Dong Zhuo turned to Li Su and asked what these things portended.

Dong Zhuo turned to Li Su and asked what these things portended.

“It means that you are going to receive the abdication of the Hans, which is to renew all things: To mount the jeweled chariot and sit in the golden saddle.”

And Dong Zhuo was pleased and convinced with this answer. During the second day’s journey a violent gale sprang up, and the sky became covered with a thick mist.

“What does this mean?” said Dong Zhuo.

  the wily Li Su had an interpretation for this also, saying,

“You are ascending to the place of the dragon: There must be bright light and lurid vapor to dignify your majestic approach.”

  Dong Zhuo had no more doubts. He presently arrived and found many officials waiting without the city gate to receive him,

all but Li Ru who was ill and unable to leave his chamber.

He entered and proceeded to his own palace, where Lu Bu came to congratulate him.

  “When I sit on the throne, you shall command the whole armies of the empire, horse and foot,” said Dong Zhuo.

  That night Dong Zhuo slept in the midst of his escort. In the suburbs that evening some children at

play were singing a little ditty, and the words drifted into the bedchamber on the wind.

  [hip, hip, hip]“the grass in the meadow looks fresh now and GREen, Yet wait but ten days, not a blade will be seen.”[yip, yip, yip]

  the song sounded ominous but Li Su was again prepared with a happy interpretation:

“It only means that the Lius are about to disappear, and the Dongs to be exalted.”

  [e] the staff, the cloth, and the mouths formed the Chinese characters, implied the name of Lu Bu.

Next morning at the first streak of dawn,

Dong Zhuo prepared for his appearance at court. On the way he saw a Taoist,

dressed in a black robe and wearing a white turban,

who carried in his hand a tall staff with a long strip of white cloth attached.

At each end of the cloth was drawn a mouth*.

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Gongsun Zan replied, “Formerly you were regarded

Gongsun Zan replied, “Formerly you were regarded as loyal and public spirited, and we chose you chief of the confederacy. Now your deeds prove you cruel and base and wolf-hearted in behavior. How can you look the world in the face?”

“Who will capture him?” cried Yuan Shao in a rage.

  At once Wen Chou rode out with his spear set. Gongsun Zan rode down the bridge to the enemy’s side, where the two engaged. Ten bouts showed Gongsun Zan the terrible power of Wen Chou, and so he drew off. The enemy came on. Gongsun Zan took refuge within his formation, but Wen Chou cut his way in and rode this way and that, slaying right and left. The four best of Gongsun Zan’s generals offered joint battle, but one fell under the first stroke of the doughty warrior, and the other three fled. Wen Chou followed clearing through to the rear of the army. Gongsun Zan made for the mountains.

Wen Chou forced his horse to its utmost pace, crying hoarsely, “Down! Dismount and surrender!”

Gongsun Zan fled for life. His bow and quiver dropped from his shoulders, his helmet fell off, and his hair streamed straight behind him as he rode in and out between the sloping hills. Then his steed stumbled and he was thrown, rolling over and over to the foot of the slope.

  Wen Chou was now very near and poising his spear for the thrust. Then suddenly came out from the shelter of a grassy mound on the left a general of youthful mien, but sitting his steed bravely and holding a sturdy spear. He rode directly at Wen Chou, and Gongsun Zan crawled up the slope to look on.

  the new warrior was of middle height with bushy eyebrows and large eyes, a broad face and a heavy jowl, a youth of commanding presence. The two exchanged some fifty bouts and yet neither had the advantage. Then Gongsun Zan’s rescue force came along, and Wen Chou turned and rode away. The youth did not pursue.

  Gongsun Zan hurried down the hill and asked the young fellow who he was.

He bowed low and replied, “My name is Zhao Yun from Changshan. I first served Yuan Shao; but when I saw that he was disloyal to his prince and careless of the welfare of the people, I left him and I was on my way to offer service to you. This meeting in this place is most unexpected.”

