The Human Emperor - Chapter 125: Song of Purity and Peace!
Consort Taizhen couldn’t believe that King Song was involved in this matter.
“You mean the letter that I got you to burn?”
Consort Taizhen said with a deep voice, but there wasn’t any trace of anger in her tone.
“Your Highness, please forgive me. Your humble servant couldn’t bear to burn it…”
“Bring it over!”
Curiosity had overwhelmed everything else in her mind, leaving her no spare thoughts to blame this palace maid for keeping King Song’s letter privately.
At the same time, Consort Taizhen was bewildered. She was certain that the letter King Song had sent her was filled with insults. Why would there be a poem in it? How could one scold another with a poem?
Furthermore, if it was truly a poem to scold her, putting aside the young palace maids, the older nannies should at least know better.
Such thoughts caused her curiosity to intensify further.
Soon, the maid returned with the envelope and it looked exactly how it was before, just that the wax sealing it was gone.
“Open the envelope and read the contents!”
From the tent, Consort Taizhen instructed with an impassive tone.
It was under the arrangements of the Sage Emperor and a seer that Consort Taizhen had to live in the red tent in Yuzhen Palace. No one was allowed to approach the tent, and even the palace maids had to lower their heads when delivering clothes, food, and waiting on her.
According to the words of that seer, this was the only way that Consort Taizhen would be able to survive this ordeal safely.
“Yes, Your Highness!”
Xiao Zhu of the Clothes Incineration Section trembled in fear. Forcefully suppressing her fright, she took out the letter within. In an instant, all of the palace maids, guards, and even the austere old nannies unknowingly turned their gazes toward the letter.
They had more or less heard bits and pieces of the verses of this poem, but none of them had the privilege of listening to the complete poem. The only thing that they knew about the poem was that it was extremely beautiful.
Consort Taizhen ordered with a sliver of anger to her tone. King Song had once sent a letter to criticize her, and she didn’t think that he was up to any good this time either. She was intrigued as to what King Song was trying to do by stirring such chaos in her Yuzhen Palace.
Xiao Zhu of the Clothes Incineration Section answered. Then, taking a deep breath, her aura abruptly changed visibly to the senses of the others.
A moment ago, Xiao Zhu was still trembling with fear, but at this moment, as she held the ‘poem’ in her hands, she suddenly calmed down. The sunlight shone on her pretty face, and warmth that penetrated deep into one’s soul could be seen in her eyes, as though she was looking at her lover.
“Song of Purity and Peace!”
Xiao Zhu recited the name of the poem. Her voice was extremely crisp and gentle, and it possessed a quality that moved one’s heart, sending a surge of warmth into one’s soul.
“This is a Yuefu poem.”
Consort Taizhen was stunned. She didn’t think that it was actually a poem.
“So it’s called Song of Purity and Peace.”
A commotion also broke out among the palace maids. This was their first time hearing of the name of the poem. They had discussed the poem and spread it around themselves previously, but in deference to Consort Taizhen, they did it secretly. As such, none of them actually knew the name of the poem.
There weren’t many among the servants who were literate, and their comprehension in poetry wasn’t deep either. Thus, they were unable to tell the meaning of Song of Purity and Peace; all they could tell was that it sounded indescribably refreshing and elegant.
Consort Taizhen was perplexed. No matter how she looked like it, the name of the poem didn’t seem like an insult.
“Clouds, one thinks of her clothes; flowers, one thinks of her countenance!”
Xiao Zhu’s voice became even gentler, and her light voice softly wafted across Yuzhen Palace. As though possessing incredible magic, all of the maids suddenly fell silent.
All of them stared in a daze at Xiao Zhu of the Clothes Incineration Section and the letter in her hands, as though they had lost their souls.
“Clouds, one thinks of her clothes; flowers, one thinks of her countenance! So that’s it! …”
This was the first time they were listening to the original content of the poem.
Within the red tent, Consort Taizhen was also stunned. It wasn’t what ‘the cloud toward the rain’ or ‘the cloud reminiscent of the flowers’, but ‘Clouds, one thinks of her clothes; flowers, one thinks of her countenance’.
