Excellent Ancient Adages, Together with Notes on the Writings of Chinese Romanized in the Hokkien Dialect/A Translation of Chapter I.

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A translation of Chapter I,

is given below :—

1. The excellent adages of the olden times,
’Tis moral nature of lore in general points.

2. Should gravely be quiet and content on the seats,
Must carefully criticise when assembly meets.

3. While sea dried up its bottom can be seen,
When man expired his heart will not bethink.

4. Drink only wine wisely with familiar friends,
Recite your poetry with a poet at hand.

5. Our acquaintances are swinging in the world around,
But really there are few friends with striking hearts be found.

6. When a host, the hospitality lacks,
Because of the unrespectable guests.

7. He who lacks hospitality to guest,
Might be a hostless fool in some respect.

8. Do not believe whether they are kind or honest,
We should preciously be careful ourselves the best.

9. Don’t boast of being in the first clue,
For others indeed, are before you.

10. Instead of confessing my virtue duly,
He kinly turns my friendship with enmity.

11. Rather go to a straight, for things to request,
Than rush to a crooked, in time of earnest.

12. He in fair weather does not take a course to go,
And he waits till the rain sprinkles his pate thorough.

13. A man cannot restrain with hundred words of blames,
So trees cannot stand of hundred axes to rend.

14. The debtor hates his creditors for payments,
And unfilial sons hate to serve their parents,

15. ’Tis good to plant out flowers on moon terrace,
’T’will certainly bud forth with all sorts of grace.

16. Don’t connect benevolence and justice with purse affairs,
When contact exist’d end of friendship will surely declare.

17. Give him plenty of cudgels, if you love your son,
Cram him with dainties in the unlovely concern.

18. If you pity men, pity from footsteps at hand,
When you hate them unite to nine generations.

19. The wealthy likes to be in public more and more,
The dressless loathes of being out of his door.

20. Vexed to self of being neither branch nor leaf,
Do not vainly accuse the sun partially breathe.

21. Man grinds a knife, because he dislikes to be blunt,
But when it is sharpened, it cuts his own thumb.

22. Men pray for wealth, because they dislike small incomes,
But when it is abundant it befriends with harms.

23. Don’t ridicule the poverty of others, like doodle,
For the decrees of destiny are in the end equal.

24. Do not laugh at the old age of others,
It will at last certainly befall us.

25. A bloodred face has nothing to do with liquor,
As peach flowers have their natural red colour.

26. In a country at peace, honor to great talent is designed,
And the children of wealthy families are with haughty minds,

27. On account of lovely favorite comes to grief,
To follow with chastity is the heroic thrift.

28. An auspicious plant in front of house sprouted,
At good omens, it is better not to be shouted.

29. The mulberry tree can easily be bent when young,
But hardly could do so, when its full grown stiffly comes.

30. Fragrant perfumes will exhale wherever musk is found,
And wind will not be needed to spread the scent around,

31. No healthy man of one thousand days’ glow,
Or bloom of flowers of hundred days thro’.

32. The good cows fancy not without the stable,
And good horse now and then adher’d with saddle,

33. A good son would well serve to his parents,
And good daughter, household of her husband.

34. The often long visits will make the host uncivil,
When a poor man visits his relations, they are cool.

35. You can only see three or five days’ display,
Hospitality lacks from the first flowery way.

36. The wealthy can treat one hundred mouths, nay excell,
But the poor unable of self-supporting well.

37. We need not use a fan when we have the breeze,
Or of litigation while we are at ease.

38. Brothers are of same residence when at youth,
And each admires his pleasing land at manhood.

39. If you envy about your wealth, envy not of taking your food,
If not satisfied while alive, so clinging when dead is not good

40. When you have flower stick it in front of man’s face,
You need not show at the backwards of his pate.

41. A bottomless pitch may be filled,
But could not fill up our mouths at will.

42. When intentions fixed to live at the river bank,
No fear of whatever storm or wind may extend.

43. By one’s own will when a tavern is open,
No fear of whatever credits might be given.

44. Trifling articles from a thousand miles sent,
Be sure the addresse gets the consignment.

45. Can say you dress when it is torn out,
It is your wife after the death no doubt.

46. Good liquor spreads out to distant lane,
The strict fathers have filial sons to train.

47. When our house without having a learned son,
On what grounds the mandarins are to come.

48. A peg of congratulation is not for cognizance,
And a treatment of meal is not for minute observance.

49, Though man attains old age, yet his heart is not old,
While man is poor, but his inclinations are bold.

