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The Beautiful Xi Shi

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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Poem The Beautiful Xi Shi - Wang Wei
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