The Five Sons

BY TAO TSIEN

T'sin Dynasty (a.d. 265-419)

I am wrinkled and gray,
And old before my day;
For on five sons I look,
And not one loves a book.
Ah-Shu is sixteen years,
The sight of work he fears;
He is the laziest lout
You'd find the world throughout.
Ah-süen has tried in vain
A little wit to gain;
He shirks the student's stool,
At grammar he's a fool!
Yong-twan is thirteen now,
And yet I do avow
He can't discriminate
The figures six and eight!
Tong-tze is only nine,
But clearly does opine
That life, with all its cares,
Consists of nuts and pears.
Alas, that Fate so dour
On me her vials should pour!
What can I do but dine,
And drown my woes in wine!