Page:A history of Chinese literature - Giles.djvu/162

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retired into seclusion and occupied himself with poetry and with the consolations of Buddhism, in which he was a firm believer. His lines on bidding adieu to Mêng Hao-jan, when the latter was seeking refuge on the mountains, are as follows:—

"Dismounted, o'er wine
we had said our last say;
Then I whisper, 'Dear friend,
tell me, whither away?'
'Alas!' he replied,
'I am sick of life's ills,
And I long for repose
on the slumbering hills.
But oh seek not to pierce
where my footsteps may stray:
The white clouds will soothe me
for ever and ay.'"

The accompanying "stop-short" by the same writer is generally thought to contain an effective surprise in the last line:—

"Beneath the bamboo grove, alone,
I seize my lute and sit and croon;
No ear to hear me, save mine own:
No eye to see me—save the moon."

Wang Wei has been accused of loose writing and incongruous pictures. A friendly critic defends him as follows:—"For instance, there is Wang Wei, who introduces bananas into a snow-storm. When, however, we come to examine such points by the light of scholarship, we see that his mind had merely passed into subjective relationship with the things described. Fools say he did not know heat from cold."

A skilled poet, and a wine-bibber and gambler to boot, was Ts'ui Hao, who graduated about A.D. 730.