Gems of Chinese Literature/Yüan and Ming Dynasties

Gems of Chinese Literature
Various Authors, translated by Herbert Allen Giles
Yüan and Ming Dynasties (a.d. 1260 TO a.d. 1644)
1523284Gems of Chinese Literature — Yüan and Ming Dynasties (a.d. 1260 TO a.d. 1644)Herbert Allen GilesVarious Authors


a.d. 1241-1293

[A promising official who was prevented by failing health from rising to eminence. He lived a retired life in a cottage which he named “Peace with Culture.”]


WHEN God made man, he gave him powers to cope with the exigencies of his environment; and resources within himself, so that he need not be dependent upon external circumstances [for good or evil].

Thus, in districts where poisons abound, antidotes abound also; and in others, where malaria prevails, we find such correctives as ginger, nutmegs, and dog-wood. Again, fish, terrapins, and clams, are the most wholesome articles of diet in excessively damp climates, though themselves denizens of the water; and musk and deer-horns are excellent prophylactics in earthy climates, where in fact they are produced. For, if these things were unable to prevail against their surroundings, they could not possibly thrive where they do; while the fact that they do so thrive is proof positive that they were ordained as specifics against those surroundings.

Chu Hsi said, “When God is about to send down calamities upon us, he first raises up the hero whose genius shall finally prevail against those calamities.” From this point of view, there can be no living man without his appointed use; nor any state of society which man should be unable to put right.


13th century a.d.

[Art critic and author of the Hua Lun “On Painting.” The Emperor Hui Tsung, a.d. 1100-1126, mentioned below, was an artist of considerable skill, and a liberal patron of art in general.]


THE old masters always had some deep meaning in their pictures, and never put brush to silk unless dominated by an idea. The Emperor Hui Tsung painted with his own hand a picture entitled “A Dream Journey to the Next World.” The inhabitants, several thousands in number, were about half the size of one’s little finger. All things in heaven and earth, and most beautifully executed, were to be found therein, cities with their suburbs, palaces, houses, banners, pennants, bells, drums, beautiful girls, souls of men (chên tsai), clouds, red glows, mists, the Milky Way, birds, cattle, dragons, and horses. Gazing at this picture makes one feel a longing to travel away into space and forget the world of men. Verily ’tis a marvellous work.


In forming collections of pictures, Taoist and Buddhist subjects rank first, the reason being that the old masters put a great deal of work into them, wishing to inspire reverence, love, and a fondness for ceremonial. Next come human figures, which may be used as patterns or warnings. Then comes landscape with its inexhaustible delights, followed by flowers, and by horses, which are among divine animals. Portraits of gentlemen and ladies, and pictures of barbarians, though very clever, are scarcely adjuncts to intellectual culture. At the present day collectors of pictures mostly set a high store upon works by old masters, and despise those of modern times.


? 13th century

[From a work entitled Mên shih hsin yü, or “Chats while Lice-catching.”]


TWO lines from a poem of the T‘ang dynasty were once set as a test to a company of painters. The lines ran thus:

Some tender sprays of budding green, with a tiny splash of red,―
A little goes a long way to put spring thoughts in one’s head.

All the painters sought for their interpretations in plants and in hints of the pink blossoms of spring, and all failed alike, with the single exception of one artist, who produced the picture of a kiosque on a cliff, faintly seen in a setting of green willows, with a beautiful girl (dressed according to custom in red) standing up and leaning on the balustrade.[1] The others admitted their defeat, for such a picture may really be said to interpret the thought of the poet.


? 14th century

[From a work entitled Mo k‘o hui hsi “The Scholar Waves the Yak’s Tail.”]



