Thursday, 11 August 2011

On the birth of his son

Families, when a child is born
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister.

Su Tung-p'o (A.D. 1036 - 1101)
Translated from the Chinese by Arthur Waley.


rogerh said...

Interesting how sophisticated (in some ways) Chinese society was back then.

Demetrius said...

It would be interesting to see who was nominated in this category. I fear it would be a long list.

A K Haart said...

rogerh - it certainly seems well recorded compared to our history.

D - a very long list.

James Higham said...

Er ... nothing you wish to tell us, AKH? Not dropping hints?

A K Haart said...

JH - well spotted. There is a hint in there because I'm not entirely sure that an intellectual approach to life is likely to be the happiest or the most successful in a material sense at least.