Poems of Meng Jiao
The Yunnan song I promised to send you.
Down by the willows, a couple yards away,
She sings an end-of-spring good-bye song.
Early returns the scholar in his horse-drawn cart.
He won't stop and drink from the wild border river.
Who knows what treasures he is bringing in his box?
This western wanderer's poems go on and on.
I'll tell you what I think this is. Meng Jiao is in Xinping (新平), Yunnan. This is the far west of China that bumps up against Myanmar. The people don't speak anything like court Chinese (similar to modern Cantonese). They speak heavy dialects of Chinese and Wa. And they sing songs. So this is one of their songs as translated for his friend by Meng Jiao. Something in it caught his interest. Was it that the scholar is a Confucian official (儒士) or that he is referred to as a Chu Kingdom wanderer (楚云)? Or that his poetry (or prose) had so many lines? It was something sufficiently interesting for his friend to pester him for a copy of it. And that's all we know. Oh, the "wild border river" is actually "muddy barbarian stream" which puts it on the western border in this part of the Chinese world.