Why are you so embarrassed and hiding your face, torturing yourself by not even bothering to wear makeup? A man’s unpredictable heart is not easy to earn. It is nothing comparable to finding a jewel without a heart. So, my dear friend, there is no reason to worry over the man. There are many men in the world, not just Wang Chang who ignored you. You can find a man like Song Yu.
A poet suggests to a love-struck female neighbor to be more confident. The tone of the poem sounds like she is cheering the neighbor, but it is in fact the poet’s own story. The poem’s other title “To Li Yi” is evidence. Li Yi accepted the poet as a concubine and adored her but later turned away from her as his wife’s opposition grew. It is saddening that the poet seems to pledge herself to be not hung up about the man, but her mind says otherwise. Telling herself to not blame the man who left her ironically shows her deep longing with tears and a broken heart.
Song Yu and Wang Chang are well-known for their good looks, respectively from the Warring States period and the Northern and Southern dynasties, and not related to betraying women’s hearts as depicted in the poem. Yu Xuanji was an outstanding female poet who often shared poems with famous figures in her era but unfortunately killed at the age of 26 after a challenging life due to issues related to her partner.