O youngest, best-loved daughter of Xie,
Who unluckily married this penniless scholar,
You patched my clothes from your own wicker basket,
And I coaxed off your hairpins of gold, to buy wine with;
For dinner we had to pick wild herbs
And to use dry locust-leaves for our kindling.
…Today they are paying me a hundred thousand
And all that I can bring to you is a temple sacrifice.
We joked, long ago, about one of us dying,
But suddenly, before my eyes, you are gone.
Almost all your clothes have been given away;
Your needlework is sealed, I dare not look at it….
I continue your bounty to our men and our maids
Sometimes, in a dream, I bring you gifts.
…This is a sorrow that all mankind must know
But not as those know it who have been poor together.
I sit here alone, mourning for us both.
How many years do I lack now of my threescore and ten?
There have been better men than I to whom heaven denied a son,
There was a poet better than I whose dead wife could not hear him.
What have I to hope for in the darkness of our tomb?
You and I had little faith in a meeting after death-
Yet my open eyes can see all night
That lifelong trouble of your brow.
Yuan Zhen, 779-831 AD, Tang Dynasty