Gongsun Zan was very pleased, and the two went together to the camp, where they at once busied themselves with preparations for a new battle.

Next day Gongsun Zan prepared for fight by dividing his army into two wings. He had five thousand cavalry in the center, all mounted on white horses. Gongsun Zan had formerly seen service against the northern frontier tribes, the Qiang Peoples, where he always placed his white horses in the van of his army, and thus he had won the sobriquet of General Who Commands White Horses.

The tribes held him so much in fear that they

always fled as soon as the white horses,

their sacred creatures, appeared.

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An ancient poet has told of this famous fight in these lines:

An ancient poet has told of this famous fight in these lines:

the fateful day of Han came in the reigns of Huan and Ling,

their glory declined as the sun sinks at the close of day.

Dong Zhuo, infamous minister of state, pulled down the youthful Bian.

It is true the new Xian was a weakling, too timid for his times.

then Cao Cao proclaimed abroad these wicked deeds,

And the GREat lords, moved with anger, assembled their forces.

In council met they and chose as their oath-chief Yuan Shao,

Pledged themselves to maintain the ruling house and tranquillity.

  Of the warriors of that time matchless Lu Bu was the boldest.

  His valor and prowess are sung by all within the four seas.

  He clothed his body in silver armor like the scales of a dragon,

  On his head was a golden headdress with pheasant tails,

  About his waist a shaggy belt, the clasp, two wild beasts’ heads with gripping jaws,

  His flowing, embroidered robe fluttered about his form,

  His swift courser bounded over the plain, a mighty wind following,

  His terrible trident halberd FLASHed in the sunlight, bright as a placid lake.

  Who dared face him as he rode forth to challenge?

the bowels of the confederate lords were torn with fear and their hearts trembled.

then leaped forth Zhang Fei, the valiant warrior of the north,

Gripped in his mighty hand the long serpent halberd,

His mustache bristled with anger, standing stiff like wire.

His round eyes glared, lightning FLASHes darted from them.

Neither quailed in the fight, but the issue was undecided.

Guan Yu stood out in front, his soul vexed within him,

His GREen-dragon saber shone white as frost in the sunlight,

His bright colored fighting robe fluttered like butterfly wings,

Demons and angels shrieked at the thunder of his horse hoofs,

In his eyes was fierce anger, a fire to be quenched only in blood.

Next Liu Bei joined the battle, gripping his twin sword blades,

the heavens themselves trembled at the majesty of his wrath.

these three closely beset Lu Bu and long drawn out was the battle,

Always he warded their blows, never faltering a moment.

the noise of their shouting rose to the sky, and the earth reechoed it,

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Fear seized them in its grip and they were silent, all but Yuan

Fear seized them in its grip and they were silent, all but Yuan Shao who said,

“The Emperor was innocent of any fault,

and to set him aside in favor of a commoner was rebellion and nothing else!”

“the empire is in my hands!” cried Dong Zhuo.

“When I choose to do this thing, who will dare to say nay?

Think you my sword lacks an edge?”

  “If your sword is sharp, mine is never blunt!”

said Yuan Shao as his sword FLASHed out of the sheath.

  the two men stood face to face amid the feasters.

Dong Zhuo was on the point of slaying Yuan Shao, but Li Ru checked him, saying, “You must not kill rashly while the business hangs in the balance.”

Yuan Shao, his sword still unsheathed, left the assembly. He hung up the seals of his office at the east gate and went to Jizhou Region.

Dong Zhuo said to Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei, “Your nephew behaved improperly, but I pardon him for your sake. What think you of my scheme?”

“What you think is right,” was the reply.

“If anyone opposes the GREat scheme, he will be dealt with by military law!” said Dong Zhuo.

the ministers, thoroughly dreaded, promised obedience, and the feast came to an end.

Dong Zhuo asked Counselor Zhou Bi and Commander Wu Qiong what they thought of the flight of Yuan Shao.

