The Girl of Mount Hua

In streets east, streets west, they expound the Buddhist canon,
clanging bells, sounding conches, till the din invades the palace;
“sin,” “blessing,” wildly inflated, give force to threats and deceptions;
throngs of listeners elbow and shove as though through duckweed seas.
Yellow-robed Taoist priests preach their sermons, too,
but beneath their lecturns, ranks grow thinner than stars in the flush of dawn.
The girl of Mount Hua, child of a Taoist home,
longed to expel the foreign faith, win men back to the Immortals;
she washed off her powder, wiped her face, put on cap and shawl.
With white throat, crimson cheeks, long eyebrows of gray,
she came at last to ascend the chair, unfolding the secrets of Truth.
For anyone else the Taoist halls would hardly have opened their doors;
I do not know who first whispered the word abroad,
but all at once the very earth rocked with the roar of thunder.
Buddhist temples were swept clean, no trace of a believer,
while elegant teams jammed the lanes and ladies' coaches piled up.
Taoist halls were packed with people, many sat outside;
for latecomers there was no room, no way to get within hearing.
Hairpins, bracelets, girdle stones were doffed, undone, snatched off,
till the heaped-up gold, the mounds of jade glinted and glowed in the sunlight.
Eminent eunuchs from the heavenly court came with a summons to audience;
ladies of the six palaces longed to see the Master's face.
The Jade Countenance nodded approval, granting her return;
dragon-drawn, mounting a crane, she came through blue-dark skies.
These youths of the great families—what do they know of the Tao,
milling about her a hundred deep, shifting from foot to foot?
Beyond cloud-barred windows, in misty towers, who knows what happens there
where kingfisher curtains hang tier on tier and golden screens are deep?
The immortal's ladder is hard to climb, your bonds with this world weighty;
vainly you call on the bluebird to deliver your passionate pleas!
Author of original: 
Han Yü
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