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Chinese Poetry

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A revelation to many who have not realised that the Chinese nation possesses a fine literature and a wealth of poetry of its own is a valuable little volume, A Feast of Lanterns (John Murray. 2s. net), which forms part of the Wisdom of the East series.The T’ang dynasty, 618 to 9t)5 A.D., is the golden age of Chinese poetry, to which period most of the great poets belonged. An exquisite short poem, entitled In Yung-yang,” is, of its kind, unsurpassed. The writer is Po Chii-I, one of the most famous poets of that period, and the following lines express some of its tenderness I was a child in Yung-yang, A little child I waved farewell. After long years again1 1 dwell In world-forgotten Yung-yang. Yet I recall my play-time. And in my dreams I see The little ghosts of May-time Waving farewell to me. Mr. I.. Cranmer-Byng, who has rendered this and other poems into English, must be himself a poet to have achieved such success. His introduction to the volume is a most interesting and valuable essay. “The great storehouse of Chinese poetry,” he writes, is still untouched. Forty-eight thousand nine hundred, are the collected poems of the T’ang dynasty alone, and of these possibly some three or four hundred have been translated into various European languages. It is to be hoped that Mr. Cranmer-Byng will perform another service to literature by turning some more of these poems into our tongue.LITERATURE Some Books of the Day.


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Issue 895. - Vol 68

Mar, 17 1917

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