TU FU (712 - 70) Tu Fu, unlike Li Po, got an official post fairly late in life (758), when the normal examination system had temporarily broken down during the rebellion of An Lu-shan. He met Li Po in 745, and was deeply impressed by the older poet in spite of, or perhaps because of, their very different personalities. He continued to write poems to, or about, Li for many years after. Tu was essentially serious, and his work, in contrast to Li Po's, commonly shows a greater interest in the condition of his times (he experienced great personal distress at the time of the rebellion). His emotional range seems greater than Li's and he is also a more intellectual poet. Of the two his immediate influence was greater.
-- from The Penguin Book of Chinese Verse, Edited by A.R. Davis, Penguin Books, 1962.
A VIEW OF TAISHAN
What shall I say of the Great Peak? -- The ancient dukedoms are everywhere green, Inspired and stirred by the breath of creation, With the Twin Forces balancing day and night. ...I bare my breast toward opening clouds, I strain my sight after birds flying home. When shall I reach the top and hold All mountains in a single glance?
TO MY RETIRED FRIEND WEI
It is almost as hard for friends to meet As for the morning and evening stars. Tonight then is a rare event, Joining, in the candlelight, Two men who were young not long ago But now are turning grey at the temples. ...To find that half our friends are dead Shocks us, burns our hearts with grief. We little guessed it would be twenty years Before I could visit you again. When I went away, you were still unmarried; But now these boys and girls in a row Are very kind to their father's old friend. They ask me where I have been on my journey; And then, when we have talked awhile, They bring and show me wines and dishes, Spring chives cut in the night-rain And brown rice cooked freshly a special way. ...My host proclaims it a festival, He urges me to drink ten cups -- But what ten cups could make me as drunk As I always am with your love in my heart? ...Tomorrow the mountains will separate us; After tomorrow-who can say? ALONE IN HER BEAUTY
Who is lovelier than she? Yet she lives alone in an empty valley. She tells me she came from a good family Which is humbled now into the dust. ...When trouble arose in the Kuan district, Her brothers and close kin were killed. What use were their high offices, Not even shielding their own lives? -- The world has but scorn for adversity; Hope goes out, like the light of a candle. Her husband, with a vagrant heart, Seeks a new face like a new piece of jade; And when morning-glories furl at night And mandarin-ducks lie side by side, All he can see is the smile of the new love, While the old love weeps unheard. The brook was pure in its mountain source, But away from the mountain its waters darken. ...Waiting for her maid to come from selling pearls For straw to cover the roof again, She picks a few flowers, no longer for her hair, And lets pine-needles fall through her fingers, And, forgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold, She leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo. SEEING Li Bai IN A DREAM I
There are sobs when death is the cause of parting; But life has its partings again and again. ...From the poisonous damps of the southern river You had sent me not one sign from your exile -- Till you came to me last night in a dream, Because I am always thinking of you. I wondered if it were really you, Venturing so long a journey. You came to me through the green of a forest, You disappeared by a shadowy fortress.... Yet out of the midmost mesh of your snare, How could you lift your wings and use them? ...I woke, and the low moon's glimmer on a rafter Seemed to be your face, still floating in the air. ...There were waters to cross, they were wild and tossing; If you fell, there were dragons and rivermonsters. SEEING Li Bai IN A DREAM II
This cloud, that has drifted all day through the sky, May, like a wanderer, never come back.... Three nights now I have dreamed of you -- As tender, intimate and real as though I were awake. And then, abruptly rising to go, You told me the perils of adventure By river and lake-the storms, the wrecks, The fears that are borne on a little boat; And, here in my doorway, you rubbed your white head As if there were something puzzling you. ...Our capital teems with officious people, While you are alone and helpless and poor. Who says that the heavenly net never fails? It has brought you ill fortune, old as you are. ...A thousand years' fame, ten thousand years' fame- What good, when you are dead and gone. 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. A SONG OF A PAINTING TO GENERAL CAO
