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Chapter Seven The Southern Garden, Republican Period It happened only recently, and you heard it yourself. Rome, the mistress of the world, shivered, crushed with fear, at the sound of the blaring trumpets and the howling of the Goths. Where, then, was the nobility? Where were the certain and distinct ranks of dignity? Everyone was mingled together and shaken with fear; every household had its grief and an all-pervading terror gripped us. Slave and noble were one. The same spectre of death stalked before us all. —Pelagius, “Epistula ad Demetriadem”1 Refuge for a Refugee: Qiu Fengjia in the Southern Garden One occasional member of the Southern Garden coterie of Liang Dingfen was Qiu Fengjia 丘逢甲 (1864–1912), the Hakka refugee patriot, educator, and reformer from Taiwan. He is included in this chapter to serve as a transitional figure between the late Qing and early Republican times. Qiu was born in Zhanghua, Taiwan, scion of an old and distinguished Chinese family that had emigrated from Guangdong in the middle of the 17th century. He studied under the famous scholar Wu Ziguang 吳子光 (juren 1864), whose capacious personal library provided the foundation for Qiu’s erudition. By age 20, Qiu had earned the reputation of being a fine poet. In 1887 Qiu became a student at the Haidong Academy 海東書院, having been personally selected by the official Tang Jingsong 唐景菘 (jinshi 1865). Qiu obtained his jinshi degree in 1889; in 1891 he followed Tang to Taipei and participated in Tang’s Peony Poetry Society 牡丹詩社. When Formosa was ceded to Japan in 1895, Qiu and other petitioners were denied permission from Beijing to resist the Japanese takeover; Qiu thereupon joined Tang, who was president of the newly formed independent Republic of Formosa, as Tang’s vice-president. Fleeing Taiwan in late 1895 after resistance against the invading Japanese troops proved futile, Qiu moved about in various places in Guangdong. He ultimately settled in Guangzhou and actively participated in local educational institutions organized along western lines. His contributions in Guangdong were characterized by one author as being motivated by the “thought of patriotic education.”2 In 1909 he was elected a member of the provincial assembly. Later, he was made head of the education department of the newly established government of independent Guangdong, and he went to Nanjing as one of the delegates representing Guangdong. He was appointed a member of the Administrative Committee of the Chinese Republic but returned home because of illness and died shortly after in 1912.3 Several critics considered Qiu the leading Cantonese poet of his times, or at least the leading poet in Yue since ethnically he was Hakka, not Cantonese. Wu Daorong praised him for being skilled at depicting hills and streams 善狀山水, an important component of the Southern Muse; and Qu Xiangbang grouped him with Kang Youwei and Huang Zunxian 黃遵 憲 (1848–1905) as one of the three best contemporary Cantonese poets.4 What makes his poetry especially interesting is that he wrote from dual perspectives: as a refugee political outsider from Taiwan and as a resident poet at home in the local culture. As a part-time participant in Liang Dingfen’s revived poetry club, Qiu wrote occasional verse while attending soirees in the garden. Among his collected poems are ten devoted to the Southern Garden Poetry Society. Two of these, “Mountain Monastery” 山寺 and “Jotting Down My Longings While Traveling at Night” 旅夜書感, read as perfunctory exercises upon assigned rhymes, reflecting merely the social side of his literary talents. To an outsider at least, they have nothing to do with Southern Garden scenery.5 But one poem, again written on an assigned rhyme, does focus on a concrete aspect of the site: a miniature mound erected in the garden. It sounds rather tongue in cheek, commencing as it does with Su Shi’s masterful opening line on Mt. Lu, against which the man-made hillock compares poorly, but it ends ominously. 144 The Southern Garden Poetry Society “Rhyming by Turn on the Miniature Mountain in the Southern Garden, Encountering Rain” 次韻南園小山預雨 6 橫看成嶺側成峰 Looked at directly it forms a ridge, from the side a peak: 怪石參差地足容 Strange stones in irregular rows—worth having on site. 正喜園林饒氣象 Delighted that the garden is rich in poetic atmosphere, 忽驚雷雨起蛟龍 I start at the thunder and rain pouring down.7 半池新水花初落 Fresh water halfway fills the pond, flowers newly fallen, 舊壁殘題蘇未封 Faint inscriptions on the ruined wall, not yet overgrown. 歸去更欣逢夕霽 I return, enjoying even more the post-rain evening, 東南回首海雲濃 But turning back towards the southeast, the clouds over the sea are...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9789629969172
Related ISBN
9789629964672
MARC Record
OCLC
867741975
Pages
200
Launched on MUSE
2013-12-09
Language
English
Open Access
No
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