Poem – The Master Said

The Master said,
‘It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused.’
It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established.
‘It is from Music that the finish is received.’
The Master said,
‘The people may be made to follow a path of action,
but they may not be made to understand it.

Poem – The King Goes To War

The wild geese fly the bushy oaks around,
With clamor loud. Suh-suh their wings resound,
As for their feet poor resting-place is found.
The King’s affairs admit of no delay.
Our millet still unsown, we haste away.
No food is left our parents to supply;
When we are gone, on whom can they rely?
O azure Heaven, that shinest there afar,
When shall our homes receive us from the war?

The wild geese on the bushy jujube-trees
Attempt to settle and are ill at ease;–
Suh-suh their wings go flapping in the breeze.
The King’s affairs admit of no delay;
Our millet still unsown, we haste away.
How shall our parents their requirements get?
How in our absence shall their wants be met?
O azure Heaven, that shinest there afar,
When shall our homes receive us from the war?

The bushy mulberry-trees the geese in rows
Seek eager and to rest around them close–
With rustling loud, as disappointment grows.
The King’s affairs admit of no delay;
To plant our rice and maize we cannot stay.
How shall our parents find their wonted food?
When we are gone, who will to them be good?
O azure Heaven, that shinest there afar,
When shall our homes receive us from the war?

Poem – Lament For Three Brothers

They flit about, the yellow birds,
And rest upon the jujubes find.
Who buried were in duke Muh’s grave,
Alive to awful death consigned?

‘Mong brothers three, who met that fate,
‘Twas sad the first, Yen-seih to see.
He stood alone; a hundred men
Could show no other such as he.
When to the yawning grave he came,
Terror unnerved and shook his frame.

Why thus destroy our noblest men,
To thee we cry, O azure Heaven!
To save Yen-seih from death, we would
A hundred lives have freely given.

They flit about, the yellow birds,
And on the mulberry-trees rest find.
Who buried were in duke Muh’s grave,
Alive to awful death consigned?

‘Mong brothers three, who met that fate,
‘Twas sad the next, Chung-hang to see.
When on him pressed a hundred men,
A match for all of them was he.
When to the yawning grave he came,
Terror unnerved and shook his frame.

Why thus destroy our noblest men,
To thee we cry, O azure Heaven!
To save Chung-hang from death, we would
A hundred lives have freely given.

They flit about, the yellow birds,
And rest upon the thorn-trees find.
Who buried were in duke Muh’s grave,
Alive to awful death consigned?

‘Mong brothers three, who met that fate,
‘Twas sad the third, K’een-foo, to see.
A hundred men in desperate fight
Successfully withstand could he.
When to the yawning grave he came,
Terror unnerved and shook his frame.

Why thus destroy our noblest men,
To thee we cry, O azure Heaven!
To save K’een-foo from death, we would
A hundred lives have freely given.

Poem – The Generous Nephew

I escorted my uncle to Tsin,
Till the Wei we crossed on the way.
Then I gave as I left
For his carriage a gift
Four steeds, and each steed was a bay.

I escorted my uncle to Tsin,
And I thought of him much in my heart.
Pendent stones, and with them
Of fine jasper a gem,
I gave, and then saw him depart.

Poem – A Festal Ode

With sounds of happiness the deer
Browse on the celery of the meads.
A nobler feast is furnished here,
With guests renowned for noble deeds.
The lutes are struck; the organ blows,
Till all its tongues in movement heave.
Each basket loaded stands, and shows
The precious gifts the guests receive.
They love me and my mind will teach,
How duty’s highest aim to reach.

With sounds of happiness the deer
The southern-wood crop in the meads,
What noble guests surround me here,
Distinguished for their worthy deeds!
From them my people learn to fly
Whate’er is mean; to chiefs they give
A model and a pattern high;–
They show the life they ought to live.
Then fill their cups with spirits rare,
Till each the banquet’s joy shall share.

With sounds of happiness the deer
The salsola crop in the fields.
What noble guests surround me here!
Each lute for them its music yields.
Sound, sound the lutes, or great or small.
The joy harmonious to prolong;–

And with my spirits rich crown all
The cups to cheer the festive throng.
Let each retire with gladdened heart,
In his own sphere to play his part.

