the seer made no reply,

the seer made no reply,

and again and again Cao Cao pressed the question.

then Xu Shao replied, “In peace you are an able subject; in chaos you are a crafty hero!”

Cao Cao GREatly rejoiced to hear this.

Cao Cao graduated at twenty and earned a reputation of piety and integrity. He began his career as

Commanding Officer in a county within the Capital District. In the four gates of the city he guarded,

he hung up clubs of various sorts, and he would punish any breach of the law whatever the rank of the

offender. Now an uncle of Eunuch Jian Shuo* was found one night in the streets with a sword and was

arrested. In due course he was beaten. Thereafter no one dared to offend again, and Cao Cao’s name

became heard. Soon he became a magistrate of Dunqiu.

At the outbreak of the Yellow Scarves, Cao Cao held the rank of General and was given command of five

thousand horse and foot to help fight at Yingchuan. He just happened to fall in with the newly defeated

rebels whom he cut to pieces. Thousands were slain and endless banners and drums and horses were captured,

together with huge sums of money. However, Zhang Ba and Zhang Lian got away; and after an interview with

Huangfu Song, Cao Cao went in pursuit of them.

Meanwhile Liu Bei and his brothers were hastening toward Yingchuan, when they heard the din of battle and saw

flames rising high toward the sky. But they arrived too late for the fighting. They saw Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun to whom they told the intentions of Lu Zhi.

“the rebel power is quite broken here,” said the commanders, “but they will surely make for Guangzong to join Zhang Jue. You can do nothing better than hasten back.”

the three brothers thus retraced their steps. Half way along the road they met a party of soldiers escorting a

prisoner in a cage-cart. When they drew near, they saw the prisoner was no other than Lu Zhi, the man

they were going to help. Hastily dismounting, Liu Bei asked what had happened.

Liu Bei was twenty-eight when the outbreak

Liu Bei was twenty-eight when the outbreak

As a child, Liu Bei played with the other village children beneath this tree, and he would climb up into it, saying, “I am the Son of Heaven,

and this is my chariot!” His uncle, Liu Yuanqi, recognized that Liu Bei was no ordinary boy and saw to it that the family did not come to actual want.

When Liu Bei was fifteen, his mother sent him traveling for his education. For a time he served Zheng Xuan and Lu Zhi as masters. And he became GREat friends with Gongsun Zan.

Liu Bei was twenty-eight when the outbreak of the Yellow Scarves called for soldiers. The sight of the notice saddened him, and he sighed as he read it.

Suddenly a rasping voice behind him cried, “Sir, why sigh if you do nothing to help your country?”

Turning quickly he saw standing there a man about his own height, with a bullet head like a leopard’s, large eyes, a swallow pointed chin,

and whiskers like a tiger’s. He spoke in a loud bass voice and looked as irresistible as a dashing horse. At once Liu Bei saw he was no ordinary man and asked who he was.

“Zhang Fei is my name,” replied the stranger. “I live near here where I have a farm; and I am a wine seller and a butcher as

well; and I like to become acquainted with worthy people. Your sighs as you read the notice drew me toward you.”

Liu Bei replied, “I am of the Imperial Family, Liu Bei is my name. And I wish I could destroy these Yellow Scarves and restore peace to the land, but alas! I am helpless.”

“I have the means,” said Zhang Fei. “Suppose you and I raised some troops and tried what we could do.”

This was happy news for Liu Bei, and the two betook themselves to the village inn to talk over the project. As they were drinking,

a huge, tall fellow appeared pushing a hand-cart along the road. At the threshold he halted and entered the inn to rest awhile and he called for wine.

“And be quick!” added he. “For I am in haste to get into the town and offer myself for the army.”

Liu Bei looked over the newcomer, item by item, and he noted the man had a huge frame, a long beard, a vivid face like an apple,

and deep red lips. He had eyes like a phoenix’s and fine bushy eyebrows like silkworms. His whole appearance was dignified and awe-inspiring. Presently, Liu Bei crossed over, sat down beside him and asked his name.

Let bugles cry our victory!

Let bugles cry our victory!

Lu Lun
BORDER-SONGS II
The woods are black and a wind assails the grasses,
Yet the general tries night archery —
And next morning he finds his white-plumed arrow
Pointed deep in the hard rock.


