In Praise Of By-Gone Simplicity

by Confucius


In the old capital they stood,
With yellow fox-furs plain,
Their manners all correct and good,
Speech free from vulgar stain.
Could we go back to Chow's old days,
All would look up to them with praise.
In the old capital they wore
_T'ae_ hats and black caps small;
And ladies, who famed surnames bore,
Their own thick hair let fall.
Such simple ways are seen no more,
And the changed manners I deplore.
Ear-rings, made of plainest gold,
In the old days were worn.
Each lady of a noble line
A Yin or Keih seemed born.
Such officers and ladies now
I see not and my sorrows grow.
With graceful sweep their girdles fell,
Then in the days of old.
The ladies' side-hair, with a swell,
Like scorpion's tail, rose bold.
Such, if I saw them in these days,
I'd follow with admiring gaze.
So hung their girdles, not for show;--
To their own length 'twas due.
'Twas not by art their hair curled so;--
By nature so it grew.
I seek such manners now in vain,
And pine for them with longing pain.

Last updated January 14, 2019