The Great Shun once said, “Poetry bespeaks the emotion.” As Ezra Pound puts it, “Poetry is a verbal statement of emotional values; a poem is an emotional value verbally stated.” From the earliest anonymous composer to Mao Tse-tung, we observe in the outpourings of the poet's heart his innermost feelings and the shape of things in the offing. In the Ch'un-ch'iu period (722–484 B.C.) poetry was not only composed to voice the poet's emotion, but also quoted to the accompaniment of music on diplomatic missions to exchange views between states without causing affront or embarrassment, a fact which underlies the “moderation and magnanimity” characteristic of Chinese poetical tradition.

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