Friday, August 06, 2004

Wen Fu Part III

To obtain choice ideas in close observation of things in categories, and elect expressions that will fall in happy order,

All objects visible under the sun or moon will the poet bring into the light, all that can give out a sound hewill ring to test their resonance.

He makes barren twigs put forth luxuriant foliage as they sway, or by endless waves he traces to the remote fountainhead.

He may either work from the obscure to the obvious,
Or follow an easy course to what is hard to obtain.

By illuminating a tiger, the shapes of tame animals are illuminated, or frightens the surf-tossed guss with the vision of a dragon.

Sometimes with sure touches and smooth rhythm his ideas in utmost ease flow on. At other moments, they are beset my mountainous obstacles.

But not until the heart attains calm transparency does thought crystallise into such words as no man before fancied or pronounced.

Then, both heaven and earth find new embodiment in the shape desired, and all things become visible under the tip of his brush, which after parching anxiety and hesitations is saturated and sweeps forth in a moist wave.

When the substance of a composition, trunk of a tree, is by truth sustained, style aids it to branch into leafy boughs and bear fruit.

Indeed, feeling and expression should never fail to correspond, as each emotional change wears a new complexion on a sensitive face.

Thought that swells with joy bursts into laughter;
When grief is spoken, words reverberate with endless sighs,
No matter if the work be accomplished in one flash on the page, or is the result of the most deliberate brush.

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