Midnight Song 2

Midnight Song 2

Xiao Yan, Emperor Wu of Liang (464-549)
The morning sunshine strokes the window silk
As wind and light together play with strings;
She smiles with subtle ease and lifts her eyes
As when a butterfly brings up its wings.

子夜歌 二
Zǐ Yè Gē Èr
Xiāo Yǎn
Zhāo rì zhào qǐ chuāng
Guāng fēng dòng wán luó
Qiǎo xiào qiàn liǎng xī
Měi mù yáng shuāng é

Transliteration and Notes
Child Night Song Two
Morning sun shines fine-silk windows
Bright-light wind moves white-silk curtains
As-it-happens smiles luxurious both well-tempered
Beautiful eyes raise pair moths

  • “Child Night” means “midnight.”
  • “Fine-silk windows” means “beautifully decorated windows.”

Emperor Wu was the founding emperor of the Liang Dynasty (502-557), also known as the Southern Liang Dynasty. Although it was stable and prosperous during his lifetime, his tolerance of corruption incited a rebellion and he lived under house arrest until the end of his life.
Nonetheless, he promoted culture and education during his reign by creating universities, extending the Confucian civil service examinations, and demanding that noble sons study. He was well-read in poetry and promoted the arts and Buddhism.

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