Down to the lowest pit with rank, and gifts that all admire;
Hurl virtue headlong from the steep, burn pedigrees with fire;
On valour let the bolt descend: for wealth alone we pray,
Without which noble qualities are vile as mouldy hay.
With mind and senses unimpaired,
In act and voice the same,
He moves among us like a ghost,
Wealth's warmth hath left his frame.
The man of means is eloquent,
Brave, handsome, noble, wise;
All qualities with gold are sent,
And vanish when it flies.
The king by evil counsel falls,
By worldliness the saint,
Brahmans by want of sacred lore,
Bad friends good manners taint;
Indulgence spoils a son, and he
Upon his race brings shame,
Continual absence poisons love,
Neglect cools friendship's flame;
Carelessness ruins husbandry,
Wrong saps a nation's health,
Wine chases modesty, unthrift
And largess squanders wealth.
Three courses open lie to wealth, to give, enjoy, or lose,
Who shrinketh from the former two, perforce the third doth choose.
Less in size the polished jewel, but its rays far brighter gleam,
Who regrets the dwindling sandbanks when boon autumn swells the stream?
Glorious we hold the victor, though his life-blood gild the plain,
Such the generous soul's undoing, that which seemeth loss is gain.
Lo! the same man who longs for a handful of meal
As a treasure of infinite worth,
When his hunger is sated, esteems not a straw
All the riches and glories of earth;
Hence this moral we draw--in this transient world
Nothing's trifling or great in itself,
'Tis the mind that projects its own hues on the mass,
Now 'tis gold, now 'tis counted but pelf.
King, if thou wish the earth to yield to thee the milk of wealth,
Cherish its offspring, let thy care be for thy people's health;
For if thou watch to do them good with seldom-sleeping eyes,
Thy realms with golden fruits shall bloom like trees of Paradise.
Grasping and bountiful, cruel and kind,
Savage and merciful, watchful and blind,
Truthful and treacherous, policy's art
Changeth its shape as an actress her part.
Fame, might, the power to give and spend,
To nourish Brahmans, help a friend,
These blessings are a courtier's lot;
What boots his toil who gains them not?
Fate writes upon thy brow at birth the limits of thy store,
In barren wilds, on Meru's peak, 'tis neither less nor more;
Then cringe thou not to wealthy men, but let thy looks be free,
A pitcher from a pool is filled, as well as from the sea.
Well spoke the châtak to the cloud,
"By thee alone we live,
This all men know, then why require
Our prayers before thou give?"
O châtak, listen but a while, and to my speech give ear--
Not all alike the clouds that on the face of heaven appear,
Some fertilize the earth with showers, some fruitless thunders hurl:
This lesson learn--a suppliant speech is wasted on the churl.