If even the most fragrant flower must wither, who in this world can
hope to live forever?
Suppose, however, that the morning dew was never to evaporate,
the mists never to clear and our lives to go on and on without
termination. Then we would cease to appreciate the shifting,
evanescent nature of things. Truly, life's beauty depends so much
on that transience that moves us so deeply. Consider the may-fly,
whose life does not last one evening; the summer cicada that
knows neither spring nor autumn.
Of all living things, few live as long as man. If a man lives a tranquil
life, even a single year seems long and happy beyond compare. But
for those who never want to grow old, a life of a thousand years
would pass like a dream of a single night.
Since we cannot live forever, why hang on in order to grow
decrepit and unsightly? After fifty, life brings us many dis-
appointments. The man is lucky who can make a dignified exit
before he passes sixty.
What a pitiful sight it is to see an old man, unaware of his woeful
appearance, who thrusts himself upon others. Or one who dotes
on his grand-children and craves to live on, hoping to see them
As a man clings to worldly affairs, so his sensitivity is dulled and at
last he is no longer moved by the fleeting nature of things.