from The Daughter of Heaven

Judith Gautier
French
1845 – 1917

 

Oh! Daughter of Heaven, whom
we swear to serve faithfully! To the end
that you may accomplish the work
of your deified ancestors, never forget
the ten precepts which are the rule
of conduct of all sovereigns. As they
are engraved here on the precious jade,
it is my privilege to read them to you
this day in the hearing of all.

Fear Heaven.
Love the people.
Exalt the soul.
Cultivate the sciences.
Honour merit.
Listen to wise counsels.
Lessen taxes.
Mitigate the laws.
Spare the treasury.
Avoid the allurements of the senses!

Obeying these commands, one is sure
to follow in the right path.
But one must advance along this road
without turnings aside or falterings.
Oh! our Sovereign, be attentive
and anxious, as though each hour
of the day you carried a chalice filled
to the brim with water not one drop
must be spilled. Act thus, and then
your conduct will be just and
your dynasty endure eternally—
Ten thousand years!
Ten thousand years!

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