Poems of Meng Jiao
Chanting of Calmer Women
Beautiful women all take on a jealous coloring.
Calmer women only mind their own business.
Their courtesy would be ashamed of self-adornment.
In them, one marries a right mind and not appearance.
The upper classes are quick to marry such women off.
And low husbands make it worse for them from there.
My intention here ... who can understand me?
I'm just a lute repeating my pretty tune in the distance.
A note on 吟. My dictionary entry on this character is: "(v) (wen) moan • chant • sing • groan • cry (of certain animals and insects) - (n) (wen) song • chant." The (wen) is a marker indicating literary usage. Translators tend to go for "song" or "lament," which I suppose they get from "groan." But if the poet meant "song," it would be 歌. And lament is properly 感遇 or something using 悼. What the poets mean is "chant" because that is what they did. Poets chanted poems to each other and to themselves. All the damn time. This is why so many poems are titled "[something]吟." As far as the poets are concerned a "poem" is a "chanted thing" and a 吟 is a 诗.
As for this poem, the title could be "Chanting of Chaste Young Women" or "... Reserved Women" or "... Quiet Women." But given the content of the poem, Meng Jiao is presciently forshadowing Meredith Wilson in his vocal, chanted out loud preference for, and championing of, sadder but wiser women. I am sure a charming and, perhaps, even attractive librarian would suit him right down to his toes. I am entirely of the same mind.