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SONG OF DISCONTENTMENT

by Hu Dan’an (Years unknown, Qing Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang and Zhi Yue

Working all day only to satisfy hunger,
Yet when hunger is satisfied, one craves clothing.
When both hunger and clothing are satisfied,
One thinks of wedding a beautiful young wife;
Yet with a lovable wife and also concubines,
A sedan and horses for transportation are missing.
Yet with a herd of mules and horses,
Narrow farmlands become an issue.
Yet upon purchasing a million
hectares of fertile land,A government position is needed
to prevent being cheated.

One then complains that seventh or fifth rank are too minor,
And then the fourth or the third are still too low.
Yet when one becomes first rank in the imperial court,
One then desires to be the emperor.
Once all content as the Son of Heaven,
Then comes the hope of being immortal.
Wishful thinking and ambitions will never end,
Only grief and regret will accomp


SONG OF CONTENTMENT (EXCERPT)

by Qian Decang (Years unknown, Qing Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Contemplating the suffering of arduous matters,
It is a blessing just to be free.
Contemplating the suffering of hunger,
It is a blessing just to be warm.
Contemplating the suffering of illness,
It is a blessing just to be well.
Contemplating the suffering of adversity,
It is a blessing just to be safe.
Contemplating the suffering of imprisonment,
It is a blessing just to live in ease.
Contemplating the suffering of death,
It was a blessing just to be alive.

── from Jie Ren Yi (Making People Laugh)