Song Of The Jade Cup


A jade cup was broken because old age came
too soon to give fulfilment to hopes; after drinking
three cups of wine I wiped my sword and
started to dance under an autumn moon first
singing in a high voice then unable to halt
tears coming; I remember the day when first
I was summoned to court and I was feasted splendidly
writing poems in praise of the Emperor, making
jokes with officials around several times changing
my horse, taking the best from the
imperial stables; with my whip studded with
jade and coral presented to me by the Emperor,
my life was free and easy, people calling me
the "Banished Immortal." Hsi Shih was good
at smiling as well as frowning, useless
for ordinary girls to try and imitate her.
Surely it was only her loveliness the king adored,
but unfortunately jealousy within the palace
led to her death.


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