21 Aug. ’18.
My dear Elizabeth —
Will you give these 2 Chinese poems2 , a to Frank? Much love and thanks to both for endless kindnesses.
I am a prisoner in the hands of the enemy
Enduring the shame of captivity.
My bones stick out and my strength is gone
Through not getting enough to eat.
My brother is a Mandarin
And his horses are fed on maize.
Why can’t he spare a little money
To send and ransom me? [Query: How much would Cave4 want?]
Anon, 1st century B.C.
Business men boast of their skill and cunning
But in philosophy they are like little children.
Bragging to each other of successful depredationsb
They neglect to consider the ultimate fate of the body.
What should they know of the Master of Dark Truth
Who saw the wide world in a jade cup,
By illumined conception got clear of Heaven and Earth;
On the chariot of Mutation entered the Gate of Immutability?
By Chen Tzu-ang, A.D. 656–698.
[document] The letter was edited from the initialled, twice-folded original in BR’s hand. Letter 77 to Colette has a note “Sheet for Elizabeth elsewhere.” This is the text of that sheet.
2 Chinese poems The poems are found in Arthur Waley, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems (London: Constable, 1918).
Captivity. The poem was copied from Waley, p. 36, where the title is “The Other Side of the Valley”.
Business Men The poem was copied from Waley, p. 95.