O General, descended from Wei's Emperor Wu, You are nobler now than when a noble.... Conquerors and their valour perish, But masters of beauty live forever. ...With your brush-work learned from Lady Wei And second only to Wang Xizhi's, Faithful to your art, you know no age, Letting wealth and fame drift by like clouds. ...In the years of Kaiyuan you were much with the Emperor, Accompanied him often to the Court of the South Wind. When the spirit left great statesmen, on walls of the Hall of Fame The point of your brush preserved their living faces. You crowned all the premiers with coronets of office; You fitted all commanders with arrows at their girdles; You made the founders of this dynasty, with every hair alive, Seem to be just back from the fierceness of a battle. ...The late Emperor had a horse, known as Jade Flower, Whom artists had copied in various poses. They led him one day to the red marble stairs With his eyes toward the palace in the deepening air. Then, General, commanded to proceed with your work, You centred all your being on a piece of silk. And later, when your dragon-horse, born of the sky, Had banished earthly horses for ten thousand generations, There was one Jade Flower standing on the dais And another by the steps, and they marvelled at each other.... The Emperor rewarded you with smiles and with gifts, While officers and men of the stud hung about and stared. ...Han Gan, your follower, has likewise grown proficient At representing horses in all their attitudes; But picturing the flesh, he fails to draw the bone- So that even the finest are deprived of their spirit. You, beyond the mere skill, used your art divinely- And expressed, not only horses, but the life of a good man.... Yet here you are, wandering in a world of disorder And sketching from time to time some petty passerby People note your case with the whites of their eyes. There's nobody purer, there's nobody poorer. ...Read in the records, from earliest times, How hard it is to be a great artist. A LETTER TO CENSOR HAN
I am sad. My thoughts are in Youzhou. I would hurry there-but I am sick in bed. ...Beauty would be facing me across the autumn waters. Oh, to wash my feet in Lake Dongting and see at its eight corners Wildgeese flying high, sun and moon both white, Green maples changing to red in the frosty sky, Angels bound for the Capital of Heaven, near the North Star, Riding, some of them phrenixes, and others unicorns, With banners of hibiscus and with melodies of mist, Their shadows dancing upside-down in the southern rivers, Till the Queen of the Stars, drowsy with her nectar, Would forget the winged men on either side of her! ...From the Wizard of the Red Pine this word has come for me: That after his earlier follower he has now a new disciple Who, formerly at the capital as Emperor Liu's adviser, In spite of great successes, never could be happy. ...What are a country's rise and fall? Can flesh-pots be as fragrant as mountain fruit?.... I grieve that he is lost far away in the south. May the star of long life accord him its blessing! ...O purity, to seize you from beyond the autumn waters And to place you as an offering in the Court of Imperial Jade. A SONG OF AN OLD CYPRESS
Beside the Temple of the Great Premier stands an ancient cypress With a trunk of green bronze and a root of stone. The girth of its white bark would be the reach of forty men And its tip of kingfish-blue is two thousand feet in heaven. Dating from the days of a great ruler's great statesman, Their very tree is loved now and honoured by the people. Clouds come to it from far away, from the Wu cliffs, And the cold moon glistens on its peak of snow. ...East of the Silk Pavilion yesterday I found The ancient ruler and wise statesman both worshipped in one temple, Whose tree, with curious branches, ages the whole landscape In spite of the fresh colours of the windows and the doors. And so firm is the deep root, so established underground, That its lone lofty boughs can dare the weight of winds, Its only protection the Heavenly Power, Its only endurance the art of its Creator. Though oxen sway ten thousand heads, they cannot move a mountain. ...When beams are required to restore a great house, Though a tree writes no memorial, yet people understand That not unless they fell it can use be made of it.... Its bitter heart may be tenanted now by black and white ants, But its odorous leaves were once the nest of phoenixes and pheasants. ...Let wise and hopeful men harbour no complaint. The greater the timber, the tougher it is to use. A SONG OF DAGGER-DANCING TO A GIRL-PUPIL OF LADY GONGSUN
On the 19th of the Tenth-month in the second year of Dali, I saw, in the house of the Kueifu official Yuante, a girl named Li from Lingying dancing with a dagger. I admired her skill and asked who was her teacher. She named Lady Gongsun. I remembered that in the third year of Kaiyuan at Yancheng, when I was a little boy, I saw Lady Gongsun dance. She was the only one in the Imperial Theatre who could dance with this weapon. Now she is aged and unknown, and even her pupil has passed the heyday of beauty. I wrote this poem to express my wistfulness. The work of Zhang Xu of the Wu district, that great master of grassy writing, was improved by his having been present when Lady Gongsun danced in the Yeh district. From this may be judged the art of Gongsun.
