Poems of Meng Jiao
Bond of Love
(I'm talking old-school bonds of love.)
For our two hearts to answer each other,
Our bond of love must run deep.
For each time we think of this separation.
A thousand times we must think of our bond.
As wife, you stay and guard our aspirations.
As husband, I intend an early return.
We begin to see the appearances of marriage
Are not as good as the bond around our hearts.
I am bound to you sitting here, and traveling, bound, too.
This bond of our love will last all our lives.
Sweet. I'd say this is a poem for his first wife on the first occasion of Meng Jiao's going off somewhere for work. This whole first-wife period seems to be ignored in the biographical sketches of Meng Jiao. I'd say a loving marraige that ends early in a wife's death is a pretty big part of the story of who Meng Jiao really is. Here, I think he is a little afraid of leaving his wife alone. He's definitely crazy about her. We know from his death poem for her that she was faithful to him. So he's got a bit of a twenty-something's irrational jealousy going here. Whatever he experienced later in life, he was happy and in love with this woman. By the bye, line 5 is a play and enhancement of 独守空房 or (of a wife) "stay and guard an empty house," which shows how often men went off and left their wives alone. Meng Jiao turns this idiom into "stay and guard our love." As I said, sweet.