Monday, September 02, 2013


Nothing Wrong With It

Yang Yün (1st century B.C.), letter to Sun Hui-tsung, in Han Shu, chapter 66, tr. Burton Watson, Early Chinese Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962), p. 118 (footnote omitted):
After I have had something to drink and my ears are beginning to burn, I gaze up at the sky and, thumping on a crock to keep time, I give a great "ya-a!" and sing this song:
I sowed the southern hill
But I could not keep back the weeds.
I planted an acre of beans
But they fell off the vine, leaving empty stems.
Man's life should be spent in joy.
Why wait in vain for wealth and honor?
At such times I flap my robes in delight, waves my sleeves up and down, stamp my feet, and dance about. Indeed it is a wild and unconventional way to behave, and yet I cannot say that I see anything wrong with it.

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