Zhou Bi said, “He left in a state of GREat anger. In such a state of excitement much harm may ensue to the present state of affairs, especially as the Yuan family have been noted for their high offices for four generations, and their proteges and dependents are everywhere. If they assemble bold people and call up their clients,

all the valiant warriors will be in arms,

and the east region of the Huashang Mountains

will be lost. You had better pardon Yuan Shao and give him a

post. He will be glad at being forgiven and will do no harm.”

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“If I could only find a master to serve,” said Lu Bu.

“If I could only find a master to serve,” said Lu Bu.

“the clever bird chooses the branch whereon to perch;

the wise servant selects the master to serve.

Seize the chance when it comes, for repentance ever comes too late.”

“Now you are in the government.

Who think you is really the bravest of all?”, asked Lu Bu.

“I despise the whole lot except Dong Zhuo.

He is one who respects wisdom and reveres scholarship;

he is discriminating in his rewards and punishments. Surely he is destined to be a really GREat man.”

  Lu Bu said, “I wish that I could serve him, but there is no way, I fear.”

  then Li Su produced his pearls and gold and the jeweled belt and laid them out before his host.

  “What is this? What does it mean?” said Lu Bu.

  “Send away the attendants,” requested Li Su. And he went on,

“Dong Zhuo has long respected your bravery and sent these by my hand. Red Hare was also from him.”

  “But, if he loves me like this, what can I do in return?”

Li Su said, “If a stupid fellow like me can be a general in the Imperial Tiger Army, it is impossible to say what honors await you.”

“I am sorry I can offer him no service worth mentioning.”

Li Su said, “there is one service you can do, and an extremely easy one to perform; but you would not render that.”

Lu Bu pondered long in silence, then he said, “I might slay Ding Yuan and bring over his soldiers to Dong Zhuo’s side. What think you of that?”

“If you would do that, there could be no GREater service. But such a thing must be done quickly.”

And Lu Bu promised his friend that he would do the deed and come over on the morrow.

So Li Su took his leave. That very night, at the second watch, Lu Bu entered, sword in hand, into his master’s tent. He found Ding Yuan reading by the light of a solitary candle.

Seeing who came in, Ding Yuan said,

“My son, what is afoot?”

“I am a bold hero,” said Lu Bu.

“Do not think I am willing to be a son of yours!”

“Why this change, Lu Bu?”

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So Dong Zhuo composed something like this:

So Dong Zhuo composed something like this:

“Thy servant knows that the continual

rebellions owe their origin to Zhang Rang and

the Regular Attendants of the Inner Bureau,

who act counter to all recognized precepts.

Now to stop the ebullition of a pot the best way is to

withdraw the fire; to cut out an abscess, though painful,

is better than to nourish the evil. I have dared undertake a

military advance on the capital, with thy

permission, and now pray that Zhang Rang and the

other eunuchs be removed for the happiness of the dynasty and of the empire.”

He Jin read this memorial and showed it to his partisans.

then said Minister Zheng Tai, “A fierce wild beast:

If he comes, his prey will be humans!”

He Jin replied, “You are too timorous:

You are unequal to GREat schemes.”

But Lu Zhi also said, “Long have I known this man.

In appearance innocent, he is a very wolf at heart. Let him in,

and calamity enters with him. Stop him, do not let him come,

and thus will you avoid upheaval.”

He Jin was obstinate, and both Zheng Tai and Lu Zhi gave up

their posts and retired, as did more than half the ministers of state,

while He Jin sent a warm welcome to Dong Zhuo,

who soon camped at Shengchi Lake and stationed there without further action.

Zhang Rang and the eunuchs knew this

move was directed against them and said,

“This is He Jin’s plot. If we do not strike first,

our whole clans shall be exterminated.”

So they hid a band of fifty armed ruffians

at the Gate of Grand Virtue in the Palace of

Happiness, where the Empress lived, then they went in to see her.

they said, “The General, feigning to act

under command, has called up armies to the

capital to destroy us. We pray you, Your Majesty, pity and save us!”

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

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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.

