The lamplight shines on my sleeplessness,
My mind clear, I smell the splendid incense.
Deep in the night, the hall rears up high,
The wind stirs, and gold is heard to clank.
The black sky masks the springtime court,
To the pure earth clings a hidden fragrance.
The Jade Rope wheels round and is cut,
The iron phoenix seems about to soar.
Sanskrit sometimes flows out from the temple,
The lingering bells still thunder round my bed.
Tomorrow morning in the fertile field,
I'll bitterly behold the yellow dirt.
- Du Fu, In Abbot Zan's Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (3)
Medieval technology could raise marvels of architecture 200 feet in the air, it could conceive the mechanics of a loom capable of weaving patterned cloth, and of a gearshaft capable of harnessing the insubstantial air to turn a heavy millstone, but it failed to conceive the fore-and-aft rig and swinging boom capable of adapting sails to the direction of the wind. By such accident of the human mind, war, trade, and history are shaped.
- Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century