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CAO, Xueqin


The cunning waste their pains;

The wise men vex their brains;

But the simpleton, who seeks no gains,

With belly full, he wanders free



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If with the water’s rosy hue comparison be made,

Carmine tears and dewy flowers seem of the self-same shade.

Yet lady’s tears and flowers in this unalike I find,

That the flowers are still and smiling, but the tears flow unallayed.

As she gazes on the smiling flowers, her tears at last grow dry;

But as they dry, the springtime ends and the flowers fade.

The flowers fade, and an equal blight the lady’s fair cheek palls.

The petals drift; she is weary; and soon the darkness falls.

A nightingale is singing a dirge for the death of spring,

And moonlight steals through the casement and dapples the silent walls.