A Feast of Lanterns, by L. Cranmer-Byng, , at sacred-texts.com
In Spring, "for sheer delight," sang Yuan Mei, "I set the lanterns swinging through the trees." This was no formal Feast of Lanterns held in the first month of the year, but his own private affair, the lonely ritual of a spring-worshipper and garden anchorite.
Perhaps those who loved him—and they were many—wandered his pleached alleys and maple groves and admired the lanterns with their red dragons that leaped and plunged in gold and silver seas; but I like to think that the guests were gone in long procession of gleaming boats when the old rose-master looked on his garden and found it whiter and fairer than the far-off moon. At once you guess the whole charm and weakness of Chinese poetry. Here is the narrow moon-garden of its range, its myriad dragons shoaling through unreal seas, its peonies with the souls of mandarins and chrysanthemums with the shadows of children. Yet this sense of limitation and unreality belongs only to the surface; within
this little space lies a vast world opened to us through symbols.