Mon, Jun 04, 2018 - Page 9 News List


“The Sad Parting,” from Marshall Everett, Story of the Wreck of the Titanic, 1912

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese Practice


(jin1 yu4 man3 tang2 mo4 zhi1 neng2 shou3)

when gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe







在英文中,表示人所積累的財富在死後是沒什麼意義的,可用「you cannot take it with you (when you go)」(你(死後)無法帶走)這句話精練地表達。「Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!」(看我功業蓋世,令強者折服!)這句話,完美地表達了對自滿的警示。


“And on the pedestal these words appear: (「看那石座上刻著字句:)

‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;(『我是萬王之王,奧斯曼狄斯)

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’(功業蓋世,強者折服』)

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay(此外,蕩然無物)

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare(廢墟四周,唯餘黃沙莽莽)

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”(寂寞荒涼,伸展四方。」)



(To congratulate Professor Chen for his promotion and his son’s marriage last week, we sent him a wall plaque with the idiom 金玉滿堂 on it.)


(Mr Wang, the company chairman, amassed a family fortune. It’s such a shame his reprobate of a son has lived a life of debauchery, frittering away the family wealth in less than 20 years. As they say, it’s difficult to hold on to money.)


you cannot take it with you;

look on my works, ye mighty, and despair

In Chinese, the idiom 金玉滿堂 means “gold and jade filling the hall,” and is used to refer to an abundance of riches, mostly in terms of wealth but also of impressive education or an abundance of children to continue the family line. It is used as a wish, a blessing or an auspicious phrase on architectural plaques.

It has not necessarily always been used in a positive sense: 金玉滿堂 has been used in the past in the context of the temporary nature of riches, how wealth can be lost just as easily as it can be gained, and how it will do one no good in the next world.

In the ci lyric poem zuo wu, to be sung to the tune of Immortal at the River, the Southern Song Dynasty poet Liu Chenweng (1232-1297) wrote: 金玉滿堂不守,菁華歲月空遷。從今飽飯更安眠。丹經都不看,閒坐一千年 (Wealth and riches may slip through the fingers; youth deserts you in time. From now on I will eat and sleep peacefully. I have no need of poring over the classics: I can just sit back and rest while the years go by).

The Qing Dynasty writer Qian Yong (1759-1844), in the li ji (Benefiting Oneself ) section of the yi lun chapter of his luyuan conghua, wrote: 今人既富貴驕奢矣,而又喪盡天良,但思利己,不思利人,總不想一死後,雖家資巨萬,金玉滿堂,尚是汝物耶 (Nowadays, there are those who are wealthy and proud, and yet are devoid of conscience, who think only of themselves, and not of others. Do they not know that after their death, no matter how wealthy their family, their abundant riches do not belong to them?)

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