James Laughlin, Ezra Pound’s publisher, observed that “Pound’s translations of Confucian texts, beautiful as is their language, are seldom applauded by Sinologues.” But we common readers may appreciate such versions from the Analects, when they prompt us to look deeply and examine our hour by hour alertness or lack thereof.
He said: Study with the seasons winging past, is not this pleasant?
To have friends coming in from far quarters, not a delight?
Unruffled by men’s ignoring him, also indicative of high breed.
He said: Not worried that men do not know me, but that I do not understand men.
He said: The anthology of 300 poems can be gathered into the one sentence: Have no twisty thoughts.
He said: At fifteen I wanted to learn.
At thirty I had a foundation.
At forty, a certitude.
At fifty, knew the orders of heaven.
At sixty was ready to listen to them.
At seventy could follow my own heart’s desire without overstepping the t-square.
He said: attacking false systems merely harms you.
He said: not worried at being out of a job, but about being fit for one; not worried about being unknown but about doing something knowable.
He said: I do not see anyone constant. Someone answered: Shan Ch’ang. He said: Ch’ang is moved by his passions, how can he achieve constancy?
Confucius said: that the aged have quiet, and friends rely on our words, and that the young be cherished.
He said: If many years were added to me, I would give fifty to the study of The Book of Changes, and might thereby manage to avoid great mistakes.
He said: three of us walking along, perforce one to teach me, if he gets it right, I follow, if he errs, I do different.
He said: study as if unobtainable, as if fearing to lose (grip on it).
He said: the wise are not flustered, the humane are not melancholy, the bold are not anxious.
Chi K’ang asked which of the disciples loved study. Kung-tze answered: There was Yen Hui who loved study, unfortunately he died young, and the model’s lost.
Tze-lu said: What’s the definition of a scholar? He said: Urgent, quiet; standing by or looking at his own thought, his own mind-field or heart-field, easy to get on with, cheerful. He can be called a scholar (-officer), earnest with his friends, and stimulating; cheerful and spontaneous with his elder and younger brothers.
Tze-kung asked if there were a single verb that you could practice thru life to the end.
He said: Sympathy, what you don’t want (done to) yourself, don’t inflict on another.
James Laughlin, The Master of Those Who Know: Ezra Pound.
Ezra Pound, Confucius: The Unwobbling Pivot, The Great Digest, The Analects