Written circa 812, showing one of the poet's periods of retirement.
When the officials come to receive his grain-tribute, he remembers
that he is only giving back what he had taken during his years of
office. Salaries were paid partly in kind.
There came an officer knocking by night at my door —
In a loud voice demanding- grain-tribute.
My house-servants dared not wait till the morning,
But brought candles and set them on the barn-floor.
Passed through the sieve, clean-washed as pearls,
A whole cart-load, thirty bushels of grain.
But still they cry that it is not paid in full :
With whips and curses they goad my servants and boys.
Once, in error, I entered public life ;
I am inwardly ashamed that my talents were not sufficient.
In succession I occupied four official posts;
For doing nothing, — ten years' salary!
Often have I heard that saying of ancient men
That “ good and ill follow in an endless chain."
And to-day it ought to set my heart at rest
To return to others the corn in my great barn.