#1 Essay in English
Beauty often dwells in youth. At sight of a charming girl, everyone will exclaim, "My eyes! What a great beauty!" The male stare with a thrill of admiration; the female gaze with a sigh of envy. Wherever she goes, she becomes the focus of the attention. Men all yearn to win her heart; women all feel a regret unable to stand in her shoes. A glance or a smile from her makes the stingy empty his hoard of gold and the coward give up his life for her. She enjoys her queenly position in society, proud of the possession of such a beauty. But the merciless Time dogs her steps, too. Her beauty is worn out with the years. She begins to fade away and the hardship in life, if any would befall her, will bring more wrinkles on her face. Then men turn their backs on her politely with a bow; women look at her with indifference. The younger generation is magnetized round another focus. The old queen has to abdicate and leave the throne for a young one to occupy. Only a photo or portrait can preserve her beauty in youth and no Time is capable of doing any injury to her preserved beauty but the preserver itself.
Therefore, admire not the beauty without, but the beauty within. Such a beauty will never wither though Time also plots to do it harm. In the struggle against the adversities of life and the ruthlessness of Time, it grows radiant, or even dazzling, just like a rock in midstream made smooth and glossy by the current of both the stream and Time. Everyone, in spite of the age and sex, if aware of it, will sing its praise either openly in words and letters or secretly in mind. It lives as long as the possessor, or even much longer after her dust may be blended into a vase with the clay around it.
The outward beauty can only be the object of admiration or envy while the inward beauty, besides being a theme of the ode, can serve as an example to learn from, for the former is always endowed by birth, but the latter by self-acquirement. However, every man is free to hold his own notion of what the beauty is and to choose whichever of the two beauties he prefers. Only his love for his bride select should not degenerate with the shrunken beauty.