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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! "

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