Meng Haoran: Give As a Gift to Zhang Huai, Returning From the Capital

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Give As a Gift to Zhang Huai, Returning From the Capital

 

京 还 赠 张 淮
拂 衣 去 何 外?
高 枕 南 山 南。
欲 徇 五 斗 禄
其 如 七 不 堪。
早 朝 非 晚 起
束 带 异 抽 簪。
因 向 智 者 说
游 鱼 思 旧 潭。
Jing Huan Zeng Zhang Huai

Fu yi qu he wai ?
Gao zhen nen shan nan.
Yu xun wu dou lu
Qi ru qi bu kan.

Zao zhao fei wan qi
Shu dai yi chou zan.
Yin xiang zhi zhe shuo
You yu si jiu tan.

 

Give As a Gift to Zhang Huai, Returning From the Capital

Shake out my clothes, why did I leave and travel outside ?
Relax completely below the Southern Mountains.
At first I submitted to the official’s salary of five measures of rice
But after being there, too many things were unbearable.

Early dawn one had to get up early
Fasten the belt and place a hairpin to please the court.
Partial to following the doctrines of wise people
Swimming fish think of old deep ponds.

 

Notes:

Southern Mountains: Range of mountains located near and to the south of the capital city of Chang’an (Xi’an).

 

Commentary:

Meng spent so much time and energy trying to obtain a government position, then when he found out what that entailed, he was glad he never got one.  Be careful what you wish for?

That last line is timeless.

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