Ezra Pound





from Decade of Sheng Min VIII

1.
Around the Hill-bend the south wind whirling,
Prince, in your brotherliness
coming at ease to sing
unhurried, let these notes fit your turn.

2.
Say is friendship leisure’s test,
best of leisure giveth rest,
Prince, for your young-brotherliness
in such life as rest confers
may you live and drink wine with your ancestors
and so your life reach term.

3.
May you to earth and sky at crux of winter,
Prince in all deference
reply, and set firm the calendar
when, turning beneath his cliff, the sun goes hence.
May an hundred spirits of the air allied
gather to banquet where you preside
and so your life reach term.

4.
You have received it: dynasty
for how long? To enjoy great rent?
Prince deferent,
the candour of a House is its longevity.

5.
(Rashness is, fortitude is)
There are the filial,
there are those who see straight
to take action to lead;
to shelter. Young and fraternal prince, be thy pattern
such that the four coigns heed.

6.
O source and height,
jade sceptre, bright fountainhead,
Think what your fame can be
and what men hope, Prince brotherly, that hold
the square of the realm on guiding rope.

7
Hark to the phoenix wings astir in the air,
Here is their bourne, here is their place of rest,
Old and tried officers crowd round the throne
to know thy will, now thou art Heaven’s son.

8
Old and tried officers crowd round the throne,
Hark to the phoenix-wings at heaven’s gate,
Let him appoint such as will keep touch
with the folk of his state.

9
Hark to the phoenix’ song
o’er the high ridge amid dryandra boughs
that face the rising sun,
thick, thick the leaves,
so calm serene that song.

CODA
The Lord’s wagons be many,
his fast horses trained better than any,
And a few verses will make a song
when there’s a tune to drag it along.