Liam

“Go to the General and confess your faults,

“Go to the General and confess your faults,” said the Empress.

“If we did, then should we be cut to mincemeat!

Rather summon the General into your presence

and command him to cease.

If he will not, then we pray but die in your presence.”

Empress He issued the requisite command.

He Jin was just going to her when Secretary Chen

Lin advised him not to enter, saying,

“the eunuchs are certainly behind the order and mean your harm.”

But He Jin could only see the command of the

Empress and was oblivious to all else. Said he,

“Clearly, this is an edict from the Empress. What harm?”

“Our plot is no longer a secret,” said Yuan Shao.

“Still you may go if you are ready to fight your way in.”

“Get the eunuchs out first!” said Cao Cao.

“Silly children!” said He Jin.

“What can they do against the man who

holds the forces of the empire in his palm?”

Yuan Shao said, “If you will go,

then we will come as a guard, just as a precaution.”

Whereupon both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao chose

five hundred best men under their command,

at whose head they placed Yuan Shu, a brother of

Yuan Shao. Yuan Shu, clad in mail, drew up

his troops outside the Forbidden City’s entrance,

while Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, holding swords, went as escort.

When He Jin neared the Palace of Happiness,

the officers from the Inner Bureau said,

“The orders are to admit the Regent Marshal and none other.”

So the escort was detained outside.

He Jin went in proudly. At the Gate of Grand Virtue,

he was met by Zhang Rang and Duan Gui,

and their followers quickly closed in around him.

He Jin began to feel alarmed.

then Zhang Rang in a harsh voice began to revile him:

“What crime had Empress Dong committed that she should

have been put to death? And when the Mother of the

Country was buried, who feigned sickness and did not attend?

We raised you and your paltry, huckstering family

to all the dignity and wealth you have,

and this is your gratitude! You would slay us.

You call us sordid and dirty: Who is the cleaner?”

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Yuan Shu bade his soldiers scatter and seek out all

Yuan Shu bade his soldiers scatter and seek out all

the families of the eunuchs, sparing none.

In that slaughter many beardless men were killed in error.

Cao Cao set himself to extinguish the fires.

He then begged Empress He to undertake the

direction of affairs, and soldiers were sent to

pursue Zhang Rang and rescue the young

Emperor and the young Prince of Chenliu.

Meanwhile, Zhang Rang and Duan Gui had

hustled away the Emperor and the Prince.

They burst through the smoke and fire and traveled

without stopping till they reached the Beimang Hills.

It was then the third watch. They heard a

GREat shouting behind them and saw soldiers in

pursuit. Their leader, Min Gong, a commander in

Henan, was shouting, “Traitors, stop, stop!”

Zhang Rang, seeing that he was lost,

jumped into the river, where he was drowned.

the two boys ignorant of the meaning of all

this confusion and terrified out of their senses,

dared not utter a cry. They crept in among the rank

grass on the river bank and hid.

The soldiers scattered in all directions but f

ailed to find them. So they remained till the

fourth watch, shivering with cold from the

drenching dew and very hungry.

They lay down in the thick grass and

wept in each other’s arms, silently,

lest anyone should discover them.

“This is no a place to stay in,”

said Prince Xian. “We must find some way out.”

So the two children knotted their clothes

together and managed to crawl up the bank.

They were in a thicket of thorn bushes, and it was

quite dark. They could not see any path. They were

in despair when, all at once, millions

of fireflies sprang up all about them and circled

in the air in front of the Emperor.

“God is helping us,” said Prince Xian.

they followed whither the fireflies

led and gradually got into a road. They walked

till their feet were too sore to go further,

when, seeing a heap of straw near the road,

they crept to it and lay down.

This heap of straw was close to a farm house.

In the night, as the farmer was sleeping, he saw

in a vision two bright red suns drop behind his

dwelling. Alarmed by the portent, he hastily

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dressed and went forth to look about him.

Then he saw a bright light shooting up from

a heap of straw. He hastened thither and

then saw two youths lying behind it.

He Jin was panic stricken and looked about for a way to escape

He Jin was panic stricken

and looked about for a way to escape,

but all gates had been shut. the eunuchs closed him in,

and then the assassins appeared and cut He Jin into halves.

[hip, hip, hip] Closing the days of the Hans, and the years

of their rule were near spent, Stupid and tactless was He Jin,

yet stood he highest in office, Many were they who advised him,

but he was deaf as he heard not, Wherefore fell he

a victim under the swords of the eunuchs. [yip, yip, yip]

So He Jin died. Yuan Shao and Cao Cao waited long.