50. A child does not dislike a plain mother,
A dog does not despise a poor master.

51. Tauist sect expels devilish enchantments,
And Budha reformed his persuasions.

52. Together a learned, better to die with
Than in company with a fool to live.

53. That family can’t attain to goodness, don’t say,
For the son of great promise may be on its way.

54. Cannot say, there be no destruction in our family,
For the ruinous son is not yet come to age strikingly.

55. Liquor turns into vinegar, when a household comes to ruin,
And house becomes a public road, when destitute prevailing.

56. There is neither immortal family,
Nor at all a permanent dynasty.

57. Back not before a host, keep benign,
But need not before a mandarin.

58. Nothing difficult in the world of wheel,
But if not be lacking in fervent zeal.

59. The Current perforates the stones in stream,
Hoard of rain-waters may cause boats to sink.

60. Close to a wild tiger, we may contend,
But to an acquaintant should not befriend.

61. By pecuniary means a slave is bought;
Through labour in travail a son is got.

62. Household mourning bewailed at parents’ death;
When wife dies cut man’s bowels is expressed,

63. How is it quite absurd as an invective wit,
Should be well considered anything illicit.

64. Kiang’s daughter while carrying to her husband warm dress.
She tenderly crying on snowy way in distress.

65. Teng-lan strictly served his deceased parents,
By presenting wooden tablets their escutcheons.

66. Husband and wife living in concord and harmony,
Like the playing of harp and guitar with flutes manly.

67. The poor lives an hundred years of age, still over.
The rich soon dies at the attain of thirtieth year.

68. When there is no author, no moral merits are contested.
While there is no old man, the word ‘hale’ should not be expressed.

69. Goods become dearer, when they are out of the native port-
man becomes a stranger, when appears in country abroad.

70. When your luck is fated to eat coarse rice,
Don't expect to take wheaten cake a slice,

71. To fill your safe always with yellow gold sovereigns.
Is not better than teach your sons with classics of saints.

72. Better choose to teach your son with one trade,
Than give him pure gold uncontaminate.

73. Flawless pearl and jade all people tenderly require,
The cleverness of posterity is my desire.

74. When a student does not know the proper usage.
He had better sleep away with his stretched legs.

75. One who can speak, speak readily at banquets.
If can’t, speak at home of all discourse and chats.

76. What one say may thereby be a falsehood,
But speech of hundred men must be a truth.

77. In time of sorrow you lie at Budha’s feet,
But when at leisure, off Budh aloof you keep.

78. The Magistrate has his proper jurisdiction,
And the common people their private agreements.

79. When in time we stand in need of, brothers are brothers,
But ferry fare is wanted when cross’d o’er the rivers.

80. A wise by himself decides his personal judgment,
But fools are decided by the public precedent.

81. While fishes past the water becomes glossy,
And when the bird flies its feather drops haply.

82. Not chaunt in the front of people,
But singing while going on stool.

83. By capacity a matrimony is celebrated
And a damsel of equal match by rites may be united.

84. When three men walking together,
There must have our model teacher.

85. In a family, an eldest son is patronized,
And in Kingdom, Prime Minister is aggrandized.

86. If there is high mountain, connects deep seas,
When the earth is sterile, produces poor trees, and comprises of men without dainties.

