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29. The pair of hanging scrolls at this table do not seem to be exactly matched. One of them states: Whatever life is, it is what this here is now. And the other: My new wife’s intimate household equipment is worth more than all the sacred mountains combined. Still, in the local pronunciation, they do at least rhyme. (Which is always something.)

30. Now that the cruxes in the ancient calligraphic masterpiece Have been fully interpreted to the scribe by a visiting master, It has somehow, curiously, lost a great deal of its interest for him. Again and again, he walks past it, unnoticing, carrying some woman or other.

31. Still annoyed, the Prime Minister rolls up the immensely long scroll Of border-post after border-post, city after city, And places it precisely in a dark spot near the door, Hoping his immature, sulking lover will trip over it on coming in.

32. Noticing at last that the new neighbour’s wife Has a little, neat mouth and hard, glittering eyes, The great moral thinker, rather to his own surprise, Begins to visit next door much more often than he used to.

33. The magistrate sits at comparative leisure in his large, radiant garden, Surrounded by many documents and a few helpful daughters. His neighbour’s son can hardly sleep for thinking about the daughters. The neighbour himself would much prefer to get his hands on the documents.


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