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Eulogy to My Friend Man-qing

Ou-yang, Xiou (1007-1072 CE)

   On a certain day in July, 1067, I, a government official, sent my secretary, Yang Li, to Tai-qing District with clear wine and several delicacies as an offering to honor my late friend Man-qing at his tomb. I also wrote a eulogy for him:

   "Well, Man-qing, when you were alive, you accomplished great literary works. After you died, you must have become an angel. Although your earthly shape, like everything else, had to go through the life and death process, and then return to nothing, your great accomplishments in literature will not disappear with everything else. In fact, they are so outstanding that they will make your reputation last forever. This has been true for all the great men since ancient times. Their great accomplishments are recorded in history books and shine like the sun and stars.

   "Well, Man-qing, I have not seen you for a long time. Your face still emerges in my mind. You were tall and handsome. Your manners were outstanding. After you were buried in the ground, your body should not have disintegrated into soil. Instead, it should have become the purest gold or jade. Or it should have produced a thousand foot tall pine tree or a heavenly mushroom with nine stems, a sign of luck. However, around your tomb are a wilderness fog, wild vines, and scattered briers. In sad wind and among dewy leaves, phosphorescent lights are blinking and lightning bugs are flying. One can only see crooning shepherds and lumberjacks coming and going, and the scared birds and animals that cower and cry. It is so now. After thousands of years, can one be certain that this place won't become a den of foxes or skunks? This has been true for every great man since ancient times. Can't you see the wildernesses and wastelands one after another?

   "Well, Man-qing! Although I fully understand the cruel reality of death, I still miss our past friendship and feel upset and lonesome. Facing wind, I cannot help but cry. I wish I could behave like ancient wise men who can treat their emotions lightly. Please help yourself to my gifts!"