By and by, impatient at the delay,

they called through the gate, “Thy carriage awaits, O General!”

For reply the head of He Jin was flung over the wall.

A decree was proclaimed:

“He Jin has contemplated treachery and therefore

has been slain! It pardons his adherents.”

Yuan Shao shouted, “the eunuchs have slain the

High Minister. Let those who will slay

this wicked party come and help me!”

then one of He Jin’s generals, Wu Kuang,

set fire to the gate. Yuan Shu at the head of his

guards burst in and fell to slaying the eunuchs

without regard to age or rank. Yuan Shao and

Cao Cao broke into the inner part of the Palace.

Four of the eunuchs——Zhao Zhong, Cheng Kuang,

Xia Yun, and Guo Sheng——fled to the Blue Flower

Lodge where they were hacked to pieces.

Fire raged, destroying the buildings.

Four of the Ten Regular Attendants——Zhang Rang,

Duan Gui, Cao Jie, and Hou Lan——led by Zhang Rang

carried off the Empress, Emperor Bian,

and Prince Xian of Chenliu toward the North Palace.

Lu Zhi, since he had resigned office,

was at home, but hearing of the revolution

in the Palace he donned his armor,

took his spear, and prepared to fight.

He saw Eunuch Duan Gui hurrying

the Empress along and called out,

“You rebel, how dare you abduct the Empress?”

the eunuch fled. The Empress leaped

out of a window and

was taken to a place of safety.

General Wu Kuang burst into one of the

inner halls where he found He Miao, sword in hand.

“You also were in the plot to slay your own

brother,” cried Wu Kuang.

“You shall die with the others!”

“Let us kill the plotter against

his elder brother!” cried many.

He Miao looked around: His enemies

hemmed him in on every side. He was hacked to pieces.

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“Go to the General and confess your faults,

“Go to the General and confess your faults,

” said the Empress.

“If we did, then should we be cut to mincemeat!

Rather summon the General into your presence

and command him to cease. If he will not,

then we pray but die in your presence.”

Empress He issued the requisite command.

He Jin was just going to her when Secretary Chen Lin

advised him not to enter, saying,

“the eunuchs are certainly behind the order

and mean your harm.”

But He Jin could only see the command

of the Empress and was oblivious to all else.

Said he, “Clearly, this is an edict from the Empress. What harm?”

“Our plot is no longer a secret,” said Yuan Shao.

“Still you may go if you are ready to fight your way in.”

“Get the eunuchs out first!” said Cao Cao.

“Silly children!” said He Jin.

“What can they do against the man who

holds the forces of the empire in his palm?”

Yuan Shao said, “If you will go, then we

will come as a guard, just as a precaution.”

Whereupon both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao

chose five hundred best men under their command,

at whose head they placed Yuan Shu, a brother of Yuan Shao.

Yuan Shu, clad in mail, drew up his troops outside the

Forbidden City’s entrance, while Yuan Shao and Cao Cao,

holding swords, went as escort.

When He Jin neared the Palace of Happiness,

the officers from the Inner Bureau said,

“The orders are to admit the Regent Marshal and none other.”

So the escort was detained outside. He Jin went in proudly.

At the Gate of Grand Virtue, he was met by Zhang Rang and

Duan Gui, and their followers quickly closed in around him.

He Jin began to feel alarmed.

then Zhang Rang in a harsh voice began to revile him:

“What crime had Empress Dong committed that she should have

been put to death? And when the Mother of the Country was buried,

who feigned sickness and did not attend? We raised you and your paltry,

huckstering family to all the dignity and wealth

you have, and this is your gratitude!

You would slay us. You call us sordid and dirty:

Who is the cleaner?”

www.rljdshx.com

The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the School of Heaven

Li Bai

PARTING AT A WINE-SHOP IN NANJING

A wind, bringing willow-cotton, sweetens the shop,

And a girl from Wu, pouring wine, urges me to share it

With my comrades of the city who are here to see me off;

And as each of them drains his cup, I say to him in parting,

Oh, go and ask this river running to the east

If it can travel farther than a friend’s love!


Li Bai

A FAREWELL TO SECRETARY SHUYUN

AT THE XIETIAO VILLA IN XUANZHOU

Since yesterday had to throw me and bolt,

Today has hurt my heart even more.

