Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Beautiful Hsi-Shih
By Witter Bynner and Kiang Kung-hu, trans.
 
From “Poems by Wang Wei”
From the Chinese

SINCE beauty is honored all over the empire,
How could Hsi-shih remain humbly at home?
At dawn washing clothes by a lake in Yueh;
At dusk in the Palace of Wu, a great lady!
Poor, no rarer than the others—        5
Exalted, everyone praising her rareness.
But above all honors, the honor was hers
Of blinding with passion an emperor’s reason.
Girls who had once washed silk beside her
Now were ordered away from her carriage….        10
Ask them, in her neighbors’ houses,
If by wrinkling their brows they can copy her beauty.
 
 
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