Lu Lun
BORDER-SONGS III
High in the faint moonlight, wildgeese are soaring.
Tartar chieftains are fleeing through the dark —
And we chase them, with horses lightly burdened
And a burden of snow on our bows and our swords.


Lu Lun
BORDER-SONGS IV
Let feasting begin in the wild camp!
Let bugles cry our victory!
Let us drink, let us dance in our golden armour!
Let us thunder on rivers and hills with our drums!


Li Yi
A SONG OF THE SOUTHERN RIVER
Since I married the merchant of Qutang
He has failed each day to keep his word….
Had I thought how regular the tide is,
I might rather have chosen a river-boy.


He Zhizhang
COMING HOME
I left home young. I return old;
Speaking as then, but with hair grown thin;
And my children, meeting me, do not know me.
They smile and say: “Stranger, where do you come from?”


Zhang Xu
PEACH-BLOSSOM RIVER
A bridge flies away through a wild mist,
Yet here are the rocks and the fisherman’s boat.
Oh, if only this river of floating peach-petals
Might lead me at last to the mythical cave!


Wang Wei
ON THE MOUNTAIN HOLIDAY
THINKING OF MY BROTHERS IN SHANDONG
All alone in a foreign land,
I am twice as homesick on this day
When brothers carry dogwood up the mountain,
Each of them a branch-and my branch missing.


Wang Changling
AT HIBISCUS INN
PARTING WITH XIN JIAN
With this cold night-rain hiding the river, you have come into Wu.
In the level dawn, all alone, you will be starting for the mountains of Chu.
Answer, if they ask of me at Loyang:
One-hearted as ice in a crystal vase.


 

Dare ford the river boundary.

Dare ford the river boundary.

Li Shangyin
THE LEYOU TOMBS
With twilight shadows in my heart
I have driven up among the Leyou Tombs
To see the sun, for all his glory,
Buried by the coming night.


Jia Dao
A NOTE LEFT FOR AN ABSENT ECLUSE
When I questioned your pupil, under a pine-tree,
My teacher, he answered, ” went for herbs,
But toward which corner of the mountain,
How can I tell, through all these clouds ?”


Li Pin
CROSSING THE HAN RIVER
Away from home, I was longing for news
Winter after winter, spring after spring.
Now, nearing my village, meeting people,
I dare not ask a single question.


Jin Changzu
A SPRING SIGH
Drive the orioles away,
All their music from the trees….
When she dreamed that she went to Liaoxi Camp
To join him there, they wakened her


Xibiren
GENERAL GE SHU
This constellation, with its seven high stars,
Is Ge Shu lifting his sword in the night:
And no more barbarians, nor their horses, nor cattle,
Dare ford the river boundary.


Cui Hao
A SONG OF CHANGGAN I
“Tell me, where do you live? —
Near here, by the fishing-pool?
Let’s hold our boats together, let’s see
If we belong in the same town. ”


Cui Hao
A SONG OF CHANGGAN II
“Yes, I live here, by the river;
I have sailed on it many and many a time.
Both of us born in Changgan, you and I!
Why haven’t we always known each other? ”


Li Bai
A SIGH FROM A STAIRCASE OF JADE
Her jade-white staircase is cold with dew;
Her silk soles are wet, she lingered there so long….
Behind her closed casement, why is she still waiting,
Watching through its crystal pane the glow of the autumn moon?


Lu Lun
BORDER-SONGS I
His golden arrow is tipped with hawk’s feathers,
His embroidered silk flag has a tail like a swallow.
One man, arising, gives a new order
To the answering shout of a thousand tents.


 

After the shower at Bashang

After the shower at Bashang

Wen Tingyun
TO A FRIEND BOUND EAST
The old fort brims with yellow leaves….
You insist upon forsaking this place where you have lived.
A high wind blows at Hanyang Ferry
And sunrise lights the summit of Yingmen….
Who will be left for me along the upper Yangzi
After your solitary skiff has entered the end of the sky?
I ask you over and over when we shall meet again,
While we soften with winecups this ache of farewell.


Ma Dai
AN AUTUMN COTTAGE AT BASHANG
After the shower at Bashang,
I see an evening line of wildgeese,
The limp-hanging leaves of a foreign tree,
A lantern’s cold gleam, lonely in the night,
An empty garden, white with dew,
The ruined wall of a neighbouring monastery.
…I have taken my ease here long enough.
What am I waiting for, I wonder.


