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(Untitled) Libretto

How many wise men and heroes
Have survived the dust and dirt of the world?
How many beautiful women have been heroines?
There were the noble and famous women generals
Ch'in Liang-yu and Shen Yu-yin.
Though tears stained their dresses
Their hearts were full of blood.
The wild strokes of their swords
Whistled like dragons and sobbed with pain. 
The perfume of freedom burns my mind
With grief for my country.
When will we ever be cleansed?
Comrades, I say to you,
Spare no effort, struggle unceasingly,
That at last peace may come to our people.
And jewelled dresses and deformed feet
Will be abandoned.
And one day, all under heaven
Will see beautiful free women,
Blooming like fields of flowers,
And bearing brilliant and noble human beings. 

~ Ch'iu Chin ~

                     -translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung


Ch'iu Chin (1879-1907) joined Sun Yat-sen's revolutionary party, founded a women's newspaper, and wrote poems which finally contributed to her execution by the tottering Manchu dynasty in 1907. 



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