Beauty's Fatal Snare

BY LI HAN-LIN

T'ang Dynasty

The ravens roost upon the towers of Su,
While revels reign within the Court of Wu;
The rustic Si-Shi with her peerless face,
Her slender form, her witching smile and grace.
Inflamed by wine, she now begins to sing
The songs of Wu to please the fatuous king;
And in the dance of Tsu she subtly blends
All rhythmic movements to her sensuous ends.
Si-Shi o'er Wu her spell has surely cast,
The King of Yüeh has snared his foe at last;
With wine, and song, and dance, the hours fly by:
The water-clock has dripped till almost dry.
Behind the hills appears the flush of dawn,
Beyond the river sinks the moon forlorn;
And now the sun climbs up the towers of Su;
What of the revellers in the Halls of Wu!