Ballad of the Lute

I have been just simply reading what I can get my hands on, and was emphatic when I came across a line from a well-known poem. Being a romantic that I am, it had me in tears.

The context of the poem was when an exiled poet encountered a lute player (a female performance artist proficient with a traditional string instrument) who was also forced to leave the capital when her fame faded along with her youth and beauty. She married a merchant that often travels and leaves her to an empty house.

The poet overheard her playing one day and invited her to play for him. He remarked that even when she was simply tightening the strings and tuning her lute, the emotions within came before the tune.

The poet exclaimed regarding their chance encounter (the following is a translation I found):

We are both the fallen (from grace), wanderers beneath the sky; when we encounter, we need not ask if we were ever acquainted -- we already know each other through all our likeness!

Here's a reproduction of the line in its original language, for reference. So that I never forget.

同是天涯沦落人,相逢何必曾相识!


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