87. Unmarried, a woman obeys her father’s command,
When married, she meets with her husbands’ inclination.

88. Tiang-an may be a happy city dome.
But it won’t do for a permanent home.

89. Countenance is the appearance of man,
Colours of horses are the shapes of them.

90. The fool is unreasonably afraid of his wife.
Virtuous woman serves her husband with respected life.

91. Can get good words with difficulty.
But obnoxious words get easily.

92. Virtuous wife is a source of honor to her husband’s fame,
And vicious woman will infallibly bring him to shame.

93. A mouth is an injurious axe to men,
So the words are cutters of tongues in them.

94. Shut your mouth and quietly hold your tongue.
’T’will be peace in any place you come.

95. A good word to personal benefit,
warm like silk and cotton, or woolen sheet.

96. Hurtful words to bodily injuries,
Sharp like thorns of roses and bamboo trees.

97. Good advice of half a couple rhymes,
Is fully worth thousands of gold coins.

98. The injurious words to personal life.
Wounded the feelings like cuts by a knife.

99. If a daily meal of one morning be starved,
Justice between father and son may be blushed.

100. As an event is not happened,
So then wit would not be lengthened.

101. A cock will not remiss time to crow,
And dog won’t let its barking forego.

102. Men with wealth should friendly lie.
And gold with fire burnt to try.

103. Leaves dropped down on nine places upon the land.
And roots are closely stuck in one position.

104. When the shadows of trees from westward turn,
It does not go far from the roots its slum.

105. He who spits off the blood at heaven,
First defiles his own mouth and person.

106. There is no such thing in the country.
As spurious gold or genuine A-gui (i. e. asafoetida.)

107. Better face to a fierce tiger,
Than to meet with a good soldier.

108. A life for a life is equally taxed,
And by the payments we liquidate the debts.

109. While contending for a wife or lands,
Look on death as a sleep in defence.

110. When the spring begins our plough is missed,
Coming to an age wife being deceased.

111. Thunders from earth to above ascend,
When the tree grows its branches expand.

112. Money in public crowds, earn to get,
Tranquility is the place of rest.

113. Coming like wind and rain towards so fast,
Going away like a trash of small dust.

114. He who comes first shall be a prince,
The next shall be a mandarin.

115. A lucre is attend’d with dread and fear,
The obnoxious words hurt others be sure.

116. Being a sanguine face in our present,
And in our behind becomes subservient.

117. Goat’s eye like paddy seeds in trine,
And dog’s trace of six wheats the kind.

118. A beloved son wants benefit.
And the hateful one serves us with gift.

119. Look at East and South in the morning,
And West and North in the evening.

120. While a dying man leaves his name,
And the tigers, their skins remain.

121. When a man is calm, all mouths become tranquil,
Water when level, it comes to a standstill.

122. Pray can you tell me “from whence the wind commence to fly,”
And “from where the rain begins suspending in the sky.”

123. One that having good luck, needs only wound his purse,
Having it not, must himself be a wounded staff.

124. If one word misses its aim,
A thousand will be the same.

125. The blade of knife and the handle of axe,
Resemble man’s heart and instinctive chest.

126. A salad supported with plainest cake,
Just what some people keenly wish to take.

127. When our sinew is stained by vinegar,
Weakens the strength of our seminal valor.

128. If a promise is made to give a thing as a proof,
Even thousand ingots of gold I would not remove.

129. Dragons produce dragons, and tigers leopards in them,
As the superior men have their superior children.

130. What public is impartial in decision,
And which generation has no learned man.

131. Fear not at your being a traitorous gang,
But fear of your being a loyal clan.

132. One day becomes a match of husband and wife,
Is fated specially in hundred worlds of life.

133, If a dynasty of the Sovereign’s sway is blest,
In myriad generations of dukes and marquises.

134. The gold is kept in place of safe,
And complexion is on the face.

135. When a dog brings an epistle gently,
An excellent man receives it humbly.

136. The pearl in a mouth without emitting,
who would know that it is a precious thing.

137. Those who assist people to goodness are really few,
But to other’s detriment, they stand in the first clew.

138. When the eastern shop having fitted dress for sale,
Prices in the western shop may drop down with fail.

139. Even when a superior man desires some wealth.
He justly gets it, with the exception of pelf.

140. when pleasure is fancied by a chaste lady,
She in accordance gets it with propriety.

141. By seven steps a poesy was accomplished,
In ancient and modern times we might seldom meet.

142. To drink oft in the day one hundred cups of wines,
And chant the odes at night verses of thousand rhymes.

143. The term of man’s age is fourscore and twenty,
But few people reach the age of seventy.

144. The poor with his possessed means might be pleased,
The rich at every turn wrinkled with grief.

145. A robust slave may be unpolite.
And the haughty child is out of rite.

146. The moth which flies into the flame,
Burns itself has itself to blame.

147. A thief is a certain villainous scamp,
A wise surpasses the superior man.

148. When appetite desires much chew with difficulty,
Though being a poor yet treated by neighbours calmly.

149. We get mens’ hatred while supporting many of them,
When there are full of workmen we gain their compassions.

150. To revenge in three days is the term of a scamp,
But of superior man, three years’ retaliation.

151. While in his youth, he steals needles to practice,
Robs gold at manhood, he turns to be a thief.

152. When sons encourage father, the family seems to be prosperous,
And it likely to be accomplish’d, when the youngers strengthen elders.

