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Ch`en Tzu Ang 


A.D. 656-698

Famous for writing that kind of impromptu descriptive verse which the Chinese call "Ying". In temperament he was less Chinese than most of his contemporaries. His passionate disposition finally brought him into trouble with the magistrate of his district, who had him cast into prison, where he died at the age of forty-two.

Whatever his outward demeanour may have been, his poetry gives us no indication of it, being full of delicate mysticism, almost impossible to reproduce in the English language. For this reason I have chosen one of his simpler poems as a specimen.

The Last Revel

From silver lamps a thin blue smoke is streaming, And golden vases 'mid the feast are gleaming; Now sound the lutes in unison, Within the gates our lives are one. We'll think not of the parting ways As long as dawn delays.

When in tall trees the dying moonbeams quiver: When floods of fire efface the Silver River, Then comes the hour when I must seek Lo-Yang beyond the furthest peak. But the warm twilight round us twain Will never rise again.

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