That I am glad to be an exile here in this wild southland

Liu Zongyuan

DWELLING BY A STREAM

I had so long been troubled by official hat and robe

That I am glad to be an exile here in this wild southland.

I am a neighbour now of planters and reapers.

I am a guest of the mountains and woods.

I plough in the morning, turning dewy grasses,

And at evening tie my fisher-boat, breaking the quiet stream.

Back and forth I go, scarcely meeting anyone,

And sing a long poem and gaze at the blue sky.


Wang Changling

AT A BORDER-FORTRESS

Cicadas complain of thin mulberry-trees

In the Eighth-month chill at the frontier pass.

Through the gate and back again, all along the road,

There is nothing anywhere but yellow reeds and grasses

And the bones of soldiers from You and from Bing

Who have buried their lives in the dusty sand.

…Let never a cavalier stir you to envy

With boasts of his horse and his horsemanship


Wang Changling

UNDER A BORDER-FORTRESS

Drink, my horse, while we cross the autumn water!-

The stream is cold and the wind like a sword,

As we watch against the sunset on the sandy plain,

Far, far away, shadowy Lingtao.

Old battles, waged by those long walls,

Once were proud on all men’s tongues.

But antiquity now is a yellow dust,

Confusing in the grasses its ruins and white bones.


Li Bai

THE MOON AT THE FORTIFIED PASS

The bright moon lifts from the Mountain of Heaven

In an infinite haze of cloud and sea,

And the wind, that has come a thousand miles,

Beats at the Jade Pass battlements….

China marches its men down Baideng Road

While Tartar troops peess

across blue waters of the bay….

And since not one battle famous in history

Sent all its fighters back again,

The soldiers turn round, looking toward the border,

And think of home, with wistful eyes,

And of those tonight in the upper chambers

Who toss and sigh and cannot rest.

I have come out of town to be free this morning

Wei Yingwu

EAST OF THE TOWN

From office confinement all year long,

I have come out of town to be free this morning

Where willows harmonize the wind

And green hills lighten the cares of the world.

I lean by a tree and rest myself

Or wander up and down a stream.

…Mists have wet the fragrant meadows;

A spring dove calls from some hidden place.

…With quiet surroundings, the mind is at peace,

But beset with affairs, it grows restless again….

Here I shall finally build me a cabin,

As Tao Qian built one long ago.


Wei Yingwu

TO MY DAUGHTER

ON HER MARRIAGE INTO THE YANG FAMILY

My heart has been heavy all day long

Because you have so far to go.

The marriage of a girl, away from her parents,

Is the launching of a little boat on a great river.

…You were very young when your mother died,

Which made me the more tender of you.

Your elder sister has looked out for you,

And now you are both crying and cannot part.

This makes my grief the harder to bear;

Yet it is right that you should go.

…Having had from childhood no mother to guide you,

How will you honour your mother-in-law?

It’s an excellent family; they will be kind to you,

They will forgive you your mistakes —

Although ours has been so pure and poor

That you can take them no great dowry.

Be gentle and respectful, as a woman should be,

Careful of word and look, observant of good example.

…After this morning we separate,

There’s no knowing for how long….

I always try to hide my feelings —

They are suddenly too much for me,

When I turn and see my younger daughter

With the tears running down her cheek.


Liu Zongyuan

READING BUDDHIST CLASSICS WITH ZHAO

AT HIS TEMPLE IN THE EARLY MORNING

I clean my teeth in water drawn from a cold well;

And while I brush my clothes, I purify my mind;

Then, slowly turning pages in the Tree-Leaf Book,

I recite, along the path to the eastern shelter.

…The world has forgotten the true fountain of this teaching

And people enslave themselves to miracles and fables.

Under the given words I want the essential meaning,

I look for the simplest way to sow and reap my nature.

Here in the quiet of the priest’s templecourtyard,

Mosses add their climbing colour to the thick bamboo;

And now comes the sun, out of mist and fog,

And pines that seem to be new-bathed;

And everything is gone from me, speech goes, and reading,

Leaving the single unison.