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“Go to the General and confess your faults,

“Go to the General and confess your faults,

” said the Empress.

“If we did, then should we be cut to mincemeat!

Rather summon the General into your presence

and command him to cease. If he will not,

then we pray but die in your presence.”

Empress He issued the requisite command.

He Jin was just going to her when Secretary Chen Lin

advised him not to enter, saying,

“the eunuchs are certainly behind the order

and mean your harm.”

But He Jin could only see the command

of the Empress and was oblivious to all else.

Said he, “Clearly, this is an edict from the Empress. What harm?”

“Our plot is no longer a secret,” said Yuan Shao.

“Still you may go if you are ready to fight your way in.”

“Get the eunuchs out first!” said Cao Cao.

“Silly children!” said He Jin.

“What can they do against the man who

holds the forces of the empire in his palm?”

Yuan Shao said, “If you will go, then we

will come as a guard, just as a precaution.”

Whereupon both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao

chose five hundred best men under their command,

at whose head they placed Yuan Shu, a brother of Yuan Shao.

Yuan Shu, clad in mail, drew up his troops outside the

Forbidden City’s entrance, while Yuan Shao and Cao Cao,

holding swords, went as escort.

When He Jin neared the Palace of Happiness,

the officers from the Inner Bureau said,

“The orders are to admit the Regent Marshal and none other.”

So the escort was detained outside. He Jin went in proudly.

At the Gate of Grand Virtue, he was met by Zhang Rang and

Duan Gui, and their followers quickly closed in around him.

He Jin began to feel alarmed.

then Zhang Rang in a harsh voice began to revile him:

“What crime had Empress Dong committed that she should have

been put to death? And when the Mother of the Country was buried,

who feigned sickness and did not attend? We raised you and your paltry,

huckstering family to all the dignity and wealth

you have, and this is your gratitude!

You would slay us. You call us sordid and dirty:

Who is the cleaner?”

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“Slay them, root and branch,

“Slay them, root and branch,

” cried Yuan Shao, “or they will ruin you!”

“I have decided,” said He Jin, coldly. “Say no more.”

Within a few days He Jin became Chair of the Secretariat,

and his associates received high offices.

Now Empress Dong summoned the eunuch

Zhang Rang and his party to a council.

Said she, “It was I who first brought forward the sister of He Jin.

Today her son is on the throne, and all the officials are her friends,

and her influence is enormous. What can we do?”

Zhang Rang replied, “Your Highness should administer the state from

‘behind the veil’; create the late Emperor’s son Liu Xian a prince; give your brother,

the Imperial Uncle Dong Chong, a high rank,

and place him over the army; and use us. That will do it.”

Empress Dong approved. Next day she held a court and issued an edict in the sense

proposed. She made Liu Xian Prince of Chenliu and Dong Chong

General of the Flying Cavalry*, and she allowed the eunuchs again to participate state affairs.

When Empress He saw this, she prepared a banquet to

which she invited her rival Empress Dong.

In the middle of the feast, when all were well warmed with wine,

Empress He rose and offered a cup to her guest, saying,

“It is not fitting that we two should meddle in state affairs. In the beginning of the Han Dynasty,

when Empress Lu laid hands upon the government, all her clans were put to death*.

We ought to remain content, immured in our palaces,

and leave state affairs to the state officials.

That would be well for the country, and I trust you will act thus.”

But Empress Dong only got angry, saying,

“You poisoned Lady Wang out of jealousy. Now,

relying upon the fact that your son sits on the throne and that

your brother is powerful, you speak these wild words.

I will command that your brother be beheaded,

and that can be done as easily as I turn my hand!”

Empress He in her turn became wroth and said,

“I tried to persuade you with fair words. Why get so angry?”

“You low born daughter of a butcher,

what do you know of offices?” cried Empress Dong.

And the quarrel waxed hot.

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At this assembly a man spoke

At this assembly a man spoke

against the plot,

“The influence of the eunuchs dates back a century and a

half, during the reigns of Emperors Chong and Zhi.

It has spread like a noxious weed in all directions.

How can we hope to destroy it? Above all keep

this plot secret, or our whole clans will be exterminated.”

He Jin eyed down and saw General of Military Standards Cao Cao.

He Jin was very angry at this speech and cried,

“What do inferiors like you know of the ways of government?”

And in the midst of the confusion Pan Yin came to say:

“The Emperor is no more. The eunuchs have decided to keep

the death a secret and forge a command to the Regent Marshal to

come into the Palace to settle the succession. Meanwhile

to prevent trouble they have inscribed the name of Prince Xian on the roll.”

