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Poem by Richard Henry Stoddard

The Serenade of Ma-Han-Shan


COME to the window now, beautiful Yu Ying!
The new moon is rising, white as the shell of a pearl.
Your honored father and brother
And the guests are still at table,
Tipping the golden bottles,
But I have stolen to you!
The rose looks over the wall
To see who passes near:
Look out of the window, you,
And see who waits below.
I am a Mandarin: my plume is a pheasant's feather:
The lady who marries me may live at court, if she likes.

I stood by the pond to-day; hundreds of lilies bloomed,
And the wonderful keung-flower grew in the midst of all.
Whenever that marvel happens
A wedding is sure to follow;
It rests with you, Yu Ying,
Speak--is the wedding ours?
We will dwell in Keang-Nan,
For I have a palace there;
My garden is leagues in length,
Deer run wild in the parks:
Cages of loories, macaws; lakes of Mandarin ducks:
A lane bordered with peach-trees--all for sweet Yu Ying.

What means this wonderful light? Is it a second moon?
Yu Ying at her window! A million of thanks, Yu Ying!
Drop me your fan for a gift,
Or better a tress of your hair:
It is but little to give,
For I have given my heart!
The fire-flies twinkle, twinkle,
Under the cypress boughs:
They are wedding each other to-night,
The lights are their wedding lanterns.
When shall I order ours, and come in the flowery chair?
Name me the pearl of a day, my bride, my wife--Yu Ying!

Richard Henry Stoddard

Richard Henry Stoddard's other poems:
  1. The Sledge at the Gate
  2. The Divan
  3. Uncertain Sounds
  4. How are Songs Begot and Bred?
  5. Silent Songs

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