The Fruitfulness Of The Locust – Confucius

Ye locusts, winged tribes,

Gather in concord fine;

Well your descendants may

In numerous bright hosts shine!
Ye locusts, winged tribes,

Your wings in flight resound;

Well your descendants may

In endless lines be found!
Ye locusts, winged tribes,

Together cluster strong;

Well your descendants may

In swarms forever throng!

The Earl of Shaou’s work -Confucius

As the young millet, by the genial rain

Enriched, shoots up luxuriant and tall,

So, when we southward marched with toil and pain,

The Earl of Shaou cheered and inspired us all.
We pushed our barrows, and our burdens bore;

We drove our wagons, and our oxen led.

‘The work once done, our labor there is o’er,

And home we travel,’ to ourselves we said.
Close kept our footmen round the chariot track;

Our eager host in close battalions sped.

‘When once our work is done, then we go back,

Our labor over,’ to themselves they said.
Hard was the work we had at Seay to do,

But Shaou’s great earl the city soon upreared.

The host its service gave with ardor true;–

Such power in all the earl’s commands appeared!
We did on plains and low lands what was meet;

We cleared the springs and streams, the land to drain.

The Earl of Shaou announced his work complete,

And the King’s heart reposed, at rest again. 

The Drawbacks Of Poverty – Confucius

On the left of the way, a russet pear-tree

Stands there all alone–a fit image of me.

There is that princely man! O that he would come,

And in my poor dwelling with me be at home!

In the core of my heart do I love him, but say,

Whence shall I procure him the wants of the day?
At the bend in the way a russet pear-tree

Stands there all alone–a fit image of me.

There is that princely man! O that he would come,

And rambling with me be himself here at home!

In the core of my heart I love him, but say,

Whence shall I procure him the wants of the day? 

The Disappointed Lover – Confucius

Where grow the willows near the eastern gate,

And ‘neath their leafy shade we could recline,

She said at evening she would me await,

And brightly now I see the day-star shine!
Here where the willows near the eastern gate

Grow, and their dense leaves make a shady gloom,

She said at evening she would me await.

See now the morning star the sky illume! 

Anxiety Of A Young Lady To Get Married – Confucius

Ripe, the plums fall from the bough; 

Only seven-tenths left there now! 

Ye whose hearts on me are set, 

Now the time is fortunate! 
Ripe, the plums fall from the bough; 

Only three-tenths left there now! 

Ye who wish my love to gain, 

Will not now apply in vain! 
No more plums upon the bough! 

All are in my basket now! 

Ye who me with ardor seek, 

Need the word but freely speak!

Hospitality – Confucius

A few gourd leaves that waved about 

Cut down and boiled;–the feast how spare! 

But the good host his spirits takes, 

Pours out a cup, and proves them rare. 
A single rabbit on the mat, 

Or baked, or roast:–how small the feast! 

But the good host his spirits takes, 

And fills the cup of every guest. 
A single rabbit on the mat, 

Roasted or broiled:–how poor the meal! 

But the guests from the spirit vase 

Fill their host’s cup, and drink his weal. 
A single rabbit on the mat, 

Roasted or baked:–no feast we think! 

But from the spirit vase they take, 

Both host and guests, and joyous drink.

In Praise Of Some Lady – Confucius

There by his side in chariot rideth she, 

As lovely flower of the hibiscus tree, 

So fair her face; and when about they wheel, 

Her girdle gems of Ken themselves reveal. 

For beauty all the House of Keang have fame; 

Its eldest daughter–she beseems her name. 
There on the path, close by him, walketh she, 

Bright as the blossom of hibiscus tree, 

And fair her face; and when around they flit, 

Her girdle gems a tinkling sound emit. 

Among the Keang she has distinguished place, 

For virtuous fame renowned, and peerless grace.

A Wife Mourns For Her Husband – Confucius

The dolichos grows and covers the thorn, 

O’er the waste is the dragon-plant creeping. 

