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INSCRIPTIONS OF A HUMBLE ROOM
by Liu Yuxi (772 - 842, Tang Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

A mountain is not renowned for its loftiness
but for having celestial beings for tenants;
A spring is not enchanted by its deep water
but by the presence of a dragon.

Such is a humble room permeated with the fragrance of my virtue.

Traces of green moss creep up the steps, while colors of verdant grass seep through the blinds.

Amongst my chattery guests are learned scholars; none are commoners who come and go.

Without the distracting noises of banquet music,
nor the laborious processing of state papers,

all that is left to do is to tune my plain zither or read the golden texts.

In comparison to Zhuge Liang’s hut in Nanyang, and Zi Yun’s pavilion in Xishu,

just as Confucius had once said, “In what way is it humble?”

──from Quan Tang Wen (Complete Tang Literature)