There lived years ago the beautiful Gongsun, Who, dancing with her dagger, drew from all four quarters An audience like mountains lost among themselves. Heaven and earth moved back and forth, following her motions, Which were bright as when the Archer shot the nine suns down the sky And rapid as angels before the wings of dragons. She began like a thunderbolt, venting its anger, And ended like the shining calm of rivers and the sea.... But vanished are those red lips and those pearly sleeves; And none but this one pupil bears the perfume of her fame, This beauty from Lingying, at the Town of the White God, Dancing still and singing in the old blithe way. And while we reply to each other's questions, We sigh together, saddened by changes that have come. There were eight thousand ladies in the late Emperor's court, But none could dance the dagger-dance like Lady Gongsun. ...Fifty years have passed, like the turning of a palm; Wind and dust, filling the world, obscure the Imperial House. Instead of the Pear-Garden Players, who have blown by like a mist, There are one or two girl-musicians now-trying to charm the cold Sun. There are man-size trees by the Emperor's Golden Tomb I seem to hear dead grasses rattling on the cliffs of Qutang. ...The song is done, the slow string and quick pipe have ceased. At the height of joy, sorrow comes with the eastern moon rising. And I, a poor old man, not knowing where to go, Must harden my feet on the lone hills, toward sickness and despair. A SONG OF WAR-CHARIOTS
The war-chariots rattle, The war-horses whinny. Each man of you has a bow and a quiver at his belt. Father, mother, son, wife, stare at you going, Till dust shall have buried the bridge beyond Changan. They run with you, crying, they tug at your sleeves, And the sound of their sorrow goes up to the clouds; And every time a bystander asks you a question, You can only say to him that you have to go. ...We remember others at fifteen sent north to guard the river And at forty sent west to cultivate the campfarms. The mayor wound their turbans for them when they started out. With their turbaned hair white now, they are still at the border, At the border where the blood of men spills like the sea -- And still the heart of Emperor Wu is beating for war. ...Do you know that, east of China's mountains, in two hundred districts And in thousands of villages, nothing grows but weeds, And though strong women have bent to the ploughing, East and west the furrows all are broken down? ...Men of China are able to face the stiffest battle, But their officers drive them like chickens and dogs. Whatever is asked of them, Dare they complain? For example, this winter Held west of the gate, Challenged for taxes, How could they pay? ...We have learned that to have a son is bad luck- It is very much better to have a daughter Who can marry and live in the house of a neighbour, While under the sod we bury our boys. ...Go to the Blue Sea, look along the shore At all the old white bones forsaken -- New ghosts are wailing there now with the old, Loudest in the dark sky of a stormy day. A SONG OF FAIR WOMEN
On the third day of the Third-month in the freshening weather Many beauties take the air by the Changan waterfront, Receptive, aloof, sweet-mannered, sincere, With soft fine skin and well-balanced bone. Their embroidered silk robes in the spring sun are gleaming -- With a mass of golden peacocks and silver unicorns. And hanging far down from their temples Are blue leaves of delicate kingfisher feathers. And following behind them Is a pearl-laden train, rhythmic with bearers. Some of them are kindred to the Royal House -- The titled Princesses Guo and Qin. Red camel-humps are brought them from jade broilers, And sweet fish is ordered them on crystal trays. Though their food-sticks of unicorn-horn are lifted languidly And the finely wrought phoenix carving-knife is very little used, Fleet horses from the Yellow Gate, stirring no dust, Bring precious dishes constantly from the imperial kitchen. ...While a solemn sound of flutes and drums invokes gods and spirits, Guests and courtiers gather, all of high rank; And finally, riding slow, a dignified horseman Dismounts at the pavilion on an embroidered rug. In a snow of flying willow-cotton whitening the duckweed, Bluebirds find their way with vermilion handkerchiefs -- But power can be as hot as flame and burn people's fingers. Be wary of the Premier, watch for his frown. A SONG OF SOBBING BY THE RIVER
I am only an old woodsman, whispering a sob, As I steal like a spring-shadow down the Winding River. ...Since the palaces ashore are sealed by a thousand gates -- Fine willows, new rushes, for whom are you so green? ...I remember a cloud of flags that came from the South Garden, And ten thousand colours, heightening one another, And the Kingdom's first Lady, from the Palace of the Bright Sun, Attendant on the Emperor in his royal chariot, And the horsemen before them, each with bow and arrows, And the snowy horses, champing at bits of yellow gold, And an archer, breast skyward, shooting through the clouds And felling with one dart a pair of flying birds. ...Where are those perfect eyes, where are those pearly teeth? A blood-stained spirit has no home, has nowhere to return. And clear Wei waters running east, through the cleft on Dagger- Tower Trail, Carry neither there nor here any news of her. People, compassionate, are wishing with tears That she were as eternal as the river and the flowers. ...Mounted Tartars, in the yellow twilight, cloud the town with dust. I am fleeing south, but I linger-gazing northward toward the throne. A SONG OF A PRINCE DEPOSED
