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Chinese Poems

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The initiative of this little book was accidental. One day in the early part of last summer, feeling weary of translating commercial documents, I opened a volume of Chinese poetry that was lying on my desk and listlessly turned over the pages. As I was doing so my eye caught sight of the phrase, 'Red rain of peach flowers fell.' That would be refreshing, I said to myself, on such a day as this; and then I went on with my work again. But in the evening I returned to the book of Chinese poetry and made a free translation of the poem in which I had seen the metaphor quoted above. The translation seemed to me and some friends pleasantly readable; so in leisure hours I have translated some more poems and ballads, and these I now venture to publish in this volume, thinking that they may interest readers in other lands, and also call forth criticism that will be useful in preparing a larger volume which I, or some better qualified scholar, may publish hereafter; for it can hardly be said that the field of Chinese poetry has been widely explored by foreign students of the Chinese language.

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