The autumn wildgeese have a long wind for escort

As I face them from this villa, drinking my wine.

The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the School of Heaven,

And I am a Lesser Xie growing up by your side.

We both are exalted to distant thought,

Aspiring to the sky and the bright moon.

But since water still flows, though we cut it with our swords,

And sorrows return, though we drown them with wine,

Since the world can in no way answer our craving,

I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishingboat.


Cen Can

A SONG OF RUNNING-HORSE RIVER IN FAREWELL

TO GENERAL FENG OF THE WESTERN EXPEDITION

Look how swift to the snowy sea races Running-Horse River! —

And sand, up from the desert, flies yellow into heaven.

This Ninth-month night is blowing cold at Wheel Tower,

And valleys, like peck measures, fill with the broken boulders

That downward, headlong, follow the wind.

…In spite of grey grasses, Tartar horses are plump;

West of the Hill of Gold, smoke and dust gather.

O General of the Chinese troops, start your campaign!

Keep your iron armour on all night long,

Send your soldiers forward with a clattering of weapons!

…While the sharp wind’s point cuts the face like a knife,

And snowy sweat steams on the horses’ backs,

Freezing a pattern of five-flower coins,

Your challenge from camp, from an inkstand of ice,

Has chilled the barbarian chieftain’s heart.

You will have no more need of an actual battle! —

We await the news of victory, here at the western pass!

 

But Yueh people talk about Heavenly Mother Mountain

 

Li Bai

TIANMU MOUNTAIN ASCENDED IN A DREAM

A seafaring visitor will talk about Japan,

Which waters and mists conceal beyond approach;

But Yueh people talk about Heavenly Mother Mountain,

Still seen through its varying deeps of cloud.

In a straight line to heaven, its summit enters heaven,

Tops the five Holy Peaks, and casts a shadow through China

With the hundred-mile length of the Heavenly Terrace Range,

Which, just at this point, begins turning southeast.

…My heart and my dreams are in Wu and Yueh

And they cross Mirror Lake all night in the moon.

And the moon lights my shadow

And me to Yan River —

With the hermitage of Xie still there

And the monkeys calling clearly over ripples of green water.

I wear his pegged boots

Up a ladder of blue cloud,

Sunny ocean half-way,

Holy cock-crow in space,

Myriad peaks and more valleys and nowhere a road.

Flowers lure me, rocks ease me. Day suddenly ends.

Bears, dragons, tempestuous on mountain and river,

Startle the forest and make the heights tremble.

Clouds darken with darkness of rain,

Streams pale with pallor of mist.

The Gods of Thunder and Lightning

Shatter the whole range.

The stone gate breaks asunder

Venting in the pit of heaven,

An impenetrable shadow.

…But now the sun and moon illumine a gold and silver terrace,

And, clad in rainbow garments, riding on the wind,

Come the queens of all the clouds, descending one by one,

With tigers for their lute-players and phoenixes for dancers.

Row upon row, like fields of hemp, range thefairy figures.

I move, my soul goes flying,

I wake with a long sigh,

My pillow and my matting

Are the lost clouds I was in.

…And this is the way it always is with human joy:

Ten thousand things run for ever like water toward the east.

And so I take my leave of you, not knowing for how long.

…But let me, on my green slope, raise a white deer

And ride to you, great mountain, when I have need of you.

Oh, how can I gravely bow and scrape to men of high rank and men of high office

Who never will suffer being shown an honest-hearted face!

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I hear people at the fishing-town stumble aboard the ferry

 

Li Qi

ON HEARING AN WANSHAN PLAY THE REED-PIPE

Bamboo from the southern hills was used to make this pipe.

And its music, that was introduced from Persia first of all,

Has taken on new magic through later use in China.

And now the Tartar from Liangzhou, blowing it for me,

Drawing a sigh from whosoever hears it,

Is bringing to a wanderer’s eyes homesick tears….

Many like to listen; but few understand.

To and fro at will there’s a long wind flying,

Dry mulberry-trees, old cypresses, trembling in its chill.

There are nine baby phoenixes, outcrying one another;

A dragon and a tiger spring up at the same moment;

Then in a hundred waterfalls ten thousand songs of autumn

Are suddenly changing to The Yuyang Lament;

And when yellow clouds grow thin and the white sun darkens,

They are changing still again to Spring in the Willow Trees.

