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Chapter 9 of Book 1

Origin of the Chapter's Title

The title 眉间心上,无计相回避 (méi jiān xīn shàng , wú jì xiàng huí bì) is from the poem  Yu Jie Xing (御街行), also known as Lyrics to the Imperial Drive Melody, by Fan Zhongyan (范仲淹), a scholar-reformer from the Song Dynasty.

The poem describes "the poet's grief upon an unjust or acrimonious separation (the particular circumstances of it are not entirely clear)."[1]

Tong Hua uses Song poems to describe separation and longing; for example in Book 1 Chapter 14 and Book 1 Chapter 15, which foreshadows the Chinese subtitle of Book 2.

眉间心上,无计相回避 can be translated as:

  • The furrowing of my brow

I know that I have no way of escaping it.[2]

  • It weighs on my mind and brows,

Yet there is nothing I can do to fend it.[3]

  • Brow furrowed, No choice but mutal avoidance.[4]

The context of this line in its passage:

"My heart has been broken, and I have no way of drowning my sorrows; before the wine has reached my lips it turns to bitter tears. The broken lamp winks out light, and I recline crooked on the pillow. I know too well what it is like to sleep alone. This manifests itself in the contortions of my heart, and the furrowing of my brow; I know that I have no way of escaping it."[5]

Another translation of this passage:

Already rent is my heart, I cannot be more intoxicated, 

Before I could further drink up, I've already shed more tears. 

Lying askew on a pillow by the gleam of a dimming lamp, 

How familiar I am with what it's like to sleep and dwell in loneliness. 

So often reminded of this I am, it weighs on my mind and brows, 

Yet there is nothing I can do to fend it.[6]

Chapter Content