Posts tagged ‘2nd century’

Friday, 8 March 2019

Plain Living and High Thinking by Lucian of Samosata

Stern Cynicus doth war austerely wage
With endive, lentils, chicory, and sage;
Which shouldst thou thoughtless proffer, “Wretch,” saith he,
“Wouldst thou corrupt my life’s simplicity?”
Yet is not his simplicity so great
But that he can digest a pomegranate;
And peaches, he esteems, right well agree
With Spartan fare and sound philosophy.

From: Garnett, Richard, Vallée, Leon and Brandl, Alois (eds.), The Universal Anthology: A Collection of the Best Literature, Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern, with Biographical and Explanatory Notes, Volume 5, 1899, The Clarke Company Ltd: London, p. 97.
(https://archive.org/details/universalantholo05garnuoft/)

Date: 2nd century (original in Greek); 1869 (translation in English)

By: Lucian of Samosata (c125-c180)

Translated by: Richard Garnett (1835-1906)

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Song 1 of “Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute” by Cai Yan

In the early part of my life, equity still governed the empire,
But later in my life the Han throne fell into decay.
Heaven was not humane, sending down rebellion and chaos,
Earth was not humane, causing me to encounter such a time.
War gear was a daily commonplace, and travel by road was dangerous,
The common people fled, all plunged in wretchedness.
Smoke and dust darkened the countryside, overrun by barbarians;
They knocked aside my widow’s vows, and my chastity was lost.
Their strange customs were so utterly foreign to me—
Whom can I possibly tell of my calamity, shame, and grief?
One measure for the nomad flute, one stanza for the qin,
No one can know my heart’s agony and anger!

From: Chang, Kang-i Sun and Saussy, Haun (eds.), Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism, Stanford University Press: Stanford, p. 23.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=xRNnU-SpDyYC)

Date: 2nd century (original), 1999 (translation)

By: Cai Yan (c178-c249)

Translated by: Dore Jesse Levy (19??- )