David Lewis Paget
The End Of The Ming - Poem by David Lewis Paget
Out in the hinterland the wild wolves call
While the soldiers shiver, strung along The Great Wall,
Their hands on their quivers, with their arrows, full flight
As they listen for the Manchu troops in the night.
They would beat off the peasants at the Shanhai Pass
As The Wall held firm, for the Ming's last gasp,
But the rebels beat the army of the last of the Ming,
In the city of the Emperor, the Old Beijing.
And they fired the city under Li Zicheng
While the Emperor despaired, he was called Chongzhen,
He threw a final feast for the House of the Ming,
And he called for his daughter, the Lady Chang Ping.
When the feast was over they awaited his word
But he slew each one with the point of his sword,
And his daughter too, bowed down to his will,
Then he fled the palace grounds, to Jingshan Hill.
And there with a rope on a myrtle tree
Chongzhen hung himself as high as could be,
While the leader of the peasants, this Li Zicheng,
Tried to found the Shun, as he buried Chongzhen.
But a General of the Ming, one Wu Sangui
He opened up the gates of The Wall one day,
And the Manchu troops streamed through to Beijing
Where they finished off the army, and Li Zicheng.
It was written in the stars, shining down on The Wall
That a dynasty rises as a dynasty falls,
But the soldiers on The Wall, now finished with the Ming,
Still keep a steady watch for the House of Qing.
For out in the hinterland the wild wolves call
And a soldier's duty is to guard The Great Wall,
For it little matters here about the Emperor's plan,
Just the wives and children of the soldiers of the Han!
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Shanhai - Shan-high,
Li Zicheng - Lee Zer Cheng,
Chongzhen - Chung Gen,
Wu Sangui - Oo Sang way
Qing - Ching)
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