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Wang Ch`ang-ling 

Circa A.D. 750

This poet came from the district of Chiang-ning to the capital, where he obtained his doctor's degree and distinguished himself as a man of letters. For some time he filled a minor post, but was eventually disgraced and exiled to the province of Hunan. When the rebellion of An Lu-shan broke out, he returned to his native place, where he was cruelly murdered by the censor Lu Ch`in-hsiao.

(See Hervey Saint-Denys, `Poe/sies des Thang', p. 224; Giles, `Biog. Dict.' p. 8087.)

The Song of the Nenuphars

Leaves of the Nenuphars and silken skirts the same pale green, On flower and laughing face alike the same rose-tints are seen; Like some blurred tapestry they blend within the lake displayed: You cannot part the leaves from silk, the lily from the maid. Only when sudden voices swell Do maidens of their presence tell.

Here long ago the girls of Sou, the darlings of the King, Dabbled their shining skirts with dew from the gracious blooms of Spring. When to the lake's sun-dimpled marge the bright procession wends, The languid lilies raise their heads as though to greet their friends; When down the river-banks they roam, The white moon-lady leads them home.

Tears in the Spring

Clad in blue silk and bright embroidery At the first call of Spring the fair young bride, On whom as yet Sorrow has laid no scar, Climbs the Kingfisher's Tower. Suddenly She sees the bloom of willows far and wide, And grieves for him she lent to fame and war.

Chang Chih-ho Circa A.D. 750

A Taoist philosopher who lived in the time of the Emperor Su Tsung, and held office under him. For some offence he was exiled, and the royal pardon found him far too occupied to dream of return.

Like so many of the same philosophy, he became a lonely wanderer, calling himself the "Old Fisherman of the Mists and Waters". Professor Giles (`Chinese Literature', p. 191) adds the curious statement that "he spent his time in angling, but used no bait, his object not being to catch fish."

A World Apart

The Lady Moon is my lover, My friends are the oceans four, The heavens have roofed me over, And the dawn is my golden door I would liefer follow the condor Or the seagull, soaring from ken, Than bury my godhead yonder In the dust of the whirl of men.

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