The Mighty One

In this world there lives a Mighty One
Who dwells in the Middle Continent.
Though his mansion stretches ten thousand miles,
He is not content to remain in it a moment
But, saddened by the sordid press of the vulgar world,
Nimbly takes his way aloft and soars far away.
With crimson carriage flags interwoven with crystal rainbows,
He mounts upon the clouds and wanders on high;
He raises his long standard of yellow flame
Tipped with multicolored plumes of shimmering radiance,
Streaming with starry pennants
And banderoles of comets' tails.
Drifting with the wind, he threads his way;
With banners fluttering, he wanders aloft.
He snatches a shooting star for a flag
And sheathes his flagstaff in a broken rainbow.
A blaze of vermilion, dazzling the eyes,
He whirls before the gale and drifts upon the clouds.
His elephant-carved chariot is drawn by winged dragons,
With red serpents and green lizards writhing at their sides.
High and low they gallop,
Lifting their heads in lordly pride;
Lithely bending and rearing their backs,
They slither and curl their winding way.
Now they stretch their necks and peer about,
Raising their heads and pausing in passage;
Now with fearless and lofty assurance
They bolt forward in tumultuous flight
Onward they bound, twisting and turning,
Left side and right leaping in harmony,
Tumbling forward in dauntless array,
Prancing in unison.
Straining at the bridle and uttering strange cries,
They swoop down to tread the earth;
Springing upward in breathless flight,
They careen wildly across the sky.
Pressing forward, chasing after,
They swirl like sparks, they stream like lightning,
Plunging boldly into the mists
And fading out of sight among the clouds.
Thus the Mighty One crosses to the eastern limit and ascends to the end of the north,
Searching out other immortal spirits.
Together they wheel about and drive far to the right;
Slanting across the Valley of Leaping Springs, they turn again east.
He summons all the fairies of the Magic Garden
And a host of gods to ride behind him on the Star of Pure Light.
He orders the Emperors of the Five Directions to be his guides,
Beckons to his side the Great Single Star and the immortal Ling Yang.
On his left rides the deity Black Night, on his right, the Thunder Bearer,
While before and behind the gods Luli and Yuhuang attend him.
He has the War Earl Qiao as his footman, the genie Xianmen as his page,
And the physician Qibo to prepare his medicine cup.
The god of fire Zhurong goes in front to clear the road
And disperse the foul vapors before his coming.
His cortege boasts ten thousand carriages,
Their canopies woven of cloud, their flowered pennants flying,
He calls the god of the east Jumang to wait upon him,
Saying, “I would journey south to take my pleasure!”
He visits the sage Emperor Yao on Mount Chong
And Emperor Shun on the Mountain of Nine Peaks
In endless massive ranks his retinue advances;
Pressing upon each other, they gallop on their way,
Veering and jostling
Amidst a tangle of chariots,
Swooping onward in eternal procession
Like a mighty river rolling by;
Spurring forward in serried ranks,
A host of countless numbers advancing,
Fanning out across the heavens,
Their columns scattered and broken
Straight they ride into the din and clangor of the Thunder Hall
And swoop through the craggy confines of Devil Valley
They survey the eight directions and the four outer wastes,
Ford the Nine Rivers and pass over the Five Streams,
Traverse the Flaming Mountain and the River of Weak Waters,
Embark among the floating islets and cross the drifting sands;
They rest upon the Congling Ranges and idle by their waters,
While the goddess Nü Wa strikes the lute and the Lord of the River dances.
At times, when the sky grows dark and threatening,
They summon Pingyi, the messenger of the gods,
And send him to chastise the Wind Earl and punish the Rain Master.
They gaze west to the hazy contours of the Kunlun Mountains,
Then gallop off to the Mountain of the Three Pinnacles
They batter at the gates of Heaven, enter the palace of the Celestial Emperor,
And invite the goddess Jade Maiden to return in their chariots.
They roam the slopes of Langfeng and sit down to rest,
Like ravens that circle on high and come to roost again
They wander among the Dark Hills,
Winging their way in crooked flight
“Behold!” cries the Mighty One, “the Queen Mother of the West,
With her hair of silvery white
And her burden of hairpins, living in a cave!
Fortunately she has her three-legged crow to bring her food
Yet if she must live in this state forever,
Though it be for ten thousand ages, what joy can she find?”
Then he wheels his carriage about and departs from her abode,
Making his way across Mount Buzhou.
He stops to dine at the Hill of the Somber City;
He sucks up the midnight vapors of the northland
And feasts on golden morning mists;
He nibbles the blossoms of the herb of immortality
And savors the flowers of the Ruby Tree.
Then he rises and resumes his journey,
His chariot dancing wildly towards the heavens
He threads through the streams of lightning that pour from Heaven's portals
And traverses the drenching torrents of the Cloud Master
With his attendant carriages, he gallops the long road downward,
Racing through the mists and off into the distance
He presses beyond the borders of the narrow universe
And, with slackened pace, emerges beyond the bounds of the north.
He leaves his attendants behind at the Dark Pass
And rides ahead of them out of the Cold Gate of the North
Beneath him in the vastness, the earth has disappeared;
Above his head the heavens vanish in endless space
Gazing about, his eyes swim and grow sightless;
His ears are deafened and discern no sound.
Riding upon the Void, he mounts on high,
Above the world of men, companionless, to dwell alone.
Author of original: 
Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju
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