And as Pan Yin finished speaking, the edict arrived summoning He Jin.

“The matter for the moment is to set up the rightful heir,

” said Cao Cao. “We can deal with the traitors later.”

“Who dare to join me in supporting the rightful heir—Prince Bian?”

asked He Jin, the Regent Marshal.

At once one stood forward, crying, “Give me five thousand veterans,

and we will break into the Palace, set up the true heir, slay the eunuchs,

and sweep clean the government! Then peace will come to the empire.”

The energetic speaker was Yuan Shao, son of the former Minister of

the Interior Yuan Feng and nephew of Imperial Guardian Yuan Wei.

Yuan Shao then held the rank of Imperial Commander.

He Jin mustered five thousand royal guards. Yuan Shao put on

complete armor and took command. He Jin, supported by He Yong,

Xun You, Zheng Tai, and more than thirty other ministers and

high-rank officials, went into the Palace. In the hall where lay the coffin

of the late Emperor, they placed Liu Bian on the throne. After

the ceremony was over and all had bowed before the new Emperor,

Yuan Shao went in to arrest Eunuch Jian Shuo. Jian Shuo in terror

fled into the Palace garden and hid among the shrubs, where he was

discovered and murdered by Guo Sheng, one of the Ten Eunuchs.

The guards under Jian Shuo’s command all surrendered.

Yuan Shao said, “Their gangs have broken.

The most opportune moment is now to slay all the eunuchs!”

But Zhang Rang and the eunuchs of the Ten scented the

danger and rushed to see Empress He.

They said, “The originator of the plan to injure your brother

was Jian Shuo: Only he was concerned and no other.

Now the Regent Marshal, on Yuan Shao’s advice,

wishes to slay everyone of us. We implore your pity, O Your Majesty!”

“Fear not!” said Empress He,

whose son had just become Emperor, “I will protect you.”

She sent for her brother, and said, “You and I are of lowly origin,

and we owe our good fortune to the eunuchs.

The misguided Jian Shuo is now dead, and need you really

put all the others to death as Yuan Shao advises?”

And He Jin obeyed her wish. He explained to his party, saying,

“The real offender, Jian Shuo, has met his fate, and his clan will be

punished. But we need not exterminate the whole party nor injure his colleagues.”

Hearing these things Zhu Jun

Hearing these things Zhu Jun

pressed harder yet upon Yangcheng, and the

approaching break-up of the rebellion became evident. Then one of Zhang Ba’s

officers, Yan Zheng, killed his leader and brought the head in token of submission.

Thus rebellion in that part of the country was stamped out, and Zhu Jun made

his report to the government.

However, the embers of the Yellow Scarves still smoldered. Three other rebels,

Zhao Hong, Han Zhong, and Sun Zhong, gathered some thirty thousand rebels

and began to murder and rob and burn, calling themselves the avengers of Master Zhang Jue.

The court commanded the successful Zhu Jun to lead his veteran and successful

troops to destroy the rebels. He at once marched toward the city of Wancheng

which the rebels were holding. When Zhu Jun arrived, Han Zhong went to

oppose him. Zhu Jun sent Liu Bei and his brothers to attack the southwest

corner of the city. Han Zhong at once led the best of his troops to defend

the city. Meanwhile Zhu Jun himself led two thousand of armored horsemen

to attack the opposite corner. The rebels, thinking the city being lost, abandoned

the southwest and turned back into the city to help the defenders. Liu Bei pressed

hotly in their rear, and they were utterly routed. They took refuge in the city which

was then invested. When famine pressed upon the besieged, they sent a messenger

to offer to surrender, but Zhu Jun refused the offer.

Said Liu Bei to Zhu Jun, “Seeing that the founder of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang the

Supreme Ancestor, could welcome the submissive and receive the favorable, why reject these?”

“The conditions are different,” replied Zhu Jun. “In those old days disorder was

universal and the people had no fixed lord*. Wherefore submission was welcomed

and support rewarded to encourage people to come over. Now the empire is united,

and the Yellow Scarves are the only malcontents. To receive their surrender is not to

encourage the good. To allow brigands, when successful, is to give way to every

license, and to let them surrender when they fail is to encourage brigandage.

Your plan is not a good one.”

Liu Bei replied, “Not to let brigands surrender is well. But the city is

surrounded as by an iron barrel. If the rebels’ request be refused, they will be

desperate and fight to the death, and we can hardly withstood a myriad of such

men. Moreover, in the city there are many times that number, all doomed to death.

Let us withdraw from one corner and only attack the opposite. They

will all assuredly flee and have no desire to fight. We shall take them.”

