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THE BEAUTIFUL XI SHI

by
Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire, 
How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home? -- 
Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake -- 
And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north: 
Lowly one day, no different from the others, 
The next day exalted, everyone praising her.
No more would her own hands powder her face Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.
And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked, Blinding him away from wisdom.
.
.
.
Girls who had once washed silk beside her Were kept at a distance from her chariot.
And none of the girls in her neighbours' houses By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.

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