Historical Context in The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter
Ezra Pound translated a number of Ancient Chinese poetry by the Chinese writer Li Po. Though Pound did not speak Chinese, he used the translation notes of an East-Asian scholar to “translate” Li Po’s words. This poem contemplates the marriage between the young narrator and her river merchant husband. At fourteen, the narrator of this poem was incredibly young to be married by today’s standards. However, in 8th century China, marriages of this age were extremely common. They were arranged by the parents of the prospective husband and wife.