The Value Of Friendship - Poem by Confucius
The woodmen's blows responsive ring,
As on the trees they fall;
And when the birds their sweet notes sing,
They to each other call.
From the dark valley comes a bird,
And seeks the lofty tree.
_Ying_ goes its voice, and thus it cries,
'Companion, come to me.'
The bird, although a creature small,
Upon its mate depends;
And shall we men, who rank o'er all,
Not seek to have our friends?
All spirits love the friendly man,
And hearken to his prayer.
What harmony and peace they can
Bestow, his lot shall share.
_Hoo-hoo_ the woodmen all unite
To shout, as trees they fell.
They do their work with all their might;--
What I have done I'll tell.
I've strained and made my spirits clear,
The fatted lambs I've killed.
With friends who my own surname bear,
My hall I've largely filled.
Some may be absent, casually,
And leave a broken line;
But better this than absence by
An oversight of mine.
My court I've sprinkled and swept clean,
Viands in order set.
Eight dishes loaded stand with grain;
There's store of fatted meat.
My mother's kith and kin I'm sure
I've widely called by name.
That some be hindered better is
Than I give cause for blame.
On the hill-side the trees they fell,
All working with good-will
I labor too, with equal zeal.
And the host's part fulfil.
Spirits I've set in order meet,
The dishes stand in rows.
The guests are here; no vacant seat
A brother absent shows.
The loss of kindly feeling oft
From slightest things shall grow,
Where all the fare is dry and spare,
Resentments fierce may glow.
My store of spirits is well strained,
If short prove the supply,
My messengers I straightway send,
And what is needed buy.
I beat the drums, and in the dance
Lead joyously the train.
Oh! good it is, when falls the chance
The sparkling cup to drain.
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