Here is a charming bit of verse, found in the beginning of Yasushi Inoue's Tun-huang. The poem helps give us a feel for the ethos of the Song dynasty (the setting of this historical novel), in which erudition was highly valued. Of course, the hero of Tun-huang sleeps through the test he is meant to take, diverting his life-plan along a path of adventure, heroism, and literary stewardship. What's more, the bibliomania of the poem's author, Emperor Chen Tsung, apparently caused the downfall of his dynasty. According to one source: "By 1020 the emperor was insane and his power had passed to eunuchs."
No need to acquire rich lands to increase the family's wealth,
For in books are a thousand measures of millet.
No need to build mansions in which to dwell in peace,
For in books are abodes of gold.
Complain not that you have no attendants when you leave your home,
For in books are horses in numbers beyond reckoning.
No need to lament the dearth of fair maidens when you marry,
For in books are maidens with countenances of jade.
You who would realize your aspirations,
Use the light from your window to recite the Six Classics.