(q.v.) picked up an old picture of a cluster of peonies with a cat sitting near by. He was quite at a loss to make out its inner meaning, until a friend who lived next door came in to see it. “Oh,” exclaimed the latter, “the subject is Noon;” and he proceeded to explain as follows. “You notice,” said he, “that the flowers are wide open and dulled in hue, just as flowers are at midday. Then again, the pupils of the cat’s eyes are like a black thread, as they always are at that hour. When flowers have dew on them the calyx is contracted and the hue is fresh; and in the morning and evening the pupils in a cat’s eyes are always round. Thus skilfully, is it possible to ferret out the underlying intentions of the men of old.”


a.d. 1311-1375

[For many years a faithful servant of the quondam Buddhist-novice Emperor, who at length succeeded in overthrowing the dynasty of the Mongols and establishing himself, under the title of Hung Wu, as the first ruler of the House of Ming.]


WHEN Shao P‘ing fell,[2] he repaired to the abode of a famous augur to ask his fate by means of divination.

“What is it you would enquire about?” said the latter.

“He who has lain awhile,” replied Shao P‘ing, “longs to arise. He who has hidden awhile, longs to come forth. He whose nose is stuffed, longs to sneeze. And I have heard that that which is over-pent breaks out at last; that excessive sorrow finds its own relief; that excessive heat is followed by wind; and that excessive compression makes its own vent. Thus, too, the seasons follow one another with ceaseless change: one rolls away and another comes on. Yet I have my doubts, and would fain receive instruction at your hands.”

“Sir,” said the augur; “after all you have just now stated, pray tell me what further you would have me divine?”

“The abstruser mysteries,” answered Shao P‘ing, “I do not pretend to have penetrated; and would beg you to enlighten me thereon.”

“Alas!” cried the augur, “what is there that Heaven can bestow save that which virtue can obtain? Where is the efficacy of spiritual beings beyond that with which man has endowed them? The divining-plant is but a dead stalk; the tortoise-shell a dry bone. They are but matter like ourselves. And man, the divinest of all things, why does he not seek wisdom from within, rather than from these grosser stuffs?

“Besides, sir, why not reflect upon the past that past which gave birth to this present? Your cracked roof and crumbling walls of to-day are but the complement of yesterday’s lofty towers and spacious halls. The straggling bramble is but the complement of the shapely garden tree. The grasshopper and the cicada are but the complement of organs and flutes; the will-o’-the-wisp and firefly, of gilded lamps and painted candles. Your endive and watercresses are but the complement of the elephant-sinews and camel’s hump[3] of days by-gone; the maple-leaf and the rush, of your once rich robes and fine attire. Do not repine that those who had not such luxuries then, enjoy them now. Do not be dissatisfied that you who enjoyed them then, have them now no more. In the space of a day and night, the flower blooms and dies. Between spring and autumn things perish and are renewed. Beneath the roaring cascade a deep pool is found: dark valleys lie at the foot of high hills. These things you know: what more can divination teach you?”


At Hangchow there lived a costermonger who understood how to keep oranges a whole year without letting them spoil. His fruit was always fresh-looking, firm as jade, and of a beautiful golden hue; but inside―dry as an old cocoon.

One day I asked him, saying, “Are your oranges for altar or sacrificial purposes, or for show at banquets?[4] Or do you make this outside display merely to cheat the foolish? as cheat them, you most outrageously do.” “Sir,” replied the orangeman, “I have carried on this trade now for many years. It is my source of livelihood. I sell: the world buys. And I have yet to learn that you are the only honest man about, and that I am the only cheat. Perhaps it never struck you in this light. The bâton-bearers of to-day, seated on their tiger skins, pose as the martial guardians of the State; but what are they compared with the captains of old? The broad-brimmed, long-robed ministers of to-day, pose as pillars of the constitution; but have they the wisdom of our ancient counsellors? Evil doers arise and none can subdue them. The people are in misery, and none can relieve them. Clerks are corrupt, and none can restrain them. Laws decay, and none can renew them. Our officials eat the bread of the State, and know no shame. They sit in lofty halls, ride fine steeds, drink themselves drunk with wine, and batten on the richest fare. Which of them but puts on an awe-inspiring look, a dignified mien?―all gold and gems without, but dry cocoons within. You pay, sir, no heed to these things, while you are very particular about my oranges.”

