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ADVICE FOR FRUGALITY

by Lu Mengzheng (946 - 1011, Song Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Diligence and laziness are all in a moment’s thought;
The rise and fall of a family is also determined by such.
The accomplishment of everything is by zeal,
When have you ever seen an idle man succeed?

Youthful days are the most precious
For this is when the good causes for success are laid.
Yet many fail to cherish such precious moments of life.
There is no time to waste on mundane matters!

Rise early at dusk,
For home errands alone are rather painstaking.
Look at those spendthrift sons,
Many would be lazy people and greedy sleepers.

Most noble it is to lead a frugal life,
Do not throw your wealth into the waves!
Constantly bear in mind the lack of resources now,
So that you will not hear the cries of despair later in life.

For years, we deal with matters and provide for our family,
We must always have cautious plans for the future.
Prepare for poverty in times of prosperity,
Do not wait until poverty comes to start thinking of frugality.

── from Zengguang Xianwen (Proverbs of Accumulating Wide Wisdom)