Let us gather the thorn-ferns, let us gather the thorn-ferns; The thorn-ferns are now springing up. When shall we return? When shall we return? It will be late in the [next] year. Wife and husband will be separated, Because of the Xian-yun. We shall have no leisure to rest, Because of the Xian-yun.
Let us gather the thorn-ferns, let us gather the thorn-ferns; The thorn-ferns are now tender. When shall we return? When shall we return? Our hearts are sorrowful; Our hearts are sad and sorrowful; We shall hunger, we shall thirst. While our service on guard is not finished, We can send no one home to enquire about our families.
Let us gather the thorn-ferns, let us gather the thorn-ferns; The thorn-ferns are now hard. When shall we return? When shall we return? The year will be in the tenth month. But the king's business must not be slackly performed; We shall have no leisure to rest. Our sorrowing hearts are in great distress; But we shall not return from our expedition.
What is that so gorgeous? It is the flowers of the cherry tree. What carriage is that? It is the carriage of our general. His war carriage is yoked; The four steeds are strong. Dare we remain inactive? In one month we shall have three victories.
The four steeds are yoked, The four steeds, eager and strong; - The confidence of the general, The protection of the men. The four steeds move regularly, like wings; - There are the bow with its ivory ends, and the seal-skin quiver. Shall we not daily warn one another? The business of the Xian-yun is very urgent.
At first, when we set out, The willows were fresh and green; Now, when we shall be returning, The snow will be falling in clouds. Long and tedious will be our marching; We shall hunger; we shall thirst. Our hearts are wounded with grief, And no one knows our sadness.