A poem by Yuan Mei (1716–1797), tr. J.D.Schmidt:
I am satisfied so long as I keep my books closed,
But I start to worry, when I open their covers.
The books are long, but the day is short;
I feel like an ant contemplating a mountain.
I work by candlelight until the morning,
But do I remember a tenth of what I read?
I'm terribly worried that a millennium from now,
There'll be many more books (where will it all end?).
I would like to transform into a fairy or god,
Or ask old heaven for some additional years.
I don't desire to feast on jade or nectar,
Nor do I wish to wander Penglai's fairy realms.
In the human world, wherever there are words,
I want to finish reading them (and that's all I want!)