Page:A history of Chinese literature - Giles.djvu/159

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147
CH'ÊN TZŬ-ANG

meditated on these beforehand, but after having prepared a quantity of ink ready for use, he would drink himself tipsy and lie down with his face covered up. On waking he would seize his pen and write off verses, not a word in which needed to be changed; whence he acquired the sobriquet of Belly-Draft, meaning that his drafts, or rough copies, were all prepared inside. And he received so many presents of valuable silks for writing these odes, that it was said "he spun with his mind." These lines are from his pen:—

"Near these islands a palace
 was built by a prince,
But its music and song
 have departed long since;
The hill-mists of morning
 sweep down on the halls,
At night the red curtains
 lie furled on the walls.
The clouds o'er the water
 their shadows still cast,
Things change like the stars:
 how few autumns have passed
And yet where is that prince?
 where is he?—No reply,
Save the plash of the stream
 rolling ceaselessly by."


A still more famous contemporary of his was Ch'ên Tzŭ-ang (A.D. 656–698), who adopted somewhat sensational means of bringing himself to the notice of the public. He purchased a very expensive guitar which had been for a long time on sale, and then let it be known that on the following day he would perform upon it in public. This attracted a large crowd; but when Ch'ên arrived he informed his auditors that he had something in his pocket worth much more than the