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Boundless, the great sea. 
Straight down, — no bottom: sideways, — no border. 
Of cloudy waves and misty billows down in the uttermost depths 
Men have fabled, in the midst there stand three sacred hills. 
On the hills, thick growing, — herbs that banish Death. 
Wings grow on those who eat them and they turn into heavenly "hsien." 
The Lord of Ch'in ' and Wu of Han ^ believed in these stories: 
And magic-workers year by year were sent to gather the herbs. 
The Blessed Islands, now and of old, what but an empty tale? 
The misty waters spread before them and they knew not where to seek. 

Boundless, the great sea. 
Dauntless, the mighty wind. 
Their eyes search but cannot see the shores of the Blessed Islands. 
They cannot find the Blessed Isles and yet they dare not return : 
Youths and maidens that began the quest grew grey on board the boat. 

* The " First Emperor," 259-210 B.C. 
» Wu Ti, 156-87 B.C. 

They found that the writings of Hsü Fu ^ were all boasts and lies: 
To the Lofty Principle and Great Unity in vain they raised their prayers. 

Do you not see 
The graves on the top of Black Horse Hill and the tombs at Mo-ling?' 
What is left but the sighing wind blowing in the tangled grasses? 

Yes, and what is more, 
The Dark and Primal Master of Sages in his five thousand words ' 

Never spoke of herbs, 
Never spoke of Immortal, 
Nor spoke of soaring in broad daylight up to the blue heaven.