More Translations from the Chinese/Lodging with the Old Man of the Stream

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More Translations from the Chinese  (1919)  by Bai Juyi, translated by Arthur Waley
Lodging with the Old Man of the Stream

[41] LODGING WITH THE OLD MAN OF THE STREAM

[A.D. 820]

Men's hearts love gold and jade;
Men's mouths covet wine and flesh.
Not so the old man of the stream;
He drinks from his gourd and asks nothing more.
South of the stream he cuts firewood and grass;
North of the stream he has built wall and roof.
Yearly he sows a single acre of land;
In spring he drives two yellow calves.
In these things he finds great repose;
Beyond these he has no wish or care.
By chance I met him walking by the water-side;
He took me home and lodged me in his thatched hut.
When I parted from him, to seek market and Court,
This old man asked my rank and pay.
Doubting my tale, he laughed loud and long:
"Privy Councillors do not sleep in barns."