When weapons were ready,

When weapons were ready, the

troop, now five hundred strong,

 

marched to Commander Zhou Jing, who presented them to Imperial Protector Liu Yan.

When the ceremony of introduction was over, Liu Bei declared his

ancestry, and Liu Yan at once accorded him the esteem due to a relation.

Before many days it was announced that the rebellion had actually broken out, and a Yellow Scarves chieftain, Cheng Yuanzhi, had invaded the region with a body of fifty thousand rebels. Liu Yan

bade Zhou Jing and the three brothers to go out to oppose them with the five hundred troops. Liu Bei joyfully undertook to lead the van and marched to the foot of the Daxing Hills where they saw

the rebels. The rebels wore their hair flying about their shoulders, and their foreheads were bound with yellow scarves.

When the two armies had been drawn up opposite each other, Liu Bei rode to the front, Guan Yu to his left, Zhang Fei to his right.

Flourishing his whip, Liu Bei began to hurl reproaches at the rebels, crying, “O malcontents! Why not dismount and be bound?”

their leader Cheng Yuanzhi, full of rage, sent out one general, Deng Mao, to begin the battle. At once rode forward Zhang Fei, his serpent halberd poised to strike. One thrust and Deng Mao rolled

off his horse, pierced through the heart. At this Cheng Yuanzhi himself whipped up his steed and rode forth with sword raised ready to slay Zhang Fei. But Guan Yu swung up his ponderous

GREen-dragon saber and rode at Cheng Yuanzhi. At the sight, fear seized upon Cheng Yuanzhi, and before he could defend himself, the great saber fell, cutting him in halves.

After the celebrations in honor of victory were over, Commander Zhou Jing proposed to return to Youzhou.

But Liu Bei said, “We are informed that Imperial Commander Lu Zhi has been struggling with a horde of rebels led

by Zhang Jue at Guangzong. Lu Zhi was once my teacher, and I want to go help him.”

So Liu Bei and Zhou Jing separated, and the three brothers with their troops made their way to Guangzong. They found Lu Zhi’s camp,

were admitted to his presence, and declared the reason of their coming. The Commander received them with GREat joy, and they remained with him while he made his plans.

At that time Zhang Jue’s one hundred fifty thousand troops and Lu Zhi’s

fifty thousand troops were facing each other. Neither had had any success.

Lu Zhi said to Liu Bei, “I am able to surround these rebels here. But the other two brothers, Zhang Ba and Zhang Lian, are strongly entrenched opposite

Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun at Yingchuan. I will give you a thousand more troops, and with these you can go to

find out what is happening, and we can then settle the moment for concerted attack.”

Dip among doorways of the poor.

Dip among doorways of the poor.

Liu Fangping
A MOONLIGHT NIGHT
When the moon has coloured half the house,
With the North Star at its height and the South Star setting,
I can fed the first motions of the warm air of spring
In the singing of an insect at my green-silk window.


Liu Fangping
SPRING HEART-BREAK
With twilight passing her silken window,
She weeps alone in her chamber of gold
For spring is departing from a desolate garden,
And a drift of pear-petals is closing a door.


Liu Zhongyong
A TROOPER’S BURDEN
For years, to guard the Jade Pass and the River of Gold,
With our hands on our horse-whips and our swordhilts,
We have watched the green graves change to snow
And the Yellow Stream ring the Black Mountain forever.


Gu Kuang
A PALACE POEM
High above, from a jade chamber, songs float half-way to heaven,
The palace-girls’ gay voices are mingled with the wind —
But now they are still, and you hear a water-clock drip in the Court of the Moon….
They have opened the curtain wide, they are facing the River of Stars.


Li Yi
ON HEARING A FLUTE AT NIGHT
FROM THE WALL OF SHOUXIANG
The sand below the border-mountain lies like snow,
And the moon like frost beyond the city-wall,
And someone somewhere, playing a flute,
Has made the soldiers homesick all night long.


Liu Yuxi
BLACKTAIL ROW
Grass has run wild now by the Bridge of Red-Birds;
And swallows’ wings, at sunset, in Blacktail Row
Where once they visited great homes,
Dip among doorways of the poor.


Liu Yuxi
A SPRING SONG
In gala robes she comes down from her chamber
Into her courtyard, enclosure of spring….
When she tries from the centre to count the flowers,
On her hairpin of jade a dragon-fly poises.


Bai Juyi
A SONG OF THE PALACE
Her tears are spent, but no dreams come.
She can hear the others singing through the night.
She has lost his love. Alone with her beauty,
She leans till dawn on her incense-pillow.

Is fame to be only for the ancients?