In an instant, Consort Taizhen felt as though somewhere in the depths of her heart had melted.
Her aptitude toward poetry was far beyond these palace maids, allowing her to sense the elegance and refinement within the poem, as well as a faint feeling of… laziness!
Somehow, she could see a figure stroking his beard, lying on a field of flowers beneath the night of a full moon. Staring at the elegant clouds, accompanied by alluring flowers, his mind was filled with remembrance for the beautiful lady in his heart.
Even though no one knew how that woman in his heart would look like, she had to be incredibly beautiful to have the elegance of the clouds and allurement of the flowers.
Consort Taizhen was taken aback.
Even though these palace maids had no talent in the field of poetry, there was one thing they were right about. The verses of this poem were extremely beautiful, surpassing all of the other verses she had heard in the past.
“…the spring wind sweeps dew from her balustrade, splendid and dense.”
Xiao Zhu recited the next line. In this instant, the entire Yuzhen Palace fell completely silent. Even the Chamberlains of Imperial Insignia stationed at the corners of the tent grew agitated upon hearing those words.
Clouds, one thinks of her clothes; flowers, one thinks of her countenance; the spring wind sweeps dew from her balustrade, splendid and dense. How beautiful…”
Dazed, the palace maids were unable to speak a single word. This was their first time listening to the content of the original poem, and it was much more beautiful than they had imagined.
“If not seen at the peak of the Jade Mountain…”
The third line was recited, and the breathing in the tent hastened.
“…then she will be encountered under the moon on the gemstone terrace!”
When the final line was read out, the entire Yuzhen Palace fell silent.
The spring breeze blows across the fence, granting me a peek at that lady’s beauty. How can there be such a beautiful woman in the mortal world?
Have I accidentally stepped into the heavens? Otherwise, she must be a fairy who descended from the gemstone terrace, right?
The recitation of the poem caused a bizarre atmosphere to overwhelm the entire Yuzhen Palace. Everyone fell in a trance due to the beauty of the poem. For a very long time, they were immersed in their imaginations, unable to speak a single word.
Even the austere nannies had peculiar gentleness on their face. This poem had brought them the memories of their youth.
They were already full of wrinkles and silver hair, but who hasn’t been young before? And who hasn’t fallen for another before?
They were cold-hearted nannies in the eyes of others, austere and emotionless. Even so, they were able to sense the beautiful artistic conception in the poem.
Seated in the red tent, Consort Taizhen felt as though her entire heart had melted.
It took a very long time before everyone managed to awaken from the beauty of the Song of Purity and Peace. All of them secretly glanced at Consort Taizhen within the red tent.
Even though they were illiterate and they couldn’t appreciate the depth of the verses, they could tell that this elegant and alluring poem was a compliment toward a lady.
Since King Song had sent this letter to Consort Taizhen, then without a doubt, the fairy-like beauty within the poem had to refer to Consort Taizhen.
This was also the reason why everyone had been peeking at Consort Taizhen these days.
Consort Taizhen had already entered the palace for quite a period of time, but due to the Sage Emperor’s commands, very few people had seen her true appearance.
There were many concubines and princesses in the royal palace, and they had thought that no matter how beautiful Consort Taizhen was, she would only be at the same level as the other ladies.
But after hearing the poem, ripples started spreading across everyone’s hearts.
A lady who could be praised like that couldn’t possibly be ordinary. She must be an extraordinarily ravishing person, a fairy in the gemstone terrace, just as described in the poem.
“Is there nothing else?”
The voice in the red tent suddenly asked. There was a slight trace of melancholy in her tone.
“There’s nothing else.”
Xiao Zhu replied respectfully.
The entire tent was silent. Sitting blankly on a chair, Consort Taizhen couldn’t help but feel forlorn within.
There had never been a person who had praised her beauty to such an extent!
Just like how one’s eyes couldn’t possibly see one’s face, even though Consort Taizhen knew that she was beautiful from young, she had never known how beautiful she was.