I had no answer to make. I retired to ponder over this costermonger’s wit, which reminded me forcibly of “The Wag.”[5] Was he really out of conceit with the age, or only quizzing me in defence of his fruit?


a.d. 1357-1402

[A Minister of State under Hui Ti, the Emperor who vanished and is supposed to have been recognized forty years afterwards, by a mole on his chin. Refusing to serve under the new Emperor, Yung Lo, whose name is connected with the giant encyclopaedia, he was cut to pieces in the market-place and his family was exterminated.]


STATESMEN who forecast the destinies of an empire, oft-times concentrate their genius upon the difficult, and neglect the easy. They provide against likely evils, and disregard combinations which yield no ground for suspicion. Yet calamity often issues from neglected quarters, and sedition springs out of circumstances which have been set aside as trivial. Must this be regarded as due to an absence of care?―No. It results because the things that man can provide against are human, while those that elude his vigilance and overpower his strength are divine.

The Ch‘ins obliterated the feudal system and united the empire under one sway. They saw that the Chou dynasty had been overthrown by the turbulence of vassal nobles, and therefore they dispersed these over the land as officers of state responsible to the central government; trusting that thereby appeal to arms would cease, and the empire be theirs for ever. But they could not foresee that the founder of the Hans would arise from the furrowed fields and snatch away the sceptre from their grasp.

The Hans took warning by the Ch‘ins, and re-established feudatory princes, choosing them from among the members of the Imperial family, and relying upon their tie of kinship to the throne.[6] Yet the conflict with the Confederate States was at hand, in consequence of which the power of the princes was diminished to prevent similar troubles for the future; when, lo! Wang Mang leaped upon the throne.[7]

Wang Mang took warning by his predecessors, and others, in like manner, took warning by his fate, each in turn providing against a recurrence of that which had proved fatal before. And in each case calamity came upon them from a quarter whence least expected.

The Emperor T‘ai Tsung of the T‘angs secretly learned that his issue would be done to death by Wu. He accordingly slew the Wu upon whom his suspicions fell: but the real Wu was all the time at his side.

The Emperor T‘ai Tsu of the Sungs persuaded those who had placed him upon the throne to retire into private life. He little foresaw that his descendants would writhe under the barbarian Tartar’s yoke.[8]

All the instances above cited include gifted men whose wisdom and genius overshadowed their generation. They took counsel and provided against disruption of their empire with the utmost possible care. Yet misfortune fell upon every one of them, always issuing from some source where its existence was least suspected. This, because human wisdom reaches only to human affairs, and cannot touch the divine. Thus, too, will sickness carry off the children even of the best doctors, and devils play their pranks in the family of an exorcist. How is it that these professors who succeed in grappling with the cases of others, yet fail in treating their own? It is because in those they confine themselves to the human; in these they would meddle with the divine.

The men of old knew that it was impossible to provide infallibly against the convulsions of ages to come. There was no plan, no device, by which they could hope to prevail; and they refrained accordingly from vain scheming. They simply strove by the force of Truth and Virtue to win for themselves the approbation of God; that He, in reward for their virtuous conduct, might watch over them, as a fond mother watches over her babes, for ever. Thus, although fools were not wanting to their posterity,―fools, able to drag an empire to the dust,―still, the evil day was deferred. This was indeed foresight of a far-reaching kind.

But he who, regardless of the favour of God, may hope by the light of his own petty understanding to establish that which shall endure through all time,―he shall be confounded indeed.


10th century a.d.

[Wife of the patriot statesman Yang Chi-Shêng.]


MAY it please your Majesty,

My husband was chief minister in the Cavalry Department of the Board of War. Because he advised your Majesty against the establishment of a tradal mart,[9] hoping to prevent Ch‘ou Luan from carrying out his design, he was condemned only to a mild punishment; and then when the latter suffered defeat, he was restored to favour and to his former honours.

