骑白马披甲胄 手举丈八蛇矛 枪挑辽营
出池州 过大通 到繁昌
The Reverie of History（英译）
Entering the Zhou village
would be gently knocking the door of your past.
Your image of contemplating in front of books
can be encountered at every corner.
You could be a gentle breeze.
A breeze can travel farther,
taking me to the late Qing Dynasty and the era of Republic of China
when you agitated the winds and the clouds.
You could be a drop of water,
making heroic waves after dissolving into the river.
You, a drop of water,
lifted the country of catastrophes and disasters onto your shoulders.
Entering the Zhou village
would be reading a pile of scrolls,
in which your descendants are as exuberant as wild grass.
A long list of outstanding names is,
on the one hand, stars in the sky, lightening every dark night,
and, on the other, flowers in the spring, decorating every piece of soil.
When everybody was attempting to read thousands of books,
you had already walked away from the den.
You, the Chevalier,
reached the peak with your horse and overlooked the mountains.
You write the history;
the history also writes about you.
In that year, you travelled along the eastern streams
and walked up the fortresses outside Pengze.
When you saw people having starved to death in the sparsely populated town,
you lamented and wandered around the country alone with books and swords.
In that year, you, in silk clothes and fabric ribbons,
stopped the horse at your home village.
Children were shouting your names;
folks were hugging your arms.
Your staunch countenance persevered as always.
Looking into the Zhou village from distance
would be reading a mythology of clan.
In the Emperor’s palace,
your statue with crown and gown arouses countless connotations.
In the Little Pangu Garden, the plaque inscribed
“Exemplar of Probity and Virtue of the South” shines brightly.
Every street corner in Tianjin
is imbued with your legendary stories.
Every piece of cloud in Qingdao
remembers the scarifications you made for the country.
how you courageously walked away from the Zhou village in heavy storms.
how you, a humble scholar,
inherit your family rules and pass them on to your descendants
so that they prevail in each generation of the history.
I also wonder,
by following you,
whether I will have searched a life of integrity and profundity.
Let me transcend to the Tang Dynasty
so that I could chat, drink and laugh with Mr. Zhou,
one of the ten literati of Xiantong era,
who was in long gowns and with long swords.
Let me transcend to the Song Dynasty
so that I could raid the Liao site with General Zhou,
who rode a white horse, wore suits of armor
and held a long snake-spear.
More I want to transcend to the eleventh year of the Xianfeng era
so that I can travel with you,
the young man born in Zhikeng Mountain,
to Chizhou, Datong and Fanchang for journeys of joining the army,
controlling flood, founding schools and running business.
And yet I cannot transcend time.
I can only imagine the important figure of the Westernisation Movement
by carefully reading every stroke of the text;
I can only hear the long-lasting legacy of the father of industrialisation
by standing in front of reliefs and statues;
I can only speculate the past of the Zhou family of Dongzhi
by looking through the fanciful window lattices.
Having lost in the reverie of history,
found in every spindrift is your surging footsteps;
heard in every corner is your authoritative word.
Looking through the genealogy of the Zhou family,
every door is brimming with the fragrance of books
and every household with the aspiration of knowledge.
If one thing is to endure,
it is the hundred-year glory of the Zhou family.
Translated by Danny Q. Zhou