153. While two ploughs set up, family is harmoniz’d,
When a household is to be ruin’d, keeping two wives.

154. In return gratitude the lamb kneels to suck,
The Crow justly turns feeding back to its mug.

155. When a snake has no head cannot go,
While the grass has no root cannot grow.

156. At meal need not consider, how much food you are taking,
And on journey need not mind, how far that you are going.

157. Man is seldom getting rich, without th’ crosswise coming gains,
As a horse does not fatten. without feeding him with night grains.

158. Distant water can hardly help a burning fire at hand,
A near neighbour is better far than outports’ relation.

159. Better to be upright with poverty,
Than depraved with abundance stiffly.

160. The complaints of all mouths cannot be exempted,
As an inch of shallow water has no fishes.

161. A small boat is unable to carry a load too heavy,
We need not venture to go into a dismal path lonely.

162. ‘Tis better to die in accordance with propriety,
Than that to live in pursuance of absurdity.

163. We should receive the guests, those who fare our residence,
Make no difference either others or relations.

164. He who teaches me for a day is my father for life.

165. And he that governs me for one ae is my lord likewise.

166. Man has an internal practical maxim,
And tiger, external variegated skin.

167. Weight of a man’s body may be one thousand Catties,
And wisdom is practically not a tael’s heavy.

168. Man lives for a life-time only,
And grass grows for a spring likely.

169. A fatness becomes through the mouth,
And wisdom of the heart springs out.

170. No umbrella is required in good weather,
For a patient’s diet, a healthy man does not care.

171. Man perishes in the pursuit of wealth,
And the bird in search of its food as well.

172. To bring up children, to take care of old age,
And store up corn against famine in the state.

173. Only to superior man, be your wants confessed,
And if you succour, succour only the distressed.

174. A. drop to a thirsty man is like refreshing dew,
Add a cup to a drunk is worst than at all through. (i.e. a cup of wine.)

175. Though we follow a guest a thousand miles,
Yet we must part at the utmost of toils.

176. They know the nature of fishes, who near to water’s dwell,
And those who live at hills, know the note of each bird full-well.

177. Contact with ink makes one black,
With vermillion makes one red.

178. When there’s a wiseman, scholar is at hand,
While a fuol starts, follows an ignorant.

179. If a man knows not how to read,
He just resembles cow or kid.

180. A long grass sprouted amongst hemp trees,
Needs no support, but straight itself with ease.

181. Male is nominated the body of seven precious,
And the theme of females is the pentagerous creatures.

182. Better without an honor be,
Than without a matrimony.

183. Distant journey tests a horse’s strength or power,
And long service reveals a man’s character.

184. In any house Amida Budha is got,
And goddess Koan-im is in every spot.

185. To love the sons is the heart of parent,
And of grand-son, loved by grand-parent.

186. When you meet with sword bearer (i.e., a ruffian) you be a sword holder,
You do not recite poetry to any, but verser.

187. It is easy to get one thousand gold mohurs,
But hard to obtain good verses of good scholars.

188. Do not take anything easily obtained,
And forthwith make it out to be’a useless gain.

189. When a man becomes a mandarin in the state,
The rest of his family is framed with dotage,

190. If one day being a high mandarin,
Myriads of people depend upon him.

191. Literature is an escorted capital,
And wealth being for kingdom rather essential,

192. Wherever we roam all o’er the wideworld around,
There will be no need of anything beyond bounds.

193. Intending to kill tiger, the men not oft incline,
Always athirst for man’s blood is the tiger’s design.

194. Good men get cheated often,
As good horses get ridden.

195. If men’s desires and wishes be laudable,
Heaven will be certainly to them wistful.

196. Unsullied poverty is oft happy,
While with impure wealth is always sorry.

197. Simply commit to memory to end of this,
May find not one mistake in dealing with myriads.