Thereafter, my husband was for ever seeking to make some return for the Imperial clemency. He would deprive himself of sleep. He would abstain from food. All this I saw with my own eyes. By-and-by, however, he gave ear to some idle rumour of the market-place, and the old habit came strong upon him. He lost his mental balance. He uttered wild statements, and again incurred the displeasure of the Throne. Yet he was not slain forthwith. His punishment was referred to the Board. He was beaten: he was thrown into prison. Several times he nearly died. His flesh was hollowed out beneath the scourge: the sinews of his legs were severed. Blood flowed from him in bowlfuls, splashing him from head to foot. Confined day and night in a cage, he endured the utmost misery.

Then our crops failed, and daily food was wanting in our poverty-stricken home. I strove to earn money by spinning, and worked hard for the space of three years, during which period the Board twice addressed the Throne, receiving on each occasion an Imperial rescript that my husband was to await his fate in gaol. But now, I hear, your Majesty has determined that my husband shall die, in accordance with the statutes of the Empire. Die as he may, his eyes will close in peace with your Majesty, while his soul seeks the realms below.

Yet I know that your Majesty has a humane and kindly heart; and when the creeping things of the earth,―nay, the very trees and shrubs,―share in the national tranquillity, it is hard to think that your Majesty would grudge a pitying glance upon our fallen estate. And should we be fortunate enough to attract the Imperial favour to our lowly affairs, that would be joy indeed. But if my husband’s crime is of too deep a dye, I humbly beg that my head may pay the penalty, and that I be permitted to die for him. Then, from the far-off land of spirits, myself brandishing spear and shield, I will lead forth an army of fierce hobgoblins to do battle in your Majesty’s behalf, and thus make some return for this act of Imperial grace.[10]


16th century a.d.

[Wife of Shên Shu. Her husband fell a victim to the influence of a powerful rival and was imprisoned for fifteen years, being liberated (1567) on the fall of his rival through the joint petition, given below, by his wife and concubine.]


MAY it please your Majesty,

My husband was a Censor attached to the Board of Rites. For his folly in recklessly advising your Majesty, he deserved indeed a thousand deaths; yet, under the Imperial clemency, he was doomed only to await his sentence in prison.

Since then, fourteen years have passed away. His aged parents are still alive, but there are no children in his hall, and the wretched man has none on whom he can rely. I alone remain―a lodger at an inn, working day and night at my needle to provide the necessaries of life; encompassed on all sides by difficulties; to whom every day seems a year.

My father-in-law is eighty-seven years of age. He trembles on the brink of the grave. He is like a candle in the wind. I have naught wherewith to nourish him alive, or to honour him when dead. I am a lone woman. If I tend the one, I lose the other. If I return to my father-in-law, my husband will die of starvation. If I remain to feed him, my father-in-law may die at any hour. My husband is a criminal bound in gaol. He dares give no thought to his home. Yet can it be that when all living things are rejoicing in life under the wise and generous rule of to-day, we alone should taste the cup of poverty and distress, and find ourselves beyond the pale of universal peace?

Oft, as I think of these things, the desire to die comes upon me; but I swallow my grief and live on, trusting in providence for some happy termination, some moistening with the dew of Imperial grace. And now that my father-in-law is face to face with death; now that my husband can hardly expect to live I venture to offer this body as a hostage, to be bound in prison, while my husband returns to watch over the last hours of his father. Then, when all is over, he will resume his place and await your Majesty’s pleasure. Thus, my husband will greet his father once again, and the feelings of father and child will be in some measure relieved. Thus, I shall give to my father-in-law the comfort of his son, and the duty of a wife towards her husband will be fulfilled.[11]


16th century.

[An official who took the highest degree (chin shih) at the age of twenty and rose, with vicissitudes, to high rank. He is noted for his defence of Foochow against the Japanese (circa 1560). He opened the west gate, of which he was in charge, as if to admit the enemy by treachery; and then his troops and the populace attacked the invaders from the top of the wall and slaughtered them in great numbers.]


