Orchid Pavilion Preface

In early March of year 353, we have gathered at the Orchid Pavilion in the North of Kuaiji Mountain for the purification ritual. All the literati have finally arrived. Young and old ones have come together.
This area has high mountains and steep hills, dense wood and slender bamboos, as well as a limpid swift stream flowing by with reflections all around.
We sit by a redirected streamlet that floats the wine goblets to us. Although without the grandeur of musical accompaniment, the wine and poems are sufficient to allow for a free exchange of deep feelings.
As for this day, the sky is clear, the air is fresh, and the breeze is mild. Hanging high is the immense universe. Around us is the myriad variety. Stretching our sights and freeing our minds will allow us to fully enjoy the sound and vision. This is really delighting.
The bond between people will quickly span a lifetime. Some people might share their ambitions in a closet while others might freely enjoy themselves with their pleasures.
Although interests are widely unique and the vigour is different, whatever pleasure one meets, we can get some temporary satisfaction.
But one can hardly realize how fast we will grow old. When we become tired of our desires and the circumstances changes, grief will come.
What we have been interested in will soon be a relic. We can’t help but lament. Whether life is long or short is up to destiny, but it will all end in nothingness.
The ancients said, "Birth and death are big events." How could it not be agonizing?
Any look at the cause of sentiment of the ancients shows the same origin. We can hardly not mourn before their scripts although our feelings cannot be verbalized.
We know that equating life and death is ridiculous. It is equally absurd to think that longevity is the same as short-lived. The future generations will look upon us just like we look upon our past. How sad!
So we record the people here and their works. Even though time and circumstances will change, the cause for lament will remain the same.
Future readers will have sentiment on this prose.
Lan Ting Xu