This famous Hymn was dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the Kingdom of Chu, written during late Warring state period 300 BC-221 BC.
One of the verse in this ancient hymn mentioned the famous Chu long swords !
Warfare at the Warring state period was on chariots drawn by four horses and on foot. This hymn was one of the most vivid description of the warfare in the Warring state period.
Translated by David Hawkes, who says this
‘is surely one of the most beautiful laments
for fallen soldiers in any language.’
國殤 HYMN TO THE FALLEN
Grasping our great shields and wearing our hide armor
Wheel-hub to wheel-hub locked, we battle hand to hand.
Our banners darken the sky; the enemy teem like clouds:
Through the hail of arrows the warriors press forward.
They dash on our lines; they trample our ranks down.
The left horse has fallen, the right one is wounded.
The wheels are embedded, the foursome entangled:
Seize the jade drumstick and beat the sounding drum!
The time is against us: the gods are angry.
Now all lie dead, left on the field of battle.
They went out never more to return:
Far, far away they lie, on the level plain,
Their long swords at their belts, clasping their Qin bows,
Head from body sundered: but their hearts could not be vanquished.
Both truly brave and also truly noble;
Strong to the last, they could not be dishonored.
Their bodies may have died, but their souls are living:
Heroes among the shades their valiant souls will be.
Singer Gong Lin Na sang the Chu song "AS I URGED ON TO SEEK MY VANISHED DREAM" , accompanied by replica of 2500 years old set of chimes and bells. Notice the color scheme of the set. Red, yellow, black, gold, which LK Chen used for the Chu Phoenix motifs in Magnificent Chu Jian and Roaring Dragon. The translation of the beautiful lyrics can be found below.
Swift jade-green dragons, birds with plumage gold,
I harnessed to the whirlwind, and behold,
At daybreak from the land of plane-trees grey,
I came to paradise ere close of day.
I wished within the sacred brove to rest,
But now the sun was sinking in the west;
The driver of the sun I bade to stay,
Ere with the setting rays we haste away.
The way was long, and wrapped in gloom did seem,
As I urged on to seek my vanished dream.
The dragons quenched their thirst beside the lake
Where bathed the sun, whilst I upon the brake
Fastened my reins; a golden bough I sought
To brush the sun, and tarred there in sport.
The pale moon's charioteer I then bade lead,
The master of the winds swiftly succeed;
Before, the royal blue bird cleared the way;
The lord of thunder urged me to delay.
I bade the phoenix scan the heaven wide;
But vainly day and night its course it tried;
The gathering whirlwinds drove it from my sight,
Rushing with lowering clouds to check my flight;
Sifting and merging in the firmament,
Above, below, in various hues they went.