II is the Fifth Month, 1
But still the Heaven-high hills
Shine with snow.
There are no flowers
For the heart of the earth is yet too chilly.
From the centre of the camp
Comes the sound of a flute
Playing "The Snapped Willow." 2
No colour mists the trees,
Not yet have their leaves broken.
At dawn, there is the shock and shouting of battle,
Following the drums and the loud metal gongs.
At night, the soldiers sleep, clasping the pommels of their jade-ornamented saddles.
They sleep lightly,
With their two-edged swords girt below their loins,
So that they may be able in an instant to rush upon the Barbarians 3
And destroy them.