156 CHINESE LITERATURE
"A tortoise I see
on a lotus-flower resting: A bird 'mid the reeds
and the rushes is nesting; A light skiff propelled
by some boatman' s fair daughter, Whose song dies away
o'er the fast-flowing water."
Another poet of the same epoch, of whom his country- men are also justly proud, is Tu Fu (A.D. 712-770). He failed to distinguish himself at the public examina- tions, at which verse-making counts so much, but had nevertheless such a high opinion of his own poetry that he prescribed it as a cure for malarial fever. He finally obtained a post at Court, which he was forced to vacate in the rebellion of 755. As he himself wrote in political allegory
" Full with the freshets of the spring the torrent rushes on;
After further vain attempts to make an official career, he took to a wandering life, was nearly drowned by an inundation, and was compelled to live for ten days on roots. Being rescued, he succumbed next day to the effects of eating roast-beef and drinking white wine to excess after so long a fast. These are some of his poems :
(i.) " The setting sun shines low upon my door
Ere dusk enwraps the river fringed with spring; Sweet perfumes rise from gardens by the shore,
And smoke, where crews their boats to anchor bring.
" Now twittering birds are roosting in the bower,
And flying insects fill the air around. . . . O wine, who gave to thee thy subtle power ?
A thousand cares in one small goblet drowned! "