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Yan Jidao 晏幾道

Yan Jidao, the son of the eminent statesman Yan Shu, had little interest in a political career but was passionate about ci poetry. He left behind only one collection of writing: his ci lyrics. This was almost unthinkable for someone from such a prestigious family, as ci poetry was considered a lowly genre. Yan Jidao’s lyrics mainly focus on love affairs with courtesans, often portraying a male persona worried about being abandoned by his lover: a perspective rarely found in Chinese poetry.

  • Little Lotus has yet to learn to unravel her heart’s tangled feelings
  • When I met her, I wanted to tell her my pain of yearning
  • Since we parted, I often recall the time in the western tower
  • Back then I met with her in the western building under the moon
  • Green shades the spring’s endI could not make her stay
  • Holding the fragrant paper in fingers, I think about Little Lotus
  • Back then, I believed that love is priceless
  • On the painted screen, the edge of sky
  • The colorful sleeves held the jade cup with affection
  • As I awake from the dream, the high terrace is locked
  • The dew on the Metal Palm at the edge of sky has turned into frost
Timeline Name: 
Ci Poets
Media Credit: 
Detail from 南宋 米友仁 雲山圖 卷(Cloudy Mountains), Mi Youren, early 12th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number: 1973.121.1 [Public Domain]
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