[a.d. 835]Water’s colour at-dusk still white;
Sunsets glow in-the-dark gradually nil.
Windy lotus shakes [like] broken fan;
Wave-moon stirs [like] string [of] jewels.
Crickets chirping answer one another;
Mandarin-ducks sleep, not alone.
Little servant repeatedly announces night;
Returning steps still hesitate.
LAZY MAN’S SONG
I have got patronage, but am too lazy to use it;
I have got land, but am too lazy to farm it.
My house leaks; I am too lazy to mend it.
My clothes are torn; I am too lazy to darn them.
I have got wine, but am too lazy to drink;
So it’s just the same as if my cellar were empty.
I have got a harp, but am too lazy to play;
So it’s just the same as if it had no strings.
My wife tells me there is no more bread in the house;
I want to bake, but am too lazy to grind.
My friends and relatives write me long letters;
I should like to read them, but they’re such a bother to open.
Passed his whole life in absolute idleness.
But he played the harp and sometimes transmuted metals, So even he was not so lazy as I.
Translations by Arthur Waley
- A HUNDRED AND SEVENTY CHINESE POEMS
- MORE TRANSLATIONS FROM THE CHINESE
The Project Gutenberg eBook of More Translations from the Chinese, by Arthur Waley.