The Orchid Pavilion
In the ninth year of the reign Yungho in the beginning of late spring we met at the Orchid Pavilion in Shanyin of Kweich'i for the Water Festival, to wash away the evil spirits.
Here are gathered all the illustrious persons
and assembled both the old and the young. Here are tall mountains and majestic
peaks, trees with thick foliage and tall bamboos. Here are also clear streams
and gurgling rapids, catching one's eye from the right and left. We group
ourselves in order, sitting by the waterside, and drinking in succession from a
cup floating down the curving stream; and although there is no music from
string and wood-wind instruments, yet with alternate singing and drinking, we
are well disposed to thoroughly enjoy a quiet intimate conversation.
Today the sky is clear, the air is fresh and the kind breeze is mild. Truly enjoyable it is sit to watch
the immense universe above and the myriad things below, traveling over the
entire landscape with our eyes and allowing our sentiments to roam about at
will, thus exhausting the pleasures of the eye and the ear.
Now when people gather together to surmise life itself, some sit and talk and unburden their thoughts
in the intimacy of a room, and some, overcome by a sentiment, soar forth into a
world beyond bodily realities. Although we select our pleasures according to
our inclinations—some noisy and rowdy, and others quiet and sedate—yet when we
have found that which pleases us, we are all happy and contented, to the extent
of forgetting that we are growing old. And then, when satiety follows
satisfaction, and with the change of circumstances, change also our whims and
desires, there then arises a feeling of poignant regret. In the twinkling of an
eye, the objects of our former pleasures have become things of the past, still
compelling in us moods of regretful memory. Furthermore, although our lives may
be long or short, eventually we all end in nothingness. "Great indeed are
life and death", said the ancients. Ah! What sadness!