No one had ever described her with such beautiful words!
No one hated to hear compliments on their appearance, and Consort Taizhen was no exception.
“Am I really that beautiful?”
Consort Taizhen suddenly felt unconfident. The lady described in the poem was simply too beautiful, and for an instant, Consort Taizhen suddenly lost her confidence. Was the lady in the letter really her?
Is she really that beautiful?
“Bring me the letter!”
Consort Taizhen ordered.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Bending her back, Xiao Zhu respectfully passed King Song’s letter to the entrance of the tent with a lowered head. Consort Taizhen walked over and grabbed the letter.
‘Song of Purity and Peace ‘1’’
With a look, Consort Taizhen’s face immediately warped.
“Xiao Zhu, why didn’t you tell that this is only one of the poems!”
Hearing those words, Xiao Zhu immediately kneeled onto the floor. With a quivering voice, she fearfully uttered:
“Your Highness, please forgive me. Your humble servant doesn’t know that the ‘1’ has to be read out.”
On the top of the letter, Consort Taizhen saw the number ‘1’ beside the title.
That was to say this poem was only the first one. In other words, there might be a Song of Purity and Peace 2 and Song of Purity and Peace 3!
“Are there any other poems in the envelope?”
Consort Taizhen asked.
“There is none! Reporting to Your Highness, your humble servant has only seen this poem in the envelope!”
Xiao Zhu’s body trembled violently. Hiding a consort’s letter was not a small matter.
“Forget it! I doubt that you would dare to do so anyway. You all may leave now!”
Consort Taizhen sighed and waved her hands.
“Yes, Your Highness!”
With a lowered head, everyone hurriedly left. However, before they walked away, they couldn’t help but sneak a final peek toward the red tent.
Is the consort… really that beautiful?
Yuzhen Palace fell silent.
“Clouds, one thinks of her clothes; flowers, one thinks of her countenance.”
“The spring wind sweeps dew from her balustrade, splendid and dense.”
“If not seen at the peak of the Jade Mountain.”
“Then she will be encountered under the moon on the gemstone terrace.”
“Beautiful, this is really beautiful…”
In the red tent, a dazed look appeared in Consort Taizhen’s eyes as she muttered to herself. She tightly hugged King Song’s letter into her embrace.
This poem had melted her heart.
Without a doubt, Consort Taizhen possessed bone-permeating hatred for King Song. This king of the royal family had slandered her from time to time and led the officials to send in petitions in opposition to her and the Sage Emperor from coming together.
Given his actions, nothing Consort Taizhen did to him in the future could be considered as overboard. But for some reason, reading this letter and the poem on it, Consort Taizhen’s grudge seemed to be slowly fading away. For some reason, she found himself unable to hate him anymore.
How could she hate someone who praised her like that, someone who thought of her in such a way?
Just that, a sliver of doubt still remained in her depths of Consort Taizhen’s heart.
Given how strongly King Song opposed to her in the past, why would he send this letter to praise her now?
What in the world was he up to?
Thinking about this, Consort Taizhen fell into confusion.
Yuefu poem (Lyrical poems/ folk song poem)
The Mulan poem is also considered as a Yuefu poem. Emperor Wu of Han had created an academic organization known as Yuefu (Music Bureau), and that’s where the name come from. If I’m not mistaken, most Yuefu poems have a melody to go along with them, even though most of the scores had disappeared.
Translations of the poem taken from EastAsiaStudent
Song of Purity and Peace (清平调词)
Clouds, one thinks of her clothes; flowers, one thinks of her countenance.
The spring wind sweeps dew from her balustrade, splendid and dense.
If not seen at the peak of the Jade Mountain.
Then she will be encountered under the moon on the gemstone terrace.
Jade Mountain is where the Celestial Queen Mother, the wife of the Jade Emperor, lives.
The Jade Emperor is one of the greatest gods in Taoism.
On the other hand, the Gemstone Terrace is another place where the deities frequent.