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PO, Chu I

My Servant Wakes Me

My servant wakes me : " Master, it is broad day.

Rise from bed; I bring you bowl and comb.

Winter comes and the morning air is chill;

To-day your Honour must not venture abroad."

When I stay at home, no one comes to call;

What must I do with the long, idle hours?

Setting my chair where a faint sunshine falls

I have warmed wine and opened my poetry books.


Keep off your thoughts from things that are past and done;

For thinking of the past wakes regret and pain.

Keep off your thoughts from thinking what will happen;

To think of the future fills one with dismay.

Better by day to sit like a sack in your chair;

Better by night to lie like a stone in your bed.

When food comes, then open your mouth;

When sleep comes, then close your eyes.

Houd je gedachte af van gedane dingen,

Denken aan 't verleden geeft verdriet en leed.

Houd je gedachte af van komend gebeuren,

Denken aan de toekomst geeft onrust en zorg.

Zit overdag als een zak in je stoel.

Lig des nachts als een steen in je bed.

Open je mond om voedsel te nemen.

Als je slaperig wordt, doe dan je ogen dicht

Vertaling : J. SLAUERHOFF