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Designed to demonstrate that the more one has, the worse off he is.
'Oh, why should men long with a longing so sore
For ill gotten riches that Heaven can not bless ?
When the Owner is dead, riches serve him no more-
Intended to show that a Title-Deed and a Lease come to the
same thing in the end.
'The mountains green, the lovely vales, a prospect fair to see
Those lands which now the fathers own, their children's soon will be;
Yet let them not with sudden wealth be too elate in mind,
They too have their Posterity which follows close behind.'
Showing how Prevention is better than Cure.
The Man who rules his appetite
Will always keep his spirits light,
But many anxious thoughts combine
The vital force to undermine;
Refrain from wine and save your health,
Nor yield to wrath that wastes your wealth.'
Explaining some physiological facts, and imparting some valuable
advice which costs the Reader nothing.
ODE TO A NEW BRIDE.
Showing how a Young Woman should first learn to cook, and
then wed a man who has an unmarried sister.
Three days the newly married bride
In China, as is known to most,
The husband's mother rules the roast,
But to the new made Bride alone
This lady's tastes are all unknown.
Lest, wrongly mixed, her soup she waste
She makes her husband's sister taste.'
Showing how a thimbleful of water taken from the middle of a
Pond, leaves no perceptible Hole.
ON RETURNING TO ONE'S NATIVE VILLAGE. By Ho Chih Chang. 'He left his village a wee little Mite,.
He came back old, with his temples white;
His face was strange, but his brogue was true,
Cried the laughing juveniles: Whence came you ?"
回鄉偶書。 賀知章。 少小離家老大回。鄉音無改鬢毛衰。 兒童相見不相識。笑問客從何處來。
Showing the disadvantages of marrying a man who is liable to be
sent away to a distance, of sleeping late in the morning, and of allow
ing shrubbery to grow in the vicinity of one's bed-room.
THE EXASPERATIONS OF SPRING. By Chin Chang Hs. 'Drive off those Orioles from that tree
Nor let them on its branches scream,
To join my lord in far Lino Hsi
I took my journey in my dream;
These birds awaked me with their call
I failed to reach there after all!'
The reputed author of the following verse is Chiang T'ai Kung 12th cent. B.C.) a character to be referred to hereafter. His
wife insisted on a divorce, because of his extreme poverty, and in spite
of his tears, she laughed as she left him. With a fine irony, this lady has come to be regarded as the goddess of the eight varieties of Insects noxious to grain (A), especially grasshoppers. Her functions in this capacity are, however, somewhat ill defined.
ODE ON COMPARATIVE TOXICOLOGY.
Showing the extreme facility with which a Man may be bitten (or stung) when he is least on his guard and showing also Who does it.
'The Serpent's mouth in the green bamboo,
And the yellow Hornet's caudal dart,
Little the injury these can do
More venomous far is a Woman's Heart !'
Showing the influence upon the Chinese intellect of the movement
of the Earth in the Ecliptic, and furnishing a fresh argument for the Unity of the Human Race.
'On our studies in the Spring-time, it is hard to fix our mind,
While in incandescent Summer days to sleep we feel inclined;
Then the Autumn soon reminds us that the Solstice must be near,
When we pack our books and scramble home to welcome in the Year.'
