Tag Archives: moving

James Boswell

My revered friend walked down with me to the beach, where we embraced and parted with tenderness, and engaged to correspond by letters. I said, “I hope, Sir, you will not forget me in my absence.” Johnson. “Nay, Sir, it is more likely you should forget me, than that I should forget you.” As the vessel put out to sea, I kept my eyes upon him for a considerable time, while he remained rolling his majestic frame in his usual manner; at last I perceived him walk back into the town, and he disappeared.

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, London, 1791, vol. 1, p. 257

Donald Keene

Another pleasure at Harvard that year was the course on the poetry of Du Fu (Tu Fu), given by William Hung. In some ways, Hung’s scholarship was old-fashioned, but he not only was completely familiar with Du Fu’s poems but also had consulted English, German, and Japanese translations to discover what fresh insights had been provided by non-Chinese scholars. My most vivid memory of his teaching is of the time when he recited by heart one of Du Fu’s long poems. He recited the poem in the Fukien dialect, his own, which preserves the final consonants lost today in standard Chinese. As Hung recited, leaning back, tears filled his eyes.

Donald Keene, Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan, New York, 2008, p. 63