One minister put his discontent into words, crying,

One minister put his discontent into words, crying,

“the false Dong Zhuo is the author of this insult,

which I will risk my life to wipe away!”

And with this he rushed at Dong Zhuo

threatening with his ivory baton of office.

It was Chair of the Secretariat Ding Guan.

Dong Zhuo had Ding Guan removed and summarily

put to death. Before his death, Ding Guan ceased

not to rail at the oppressor, nor was he frightened at death.

[hip, hip, hip] the rebel Dong Zhuo conceived

the foul design To thrust the King aside and wrong his line.

With folded arms the courtiers stood,

save one Ding Guan, who dared to cry

that wrong was done. [yip, yip, yip]

  then the emperor designate, Prince of Chenliu,

went to the upper part of the hall to

receive congratulations. After this the former

Emperor——now Prince of Hongnong——,

his mother, and the Imperial Consort, Lady Tang,

were removed to the Palace of Forever Calm. The

entrance gates were locked against all comers.

It was pitiful! there was the young emperor,

after reigning less than half a year,

deposed and another put in his place.

The new Emperor was Liu Xian, the second son

of the late Emperor Ling. He was nine years of age, five years younger than his deposed brother. The new reign-style was changed to Inauguration of Tranquillity, the first year (AD 190)。

Becoming the Prime Minister, Dong Zhuo was most powerful and arrogant. When he bowed before the Throne, he did not declare his name. In going to court he did not hasten. Booted and armed he entered the reception halls. He amassed a wealth exceeding any other’s.

  His adviser, Li Ru, impressed upon Dong Zhuo constantly to employ people of reputation so that he should gain public esteem. So when they told him Cai Yong was a man of talent, Dong Zhuo summoned him. But Cai Yong would not go. Dong Zhuo sent a message to him that if he did not come, he and his whole clan should be exterminated. Then Cai Yong gave in and appeared. Dong Zhuo was very gracious to him and promoted him thrice in a month. Cai Yong became High Minister. Such was the generosity of the tyrant.

  Meanwhile the deposed ruler,

his mother, and his consort were immured in the

Palace of Forever Calm and found their daily

supplies gradually diminishing. The deposed Emperor

wept incessantly. One day a pair of wallows

gliding to and fro moved him to verse:

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He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

Dong Zhuo could not reply for Lu Bu,

eager for the fight, rode straight at him.

Dong Zhuo fled and Ding Yuan’s army came on.

The battle went in Ding Yuan’s favor,

and the beaten troops retired ten miles and made another camp.

Here Dong Zhuo called his officers to a council.

“This Lu Bu is a marvel,” said Dong Zhuo.

“If he were only on my side, I would defy the whole world!”

At this a man advanced saying, “Be content, O my lord!

I am a fellow villager of his and know him well:

He is valorous, but not crafty; he will let go principles,

when he sees advantages. With this little,

blarneying tongue of mine, I can persuade him to put up his hands and come over to your side.”

Dong Zhuo was delighted and gazed admiringly at the speaker.

It was Li Su, a general in the Imperial Tiger Army.

“What arguments will you use with him?” asked Dong Zhuo.

“You have a fine horse, Red Hare, one of the best ever bred.

I must have this steed, and gold and pearls to win his heart.

Then will I go and persuade him.

He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

“What think you?” said Dong Zhuo to his adviser Li Ru.

“One cannot grudge a horse to win an empire,” was the reply.

So they gave Li Su what he demanded——a thousand ounces of gold,

ten strings of beautiful pearls, a jeweled belt,

and Red Hare——and these accompanied Li Su on his visit to his fellow villager.

Li Su reached the camp and said to the guard,

“Please tell General Lu Bu that a very old friend has come to visit him.”

He was admitted forthwith.

“Worthy brother, have you been well since we last met?”

GREeted Li Su while bowing.

“How long it is since we last saw each other!”

replied Lu Bu, bowing in return. “And where are you now?”

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“Minister Lu Zhi is the cynosure of the whole country,

Dong Zhuo angrily drew his sword to slay

the bold Lu Zhi, but two other officials remonstrated.

“Minister Lu Zhi is the cynosure of the whole country,

the bold Lu Zhi, but two other officials remonstrated.

“Minister Lu Zhi is the cynosure of the whole country,

and his violent death would stir the hearts of all people!”

said Court Counselors Cai Yong and Peng Bo.

Dong Zhuo then stayed his hand.

then said Wang Yun, “A GREat question like the

deposition and substitution of emperors is not

one to be decided after a wine party.

Let it be put off till another time.”

So the guests dispersed. Dong Zhuo stood at the gate

with drawn sword watching them depart. Standing thus,

Dong Zhuo noticed a spearman galloping to and fro on

a fiery steed and asked Li Ru who that was.

“That is Lu Bu, the adopted son of Ding Yuan.

You must keep out of his way, my lord.”

Dong Zhuo went inside the gate so that he

could not be seen. But next day they reported

to him that Ding Yuan had come out of the city

with a small army and was challenging to a battle.

Dong Zhuo, with his army, went forth to accept

the challenge. And the two armies were drawn up in proper array.

Lu Bu was a conspicuous figure in the forefront.

His hair was arranged under a handsome headdress

of gold, and he had donned a embroidered

thousand-flower fighting robe, a pheasant-tailed helmet,

and breast plate, and round his waist was a gleaming jade

belt with a lion’s head clasp.

With spear set he rode close behind his master Ding Yuan.

