The Wisdom of Confucius

Page 44 of 49



Who dares to say your sheep are few?
The flocks are all three hundred strong.
Who dares despise your cattle too?
There ninety, black-lipped, press along.
Though horned the sheep, yet peaceful each appears;
The cattle come with moist and flapping ears.
[Pg 209] These climb the heights, those drink the pool;
Some lie at rest, while others roam.
With rain-coats, and thin splint hats cool,
And bearing food, your herdsmen come.
In thirties, ranged by hues, the creatures stand;
Fit victims they will yield at your command.
Your herdsmen twigs and fagots bring,
With prey of birds and beasts for food.
Your sheep, untouched by evil thing,
Approach, their health and vigor good.
The herdsman's waving hand they all behold,
And docile come, and pass into the fold.
Your herdsmen dream;—fish take the place
Of men; on banners falcons fly,
Displacing snakes and tortoises.
The augur tells his prophecy:—
"The first betoken plenteous years; the change
Of banners shows of homes a widening range."

[Pg 210]


The Decade of Seaou Min



A few fine lines, at random drawn,
Like the shell-pattern wrought in lawn
To hasty glance will seem.
My trivial faults base slander's slime
Distorted into foulest crime,
And men me worthless deem.
A few small points, pricked down on wood,
May be made out a picture good
Of the bright Southern Sieve.
Who planned, and helped those slanderers vile,
My name with base lies to defile?
Unpitied, here I grieve.
With babbling tongues you go about,
And only scheme how to make out
The lies you scatter round.
Here me—Be careful what you say;
People ere long your words will weigh,
And liars you'll be found.
[Pg 211] Clever you are with changeful schemes!
How else could all your evil dreams
And slanders work their way?
Men now believe you; by and by,
The truth found out, each vicious lie
Will ill for ill repay.
The proud rejoice; the sufferer weeps.
O azure Heaven, from out thy deeps
Why look in silence down?
Behold those proud men and rebuke;
With pity on the sufferers look,
And on the evil frown.
Those slanderers I would gladly take,
With all who help their schemes to make,
And to the tigers throw.
If wolves and tigers such should spare,
I'd hurl them 'midst the freezing air,
Where the keen north winds blow.
And should the North compassion feel
I'd fling them to great Heaven, to deal
On them its direst woe.
As on the sacred heights you dwell,
My place is in the willow dell,
One is the other near.
Before you, officers, I spread
These lines by me, poor eunuch, made.
Think not Mang-tsze severe.


[Pg 212]


In the fourth month summer shines;
In the sixth the heat declines.
Nature thus grants men relief;
Tyranny gives only grief.
Were not my forefathers men?
Can my suffering 'scape their ken?
In the cold of autumn days
Each plant shrivels and decays.
Nature then is hard and stern;
Living things sad lessons learn.
Friends dispersed, all order gone,
Place of refuge have I none.
Winter days are wild and fierce;
Rapid gusts each crevice pierce.
Such is my unhappy lot,
Unbefriended and forgot!
Others all can happy be;
I from misery ne'er am free.
On the mountains are fine trees;
Chestnuts, plum-trees, there one sees.
All the year their forms they show;
Stately more and more they grow.
Noble turned to ravening thief!
What the cause? This stirs my grief.
Waters from that spring appear
Sometimes foul, and sometimes clear,
Changing oft as falls the rain,
Or the sky grows bright again.
New misfortunes every day
Still befall me, misery's prey.
[Pg 213] Aid from mighty streams obtained,
Southern States are shaped and drained.
Thus the Keang and Han are thanked,
And as benefactors ranked.
Weary toil my vigor drains;
All unnoticed it remains!
Hawks and eagles mount the sky;
Sturgeons in deep waters lie.
Out of reach, they safely get,
Arrow fear not, nor the net.
Hiding-place for me there's none;
Here I stay, and make my moan.
Ferns upon the hills abound;
Ke and e in marshy ground.
Each can boast its proper place,
Where it grows for use or grace.
I can only sing the woe,
Which, ill-starred, I undergo.

Free Learning Resources