of as fine grain

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Senior Member
In one of Pound's translated poems in the Book of Songs, he wrote:

'Look ye here on the coves of the K’i:
green bamboo glitteringly!
Of as fine grain our prince appears
as the jasper plugs in his ears
ground bright as the stars in his cap of state;
his acumen in debate
splendid, steadfast in judgement-hall
he cannot fail us
nor fall.'

For the third line, is Pound comparing the prince to the fine grain? To a native speaker, will you feel this simile very awkward or you can totally understand and accept Pound's way to describe the prince's extraordinary and handsome look/appearance?

Thank you very much indeed.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Of as fine grain our prince appears /as the jasper plugs in his ears

    This seems to be a reference to the prince's skin.

    Grain = the grain in wood or other material: here it refers to the grain of the semi-precious stone, jasper.

    (Jasper does appear with veins of other material in it, but the reference here will be to the jasper without veins.) It is possible to polish jasper so that it is very smooth and shiny indeed because it has a very fine 'grain'.

    The plugs in his ears refers to circles of material that are inserted into the lobe of the ear: Picture of girl with jasper ear plugs:

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