Attendants, leave us!
A spring breeze has blown open the purple curtains.
And heavenly music flows from the pearl-decked pavilion. Kao and the
other eunuchs retire.)
Moonlight streams through the casement, and the shadows
Of flowers flicker in the candlelight.
A glorious night for love
—let us forget
How slow time drags in the other palaces.
(The maids bring fresh, informal clothes to the emperor and
Lady Yang, then retire. The emperor and Lady Yang sit
The candles shed soft light on your silken garments.
I am greatly favoured by the royal scent.
Tonight other beauties may frown,
But tomorrow all will tell of the new found jewel.
This evening our love begins.
(Takes from his sleeve an ornamental pin for her hair and a jewel
I have brought you this gold pin and this jewel box to pledge our
love. Let us love each other as long as we live.
Studded with jewels, set with emeralds,
These treasures were close to my heart.
Tonight I give you this phoenix pin for your hair,
And this box, wrapped in a fragrant scarf,
To put in your silken sleeve.
And may we two become
Like the phoenixes on the pin, always flying together;
Like the love-knot on the box—two hearts as one.
(Gives them to
Lady Yang, who curtseys.)
I thank Your Majesty for this royal gift,
But fear my poor looks can make small return
For such great kindness. (Looks at the gifts.)
I steal a look at these carvings of dragon and phoenix;
How I love these twin heads and the curved lids fastened together!
May our love be as close and as firm,
May the phoenixes never be parted;
May the box never be divided!