Page:A history of Chinese literature - Giles.djvu/160

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148
CHINESE LITERATURE

guitar. Thereupon he dashed the instrument into a thousand pieces, and forthwith began handing round copies of his own writings. Here is a sample, directed against the Buddhist worship of idols, the "Prophet" representing any divinely-inspired teacher of the Confucian school:—

"On Self the Prophet never rests his eye,
 His to relieve the doom of humankind;
No fairy palaces beyond the sky,
 Rewards to come, are present to his mind.

And I have heard the faith by Buddha taught
 Lauded as pure and free from earthly taint;
Why then these carved and graven idols, fraught
 With gold and silver, gems, and jade, and paint?

The heavens that roof this earth, mountain and dale,
 All that is great and grand, shall pass away;
And if the art of gods may not prevail,
 Shall man's poor handiwork escape decay?

Fools that ye are! In this ignoble light
The true faith fades and passes out of sight."


As an official, Ch'ên Tzŭ-ang once gained great kudos by a truly Solomonic decision. A man, having slain the murderer of his father, was himself indicted for murder. Ch'ên Tzŭ-ang caused him to be put to death, but at the same time conferred an honorific distinction upon his village for having produced so filial a son.

Not much is known of Sung Chih-Wên (d. A.D. 710), at any rate to his good. On one occasion the Emperor was so delighted with some of his verses that he took off the Imperial robe and placed it on the poet's shoulders. This is one of his poems:—

"The dust of the morn
 had been laid by a shower,
And the trees by the bridge
 were all covered with flower,