獨笑

Laughing Alone

有粟無人食

The stores are full without a child to feed;

多男必患飢

Hunger does rule the home with many sons.

達官必憃愚

The man of office high is but a fool,

才者無所施

While talent true will languish quite unknown.

家室少完福

Rare is the home that knows of total bliss;

至道常陵遲

Virtue up high will to the grave be gone.

翁嗇子每蕩

What parents thrifted children’s hands do waste,

婦慧郎必癡

The woman wise is tripped by feckless man.

月滿頻値雲

On full moon nights the clouds get in the way;

花開風誤之

Flowers in bloom are struck by straying winds.

物物盡如此

This is but how the world goes all the time,

獨笑無人知

Alone I laugh, and none do understand!

– 茶山 丁若鏞

Dasan Jeong Yak-yong (1762-1836), Korean bureaucrat, scholar, author, poet, philosopher, scientist, and engineer.