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The Ho Jên Ssŭ; narrative. Some noble suffering from slander, and suspecting that the slanderer was an old friend, intimates the grounds of his suspicion, and laments his case, while he would welcome the restoration of their former relations.

1      I ask what man came here.
With treacherous schemes his mind o’erflows.
Why to my dam came he so close,
      Nor to the gate drew near?
Whom does he follow as his lord?
It must be Pao, I'll pledge my word.

2      Companions close are they.
Which was it caused me my disgrace?
Why shunned he at the dam my face,
      Nor kindly word would say? p. 261
Once were we bound with friendship's ties,
While now to stand aloof he tries.

3      I ask what man is he.
Inside my gate, before my hall,
He stood. I heard his footsteps’s fall,
      Though him I could not see.
Unblushingly he breaks man's law,
Nor yet of Heaven stands he in awe.

4      What man behaved so ill?
Wild as a hurricane his ways!
Or north, or south, he comes as sways
      The impulse of his will.
Why to my dam approached he so,
My mind is such distress to throw?

5      "Too slow!" is your appeal.
"Too slow,"—and yet you could not stop
"In haste," you say.—I saw you drop
      The reins, and grease your wheel. p. 262
If you would come to me but once!
Why keep me waiting, eyes askance?

6      Then upon your return
You came not. If you had done so,
My strong desire would no more glow;
      My heart would cease to burn.
O come but once! Vain your excuse!
Why to relieve me thus refuse?

7      Beads on one string we bung.
If you the earthen whistle blew,
I played the flute of pierced bamboo.
      If still you doubt my tongue,
Here are the creatures three, whose blood
Shall seal the oath I take as good!

8      Were you an imp of air,
Or water, you'd be out of reach.
But face to face we stand, and each
      Is to the other bare.
In this good song I've freely told
Your changeful ways, now hot, now cold.

Next: VI. Hsiang Pai