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The Emperor's "dragon eye" glanced o'er the page, Till he'd read its contents, then he trembled with


"What! one of my subjects to dare to asperse

Her sovereign's own acts, and her sovereign curse!
Bring the culprit before me, this case I will try,
And decide, when I've heard it, what death she shall


On her and her kindred my vengeance I'll launch,— I'll exterminate all :-cut them up, root and branch!"

In a short time the girl to the palace was led,

And the crime she was charged with before her was


Mêng Chêng then knelt down in the great hall of


And the whole of her tale to the Emperor told.
As she told her sad story the "dragon eye" shone
With a lustre surpassing the gems on his throne;
He had ne'er before seen such a beautiful face-
So sylph-like a form—such symmetrical grace.
Then addressing the courtiers, who stood at each

"Her beauty would ruin a city," he cried;

"In truth she is lovely and wondrously fair!
And, if she is willing, I solemnly swear,

That she, by whom I but just now was accursed,
Shall, of all my imperial brides, rank the first!"

In a moment a plan in her mind she revolved:-
For the tyrant she never would wed she resolved,—
Concealing her feelings, she hastily cried,

66 Since your majesty wishes to make me your bride,
First grant me three things; their fulfilment ensures
My heart's dearest wish-after that, I am yours."
The Emperor felt very pleased and elate,

And bade the young girl at once fearlessly state These three things; she had only to say what they


"Twould gratify him, could he gratify her.

The maiden, emboldened, arose from her knees,
And exclaimed, "The three things that I wish for

are these

First build me a bridge over which I may ride,
From hence to the Wall, ten li long, ten li wide;
Next build for my husband a tomb ten li square;
And lastly your highness must sacrifice there,

In mourning robes clad; thus my mind will be eased

And, buried with honour, his manes appeased,

If your majesty grant these three things you will


My life-long devotion and love in return.

The Emperor smiled, and his breast glowed with pride;

"Your wishes," cried he, "shall be soon gratified

Such trifles as these, they are nothing at all;

What is building a tomb, or a bridge, to the Wall?" The imperial mandate soon spread far and wide,

And workmen assembled from every side;

They worked with such diligence, history says,

That the bridge and the tomb were complete in three days.

This diligence made the imperial heart glad,
And he instantly ordered the court to be clad
In white mourning robes; and he next orders gave
To march in procession to Wan-hsi-liang's grave;
He, placing himself, with Mếng Cheng, at its head,
In a chariot of gold forth the long cortége led,
When they came to the tomb, the Emperor bade
Them all kneel, while himself the due sacrifice made.
All obeyed his commands; next the Emperor flung
Himself on his knees by the side of Mêng Chêng.

While prostrated thus, the Emperor thought,
""Tis her beautiful face all this magic has wrought;
She is fair, but till now it has never been said,

In history either I never have read,
Of a monarch's e'er paying so heavy a price
As I have for Mêng Chêng in this sacrifice,
I, an Emperor, worship the ghost of a slave,
And pour an oblation of wine on his grave!"

All present in silence the spirit adored;
The monarch then rose and an offering poured

On the grave-three full cups of imperial wine;
This done, "Now," thought he, "the fair Mêng Cheng
is mine.

"Her grace, on my reign will increased lustre shed."
On reaching the bridge, when returning, he said,
"Fair maiden, my promise at length is fulfilled,
I now await yours; and to-night I have willed,
In the palace our nuptials shall be solemnized
With due pomp and show. I've already apprised
My ladies and eunuchs, and bade them prepare
Apartments befitting my queen of the fair."

"What!” cried the girl, 'think you that I Could ever with a tyrant wed?

Think you that rank and power could buy

My love from him who now lies dead?
By your harsh orders torn from me,
Slain by your cursed tyranny.

"No! I but fooled you to obtain
A worthy burial for him!

You thought by that my love to gain,
And gratify your latest whim.
Stuffed with conceit you dared presume
To think of conquest at his tomb!

"Your rank and wealth I utterly despise!

Your presence fills my heart with fear and dread!
Your face and form are hateful to my eyes!

I loathe the very ground on which you tread!

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