* Attention has been already called, under the head of Variations in Proverbs, to the very different forms in which the caustic saying this Ode concludes with, is met 最妒[毒]不過婦人心. From a sentence in the commentary on the Liao Chai (), a famous composition of P'u Liu (i), [See Mayer's Manual No. 567], it appears that these characteristics of the feminine nature are regarded as not only analogous in quality, but as ultimately identical in origin, and as differing only in degree. The following is the quotation referred to: 婦人無德有三。曰、獨、妒、毒、未有獨而不妒者。未有妒而 7. i.e. 'The absence of Virtue in Woman is of three grades, known as Tu () Tu () and Tu (#).' [The first of these denotes that state of mind in which the attention is concentrated upon Self-Egoism-and is expressed in the phrase: 'I rather than You,' or in the ancient baronial motto: 'Thou shalt want ere I shall want.' This feeling inevitably results in Envy ()—grief at the excellent qualities or gifts of another, and this in turn ends in Malignity (#), a fixed purpose of doing mischief to the object of the feeling.] The Reader will observe the significant predicate with which the commentator concludes: 'No Woman was ever egoistic, without becoming envious, nor envious without becoming malignant. Hence the expression, Women can share one's adversity [which calls out the better side of their nature], but can not share prosperity [which results in the moral descent explained above]婦人可以共患難、
J. So also: 'The short-sightedness of Woman'. i.e. Women can appreciate what is immediately before their eyes-(and they can appreciate nothing else). Yet more opprobrious is the current saying: 'Like a Woman's Benevolence, and a Mean Man's Courage'2C.E⭑2. i.e. a very inferior article. In a still stronger sense, the expression is also employed to denote an excellence merely pretended, as when one reads the Buddhist Sacred Books in public, and then turns to reviling his neighbors. Such incidental testimony to certain Chinese views on the moral nature of Woman, is worth more than a volume of essays on the subject, for the reason that the positions are assumed as self-evident, and are not reached by argument.
The following Verse is by Li Po () the most famous of Chinese poets, who lived in the golden age of Chinese poetry-the Tang Dynasty.
'A beautiful woman rolls the screen,
Deep frowns upon her brow are seen,
The following is by the same author; the subject is a favorite one with Chinese poets.
'Before my couch the moonbeams bright
Resemble the hoar-frost pure and white;
I raise my eyes to the moon above
But they fall, as I think on the Home I love."
That the present age, whatever it may be, is degenerate as compared with every preceding one, has been a leading tenet in all times and in all lands, and China is no exception. Confucius declared that 'People now-a-days are stupid and yet deceitful' (→ 2^&TK.). Similar observations are proverbial in manifold forms. The Present is not to be compared with the Past' (4.). 'Each generation is inferior to the last' (-7). In Benevolence and Justice the Present is not equal to the Past, but as regards ruin of conscience, the Past can not compete with the Present' (7 £74.). To a similar purport is the following
Showing that the alleged Progress of the Human Race is a fraud, and that all which is strictly essential to Man is his Stomach.
'Books, Drawing, Chess, and Music, with Odes, and Wine, and Flowers,
These pleasures seven were once the joy of rich men's leisure hours;
"T is only Fuel, and Rice and Oil, Salt, Vinegar, Pickles and Tea!'
ODE ON THE SIGNS OF OLD AGE.
Recapitulating a few facts which the observant Reader may have
discovered for himself, and appending one fact of which he is probably in comparative ignorance.
'When Men grow old their loins are bent, and their heads are drooping too, When Trees grow old the branches dry and the leaves are scant and few; When a Beast grows old his hairless tail between his legs he jams,
When Birds grow old they enter the water and there they are changed to Clams!'
Showing the surprising effects of a difference in the Angle of Vision, imparting the secret of True Happiness as discovered by Little Jack Horner, and concluding by anticipating Robert Burns.
'The Bald man thinks, though his pate is bare
And yet declares his diet is sweet;
The Sea-crab travels his zigzag gait,
And still avers his course is straight;
Oh would some Power the giftie gie us
To see ourselves as others see us!'
Showing the embarassments to which the truly Great Man may
be subjected—especially at night.
'The Heavens are my embroidered spread,
And all the stars that fill the sky
Are my companious where I lie.
I dare not stretch my limbs at length
When vexed by midnight's restless dreams,
For fear the Mountains by my strength
I overturn-and spill the Streams!'
Showing how the Soft gets the better of the Hard (✯ ✯M).
'The Tongue is an instrument yielding and pliant
While the Teeth are inflexible, hard, and defiant
And frequently broken to pay for their pains.