Excerpt from “Rhapsody of the Two Capitals (Liangdu Fu)” by Ban Gu

[This passage describes a part of the imperial hunt in the great Shanglin Park outside Chang’an during Former Han.]

And then the Sharpshooters and the Guards of the Gates,
Each with sharp swords and whistling arrows,
Running from their vantage points and hastening in pursuit.
Birds are frightened and fly into silk,
Beasts in their panic run upon spears.
No bolt from a cross-bow fires in vain,
No bowstring draws twice to the mark.
The arrows do not kill singly
But pierce and hit two at a time.
Confusion of movement, a medley of chaos,
Arrows with marker-strings crossing in flight.
A wind of feathers and a rain of blood
Poured on the ground and spread in the sky.
… Snaring lions and leopards,
Roping boars and dragons,
Dragging buffalo and oxen,
Beating down elephants and bear.
Leaping ravines and gullies,
Crossing cliffs and crags,
Striding hill-sides and mountains.
Great boulders overthrown,
Pines and cedars uprooted,
Woods and forests destroyed.
Nothing remains of the grass and the trees,
The birds and the animals have all been killed.

From: https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/html/1885/42048/rap.html

Date: 1st century (original); 2004 (translation)

By: Ban Gu (32-92)

Translated by: Rafe de Crespigny (1936- )

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