Along the wall of the Capital a white-headed crow Flies to the Gate where Autumn Enters and screams there in the night, Then turns again and pecks among the roofs of a tall mansion Whose lord, a mighty mandarin, has fled before the Tartars, With his golden whip now broken, his nine war-horses dead And his own flesh and bone scattered to the winds.... There's a rare ring of green coral underneath the vest Of a Prince at a street-corner, bitterly sobbing, Who has to give a false name to anyone who asks him- Just a poor fellow, hoping for employment. A hundred days' hiding in grasses and thorns Show on his body from head to foot. But, since their first Emperor, all with hooknoses, These Dragons look different from ordinary men. Wolves are in the palace now and Dragons are lost in the desert -- O Prince, be very careful of your most sacred person! I dare not address you long, here by the open road, Nor even to stand beside you for more than these few moments. Last night with the spring-wind there came a smell of blood; The old Capital is full of camels from the east. Our northern warriors are sound enough of body and of hand -- Oh, why so brave in olden times and so craven now? Our Emperor, we hear, has given his son the throne And the southern border-chieftains are loyally inclined And the Huamen and Limian tribes are gathering to avenge us. But still be careful-keep yourself well hidden from the dagger. Unhappy Prince, I beg you, be constantly on guard -- Till power blow to your aid from the Five Imperial Tombs. ON A MOONLIGHT NIGHT
Far off in Fuzhou she is watching the moonlight, Watching it alone from the window of her chamber- For our boy and girl, poor little babes, Are too young to know where the Capital is. Her cloudy hair is sweet with mist, Her jade-white shoulder is cold in the moon. ...When shall we lie again, with no more tears, Watching this bright light on our screen? A SPRING VIEW
Though a country be sundered, hills and rivers endure; And spring comes green again to trees and grasses Where petals have been shed like tears And lonely birds have sung their grief. ...After the war-fires of three months, One message from home is worth a ton of gold. ...I stroke my white hair. It has grown too thin To hold the hairpins any more. A NIGHT-VIGIL IN THE LEFT COURT OF THE PALACE
Flowers are shadowed, the palace darkens, Birds twitter by for a place to perch; Heaven's ten thousand windows are twinkling, And nine cloud-terraces are gleaming in the moonlight. ...While I wait for the golden lock to turn, I hear jade pendants tinkling in the wind.... I have a petition to present in the morning, All night I ask what time it is. TAKING LEAVE OF FRIENDS ON MY WAY TO HUAZHOU
In the second year of Zhide, I escaped from the capital through the Gate of Golden Light and went to Fengxiang. In the first year of Qianyuan, I was appointed as official to Huazhou from my former post of Censor. Friends and relatives gathered and saw me leave by the same gate. And I wrote this poem.
This is the road by which I fled, When the rebels had reached the west end of the city; And terror, ever since, has clutched at my vitals Lest some of my soul should never return. ...The court has come back now, filling the capital; But the Emperor sends me away again. Useless and old, I rein in my horse For one last look at the thousand gates. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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! 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? THE TEMPLE OF THE PREMIER OF SHU
Where is the temple of the famous Premier? -- In a deep pine grove near the City of Silk, With the green grass of spring colouring the steps, And birds chirping happily under the leaves. ...The third summons weighted him with affairs of state And to two generations he gave his true heart, But before he could conquer, he was dead; And heroes have wept on their coats ever since. A HEARTY WELCOME TO VICE-PREFECT CUI
North of me, south of me, spring is in flood, Day after day I have seen only gulls.... My path is full of petals -- I have swept it for no others. My thatch gate has been closed -- but opens now for you. It's a long way to the market, I can offer you little -- Yet here in my cottage there is old wine for our cups. Shall we summon my elderly neighbour to join us, Call him through the fence, and pour the jar dry? A VIEW OF THE WILDERNESS
Snow is white on the westward mountains and on three fortified towns, And waters in this southern lake flash on a long bridge. But wind and dust from sea to sea bar me from my brothers; And I cannot help crying, I am so far away. I have nothing to expect now but the ills of old age. I am of less use to my country than a grain of dust. I ride out to the edge of town. I watch on the horizon, Day after day, the chaos of the world. BOTH SIDES OF THE YELLOW RIVER RECAPTURED BY THE IMPERIAL ARMY
