More Translations from the Chinese, by Arthur Waley, , at sacred-texts.com
Heat and cold, dusk and dawn have crowded one upon the other;
Suddenly I find it is two years since I came to Chung-chou.
Through my closed doors I hear nothing but the morning and evening drum;
From my upper windows all I see is the ships that come and go 1
In vain the orioles tempt me with their song to stray beneath the flowering trees;
In vain the grasses lure me by their colour to sit beside the pond.
There is one thing and one alone I never tire of watching—
The spring river as it trickles over the stones and babbles past the rocks.
70:1 "The Emperor Saga of Japan (reigned A. D. 810-23) one day quoted to his Minister, Ono no Takamura, the couplet:
"Through my closed doors I hear nothing but the morning and evening drum;
From my upper windows in the distance I see ships that come and go."
Takamura, thinking these were the Emperor's own verses, said: "If I may venture to criticize an august composition, I would suggest that the phrase "in the distance" be altered." The Emperor was delighted, for he had purposely changed "all I see" to "in the distance I see." At that time there was only one copy of Po Chü-i's poems in Japan and the Emperor, to whom it belonged, had allowed no one to see it."—From the Kōdanshō (twelfth century).