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The Poetry Of The Chinese



SSU-K'UNG T'U, A.D. 834-908

FREIGHTED with eternal principles
Athwart the night's void,
Where cloud masses darken,
And the wind blows ceaselessly around,

Beyond the range of conceptions
Let us gain the center.
And there hold fast without violence,
Fed from an inexhaustible supply.

Like a water-wheel awhirl,
Like the rolling of a pearl;
Yet these but illustrate,
To fools, the final state.

The earth's great axis spinning on,
The never-resting pole of sky
Let us resolve their Whence and Why,
And blend with all things into One;

Beyond the bounds of thought and dream,
Circling the vastly void as spheres
Those orbits round a thousand years:
Behold the Key that fits my theme.

Rank and wealth within the mind abide,
Then gilded dust is all your yellow gold.
Kings in their fretted palaces grow old;
Youth dwells forever at Contentment's side.
A mist cloud hanging at the river's brim,
Pink almond flowers along the purple bough,
A hut rose-girdled under moon-swept skies,
A painted bridge half-seen in shadows dim,
These are the splendors of the poor, and thou,
0 wine of spring, the vintage of the wise.

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