The Fishermen's Song

PRIZE POEM, BY CHENG-CHENG

T'sing Dynasty

The sun is sinking in the west,
Bidding the fishermen think of rest.
'To-day,' they cry, 'no need to search,
The people rush to buy our perch;
Of shell-fish, too, we are bereft,
We've scarcely half a basket left!'
And at the piles of silver bright
They laugh, and shout, 'Good wine to-night!'
'We'll with the village wits combine
And drink our fill of "Luh-e" wine;
Then if we feel inclined to roam,
The fisher-boys shall lead us home.'
So off they go to the evening meal,
And 'Luh-e' wine is drunk with zeal;
And after draining every glass,
They doff the fishers' coat of grass,
And with wild shouts a net they seize
And rush out in the evening breeze,
Intent on catching the mirrored moon,
Bright in the sea as the sun at noon.
Tricked by the moon to their hearts' content,
Shoreward they move on music bent;
The pipes of Pan, and flutes, come out,
Wine and music have a fine bout;
Voices and instruments combined
Soon leave no discord undefined!
After the shouting and the din
Even fishermen had to turn in;
So spreading their sails in a sandy cave,
And soothed by the sound of the lapping wave,
Tired and languorous the reveller yields
To sleep, and dreams of Elysian fields!