiled teapot of bubbling spring.

The shadows of tiered blooms are pressing my doors,

spreading to the bamboo blinds gently by the moon.

It’s two years or three we’ve let down Spring gods.

Come home. we shall live the season to full bloom.


This ci, too, was composed before Yi’an turned twenty-four years old, before the year 1107. Here she knows her husband is coming home after his absence on official duties for over two years. Her happiness and expectant desire are glowing like a rainbow. The tone here is lively, witty and light.


1. “chang men”: simply means boudoir , but the characters are also associated with the tale of the Han Empress Chen, who fell from favor with her emperor and was banished to her own Changmen Palace. She paid great sum of money to the great poet Si Maru to write about her lonely exile in her quarters, which touched the emperor so much so he ended her isolation. This famous work is a prose called “Chang Men Fu” (《长门赋》).

2. “bi yun “: dark green cloud, meaning green tea-balls pulverized. In the Song era, tea was kept in small balls, which some people ground into pieces or powder before boiling it in cast iron teapots over the fire.

3. liu can …”: She daydreamed until the green tea’s boiling woke her.

4. “ya chong men “: shadows press door, a charming figure of thought, a sort of transferred epithet embodying her own pressing desires.

5. “pu dan yue “: another transferred epithet for the gentle relentlessness of her own anticipations.

6. “er nian san du”: three times in more than two years;

Pinying and Word -For-Word Translation:

xiǎo zhòng shān – to the tune of Xiaochongshan

chūn dào chǎng mén chūn cǎo qīng – spring reaches Changmen spring grass green;

jiāng méi xiē zǐ pò – plum buds a little burst;

wèi kāi yún – not yet bloom even;

bì yún lóng niǎn yù chéng chén – dark green clouds container ground jade into dust;

liú cán mèng – recalling fragments of dream;

jīng pò yī ōu chūn – startled by a pot of spring;

huā yǐng yā chóng mén – flowers shadow weigh down multiple doors,;

shū lián pū dàn yuè – thin curtain spread dimlight moon;

hǎo huáng hūn – good dusk;

èr nián sān dù fù dōng jun – two years three times let down Spring God;

guī lái yě – return please;

zhúo yì guò jīn chūn –focus spend this spring;

未经允许不得转载:STUDY IN CHINA GLOBAL (SCG) » Li Qingzhao: Spring Finds also a Lady’s Seclusion with Returning Green
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