The Complaint Of An Officer

by Confucius


O Heaven above, before whose light
Revealed is every deed and thought,
To thee I cry.
Hither on toilsome service brought,
In this wild K'ew I watch time's flight,
And sadly sigh.
The second month had just begun,
When from the east we took our way.
Through summer hot
We passed, and many a wintry day.
Summer again its course has run.
O bitter lot!
There are my compeers, gay at court,
While here the tears my face begrime.
I'd fain return--
But there is that dread net for crime!
The fear of it the wish cuts short.
In vain I burn!
Ere we the royal city left,
The sun and moon renewed the year.
We marched in hope.
Now to its close this year is near.
Return deferred, of hope bereft,
All mourn and mope.
My lonesome state haunts aye my breast,
While duties grow, and cares increase,
Too hard to bear.
Toils that oppress me never cease;
Not for a moment dare I rest,
Nigh to despair.
I think with fond regard of those,
Who in their posts at court remain,
My friends of old.
Fain would I be with them again,
But fierce reproof return would cause.
This post I hold.
When for the West I left my home,
The sun and moon both mildly shone,
Our hearts to cheer.
We'd soon be back, our service done!
Alas! affairs more urgent come,
And fix us here.
The year is hastening to expire.
We gather now the southern-wood,
The beans we reap;--
That for its fragrance, these for food.
Such things that constant care require
Me anxious keep.
Thinking of friends still at their posts,
I rise and pass the night outside,
So vexed my mind.
But soon what changes may betide?
I here will stay, whate'er it costs,
And be resigned.
My honored friends, O do not deem
Your rest which seems secure from ill
Will ever last!
Your duties quietly fulfil,
And hold the upright in esteem,
With friendship fast.
So shall the Spirits hear your cry,
You virtuous make, and good supply,
In measure vast.
My honored friends, O do not deem
Repose that seems secure from ill
Will lasting prove.
Your duties quietly fulfil,
And hold the upright in esteem,
With earnest love.
So shall the Spirits hear your prayer,
And on you happiness confer,
Your hopes above.

Last updated January 14, 2019