A Lute of Jade: Selections from the Classical Poets of China

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Author: Launcelot Cranmer-Byng

The Penalties of Rank

Three score and ten! A slave to office yet!
In the Li Chi these luminous words befall:
"The lust for honours honours not at all,"
Here is the golden line we most forget.

Alas! how these long years afflict a man!
When teeth are gone, and failing eyes grow dim.
The morning dews brought dreams of fame to him
Who bears in dusk the burdens of his clan.

His eyes still linger on the tassel blue,
And still the red sedan of rank appeals,
But his shrunk belly scarce the girdle feels
As, bowed, he crawls the Prince’s Gateway through.

Where is the man that would not wealth acclaim?
Who would not truckle for his sovereign’s grace?
Yet years of high renown their furrows trace,
And greatness overwhelms the weary frame.

The springs of laughter flow not from his heart,
Where bide the dust and glamour of old days.
Who walks alone in contemplation’s ways?
’TIS HE, THE HAPPY MAN, WHO DWELLS APART.

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Chicago: Launcelot Cranmer-Byng, "The Penalties of Rank," A Lute of Jade: Selections from the Classical Poets of China, ed. Firth, John B. and trans. Storr, F. in A Lute of Jade: Selections from the Classical Poets of China (New York: George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892), Original Sources, accessed March 1, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8TIAJARSIT4EEV7.

MLA: Cranmer-Byng, Launcelot. "The Penalties of Rank." A Lute of Jade: Selections from the Classical Poets of China, edited by Firth, John B., and translated by Storr, F., in A Lute of Jade: Selections from the Classical Poets of China, New York, George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, Original Sources. 1 Mar. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8TIAJARSIT4EEV7.

Harvard: Cranmer-Byng, L, 'The Penalties of Rank' in A Lute of Jade: Selections from the Classical Poets of China, ed. and trans. . cited in ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, A Lute of Jade: Selections from the Classical Poets of China, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 1 March 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8TIAJARSIT4EEV7.