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Su Shi

The poems and lyrics of Su Shi (1037-1101) were of a virile timbre and an unrestrained spirit.

Most of Su Shi's poems were written to expresshis own feelings and sing the beauty of nature. Farewell to Lu Yuanhan Posted to Weizhou, Watching Rain storms at the Hall of Youmei and Drinking after the Rain on the Lake, are classic poems with an imagination unbounded, written in either powerful or refined and delicate strokes.His Poem on the Wall of Xilin Temple was considered to have fullycaptured the realism of Song Dynasty poetry. On Paintings of WangWei and Wu DaoZi, Reading Meng jiao' a Poems, and On Paintings of Wang, Assistant Magistrate, take art criticism' as their Subject matter, raising the Culture of the Northern Song Dynasty to newer heights.

Compared to his poems, Su Shi's lyrics made an even greater impactin terms of creativity. He went beyond merely describing sorrows felt byparting lovers and broadened his canvas to include recollections of thepast, travel notes and reasoning, sweeping aside the gentle and restrainedstyle of the lyrics created in the late Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasties, toestablish the ',powerful and Free" school of lyrics.

Prelude to a Water Melody and Charm of a Maiden Singer are thoughtto best represent the style of Su Shi's lyrics.

Prelude to a Water Melody imagines extreme loneliness in heavenand entrusts the poet's hopes in securing eternal happiness in the earthly world. Charm of a Maiden Singer expresses the poet's uplifting sentiments by describing the grand view at the former site of the Red Cliff and praising the mettle of ancientheroes. Both poems were written at a time when the poet was frustratedin his career, there fore a tone of "life is but a dream" may be sensednow and then in the poems. Still, this cannot stifle the poet's enthusiasmand optimism conveyed in the poems.

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