The Wisdom of Confucius

Page 45 of 49



Gently and soft the east wind blows,
And then there falls the pelting rain.
When anxious fears pressed round you close,
Then linked together were we twain.
Now happy, and your mind at rest,
You turn and cast me from your breast.
Gently and soft the east wind blows,
And then there comes the whirlwind wild.
When anxious fears pressed round you close,
Your bosom held me as a child.
[Pg 214] Now happy, and in peaceful state,
You throw me off and quite forget.
Gently and soft the east wind blows,
Then round the rocky height it storms.
Each plant its leaves all dying shows;
The trees display their withered forms.
My virtues great forgotten all,
You keep in mind my faults, though small.

[Pg 215]


The Decade of Pih Shan



Various the toils which fields so large demand!
We choose the seed; we take our tools in hand.
In winter for our work we thus prepare;
Then in the spring, bearing the sharpened 'share,
We to the acres go that south incline,
And to the earth the different seeds consign.
Soon, straight and large, upward each plant aspires;—
All happens as our noble lord desires.
The plants will ear; within their sheath confined,
The grains will harden, and be good in kind.
Nor darnel these, nor wolf's-tail grass infests;
From core and leaf we pick the insect pests,
And pick we those that eat the joints and roots:—
So do we guard from harm the growing fruits.
May the great Spirit, whom each farmer names,
Those insects take, and cast them to the flames!
The clouds o'erspread the sky in masses dense,
And gentle rain down to the earth dispense.
First may the public fields the blessing get,
And then with it our private fields we wet!
Patches of unripe grain the reaper leaves;
And here and there ungathered are the sheaves.
[Pg 216] Handfuls besides we drop upon the ground,
And ears untouched in numbers lie around;—
These by the poor and widows shall be found.
When wives and children to the toilers come,
Bringing provisions from each separate home,
Our lord of long descent shall oft appear;
The Inspector also, glad the men to cheer.
They too shall thank the Spirits of the air,
With sacrifices pure for all their care;
Now red, now black, the victims that they slay,
As North or South the sacrifice they pay;
While millet bright the altars always show;—
And we shall thus still greater blessings know.



O Heaven above, before whose light
Revealed is every deed and thought,
To thee I cry.
Hither on toilsome service brought,
In this wild K‘ew I watch time's flight,
And sadly sigh.
The second month had just begun,
When from the east we took our way.
Through summer hot
We passed, and many a wintry day.
Summer again its course has run.
O bitter lot!
There are my compeers, gay at court,
While here the tears my face begrime.
I'd fain return—
But there is that dread net for crime!
The fear of it the wish cuts short.
In vain I burn!
[Pg 217] Ere we the royal city left,
The sun and moon renewed the year.
We marched in hope.
Now to its close this year is near.
Return deferred, of hope bereft,
All mourn and mope.
My lonesome state haunts aye my breast,
While duties grow, and cares increase,
Too hard to bear.
Toils that oppress me never cease;
Not for a moment dare I rest,
Nigh to despair.
I think with fond regard of those,
Who in their posts at court remain,
My friends of old.
Fain would I be with them again,
But fierce reproof return would cause.
This post I hold.
When for the West I left my home,
The sun and moon both mildly shone,
Our hearts to cheer.
We'd soon be back, our service done!
Alas! affairs more urgent come,
And fix us here.
The year is hastening to expire.
We gather now the southern-wood,
The beans we reap;—
That for its fragrance, these for food.
Such things that constant care require
Me anxious keep.
Thinking of friends still at their posts,
I rise and pass the night outside,
So vexed my mind.
[Pg 218] But soon what changes may betide?
I here will stay, whate'er it costs,
And be resigned.
My honored friends, O do not deem
Your rest which seems secure from ill
Will ever last!
Your duties quietly fulfil,
And hold the upright in esteem,
With friendship fast.
So shall the Spirits hear your cry,
You virtuous make, and good supply,
In measure vast.
My honored friends, O do not deem
Repose that seems secure from ill
Will lasting prove.
Your duties quietly fulfil,
And hold the upright in esteem,
With earnest love.
So shall the Spirits hear your prayer,
And on you happiness confer,
Your hopes above.

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