Poem no. 1:
Beneath Mt Huajia flows Flower Creek,
where fallen blossoms are being nibbled by fish.
The best Spring scenes are found on the West Lake,
Is there a need (to read Zhuangzi's) "Autumn Floods" to apprehend (the Dao expounded in) the Nanhuajing*?
Written by the Emperor in the Spring of the xinwei year (1751).
*Nanhuajing is another name for Zhuangzi, the pen-name used for a collection of writtings which were believed to be attributed to Laozi, popularly known as the Dao de jing, 'The Way and Power Classic'.
Poem no. 2:
The Jade Spring boasts of its brocade-like fish,
the Banana Rock resides by Flower Creek.
New locations are added to a repertoire of scenic spots;
judging by the jumping and diving fish, they lack the vitality of the olden days.
'Watching fish in Flower Creek', written by the Emperor in the Spring of dingchou year (1757).
Poem no. 3:
These fish owe their brocade-like pattern not to the effort of the Weaving Maiden;
they look like a myriad of flowers clustering under the silk-smooth water.
Imagine that they have been given narcissus as their Spring costume,
a boundless elegance embellishing the beautiful scenery.
'Observing fish in Flower Creek', written by the Emperor in the Spring of the renwu year (1762), again following the rhyme of the previous poems.
Poem no. 4:
The water in the creek is flat and smooth as silk,
schools of fish gathered to resemble clusters of flowers.
Although unable to distinguish the historical relics of the Qiando (1165-1173), and Chunyou (1241-1252) periods,
the folks of Hangzhou still dwell on the legend of this old capital.* Written by the Emperor in a leap month in the Spring of the yiyou year (1765), for the third time in the style of previous poems.
*The reference is clearly of the Southern Song when Emperor Gaozong (1127-1162) re-established his capital in Hongzhou, having retreated from the northern Jurchen Tartars.
Poem no. 5:
Zhuangzi argued that human beings know not the joy of observing fish,
from Flower Creek originates the fish-joy legend.
As the Wheel of State turns, it arrives thus far,
like the old tradition of drinking water from Jade Spring, it continues to improve on the ancient.
Written by the Emperor in late Spring of the gengzi year (1780).
Poem no. 6:
When a channel is formed, water flows into a natural creek,
where its name is derived from a multitude of flowers that surrounds it.
This exercise is different in nature from when King Yingong (of the Lu State) watched fish in the Tang city (a city of the Spring and Autumn period),
it was then regarded as a pastime and a way of celebrating beautiful scenery.
Written by the Emperor in the late Spring of the jiachen year (1784).
Poem no. 7:
Its sound harmonises with string and percussion instruments,
it is difficult to locate whence its depth below.
Waves along the divine lake laps gently and repeatedly forward,
it is warmer here than in the North where woodlands are already shrouded by cold weather.
Written by the Emperor in late Spring of the Gengzhi year (1780).
Poem no. 8:
After being driven South, the Song court had forgotten their Jin invaders from the North,
they indulged in musical performances and pleasure seeking.
Even the orioles lamented,
at the capital of the Song which was once situated north of the river.
Written by the Emperor in the late Spring of the jiachen year (1784)
Poem no. 9:
Fearless of the wind, peaks rise tall to resemble a pair of chignons,
Clouds envelop them like an elegant celestial robe.
As in a unique painting, the landscape
presents simultaneously its subtle beauty as well as its splendour.
Written by the Emperor in the third month in Spring of the xinwei year (1751).
Poem no. 10:
The South Peak seems to be looking up while the North Peak looks down,
they breathe their reflections upon the silk-smooth water.
These reflections merge into the waves,
and echo with the Pavilion in the heart of the lake.
'Twin Peaks Piercing into the Clouds', written by the Emperor in Spring of the dingchou year (1757).
Poem no. 11:
Wisps of Spring clouds curl and hover,
covering both the South and North Peaks.
Composing poetry for the third time on the lake,
one looks back to find that time has gone by so very quickly.
'Twin Peaks Piercing into the Clouds', Written by the Emperor in the Spring of the renwu (1762), in the style of rhyme of the previous poem.
Poem no. 12:
The peaks are like a pair of swords pointing down from the sky,
wisps of clouds act as their sheath.
They have been here since the beginning of the universe,
and not associated with Ou Ye (well-known sword maker of the Spring and Autumn period) whose sword was said to have split Mt Jin into two.
Written by the Emperor in a leap month in Spring of the yiyou year (1765), for the third time after the rhyme of previous poems.
Poem no. 13:
The reflections of the twin peaks appear upside down in the water,
a wisp of cloud streaks across them.
If Mt. Wuyi can be moved here from Fujian by use of magic,
it would be no different from the old days when state banquets were held at the Rainbow Bridge.
Written by the Emperor in late Spring of Gengzi year (1780).
Poem no. 14:
Twin peaks stand tall opposing each other while the sky hangs low around them,
they are thickly wrapped in cloth of fleecy clouds.
I cannot help but wonder whether the huge number of poor peasants,
have enough clothes to wear.
Written by the Emperor in late Spring of the jiachen year (1784).