News at this far western station! The north has been recaptured! At first I cannot check the tears from pouring on my coat -- Where is my wife? Where are my sons? Yet crazily sure of finding them, I pack my books and poems- - And loud my song and deep my drink On the green spring-day that starts me home, Back from this mountain, past another mountain, Up from the south, north again-to my own town! A LONG CLIMB
In a sharp gale from the wide sky apes are whimpering, Birds are flying homeward over the clear lake and white sand, Leaves are dropping down like the spray of a waterfall, While I watch the long river always rolling on. I have come three thousand miles away. Sad now with autumn And with my hundred years of woe, I climb this height alone. Ill fortune has laid a bitter frost on my temples, Heart-ache and weariness are a thick dust in my wine. FROM AN UPPER STORY
Flowers, as high as my window, hurt the heart of a wanderer For I see, from this high vantage, sadness everywhere. The Silken River, bright with spring, floats between earth and heaven Like a line of cloud by the Jade Peak, between ancient days and now. ...Though the State is established for a while as firm as the North Star And bandits dare not venture from the western hills, Yet sorry in the twilight for the woes of a longvanished Emperor, I am singing the song his Premier sang when still unestranged from the mountain. STAYING AT THE GENERAL'S HEADQUARTERS
The autumn night is clear and cold in the lakka-trees of this courtyard. I am lying forlorn in the river-town. I watch my guttering candle. I hear the lonely notes of a bugle sounding through the dark. The moon is in mid-heaven, but there's no one to share it with me. My messengers are scattered by whirls of rain and sand. City-gates are closed to a traveller; mountains are walls in my way -- Yet, I who have borne ten years of pitiable existence, Find here a perch, a little branch, and am safe for this one night. NIGHT IN THE WATCH-TOWER
While winter daylight shortens in the elemental scale And snow and frost whiten the cold-circling night, Stark sounds the fifth-watch with a challenge of drum and bugle. ...The stars and the River of Heaven pulse over the three mountains; I hear women in the distance, wailing after the battle; I see barbarian fishermen and woodcutters in the dawn. ...Sleeping-Dragon, Plunging-Horse, are no generals now, they are dust -- Hush for a moment, O tumult of the world. POETIC THOUGHTS ON ANCIENT SITES I
Forlorn in the northeast among wind and dust, Drifting in the southwest between heaven and earth, Lingering for days and months in towers and terraces at the Three Gorges, Sharing clouds and mountains with the costumes of the Five Streams. The barbarian serving the ruler in the end was unreliable. The wandering poet lamenting the times had no chance to return. Yu Xin throughout his life was most miserable, In his waning years his poetry stirred the land of rivers and passes. POETIC THOUGHTS ON ANCIENT SITES II
"Decay and decline": deep knowledge have I of Sung Yu's grief. Romantic and refined, he too is my teacher. Sadly looking across a thousand autumns, one shower of tears, Melancholy in different epochs, not at the same time. Among rivers and mountains his old abode -- empty his writings; Deserted terrace of cloud and rain -- surely not just imagined in a dream? Utterly the palaces of Chu are all destroyed and ruined, The fishermen pointing them out today are unsure. THOUGHTS OF OLD TIME III
Ten thousand ranges and valleys approach the Jing Gate And the village in which the Lady of Light was born and bred. She went out from the purple palace into the desertland; She has now become a green grave in the yellow dusk. Her face ! Can you picture a wind of the spring? Her spirit by moonlight returns with a tinkling Song of the Tartars on her jade guitar, Telling her eternal sorrow. POETIC THOUGHTS ON ANCIENT SITES IV
The ruler of Shu had his eyes on Wu and progressed as far as the Three Gorges. In the year of his demise, too, he was in the Palace of Eternal Peace. The blue-green banners can be imagined on the empty mountain, The jade palace is a void in the deserted temple. In the pines of the ancient shrine aquatic cranes nest; At summer and winter festivals the comers are village elders. The Martial Marquis's memorial shrine is ever nearby; In union, sovereign and minister share the sacrifices together. THOUGHTS OF OLD TIME V
Zhuge's prestige transcends the earth; There is only reverence for his face; Yet his will, among the Three Kingdoms at war, Was only as one feather against a flaming sky. He was brother of men like Yi and Lu And in time would have surpassed the greatest of all statesmen. Though he knew there was no hope for the House of Han, Yet he wielded his mind for it, yielded his life. THE EIGHT-SIDED FORTRESS
The Three Kingdoms, divided, have been bound by his greatness. The Eight-Sided Fortress is founded on his fame; Beside the changing river, it stands stony as his grief That he never conquered the Kingdom of Wu. 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.