sonnet XXII

My glass shall not persuade me I am old,
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time’s furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me:
How can I, then, be elder than thou art?
O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary
As I, not for myself, but for thee will;
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain;
Thou gavest me thine, not to give back again.

William Shakespeare

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xiaoyao

Having exterminated cleverness and discarded learning,
my mind wanders in the deep and the tranquil:
Not regretting if I committed an error,
nor making a show when meeting with success.
Fishing in a deep valley,
I enjoy my own world.
With my hair down, I stroll and sing,
and harmonious air suffuses all around me.
O! Sing and celebrate —
my mind wanders in the deep and tranquil.

Ji Kang

stating my aims

The tumbling dandelion puff leaves its roots,
drifts whirling, moving with the wind
Vast are the paths over the four seas,
on and on, how can they be traversed?
I would rather be the floating duckweed,
lodging myself in the clear pool.
I would take pleasure in the present—
what comes afterward is not known.

He Yan

sonnet XXI

So is it not with me as with that Muse
Stirr’d by a painted beauty to his verse,
Who heaven itself for ornament doth use,
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse;
Making a couplement of proud compare,
With sun and moon, with earth and sea’s rich gems,
With April’s first-born flowers, and all things rare
That heaven’s air in this huge rondure hems.
O, let me, true in love, but truly write,
And then believe me, my love is as fair
As any mother’s child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fixt in heaven’s air:
Let them say more that like of hearsay well;
I will not praise that purpose not to sell.

William Shakespeare