Envy possesses those that know,
Great men are drunk with pride,
The vulgar no discernment show;
Who shall for bards provide?
I tremble at my merit gained in this revolving world,
Bitter shall be its after-taste, when back to life I'm hurled,
Those carnal pleasures won by long-continued acts of right,
Lay heavy burdens on the soul and check its upward flight.
I've boldly crossed the stormy brine, I've striven kings to please,
In grave-yards plied my midnight spells, nor cured that fell disease,
Earth's bowels have I searched for wealth, and melted stones with fire,
Thou see'st, no doit rewards my pains, then leave me now, Desire!
I've wandered over many lands, and reaped withal no fruit,
I've laid my pride of rank aside, and pressed my baffled suit,
At stranger boards, like shameless crow, I've eaten bitter bread,
But fierce Desire, that raging fire, still clamours to be fed.
Much have I borne rich hosts to please
Who love to taunt their guests,
I've laughed with spirit ill at ease,
And praised their vapid jests;
I've mastered wrath with strong control,
And bent the supple knee;
Then, hopeless hope, why rack thy soul,
Proof against all but thee?
Morn after morn dispels the dark,
Bearing our lives away;
Absorbed in cares we fail to mark
How swift our years decay;
Some maddening draught hath drugged our souls,
In love with vital breath,
Which still the same sad chart unrolls,
Birth, eld, disease, and death.
What man of sense e'er craves the mean life,
To feed himself alone? His ragged wife,
With starving children clinging to her side,
And wistful looks, o'ercomes his selfish pride;
Sooner than see his babes with hunger pine,
He rushes forth prepared to fawn and whine.
The joys of life have ceased to please,
Honour and fame are fled,
The dear-loved friends of early youth
Are numbered with the dead,
Propped on a staff I limp along,
Dim mists obscure my sight,
But this frail flesh still dreads the doom
Of everlasting night!
God satisfies the snake with air,
Grass to the cows is food and bed,
Man's nobler soul is clogged with care,
Struggling to gain his daily bread.
I've never sought release from births by honouring Siva's feet,
Nor oped by merit huge the gate of Indra's heavenly seat,
Nor wandered with my youthful feres in Pleasure's giddy maze,
Then vain my mother's cares and woes, and profitless my days.
I have not wasted life, but life hath wasted me,
I have not chosen pain, but pain hath been my lot,
Some men make Time their fool, but here Time's fool you see,
I've long been dead to joy but passion dieth not.
Insults I've borne, but not with patient mind,
Pleasures forborne, to which my heart inclined;
Put up with hunger, nakedness, and cold,
Not for the love of God, but love of God;
Thought much on wealth, but not on Siva's feet,
And broke my slumbers not to pray, but cheat;
I've lived a hermit's life without his creed,
Made earth a hell, but gained no heavenly meed.
Wrinkles deform my face,
And hoary hairs my head,
Withered my youthful grace,
But avarice blooms instead.
The joys of sense will vanish soon, what do we gain thereby?
Those only store up merit who in all themselves deny;
When pleasures flee, they leave behind a never-ending smart,
But he who hurls them from him fills with heavenly peace his heart.
As knowledge grows, content expands, and fell desire abates;
But worldly joys, if long embraced, a baneful influence gain;
Thus Indra, like a mortal king, hopes, trembles, loves, and hates,
From having held through endless years an undisputed reign.