Bai Juyi: Confucian Scholars Sadness: (Melancholy Travels)

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Confucian Scholars Sadness: (Melancholy Travels)

悲 哉 行
悲 哉 为 儒 者
力 学 不 知 疲。
读 书 眼 欲 暗
事 笔 手 生 胝。
十 上 方 一 第
成 名 常 苦 迟。
纵 有 宦 达 者
两 鬓 已 成 丝。
可 怜 少 壮 日
适 在 穷 贱 时。
丈 夫 老 且 病
焉 用 富 贵 为?
沉 沉 朱 门 宅
中 有 乳 臭 儿。
状 貌 如 妇 人
光 明 膏 梁 肌。
手 不 把 书 卷
身 不 擐 戌 衣。
二 十 袭 封 爵
门 承 勋 戚 资。
春 来 日 日 出
服 御 可 轻 肥。
朝 从 薄 徒 饮
暮 有 倡 楼 期。
平 封 还 酒 债
堆 金 选 蛾 眉。
声 色 狗 与 外
其 金 一 无 知。
Bei Zai Xing

Bei zai wei ru zhe
Li xue bu zhi pi.
Du shu yan yu an
Shi bi shou sheng zhi.

Shi shang fang yi di
Cheng ming chang ku chi.
Zong you huan da zhe
Liang bin yi cheng si.

Ke lian shao zhuang ri
Shi zai qiong jian shi.
Zhang fu lai qie bing
Yan yong fu gui wei?

Chen chen zhu men zhai
Zhong you ru xiu-chou er.
Zhuang mao ru fu ren
Guang ming gao liang ji.

Shou bu ba shu juan
Shen bu huan xu yi.
Er shi xi feng jue
Men cheng xun qi zi.

Chun lai ri ri chu
Fu yu ke qing fei.
Zhao cong bao tu yin
Mu you chang lou qi.

Ping feng huan jiu zhai
Dui jin xuan e mei.
Sheng se gou yu wai
Qi jin yi wu zhi.

 

Confucian Scholars Sadness: (Melancholy Travels)

Confucian scholars melancholy
Do not acknowledge their fatigue after studying so much.
Read so many books, their eyesight suffers
Writing brushes cause their hands to form calluses.

Successful candidates passed a battery of ten tests
Most suffer long before establishing a reputation in their later years.
Even fewer achieve near vertical official promotions
Hair of both temples have already turned to white silk.

Able to sympathize with the few who paid dearly for their achievements
Went through long periods of poverty.
Old and ill by the time they reach near the top
How can they use all the abundance and wealth?

Heavy and deep, mansion vermilion doors after doors
In the middle, children still nursing.
Men’s clothes and skin look like married women
Well fed with bright and light skin.

Their hands do not hold books or scrolls
A lifetime spent never wearing a soldier’s armor.
At the age of twenty they receive the money and title of nobility
Generations of living with inherited money.

Spring arrives, everyday they go outside
Wearing rich and fancy riding clothes.
After dawn, the social niceties exchanged over a drink
At sunset, buildings full of singer and dancers.

One sealed money box given to all of the entertainers and for wine debts
Stack of gold to select and bid on the delicate eyebrows.
Dogs and horses outside used to the sounds and colors
The rich party goers give them no notice.

 

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