The Merchant's Joy
The wide wide Yangtze, dragons in deep pools;
wave blossoms, purest white, leap to the sky.
The great ship, tall-towered, far off no bigger than a bean;
my wondering eyes have not come to rest when it's here before me.
Matted sails: clouds that hang beyond the embankment;
lines and hawsers: their thunder echoes from high town walls.
Rumble rumble of oxcarts to haul the priceless cargo;
heaps, hordes to dazzle the market—men race with the news.
In singing-girl towers to play at dice, a million on one throw;
by flag-flown pavilions calling for wine, ten thousand a cask;
the Mayor? the Governor? we don't even know their names;
what's it to us who wields power in the palace?
Confucian scholar, hard up, dreaming of one square meal;
a limp, a stumble, prayers for pity at His Excellency's gate;
teeth rot, hair falls out—no one looks your way;
belly crammed with classical texts, body lean with care—
See what Heaven gives me—luck thin as paper!
Now I know that merchants are the happiest of men.
（Burton Watson 譯）