On Returning to a Country Life

My youth was spent amidst the simple charms
Of country scenes—secure from worldly din,
And then, alas! I fell into the net
Of public life, and struggled long therein.

The captive bird laments its forest home;
The fish in tanks think of the sea's broad strands;
And I oft longed, amidst official cares,
To till a settler's plot in sunny lands.

And now I have my plot of fifteen ‘mow’,
With house thereon of rustic build and thatch;
The elm and willow cast a grateful shade,
While plum-and peach-trees fill the entrance patch.

Away from busy towns and dusty marts,
The dog barks in the silent country lane;
While chickens cluck among the mulberry-trees.
And life is healthy and the mind is sane.

Here in my house—with room for friend or two,
On my own farm—won from the barren plain,
Escaped from cares of office and routine,
I live a free and natural life again.
Author of original: 
Tao Qian
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