IWAS very glad at this distance to receive your letter which quite set my mind at rest, together with the present you were so kind as to add. I thank you very much for your good wishes, and especially for your thoughtful allusion to my father.

As to what you are pleased to say in reference to official popularity and fitness for office, I am much obliged by your remarks. Of my unfitness I am only too well aware; while as to popularity with my superiors, I am utterly unqualified to secure that boon.

How indeed does an official find favour in the present day with his chief? Morning and evening he must whip up his horse and go dance attendance at the great man’s door.[12] If the porter refuses to admit him, then honied words, a coaxing air, and money drawn from the sleeve, may prevail. The porter takes in his card; but the great man does not come out. So he waits in the stable among grooms, until his clothes are charged with the smell; in spite of hunger, in spite of cold, in spite of a blazing heat. At nightfall, the porter who had pocketed his money comes forth and says his master is tired and begs to be excused, and will he call again next day. So he is forced to come once more as requested. He sits all night in his clothes. At cock-crow he jumps up, performs his toilette, and gallops off and knocks at the entrance gate. “Who’s there?” shouts the porter angrily; and when he explains, the porter gets still more angry and begins to abuse him, saying, “You are in a fine hurry, you are! Do you think my master sees people at this hour?” Then is the visitor shamed, but has to swallow his wrath and try to persuade the porter to let him in. And the porter, another fee to the good, gets up and lets him in; and then he waits again in the stable as before, until perhaps the great man comes out and summons him to an audience.

Now, with many an obeisance, he cringes timidly towards the foot of the dais steps: and when the great man says “Come!” he prostrates himself twice and remains long without rising. At length he goes up to offer his present, which the great man refuses. He entreats acceptance; but in vain. He implores, with many instances; whereupon the great man bids a servant take it. Then two more prostrations, long drawn out; after which he arises, and with five or six salutations he takes his leave.

On going forth, he bows to the porter, saying, “It’s all right with your master. Next time I come you need make no delay.” The porter returns the bow, well pleased with his share in the business.[13] Meanwhile, our friend springs on his horse, and when he meets an acquaintance flourishes his whip and cries out, “I have just been with His Excellency. He treated me very kindly, very kindly indeed.” And then he goes into detail, upon which his friends begin to be more respectful to him as a protegé of His Excellency. The great man himself says, “So-and-so is a good fellow, a very good fellow indeed;” upon which the bystanders of course declare that they think so too.[14]

Such is popularity with one's superiors in the present day. Do you think that I could be as one of these? No! Beyond sending in a complimentary card at the summer and winter festivals, I do not go near the great from one year’s end to another. Even when I pass their doors I stuff my ears and cover my eyes and gallop quickly past as if some one was after me. In consequence of this want of breadth, I am of course no favourite with the authorities; but what care I? There is a destiny that shapes our ends, and it has shaped mine towards the path of duty alone. For which, no doubt, you think me an ass.

16th century.

[Graduated as chin shih in 1547, and distinguished himself as a military commander and as a writer.]


ARETAINER was complaining to Pŏ Tzŭ that no one in the district knew how to get on.

“You gentlemen,” said he, “are like square handles which you would thrust into the round sockets of your generation. Consequently, there is not one of you which fits.”

“You speak truth,” replied Pŏ Tzŭ; “kindly explain how this is so.”

“There are five reasons,” said the retainer, “why you are at loggerheads with the age, as follows:―

“(1) The path to popularity lies straight before you, but you will not follow it.

“(2) Other men’s tongues reach the soft places in the hearts of their superiors, but your tongues are too short.

“(3) Others eschew fur robes, and approach with bent backs as if their very clothes were too heavy for them; but you remain as stiff-necked as planks.

“(4) Others respond even before they are called, and seek to anticipate the wishes of their superiors; whose enemies, were they the saints above, would not escape abuse; whose friends, were they highwaymen and thieves, would be larded over with praise. But you―you stick at facts, and express opinions adverse to those of your superiors whom it is your special interest to conciliate.[15]

“(5) Others make for gain as though bent upon shooting a pheasant; watching in secret and letting fly with care, so that nothing escapes their aim. But you―you hardly bend your bow, or bend it only to miss the quarry that lies within your reach.

