Wednesday, November 06, 2013


The Words of the Sages

P'i Jih-hsiu (ca. 833-883), "Reading," tr. William H. Nienhauser in Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo, edd., Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry (1975; rpt. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), p. 263:
What sort of thing is our family wealth?—
Piles of books arrayed up to the rafters.
In my lofty study at dawn I open a volume,
And alone share in the words of the sages.
Though men superior and wise have lived in every era,
We have all esteemed each other's minds.
But these bookworms I see on my desk
Still far surpass my ordinary companions.

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