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                   Wu-ti (157-87 B.C.)
      Translated by Arthur Waley (1889-1966)

                     The Autumn Wind

       By Wu-ti (157-87 B. C. ), sixth emperor of the Han dynasty.
He came to the throne when he was only sixteen. In this poem he re-
grets that he is obliged to go on an official journey, leaving his mistress
behind in the capital. He is seated in his state barge, surrounded by his

        Autumn wind rises: white clouds fly.
        Grass and trees wither: geese go south.
        Orchids all in bloom: chrysanthemums smell sweet.
        I think of my lovely lady: I never can forget.
        Floating-pagoda boat crosses Fen River.
        Across the mid-stream white waves rise;
        Flute and drum keep time to sound of rowers' song;
        Amidst revel and feasting, sad thoughts come;
        Youth's years how few! Age how sure!


Arthur Waley is widely considered to have been the most influential translator of classic Japanese and Chinese literature into English. His Translations from the Chinese was first published in 1919, and the above can be found in:
  • Waley, Arthur. Translations from the Chinese. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1941.