“One of these five failings is like a tumour hanging to you and impeding your progress in life. How much more all of them!”

“It is indeed as you state,” answered Pŏ Tzŭ. “But would you bid me cut these tumours away? A man may have a tumour and live. To cut it off is to die. And life with a tumour is better than death without. Besides, beauty is a natural gift; and the woman who tried to look like Hsi Shih only succeeded in frightening people out of their wits by her ugliness.[16] Now it is my misfortune to have these tumours, which make me more loathsome even than that woman. Still, I can always, so to speak, stick to my needle and my cooking-pots and strive to make my good man happy.[17] There is no occasion for me to proclaim my ugliness in the marketplace.”

“Ah, sir,” said the retainer, “now I know why there are so many ugly people about, and so little beauty in the land.”


16th and 17th centuries.

[Graduated in 1601 as first chin shih, and joined the Han-lin College. He was devoted to study, and vowed that if only he might attain to a good style, he would jump into the ocean to spread it far and wide.]


FOR some years I had possessed an old inkstand, left at my house by a friend. It came into ordinary use as such, I being unaware that it was an antique. However, one day a connoisseur told me it was at least a thousand years old, and urged me to preserve it carefully as a valuable relic. This I did, but never took any further trouble to ascertain whether such was actually the case or not. For supposing that this inkstand really dated from the period assigned, its then owner must have regarded it simply as an inkstand. He could not have known that it was destined to survive the wreck of time and come to be cherished as an antique. And while we prize it now, because it has descended to us from a distant past, we forget that then, when antiques were relics of a still earlier period, it could not have been of any value to antiquarians, themselves the moderns of what is antiquity to us!

The surging crowd around us thinks of naught but the acquisition of wealth and material enjoyment, occupied only with the struggle for place and power. Men lift their skirts and hurry through the mire; they suffer indignity and feel no sense of shame. And if from out this mass there arises one spirit purer and simpler than the rest, striving to tread a nobler path than they, and amusing his leisure, for his own gratification, with guitars, and books, and pictures and other relics of olden times,―such a man is indeed a genuine lover of the antique. He can never be one of the common herd, though the common herd always affect to admire whatever is admittedly admirable. In the same way, persons who aim at advancement in their career, will spare no endeavour to collect the choicest rarities, in order, by such gifts, to curry favour with their superiors; who, in their turn, will take pleasure in ostentatious display of their collections of antiquities. Such is but a specious hankering after antiques, arising simply from a desire to eclipse one's neighbours. Such men are not genuine lovers of the antique. Their tastes are those of the common herd after all, though they make a great show and filch the reputation of true antiquarians, in the hope of thus distinguishing themselves from their fellows, ignorant as they are that what they secure is the name alone without the reality. The man whom I call a genuine antiquarian is he who studies the writings of the ancients, and strives to form himself upon their model though unable to greet them in the flesh; who ever and anon, in his wanderings up and down the long avenue of the past, lights upon some choice fragment which brings him in an instant face to face with the immortal dead. Of such enjoyment there is no satiety.[18] Those who truly love antiquity, love, not the things, but the men of old; since a relic in the present is much what it was in the past, a mere thing. And so if it is not to things, but rather to men, that devotion is due, then even I may aspire to be some day an antique. Who shall say that centuries hence an antiquarian of the day may not look up to me as I have looked up to my predecessors? Should I then neglect myself, and foolishly devote my energies to trifling with things?

Such is popular enthusiasm in these matters. It is shadow without substance. But the theme is endless, and I shall therefore content myself with this passing record of my old inkstand.