Ma Dai
THOUGHTS OF OLD TIME
ON THE CHU RIVER
A cold light shines on the gathering dew,
As sunset fades beyond the southern mountains;
Trees echo with monkeys on the banks of Lake Dongting,
Where somebody is moving in an orchid-wood boat.
Marsh-lands are swollen wide with the moon,
While torrents are bent to the mountains’ will;
And the vanished Queens of the Clouds leave me
Sad with autumn all night long.


The border is open to travel again;
And Tartars can no more choose than rivers:
They are running, all of them, toward the south.


Cui Tu

ON NEW YEAR’S EVE
Farther and farther from the three Ba Roads,
I have come three thousand miles, anxious and watchful,
Through pale snow-patches in the jagged nightmountains —
A stranger with a lonely lantern shaken in the wind.
…Separation from my kin
Binds me closer to my servants —
Yet how I dread, so far adrift,
New Year’s Day, tomorrow morning!

What is life to me without you?

Du Fu
REMEMBERING MY BROTHERS ON A MOONLIGHT NIGHT
A wanderer hears drums portending battle.
By the first call of autumn from a wildgoose at the border,
He knows that the dews tonight will be frost.
…How much brighter the moonlight is at home!
O my brothers, lost and scattered,
What is life to me without you?
Yet if missives in time of peace go wrong —
What can I hope for during war?


Du Fu
TO LI BAI AT THE SKY SEND
A cold wind blows from the far sky….
What are you thinking of, old friend?
The wildgeese never answer me.
Rivers and lakes are flooded with rain.
…A poet should beware of prosperity,
Yet demons can haunt a wanderer.
Ask an unhappy ghost, throw poems to him
Where he drowned himself in the Milo River.


Du Fu
A FAREWELL AT FENGJI STATION TO GENERAL YAN
This is where your comrade must leave you,
Turning at the foot of these purple mountains….
When shall we lift our cups again, I wonder,
As we did last night and walk in the moon?
The region is murmuring farewell
To one who was honoured through three reigns;
And back I go now to my river-village,
Into the final solitude.


Du Fu
ON LEAVING THE TOMB OF PREMIER FANG
Having to travel back now from this far place,
I dismount beside your lonely tomb.
The ground where I stand is wet with my tears;
The sky is dark with broken clouds….
I who played chess with the great Premier
Am bringing to my lord the dagger he desired.
But I find only petals falling down,
I hear only linnets answering.


Du Fu
A NIGHT ABROAD
A light wind is rippling at the grassy shore….
Through the night, to my motionless tall mast,
The stars lean down from open space,
And the moon comes running up the river.
…If only my art might bring me fame
And free my sick old age from office! —
Flitting, flitting, what am I like
But a sand-snipe in the wide, wide world!


Du Fu
ON THE GATE-TOWER AT YOUZHOU
I had always heard of Lake Dongting —
And now at last I have climbed to this tower.
With Wu country to the east of me and Chu to the south,
I can see heaven and earth endlessly floating.
…But no word has reached me from kin or friends.
I am old and sick and alone with my boat.
North of this wall there are wars and mountains —
And here by the rail how can I help crying?

Master, I hail you from my heart

Cen Can
A MESSAGE TO CENSOR Du Fu
AT HIS OFFICE IN THE LEFT COURT
Together we officials climbed vermilion steps,
To be parted by the purple walls….
Our procession, which entered the palace at dawn,
Leaves fragrant now at dusk with imperial incense.
…Grey heads may grieve for a fallen flower,
Or blue clouds envy a lilting bird;
But this reign is of heaven, nothing goes wrong,
There have been almost no petitions.


Li Bai
A MESSAGE TO MENG HAORAN
Master, I hail you from my heart,
And your fame arisen to the skies….
Renouncing in ruddy youth the importance of hat and chariot,
You chose pine-trees and clouds; and now, whitehaired,
Drunk with the moon, a sage of dreams,
Flower- bewitched, you are deaf to the Emperor….
High mountain, how I long to reach you,
Breathing your sweetness even here!


Li Bai
BIDDING A FRIEND FAREWELL AT JINGMEN FERRY
Sailing far off from Jingmen Ferry,
Soon you will be with people in the south,
Where the mountains end and the plains begin
And the river winds through wilderness….
The moon is lifted like a mirror,
Sea-clouds gleam like palaces,
And the water has brought you a touch of home
To draw your boat three hundred miles.


