Bai Juyi

772–846 / Taiyuan, Shanxi

Lazy Man's Song

I have got patronage, but am too lazy to use it;
I have got land, but am too lazy to farm it.
My house leaks; I am too lazy to mend it.
My clothes are torn; I am too lazy to darn them.
I have got wine, but am too lazy to drink;
So it's just the same as if my cellar were empty.
I have got a harp, but am too lazy to play;
So it's just the same as if it had no strings.
My wife tells me there is no more bread in the house;
I want to bake, but am too lazy to grind.
My friends and relatives write me long letters;
I should like to read them, but they're such a bother
to open.
I have always been told that Chi Shu-yeh1
Passed his whole life in absolute idleness.
But he played the harp and sometimes transmuted metals,
So even he was not so lazy as I
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