The man of my heart is away and I mourn– 

What home have I, lonely and weeping? 
Covering the jujubes the dolichos grows, 

The graves many dragon-plants cover; 

But where is the man on whose breast I’d repose? 

No home have I, having no lover! 
Fair to see was the pillow of horn, 

And fair the bed-chamber’s adorning; 

But the man of my heart is not here, and I mourn 

All alone, and wait for the morning. 
While the long days of summer pass over my head, 

And long winter nights leave their traces, 

I’m alone! Till a hundred of years shall have fled, 

And then I shall meet his embraces. 
Through the long winter nights I am burdened with fears, 

Through the long summer days I am lonely; 

But when time shall have counted its hundreds of years

I then shall be his–and his only!

Poem – A Young Soldier On Service – Confucius

To the top of that tree-clad hill I go, 

And towards my father I gaze, 

Till with my mind’s eye his form I espy, 

And my mind’s ear hears how he says:– 

‘Alas for my son on service abroad! 

He rests not from morning till eve. 

May he careful be and come back to me! 

While he is away, how I grieve!’ 
To the top of that barren hill I climb, 

And towards my mother I gaze, 

Till with my mind’s eye her form I espy, 

And my mind’s ear hears how she says:– 

‘Alas for my child on service abroad! 

He never in sleep shuts an eye. 

May he careful be, and come back to me! 

In the wild may his body not lie!’ 
Up the lofty ridge I, toiling, ascend, 

And towards my brother I gaze, 

Till with my mind’s eye his form I espy, 

And my mind’s ear hears how he says:– 

‘Alas! my young brother, serving abroad, 

All day with his comrades must roam. 

May he careful be, and come back to me, 

And die not away from his home.’

Poem – A Wife Mourns For Her Husband – Confucius 

The dolichos grows and covers the thorn, 

O’er the waste is the dragon-plant creeping. 

The man of my heart is away and I mourn– 

What home have I, lonely and weeping? 
Covering the jujubes the dolichos grows, 

The graves many dragon-plants cover; 

But where is the man on whose breast I’d repose? 

No home have I, having no lover! 
Fair to see was the pillow of horn, 

And fair the bed-chamber’s adorning; 

But the man of my heart is not here, and I mourn 

All alone, and wait for the morning. 
While the long days of summer pass over my head, 

And long winter nights leave their traces, 

I’m alone! Till a hundred of years shall have fled, 

And then I shall meet his embraces. 
Through the long winter nights I am burdened with fears, 

Through the long summer days I am lonely; 

But when time shall have counted its hundreds of years 

I then shall be his–and his only!

Poem – A Love Song – Confucius 

The moon comes forth, bright in the sky;

 A lovelier sight to draw my eye 

Is she, that lady fair. 

She round my heart has fixed love’s chain, 

But all my longings are in vain. 

‘Tis hard the grief to bear. 
The moon comes forth, a splendid sight; 

More winning far that lady bright, 

Object of my desire! 

Deep-seated is my anxious grief; 

In vain I seek to find relief; 

While glows the secret fire. 
The rising moon shines mild and fair; 

More bright is she, whose beauty rare 

My heart with longing fills. 

With eager wish I pine in vain; 

O for relief from constant pain, 

Which through my bosom thrills!

Poem – A Wife Bemoans Her Husband’s Absence – Confucius

So full am I of anxious thought,

 Though all the morn king-grass I’ve sought, 

To fill my arms I fail. 

Like wisp all-tangled is my hair! 

To wash it let me home repair. 

My lord soon may I hail! 
Though ‘mong the indigo I’ve wrought 

The morning long; through anxious thought 

My skirt’s filled but in part. 

Within five days he was to appear; 

The sixth has come and he’s not here. 

Oh! how this racks my heart! 
When here we dwelt in union sweet, 

If the hunt called his eager feet, 

His bow I cased for him. 

Or if to fish he went away, 

And would be absent all the day, 

His line I put in trim. 
What in his angling did he catch? 

Well worth the time it was to watch 

How bream and tench he took. 

Men thronged upon the banks and gazed; 

At bream and tench they looked amazed, 

The triumphs of his hook.