hermit’s thatch › Sentiment and hermits

Sentiment and hermitsIn his poem “Old Age,” the poet Ou Yang Hsui (1007-1072) tells briefly of the burdens of getting sick when old: dry, dull eyes, aches, a fuzzy brain dull and forgetful.When I was young I liked to read. Now I am too old to make the effort. Then, too, If I come across something interesting I have no one to talk to about it.In theory, a solitary ought not to miss another’s presence but Ou Yang Hsui’s expression of loneliness is not unusual even among the worldly. Nor is a hermit immune to sentiment.Kenneth Rexroth notes that in fact the Chinese Tang poets inclined to sentiment, especially with advancing age. The poets, male and female, thought of their forties as old age, referring to the first gray hair. By late forties, the course of their days was uncertain, and by fifty the end seemed near. Perhaps given the vagaries of life expectancy in antiquity, this sentiment was not unjustified. Studies of life expectancy in past centuries revised longevity based on survival into adulthood, so that older age was not infrequent, but the poets preferred a different criteria.When the famous recluse Tu Fu (712-770) visited retired scholar Wei Pa, he reflected:We sit here together in the candle light.How much longer will our prime last?Our temple are already grey.I visit my old friendsHalf of them ave become ghosts.Fear and sorrow choke me and burn my bowels

Source: hermit’s thatch › Sentiment and hermits

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