Ding Yuan, riding forth, pointing his finger at Dong Zhuo,

began to revile him.

“Unhappy indeed was this state when the eunuchs

became so powerful that the people were as if trodden

into the mire under their feet. Now you, devoid of the

least merit, dare to talk of deposing the rightful

emperor and setting up another.

This is to desire rebellion and no less!”

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At the farm they had but one sorry nag and

At the farm they had but one sorry nag and

this they saddled for the Emperor. The young

Prince was taken on Min Gong’s charger. And thus

they left the farm. Not beyond one mile from the farm,

they fell in with other officials and several hundred

guards and soldiers made up an imposing cavalcade.

In the cavalcade were Wang Yun, Minister of the Interior;

Yang Biao, Grand Commander; Chunyu Qiong,

Commander of the Left Army; Zhao Meng, Commander

of the Right Army; Bao Xin, Commander of the Rear Army;

and Yuan Shao, Commander of the Center Army.

Tears were shed freely as the ministers met their Emperor.

A man was sent on in front to the capital there

to expose the head of Eunuch Duan Gui.

As soon as they could, they placed the Emperor on

a better steed and the young Prince had a horse to

himself. Thus the Emperor returned to Luoyang,

and so it happened after all as the street children’s ditty ran:

[hip, hip, hip] Though the emperor doesn’t rule,

though the prince no office fills,

Yet a brilliant cavalcade comes along from

Beimang Hills. [yip, yip, yip]

the cavalcade had not proceeded far when

they saw coming towards them a large body of

soldiers with fluttering banners hiding the sun and

raising a huge cloud of dust. The officials turned pale,

and the Emperor was GREatly alarmed. Yuan Shao rode out in advance.

 “Who are you?” said Yuan Shao.

From under the shade of an embroidered

banner rode out a leader, saying, “Do you have the Emperor?”

the Emperor was too panic stricken to respond,

but the Prince of Chenliu rode to the front and cried, “Who are you?”

“Dong Zhuo, Imperial Protector of Xizhou Region.”

“Have you come to protect the Chariot or to steal it?” said Prince Xian.

 “I have come to protect,” said Dong Zhuo.

“If that is so, the Emperor is here: Why do you not dismount?”

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Alarmed by the portent, he hastily dressed and went forth

“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 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.

“To what household do you belong,

young gentlemen?” asked the farmer.

the Emperor was too frightened to reply,

but his companion said, “He is the Emperor.

There was a revolution in the Forbidden City,

and we ran away. I am his brother, Prince of Chenliu.”

the farmer bowed again and again and said,

“My name is Sui Lie. My brother Sui Yi is the former

Minister of the Interior. My brother was

disgusted with the behavior of the eunuchs

and so resigned and hid away here.”

the two lads were taken into the farm,

and their host on his knees served them with refreshment.

It has been said that Min Gong had gone in

pursuit of Eunuch Duan Gui. By and by Min

Gong overtook Duan Gui and cried,

“Where is the Emperor?”

“He disappeared! I do not know where he is!”

Min Gong slew Duan Gui and hung the

bleeding head on his horse’s neck. Then

he sent his troops searching in all directions,

and he rode off by himself on the same quest.

Presently he came to the farm. Sui Lie,

seeing what hung on his horse’s neck,

questioned him and, satisfied with his story,

led him to the Emperor. The meeting

Continue reading “Alarmed by the portent, he hastily dressed and went forth”

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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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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When she dreamed that she went to Liaoxi Camp

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.


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But my husband’s young sister shall have the fiat taste.

I decide that not my mother-in-law

 

Liu Changqing
FAREWELL TO A BUDDHIST MONK
Can drifting clouds and white storks
Be tenants in this world of ours? —
Or you still live on Wuzhou Mountain,
Now that people are coming here?


Wei Yingwu
AN AUTUMN NIGHT MESSAGE TO QIU
As I walk in the cool of the autumn night,
Thinking of you, singing my poem,
I hear a mountain pine-cone fall….
You also seem to be awake.


Li Duan
ON HEARING HER PLAY THE HARP
Her hands of white jade by a window of snow
Are glimmering on a golden-fretted harp —
And to draw the quick eye of Chou Yu,
She touches a wrong note now and then.


Wang Jian
A BRIDE
On the third day, taking my place to cook,
Washing my hands to make the bridal soup,
I decide that not my mother-in-law
But my husband’s young sister shall have the fiat taste.


Quan Deyu
THE JADE DRESSING-TABLE
Last night my girdle came undone,
And this morning a luck-beetle flew over my bed.
So here are my paints and here are my powders —
And a welcome for my yoke again.


Liu Zongyuan
RIVER-SNOW
A hundred mountains and no bird,
A thousand paths without a footprint;
A little boat, a bamboo cloak,
An old man fishing in the cold river-snow.


Yuan Zhen
THE SUMMER PALACE
In the faded old imperial palace,
Peonies are red, but no one comes to see them….
The ladies-in-waiting have grown white-haired
Debating the pomps of Emperor Xuanzong.


Bai Juyi
A SUGGESTION TO MY FRIEND LIU
There’s a gleam of green in an old bottle,
There’s a stir of red in the quiet stove,
There’s a feeling of snow in the dusk outside —
What about a cup of wine inside?


Zhang Hu
SHE SINGS AN OLD SONG
A lady of the palace these twenty years,
She has lived here a thousand miles from her home-
Yet ask her for this song and, with the first few words of it,
See how she tries to hold back her tears.


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