Li Bai
A FAREWELL TO A FRIEND
With a blue line of mountains north of the wall,
And east of the city a white curve of water,
Here you must leave me and drift away
Like a loosened water-plant hundreds of miles….
I shall think of you in a floating cloud;
So in the sunset think of me.
…We wave our hands to say good-bye,
And my horse is neighing again and again.


Li Bai
ON HEARING JUN THE BUDDHIST MONK
FROM SHU PLAY HIS LUTE
The monk from Shu with his green silk lute-case,
Walking west down Omei Mountain,
Has brought me by one touch of the strings
The breath of pines in a thousand valleys.
I hear him in the cleansing brook,
I hear him in the icy bells;
And I feel no change though the mountain darken
And cloudy autumn heaps the sky.

When the top of Zun is green and the summer tide is rising.

 

Yuan Jie

A DRINKING SONG AT STONE-FISH LAKE

I have used grain from the public fields, for distilling wine. After my office hours I have the wine loaded on a boat and then I seat my friends on the bank of the lake. The little wine-boats come to each of us and supply us with wine. We seem to be drinking on Pa Islet in Lake Dongting. And I write this poem.

Stone-Fish Lake is like Lake Dongting —

…With the mountain for a table, and the lake a fount of wine,

The tipplers all are settled along the sandy shore.

Though a stiff wind for days has roughened the water,

Wine-boats constantly arrive….

I have a long-necked gourd and, happy on Ba Island,

I am pouring a drink in every direction doing away with care.


Han Yu

MOUNTAIN-STONES

 

Rough were the mountain-stones, and the path very narrow;

And when I reached the temple, bats were in the dusk.

I climbed to the hall, sat on the steps, and drank the rain- washed air

Among the round gardenia-pods and huge bananaleaves.

On the old wall, said the priest, were Buddhas finely painted,

And he brought a light and showed me, and I called them wonderful

He spread the bed, dusted the mats, and made my supper ready,

And, though the food was coarse, it satisfied my hunger.

At midnight, while I lay there not hearing even an insect,

The mountain moon with her pure light entered my door….

At dawn I left the mountain and, alone, lost my way:

In and out, up and down, while a heavy mist

Made brook and mountaingreen and purple, brightening everything.

I am passing sometimes pines and oaks, which ten men could not girdle,

I am treading pebbles barefoot in swift-running water —

Its ripples purify my ear, while a soft wind blows my garments….

These are the things which, in themselves, make life happy.

Why should we be hemmed about and hampered with people?

O chosen pupils, far behind me in my own country,

What if I spent my old age here and never went back home?

Throughout this dynasty no one had painted horses

Du Fu

A DRAWING OF A HORSE BY GENERAL CAO

AT SECRETARY WEI FENG’S HOUSE

Throughout this dynasty no one had painted horses

Like the master-spirit, Prince Jiangdu —

And then to General Cao through his thirty years of fame

The world’s gaze turned, for royal steeds.

He painted the late Emperor’s luminous white horse.

For ten days the thunder flew over Dragon Lake,

And a pink-agate plate was sent him from the palace-

The talk of the court-ladies, the marvel of all eyes.

The General danced, receiving it in his honoured home

After this rare gift, followed rapidly fine silks

From many of the nobles, requesting that his art

Lend a new lustre to their screens.

…First came the curly-maned horse of Emperor Taizong,

Then, for the Guos, a lion-spotted horse….

But now in this painting I see two horses,

A sobering sight for whosoever knew them.

They are war- horses. Either could face ten thousand.

They make the white silk stretch away into a vast desert.

And the seven others with them are almost as noble

Mist and snow are moving across a cold sky,

And hoofs are cleaving snow-drifts under great trees-

With here a group of officers and there a group of servants.

See how these nine horses all vie with one another-

The high clear glance, the deep firm breath.

…Who understands distinction? Who really cares for art?

You, Wei Feng, have followed Cao; Zhidun preceded him.

…I remember when the late Emperor came toward his Summer Palace,

The procession, in green-feathered rows, swept from the eastern sky —

Thirty thousand horses, prancing, galloping,

Fashioned, every one of them, like the horses in this picture….

But now the Imperial Ghost receives secret jade from the River God,

For the Emperor hunts crocodiles no longer by the streams.

Where you see his Great Gold Tomb, you may hear among the pines

A bird grieving in the wind that the Emperor’s horses are gone.