Died a.d. 1644

[The last Emperor of the Ming dynasty. He made great efforts to rule wisely and to free the country from the curse of eunuch domination. It was, however, too late. Extra taxation, necessary to meet a huge deficit, led to rebellion; a state of anarchy prevailed in the provinces; at the capital all was in confusion; and on April 9, 1644, Peking fell. On the previous night the Emperor, who had refused to flee, tried to kill the eldest princess but only cut off her arm.[19] He commanded the Empress to commit suicide, and sent his three sons into hiding. At dawn, the bell was struck for the Court to assemble, but no one came. His Majesty then ascended the small hill in the palace grounds; and after having written a final Decree upon the lapel of his coat, he hanged himself,[20] as also did one faithful eunuch.]


POOR in virtue and of contemptible personality, I have incurred the wrath of God on high. My Ministers have deceived me. I am ashamed to meet my ancestors; and therefore I myself take off my crown, and with my hair covering my face, await dismemberment at the hands of the rebels. Do not hurt a single one of my people!


17th century a.d.

[Author unknown. Placed in the Chinese Index Expurgatorius in consequence of its denunciation of official abuses. As a novel it ranks among the greatest of any nation, for originality of plot and varied delineation of no fewer than 400 characters. The name means “Dream of Red Upper Storeys (q.d. of wealth and power);” but it is known to foreigners as “The Dream of the Red Chamber.”]


JUST then a maid came in to say that the doctor had arrived, and to ask her ladyship to take her seat behind the curtain. “What!” cried her ladyship, “an old woman like me? Why I might easily be the mother of your prodigy! I am not afraid of him. Don’t let down the curtain; he must see me as I am.” So a small table was brought forward and a pillow placed on it, after which the doctor was called in. He entered with downcast eyes and made a respectful salutation to her ladyship, who at once stretched out her hand to rest upon the pillow, while a stool was arranged for the doctor to sit upon. Holding his head aside,[21] the doctor felt the pulse for a long time, by-and-by doing the same with the other hand.[22] He then bowed and retired.

“Her ladyship,” said the doctor to some members of the family, “has nothing the matter with her beyond a slight chill. It is not really necessary for her to take any medicine. Give her light food and keep her warm, and she will soon be all right again. I will, however, write a prescription, and if her ladyship fancies a dose, have it made up and give it to her; but if she would rather not, well it will be all the same in the end.

  1. In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
  2. As he did with the Ch‘in dynasty (206 b.c.), under which he had been Marquis of Tung-ling.
  3. Sc., rich food.
  4. A light touch of nature which seems to prove the kinship of the whole human family.
  5. Tung-fang So. See p. 75.
  6. See Music, p. 78.
  7. A famous usurper.
  8. The dynasty of the Mongols, established by Kublai Khan.
  9. At the frontier, between China and Tartary, the alleged object of which was to keep China supplied with a fine breed of Tartar horses. Ch‘ou Luan was a statesman and general in favour of the project, until complications arose and he was beaten by the Tartars in a pitched battle.
  10. Her husband was executed in 1556.
  11. “For every word we read,” says a commentator, “we shed a tear of blood.” It is at any rate satisfactory to know that the lady’s husband was released.
  12. The reader of Juvenal will no doubt be reminded of Satire III

    quid das, ut Cossum aliquando salutes?
    Ut te respiciat clauso Veiento labello?

  13. Juvenal, Satire III

    præstare tributa clientes
    Cogimur, et cultis augere peculia servis.

  14. Ibid.

    rides? majore cachinno
    Concutitur: flet, si lachrymas aspexit amici, etc.

  15. Cf. the well-known―si dixcris æstuo, sudat.
  16. Hsi Shih was a famous beauty who made herself even more lovely by contracting her brows.
  17. I.e., do my duty
  18. Cf.―
    O ye who patiently explore
    The wreck of Herculanean lore,
    What rapture could ye seize!―
    Some Theban fragment, or unroll
    One precious, tender-hearted scroll
    Of pure Simonides.

  19. She was afterwards killed by the rebels.
  20. His body, together with that of the Empress, was reverently encoffined by the Manchus.
  21. In order not to look at the patient.
  22. Chinese doctors recognize no fewer than twenty-four varieties of pulse, and always test both wrists.