Sunday, May 22, 2022


At a Loss in This Generation

Qu Yuan, Li Sao, lines 57-64 (tr. David Hawkes):
All others press forward in greed and gluttony,
No surfeit satiating their demands:
Forgiving themselves, but harshly judging others;
Each fretting his heart away in envy and malice.
Madly they rush in the covetous chase,
But not after that which my heart sets store by.
For old age comes creeping and soon will be upon me,
And I fear I shall not leave behind an enduring name.
Id., lines 73-74:
I take my fashion from the good men of old:
A garb unlike that which the rude world cares for.
Id., lines 89-96:
Truly this generation are cunning artificers,
From square and compass turn their eyes and change the true measurement,
Disregard the ruled line to follow their crooked fancies;
To emulate in flattery is their only rule.
But I am sick and sad at heart and stand irresolute:
I alone am at a loss in this generation.
Yet I would rather quickly die and meet dissolution
Before I ever would consent to ape their behaviour.
Id., lines 97-100:
Eagles do not flock like birds of lesser species;
So it has ever been since the olden time.
How can the round and square ever fit together?
How can different ways of life ever be reconciled?

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