西施詠 The Beautiful Xi Shi

王維 Wang Wei

Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire,
yàn sè tiān xià zhòng ,
西
How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home? –
xī shī níng jiǔ wēi ?
Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake –
cháo wèi yuè xī nǚ ,
And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north:
mù zuò wú gōng fēi 。
Lowly one day, no different from the others,
jiàn rì qǐ shū zhòng ?
The next day exalted, everyone praising her.
guì lái fāng wù xī 。
No more would her own hands powder her face
yāo rén fù zhī fěn ,
Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.
bù zì zhe luó yī ,
And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked,
jūn chǒng yì jiāo tài ,
Blinding him away from wisdom.
jūn lián wú shì fēi 。
...Girls who had once washed silk beside her
dāng shí huàn shā bàn ,
Were kept at a distance from her chariot.
mò dé tóng chē guī 。
And none of the girls in her neighbours' houses
chí xiè lín jiā zi ,
By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.
xiào pín ān kě xī ?

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