Like Imperial Garden flowers, brightening the eye with beauty,

Are the high-hall candles we have lighted this cold night,

And with every cup of wine goes another round of music.


Meng Haoran

RETURNING AT NIGHT TO LUMEN MOUNTAIN

 

A bell in the mountain-temple sounds the coming of night.

I hear people at the fishing-town stumble aboard the ferry,

While others follow the sand-bank to their homes along the river.

…I also take a boat and am bound for Lumen Mountain —

And soon the Lumen moonlight is piercing misty trees.

I have come, before I know it, upon an ancient hermitage,

The thatch door, the piney path, the solitude, the quiet,

Where a hermit lives and moves, never needing a companion.


Li Bai

A SONG OF LU MOUNTAIN TO CENSOR LU XUZHOU

I am the madman of the Chu country

Who sang a mad song disputing Confucius.

…Holding in my hand a staff of green jade,

I have crossed, since morning at the Yellow Crane Terrace,

All five Holy Mountains, without a thought of distance,

According to the one constant habit of my life.

Lu Mountain stands beside the Southern Dipper

In clouds reaching silken like a nine-panelled screen,

With its shadows in a crystal lake deepening the green water.

The Golden Gate opens into two mountain-ranges.

A silver stream is hanging down to three stone bridges

Within sight of the mighty Tripod Falls.

Ledges of cliff and winding trails lead to blue sky

And a flush of cloud in the morning sun,

Whence no flight of birds could be blown into Wu.

…I climb to the top. I survey the whole world.

I see the long river that runs beyond return,

Yellow clouds that winds have driven hundreds of miles

And a snow-peak whitely circled by the swirl of a ninefold stream.

And so I am singing a song of Lu Mountain,

A song that is born of the breath of Lu Mountain.

…Where the Stone Mirror makes the heart’s purity purer

And green moss has buried the footsteps of Xie,

I have eaten the immortal pellet and, rid of the world’s troubles,

Before the lute’s third playing have achieved my element.

Far away I watch the angels riding coloured clouds

Toward heaven’s Jade City, with hibiscus in their hands.

And so, when I have traversed the nine sections of the world,

I will follow Saint Luao up the Great Purit

Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying

 

Li Qi

A LUTE SONG

Our host, providing abundant wine to make the night mellow,

Asks his guest from Yangzhou to play for us on the lute.

Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying,

Frost is on ten thousand trees, and the wind blows through our clothes;

But a copper stove has added its light to that of flowery candles,

And the lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.

Once it has begun to play, there is no other sound:

A spell is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin….

But three hundred miles from here, in Huai, official duties await him,

And so it’s farewell, and the road again, under cloudy mountains.


Li Qi

ON HEARING DONG PLAY THE FLAGEOLET

A POEM TO PALACE-ATTENDANT FANG

When this melody for the flageolet was made by Lady Cai,

When long ago one by one she sang its eighteen stanzas,

Even the Tartars were shedding tears into the border grasses,

And the envoy of China was heart-broken, turning back home with his escort.

…Cold fires now of old battles are grey on ancient forts,

And the wilderness is shadowed with white new-flying snow.

…When the player first brushes the Shang string and the Jue and then the Yu,

Autumn-leaves in all four quarters are shaken with a murmur.

Dong, the master,

Must have been taught in heaven.

Demons come from the deep pine-wood and stealthily listen

To music slow, then quick, following his hand,

Now far away, now near again, according to his heart.

A hundred birds from an empty mountain scatter and return;

Three thousand miles of floating clouds darken and lighten;

A wildgoose fledgling, left behind, cries for its flock,

And a Tartar child for the mother he loves.

Then river waves are calmed

And birds are mute that were singing,

And Wuzu tribes are homesick for their distant land,

And out of the dust of Siberian steppes rises a plaintive sorrow.

…Suddenly the low sound leaps to a freer tune,

Like a long wind swaying a forest, a downpour brea king tiles,

A cascade through the air, flying over tree-tops.

…A wild deer calls to his fellows. He is running among the mansions

In the corner of the capital by the Eastern Palace wall….

Phoenix Lake lies opposite the Gate of Green Jade;

But how can fame and profit concern a man of genius?

Day and night I long for him to bring his lute again.

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Why laugh when they fall asleep drunk on the sand

I find you alone under falling petals.

 

Wang Changling
IN HER QUIET WINDOW
Too young to have learned what sorrow means,
Attired for spring, she climbs to her high chamber….
The new green of the street-willows is wounding her heart —
Just for a title she sent him to war.


