Yueh Fei's ci 

To the Tune of "Full River Red"

Wrath set my hair bristling in my helmet.

Standing by the rails see the drizzling rain has ceased,

Raising my eyes to the skies I shout in my vigorous aspiration.

At the age of thirty** fame and heroic deeds are nothing but earth and dust.

With clouds or the moon, my battle fields have covered eight thousand li*** long.

Do not tarry,

The hair of young men might grow white with deep regret.

The shame heaped on us in the year of Jing Kang is not yet wiped away****.

When will the sorrows of the Emperor's subjects come to an end?

O let us ride on war chariots through to the Ho Lan Pass.

Our ambitions are to drive away foreign invaders,

while talking and laughing let them shed blood.

O let's start afresh,

To recover our dear rivers and mountains,

Then we will pay our tribute to Heaven.


* Yueh Fei was the national warrior hero in fighting back the invasion of the Jin Tribe. He is one of the best known patriotic generals in China's history.The Jin Tribe invaded Song Dynasty and kidnapped two Song emperors and imposed conditions on the government which would have been unacceptable to all patriots. Unfortunately the Prime Minister of the time, Qin Guei, was prepared to buy a delusory peace at the price of surrendering Song territory. Yue Fei, one of the military commander then, attempted to continue the fight but was recalled by the Prime Minister, imprisoned and put to death in 1141 at a time when the Government was prepared to abandon all the territory north of the Huai River, the conquests in Honan by Yue Fei were forgotten, and the Song Dynasty fell from this moment into a state of intolerable weakness and decline. Yue is also remembered for the inscription on his back. According to the legend, four Chinese characters, "Jing zhong bao guo", were inscribed with a hot-iron on Yo Fei's back by his mother, meaning "With the utmost loyalty save the State." He was canonized in 1174.

** This poem was written in 1133 when Yue was 31 years old.

*** Li is one of the Chinese traditional measurement units, about 1/3 of a mile.

**** This line refers to the year of 1126 when the Jin army entered the capital of Song Dynasty and captured the two emperors and took them to the far Northeast. That was known as "the shame of Jing Kang" in history. Jing Kang was the name of the imperial calendar. Each emperor had a particular name to count the years while he was on the throne.

Tr. and Notes by Greg Gao
Chinese text

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