Poems of Meng Jiao
Ru Prefecture, Lu Zhongcheng entertains our banquet at length with his ten-rhymed lyric poems
Ru waters without turbid waves.
Ru hills with wild, strange rocks.
A worthy of this prefecture, a fine man,
Comes with his abundance.
There are guests one knows but a moment,
Esteeming justice, comfortable with their place.
Their pure manner cleanses their surroundings.
Their elegant music suffuses a fine feast.
Fragrant wine, peace without clamor,
Golden vessels gleaming with purity.
Indulging oneself without harm or worry.
Just listening to him brings advantage.
Some poems break you like a tree branch.
Others shine like planets in a magic night.
Rich and poor are gathered all together.
Joy and sorrow swiftly turn and turn again.
Meeting him, I could not easily speak.
And saying goodbye has always been sad.
Please, Sir, stay your journey.
Such good chances rarely come again.
Two things strike me about this poem. One is that Lu Zhongcheng's poetry did not survive to our day. Perhaps it didn't even outlive the Tang. I think it delusional to believe that time somehow preserves only the best. It preserves what man preserves. And in most men, taste is questionable. Perhaps the finest rarely survives, for who would appreciate it?
Secondly, the title seems to clearly give the sense of "ten-rhymed lyric poems" and not "ten rhymed lyric poems." Actual word order is "lyric poems of ten rhymes." So was this rhyme-form a creation of Lu Zhongcheng? Or is this an element of lyric form which has escaped later analysis? (Or am I as ignorant as a swan?)