Wang Changling
A SONG OF THE SPRING PALACE
Last night, while a gust blew peach-petals open
And the moon shone high on the Palace Beyond Time,
The Emperor gave Pingyang, for her dancing,
Brocades against the cold spring-wind.


Wang Han
A SONG OF LIANGZHOU
They sing, they drain their cups of jade,
They strum on horseback their guitars.
…Why laugh when they fall asleep drunk on the sand ? —
How many soldiers ever come home?


Li Bai
A FAREWELL TO MENG HAORAN
ON HIS WAY TO YANGZHOU
You have left me behind, old friend, at the Yellow Crane Terrace,
On your way to visit Yangzhou in the misty month of flowers;
Your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky,
Till now I see only the river, on its way to heaven.


Li Bai
THROUGH THE YANGZI GORGES
From the walls of Baidi high in the coloured dawn
To Jiangling by night-fall is three hundred miles,
Yet monkeys are still calling on both banks behind me
To my boat these ten thousand mountains away.


Cen Can
ON MEETING A MESSENGER TO THE CAPITAL
It’s a long way home, a long way east.
I am old and my sleeve is wet with tears.
We meet on horseback. I have no means of writing.
Tell them three words: “He is safe.”


Du Fu
ON MEETING LI GUINIAN DOWN THE RIVER
I met you often when you were visiting princes
And when you were playing in noblemen’s halls.
…Spring passes…. Far down the river now,
I find you alone under falling petals.


Wei Yingwu
AT CHUZHOU ON THE WESTERN STREAM
Where tender grasses rim the stream
And deep boughs trill with mango-birds,
On the spring flood of last night’s rain
The ferry-boat moves as though someone were poling.


Zhang Ji
A NIGHT-MOORING NEAR MAPLE BRIDGE
While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost;
Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch;
And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,
Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell.


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The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

 

Meng Jiao

A SONG OF A PURE-HEARTED GIRL

Lakka-trees ripen two by two

And mandarin-ducks die side by side.

If a true-hearted girl will love only her husband,

In a life as faithfully lived as theirs,

What troubling wave can arrive to vex

A spirit like water in a timeless well?


Meng Jiao

A TRAVELLER’S SONG

The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

Makes clothes for the body of her wayward boy;

Carefully she sews and thoroughly she mends,

Dreading the delays that will keep him late from home.

But how much love has the inch-long grass

For three spring months of the light of the sun?


Chen Ziang

ON A GATE-TOWER AT YUZHOU

Where, before me, are the ages that have gone?

And where, behind me, are the coming generations?

I think of heaven and earth, without limit, without end,

And I am all alone and my tears fall down.


Li Qi

AN OLD AIR

 

There once was a man, sent on military missions,

A wanderer, from youth, on the You and Yan frontiers.

Under the horses’ hoofs he would meet his foes

And, recklessly risking his seven-foot body,

Would slay whoever dared confront

Those moustaches that bristled like porcupinequills.

…There were dark clouds below

the hills, there were white clouds above them,

But before a man has served full time, how can he go back?

In eastern Liao a girl was waiting, a girl of fifteen years,

Deft with a guitar, expert in dance and song.

…She seems to be fluting, even now, a reed-song of home,

Filling every soldier’s eyes with homesick tears.


Li Qi

A FAREWELL TO MY FRIEND CHEN ZHANGFU

 

In the Fourth-month the south wind blows plains of yellow barley,

Date-flowers have not faded yet and lakka-leaves are long.

The green peak that we left at dawn we still can see at evening,

While our horses whinny on the road, eager to turn homeward.

…Chen, my friend, you have always been a great and good man,

With your dragon’s moustache, tiger’s eyebrows and your massive forehead.

In your bosom you have shelved away ten thousand volumes.

You have held your head high, never bowed it in the dust.

…After buying us wine and pledging us, here at the eastern gate,

And taking things as lightly as a wildgoose feather,

Flat you lie, tipsy, forgetting the white sun;

But now and then you open your eyes and gaze at a high lone cloud.

…The tide-head of the lone river joins the darkening sky.

The ferryman beaches his boat. It has grown too late to sail.

And people on their way from Cheng cannot go home,

And people from Loyang sigh with disappointment.

…I have heard about the many friends around your wood land dwelling.

Yesterday you were dismissed. Are they your friends today?

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