Written for My Son Yu While Reading on a Winter Night
By Lu You
The ancient spared no effort in their study long;
There’s no achievement without hard working while young.
What one acquires from books will prove shallow at length;
Nothing is perfect unless practised with full strength.
This poem talks about learning. The poet instructs his descendants to study hard and never to slack off throughout their lives, and only by gradual accumulation can a person achieve much at old age. Moreover, he lays special stress on the principle “real knowledge comes from practice” and points out that it’s far from enough to derive knowledge only from books. Although the poem is short and easy to read, it deals with the theme clearly and draws a sound conclusion. It is a very instructive poem, and therefore, is often quoted by later generations.