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KUNG, Fu Tzu (Confucius)

The Disappointed Lover

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!

Epitaph for a Warrior

From under the snow the anemones bloom.

With all his heart the child plays. And weeps for it.

To us, who live on the break of the eart's fountain,

Sunrise and sunset are one.

Once more, as always, the river gushes from cliffs,

And, again, the moon courts the women.

Automn will roll forever his golden gourd,

And forever crickets chirp in the grasses.

Once many firmly drove their horses on the rein.

The glory of a thousand massacres fades.

What remains of heroism? A decaying mound,

On which grow the weeds, red as fire.

Grafschrift voor een krijger

Weer bloeien uit de sneeuw de anemonen,

Met zijn handjes speelt een kind. Een vrouw die weent.

Voor hen die aan de verste rand der aarde wonen

Zijn zonsopgang en –nedergang slechts één.

Doch altijd weder stort dezelfde bergstroom neder.

En altijd weder worden vrouwen door de maan behekst.

De herfst zal eeuwig aan zijn goudpompoenen telen,

En immer sjirpt in ‘t gras de Krekel, schril en scherp.

Zeer velen voerden vast hun paarden bij de teugel.

De roem van alle oorlogstochten is verwaaid.

Wat rest van heldendom? Een groene dodenheuvel

Die van geel onkruid, als van vlammen laait.

Vertaling: Jozef L. DE BELDER


The sun is ever full and bright,
The pale moon waneth night by night.
    Why should this be?

My heart that once was full of light
Is but a dying moon to-night.

But when I dream of thee apart,
I would the dawn might lift my heart,
    O sun, to thee.

In Praise Of A Maiden

O sweet maiden, so fair and retiring,
At the corner I'm waiting for you;
And I'm scratching my head, and inquiring
What on earth it were best I should do.

Oh! the maiden, so handsome and coy,
For a pledge gave a slim rosy reed.
Than the reed is she brighter, my joy;
On her loveliness how my thoughts feed!

In the pastures a _t'e_ blade she sought,
And she gave it, so elegant, rare.
Oh! the grass does not dwell in my thought,
But the donor, more elegant, fair.

The Plaint Of A Rejected Wife

The east wind gently blows,
With cloudy skies and rain.
'Twixt man and wife should ne'er be strife,
But harmony obtain.
Radish and mustard plants
Are used, though some be poor;
While my good name is free from blame,
Don't thrust me from your door.

I go along the road,
Slow, with reluctant heart.
Your escort lame to door but came,
There glad from me to part.
Sow-thistle, bitter called,
As shepherd's purse is sweet;
With your new mate you feast elate,
As joyous brothers meet.

Part clear, the stream of King
Is foul beside the Wei.
You feast elate with your new mate,
And take no heed of me.
Loose mate, avoid my dam,
Nor dare my basket move!
Person slighted, life all blighted,
What can the future prove?

The water deep, in boat,
Or raft-sustained, I'd go;
And where the stream did narrow seem,
I dived or breasted through.
I labored to increase
Our means, or great or small;
When 'mong friends near death did appear,
On knees to help I'd crawl.

No cherishing you give,
I'm hostile in your eyes.
As pedler's wares for which none cares,
My virtues you despise.

When poverty was nigh,
I strove our means to spare;
You, now rich grown, me scorn to own;
To poison me compare.

The stores for winter piled
Are all unprized in spring.
So now, elate with your new mate,
Myself away you fling.
Your cool disdain for me
A bitter anguish hath.
The early time, our love's sweet prime,
In you wakes only wrath.

The Contentment Of A Poor Recluse

My only door some pieces of crossed wood,
Within it I can rest enjoy.
I drink the water wimpling from the spring;
Nor hunger can my peace destroy.

Purged from ambition's aims I say, 'For fish.
We need not bream caught in the Ho;
Nor, to possess the sweets of love, require
To Ts'e, to find a Keang, to go.

'The man contented with his lot, a meal
Of fish without Ho carp can make;
Nor needs, to rest in his domestic joy,
A Tsze of Sung as wife to take.'