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LIU, Chi


The convent of Siang-Fu


So I sprang to horse at cockcrow all a fever to depart,

Galloped, galloped to the convent, ere the calling bells were still,

Over dimpled lawns a zephyr woke the lily's jewelled heart,

And the moon's faint crescent faltered down the cleft of wooded hill.


Oh the lonely little convent with its secret haunts of prayer!

With its shadowed cells for dreaming, where eternities abide.

Down the cedar-scented alley not a footfall stirred the air,

But the monks' low droning echoed in the green gloom far and wide.


Night, Sorrow, and Song


The rain's in the air

And the winds arouse,

Shaking the cinnamon boughs,

And the begonias' gay parterre;

Raising dust and wreathing mist,

Whirling all things where they list—

Leaves in many-coloured showers,

Bright petals of innumerable flowers.

Knocking at all doors their hustling

Sets the silken curtains rustling,

Till, as shrunken draughts, they creep

Into the shrouded halls of sleep,

Raise the hair and ruck the skin

Of the startled folk therein.


I am grown weary of my lonely state,

Tired of the tongueless hours that wait,

Dreaming of her whom skies of blue

And twilight æons hid from view.

Swiftly the waters take their flight

Grandly the mountains rise,

Yon birds that taper to the skies

Why have they lost their plumage bright?

Would they might bear my messages of love!

Alas! the trackless heav’ns unroll above;

From west to east the river flows,

But the waves return not to my calling;

Once more the rare magnolia blows,

But hour by hour her flowers are falling.

My jasper lyre is laid apart,

Hushed for a while the lute of jade;

I hear the beating of my heart,

And watch the moon lean down the glade.


Then, ere the shadows wane,

Out of the night's unrest

Ballad and old refrain

Lure me to seek again

The dream-built Isles of the Blest.