Page:A history of Chinese literature - Giles.djvu/27

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15
THE ODES

You seemed a guileless youth enough,
Offering for silk your woven stuff;[1]
But silk was not required by you;
I was the silk you had in view.
With you I crossed the ford, and while
We wandered on for many a mile
I said, 'I do not wish delay,
But friends must fix our wedding-day. . .
Oh, do not let my words give pain,
But with hke autumn come again.'

"And then I used to watch and wait
To see you passing through the gate;
And sometimes, when I watched in vain,
My tears would flow like falling rain;
But when I saw my darling boy,
I laughed and cried aloud for joy.
The fortune-tellers, you declared,
Had all pronounced us duly paired;
'Then bring a carriage,' I replied,
'And I'll away to be your bride.'

"The mulberry-leaf, not yet undone
By autumn chill, shines in the sun.
O tender dove, I would advise,
Beware the fruit that tempts thy eyes!
O maiden fair, not yet a spouse,
List lightly not to lovers' vows!
A man may do this wrong, and time
Will fling its shadow o'er his crime;
A woman who has lost her name
Is doomed to everlasting shame.

"The mulberry-tree upon the ground
Now sheds its yellow leaves around.
Three years have slipped away from me
Since first I shared your poverty;
And now again, alas the day!
Back through the ford I take my way.

  1. Supposed to have been stamped pieces of linen, used as a circulating medium before the invention of coins.