Wang Wei
A MESSAGE TO COMMISSIONER LI AT ZIZHOU
From ten thousand valleys the trees touch heaven;
On a thousand peaks cuckoos are calling;
And, after a night of mountain rain,
From each summit come hundreds of silken cascades.
…If girls are asked in tribute the fibre they weave,
Or farmers quarrel over taro fields,
Preside as wisely as Wenweng did….
Is fame to be only for the ancients?


Wang Wei
A VIEW OF THE HAN RIVER
With its three southern branches reaching the Chu border,
And its nine streams touching the gateway of Jing,
This river runs beyond heaven and earth,
Where the colour of mountains both is and is not.
The dwellings of men seem floating along
On ripples of the distant sky —
These beautiful days here in Xiangyang
Make drunken my old mountain heart!


Wang Wei
MY RETREAT AT MOUNT ZHONGNAN
My heart in middle age found the Way.
And I came to dwell at the foot of this mountain.
When the spirit moves, I wander alone
Amid beauty that is all for me….
I will walk till the water checks my path,
Then sit and watch the rising clouds —
And some day meet an old wood-cutter
And talk and laugh and never return.


Meng Haoran
A MESSAGE FROM LAKE DONGTIN
TO PREMIER ZHANG
Here in the Eighth-month the waters of the lake
Are of a single air with heaven,
And a mist from the Yun and Meng valleys
Has beleaguered the city of Youzhou.
I should like to cross, but I can find no boat.
…How ashamed I am to be idler than you statesmen,
As I sit here and watch a fisherman casting
And emptily envy him his catch.


Meng Haoran
ON CLIMBING YAN MOUNTAIN WITH FRIENDS
While worldly matters take their turn,
Ancient, modern, to and fro,
Rivers and mountains are changeless in their glory
And still to be witnessed from this trail.
Where a fisher-boat dips by a waterfall,
Where the air grows colder, deep in the valley,
The monument of Yang remains;
And we have wept, reading the words.


 

I have poems; I can read

Li Bai
THOUGHTS OF OLD TIME FROM A NIGHT-MOORING
UNDER MOUNT NIU-ZHU
This night to the west of the river-brim
There is not one cloud in the whole blue sky,
As I watch from my deck the autumn moon,
Vainly remembering old General Xie….
I have poems; I can read;
He heard others, but not mine.
…Tomorrow I shall hoist my sail,
With fallen maple-leaves behind me.


Du Fu
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?


Du Fu
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.


Du Fu
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.


Du Fu
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.

Ever new the shock of beauty

Du Shenyan
ON A WALK IN THE EARLY SPRING
HARMONIZING A POEM BY MY FRIEND LU
STATIONED AT CHANGZHOU
Only to wanderers can come
Ever new the shock of beauty,
Of white cloud and red cloud dawning from the sea,
Of spring in the wild-plum and river-willow….
I watch a yellow oriole dart in the warm air,
And a green water- plant reflected by the sun.
Suddenly an old song fills
My heart with home, my eyes with tears.


Shen Quanqi
LINES
Against the City of the Yellow Dragon
Our troops were sent long years ago,
And girls here watch the same melancholy moon
That lights our Chinese warriors —
And young wives dream a dream of spring,
That last night their heroic husbands,
In a great attack, with flags and drums,
Captured the City of the Yellow Dragon.


Song Zhiwen
INSCRIBED ON THE WALL OF AN INN
NORTH OF DAYU MOUNTAIN
They say that wildgeese, flying southward,
Here turn back, this very month….
Shall my own southward journey
Ever be retraced, I wonder?
…The river is pausing at ebb-tide,
And the woods are thick with clinging mist —
But tomorrow morning, over the mountain,
Dawn will be white with the plum-trees of home.


Wang Wan
A MOORING UNDER NORTH FORT HILL
Under blue mountains we wound our way,
My boat and 1, along green water;
Until the banks at low tide widened,
With no wind stirring my lone sail.
…Night now yields to a sea of sun,
And the old year melts in freshets.
At last I can send my messengers —
Wildgeese, homing to Loyang.


Chang Jian
A BUDDHIST RETREAT BEHIND BROKEN-MOUNTAIN TEMPLE
In the pure morning, near the old temple,
Where early sunlight points the tree-tops,
My path has wound, through a sheltered hollow
Of boughs and flowers, to a Buddhist retreat.
Here birds are alive with mountain-light,
And the mind of man touches peace in a pool,
And a thousand sounds are quieted
By the breathing of a temple-bell.

Wildgeese flying high, sun and moon both white,

Du Fu

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.


Du Fu

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.