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Home300 Tang PoemsYuan Jie: TO THE TAX-COLLECTORS AFTER THE BANDITS RETREAT - 元結《賊退示官吏并序》 ~...

Yuan Jie: TO THE TAX-COLLECTORS AFTER THE BANDITS RETREAT – 元結《賊退示官吏并序》 ~ 300 Tang Poems

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五言古詩
元結

賊退示官吏并序

癸卯歲,西原賊入道州,焚燒殺掠,幾盡而 去。明年,賊又攻永州,破邵,不犯此州邊 鄙而退,豈力能制敵歟?蓋蒙其傷憐而已! 諸史何為忍苦徵歛!故作詩一篇以示官吏。

昔歲逢太平, 山林二十年。
泉源在庭戶, 洞壑當門前。
井稅有常期, 日晏猶得眠。
忽然遭時變, 數歲親戎旃。
今來典斯郡, 山夷又紛然。
城小賊不屠, 人貧傷可憐。
是以陷鄰境, 此州獨見全。
使臣將王命, 豈不如賊焉?
令彼徵歛者, 迫之如火煎。
誰能絕人命? 以作時世賢。
思欲委符節, 引竿自刺船,
將家就魚麥, 歸老江湖邊。
又作宴 又作世


Five-character-ancient-verse
Yuan Jie

TO THE TAX-COLLECTORS
AFTER THE BANDITS RETREAT

In the year Kuimao the bandits from Xiyuan entered Daozhou, set fire, raided, killed, and looted. The whole district was almost ruined. The next year the bandits came again and, attacking the neighbouring prefecture, Yong, passed this one by. It was not because we were strong enough to defend ourselves, but, probably, because they pitied us. And how now can these commissioners bear to impose extra taxes? I have written this poem for the collectors’ information.

I still remember those days of peace —
Twenty years among mountains and forests,
The pure stream running past my yard,
The caves and valleys at my door.
Taxes were light and regular then,
And I could sleep soundly and late in the morning-
Till suddenly came a sorry change.
…For years now I have been serving in the army.
When I began here as an official,
The mountain bandits were rising again;
But the town was so small it was spared by the thieves,
And the people so poor and so pitiable
That all other districts were looted
And this one this time let alone.
…Do you imperial commissioners
Mean to be less kind than bandits?
The people you force to pay the poll
Are like creatures frying over a fire.
And how can you sacrifice human lives,
Just to be known as able collectors? —
…Oh, let me fling down my official seal,
Let me be a lone fisherman in a small boat
And support my family on fish and wheat
And content my old age with rivers and lakes!

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