“On the Birth of His Son”, by Su Tung-p’o

 

Families, when a child is born
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister.

 

(c. 1070, trans. Arthur Waley, 1919)

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