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Content created: 131114
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Lamentation of Confucius

Introduction

It is said that Confucius, rebuffed by the various political worthies he sought to advise, was returning home when he saw a wildflower blooming along the path. There, tradition holds, he composed and sang this sad song, accompanying himself on his lute.

That is, however, only a story. The poem is very old. That it is by Confucius is a bit implausible.

Text

The Wild Orchid 猜兰操《幽兰操》
Cāi Lán Cāo (Yōu Lán Cāo)
猜蘭操《幽蘭操》

1. With the gentle valley breezes come darkness and rain 习习谷风,以阴以雨。
Xí xí gǔ fēng, yǐ yīn yǐ yǔ.
習習谷風,以陰以雨。
This person returns home from where he set out. 之子于归,远送于野。
Zhī zǐ yú guī. yuǎn sòng yú yě.
之子于歸,遠送於野。
How has Heaven not attained its goal? 何彼苍天,不得其所。
Hé bǐ cāng tiān, bù dé qí suǒ/
何彼蒼天,不得其所。

2. He has wandered the world without a home. 逍遥九州,无所定处。
Xiāo yáo jiǔ zhōu, wú suǒ dìng chǔ.
逍遙九州,無所定處。
People today are ignorant and do not recognize a sage. 时人闇蔽,不知贤者。
Shí rén àn bì, bù zhī xián zhě.
時人闇蔽,不知賢者。
The years pass and he grows old. 年纪逝迈,一身将老。
Nián jì shì mài, yī shēn jiāng lǎo.
年紀逝邁,一身將老。

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