Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Book of Lu T’ang Chu
By Arthur Davison Ficke
 
IN the reign of the great Emperor Lu T’ang Chu
Wise men were ordered to inscribe in a book
All the great body of wisdom that men knew.
Today I turn the pages, and as I look
I cannot see anything very new or old,        5
And I wonder why it was worth the trouble, then,
Of days and nights and a thousand labors untold
Which the volume must have exacted from those wise men.
But still we write—and the Emperor now is blown
As grey dust over the limitless Asian plains.        10
Still we inscribe all that is humanly known,
Although no ruler honors us for our pains—
Recording a thousand wisdoms, all our own,
To celebrate our good and glorious reigns.
 
 
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