Part 3 out of 4
from Pin. the site of their earlier settlement, 'the country about the
Khue and the Khi.'
In long trains ever increasing grow the gourds. When (our) people
first sprang, From the country about the Khue and the Khi, The ancient
[1. See the account of the battle of Mu in the third Book of the fifth
Part of the Shu. Shang-fu was one of Wu's principal leaders and
counsellors, his 'Grand-Master Shang-fu' in the next stanza.
2. As a gourd grows and extends, with a vast development of its tendrils
and leaves, so had the House of Kau increased.
3. These were two rivers in the territory of Pin, which name still
remains in the small department of Pin Kau, in Shen-hsi. The Khue flows
into the Lo, and the Khi into the Wei.]
Than-fu Made for them kiln-like huts and caves, Ere they had yet any
The ancient duke Than-fu Came in the morning, galloping his horses,
Along the banks of the western rivers, To the foot of mount Khi; And
there he and the lady Kiang Came and together looked out for a site.
The plain of Kau looked beautiful and rich, With its violets, and
sowthistles (sweet) as dumplings. There he began by consulting (with his
followers); There he singed the tortoise-shell, (and divined). The
responses were there to stay and then; And they proceeded there to build.
He encouraged the people, and settled them; Here on the left, there on
the right. He divided the ground, and subdivided it; If he dug the
ditches; he defined the acres. From the east to the west, There was
nothing which he did not take in hand .
[1. According to this ode then, up to the time of Than-fu, the Kau
people had only had the dwellings here described; but this is not easily
reconciled with other accounts, or even with other stanzas of this piece.
2. See a graphic account of the circumstances in which this migration
took place, in the fifteenth chapter of the second Part of the first
Book of Mencius, very much to the honour of the ancient duke.
3. This lady is known as Thai-kiang, the worthy predecessor of Thai-zan.
4. This stanza has reference to the choice--by council and
divination--of a site for what should be the chief town of the new
5. This stanza describes the general arrangements for the occupancy and
cultivation of the plain of Kau, and the distribution of the people over
He called his Superintendent of Works; He called his Minister of
Instruction; And charged them with the rearing of the houses. With the
line they made everything straight; They bound the frame-boards tight,
so that they should rise regularly uprose the ancestral temple in its
Crowds brought the earth in baskets; They threw it with shouts into the
frames; They beat it with responsive blows. They pared the walls
repeatedly, till they sounded strong. Five thousand cubits of them arose
together, So that the roll of the great drums did not overpower (the
noise of the builders).
They reared the outer gate (of the palace), Which rose in lofty state.
They set up the gate of audience, Which rose severe and exact. They
reared the great altar to the spirits of the land, From which all great
movements should proceed.
[1. This stanza describes the preparations and processes for erecting
the buildings of the new city. The whole took place under the direction
of two officers, in whom we have the germ probably of the Six Heads of
the Boards or Departments, whose functions are described in the Shu and
the Official Book of Kau. The materials of the buildings were earth and
lime pounded together in frames, as is still to be seen in many parts of
the country. The first great building taken in hand was the ancestral
temple. Than-fit would make a home for the spirits of his fathers,
before he made one for himself. However imperfectly directed, the
religious feeling asserted the supremacy which it ought to possess.
2. The bustle and order of the building all over the city is here
graphically set forth.
3. Than-fu was now at leisure to build the palace for himself, which
appears to have been not a very large building, though the Chinese names
of its gates are those belonging to the two which were peculiar to the
palaces of the kings of Kau in the subsequent times of the dynasty.
Outside the palace were the altars appropriate to the spirits of the
four quarters of the land, the 'great' or royal altar being peculiar to
the kings, though the one built by Than-fu is here so named. All great
undertakings, and such as required the co-operation of all the people,
were preceded by a solemn sacrifice at this altar.]
Thus though he could not prevent the rage of his foes, He did not let
fall his own fame. The oaks and the buckthorns were (gradually) thinned,
And roads for travellers were opened. The hordes of the Khwan
disappeared, Startled and panting.
(The chiefs of) Yue and Zui  were brought to an agreement By king
Wan's stimulating their natural virtue. Then, I may say, some came to
him, previously not knowing him; Some, drawn the last by the first;
Some, drawn by his rapid successes; And some by his defence (of the
weak) from insult.
[1. Referring to Than-fu's relations with the wild hordes, described by
Mencius, and which obliged him to leave Pin. As the new settlement in
Kau grew, they did not dare to trouble it.
2. The poet passes on here to the time of king Wan. The story of the
chiefs of Yue and Zui (two states on the east of the Ho) is this:--They
had a quarrel about a strip of territory, to which each of them laid
claim. Going to lay their dispute before the lord of Kau, as soon as
they entered his territory, they saw the ploughers readily yielding the
furrow, and travellers yielding the path, while men and women avoided
one another on the road, and old people had no burdens to carry. At his
court, they beheld the officers of each inferior grade giving place to
those above them. They became ashamed of their own quarrel, agreed to
let the disputed ground be an open territory, and withdrew without
presuming to appear, before Wan. When this affair was noised abroad,
more than forty states, it is said, tendered their submission to Kau.]
ODE 4, STANZAS I AND 2. THE YI PHO.
IN PRAISE OF KING WAN, CELEBRATING HIS INFLUENCE, DIGNITY IN THE
TEMPLE SERVICES, ACTIVITY, AND CAPACITY TO RULE.
Abundant is the growth of the buckthorn and shrubby trees, Supplying
firewood; yea, stores of it. Elegant and dignified was our prince and
king; On the left and the right they hastened to him.
Elegant and dignified was our prince and king; On his left and his right
they bore their half-mace (libation-cups):--They bore them with
solemn gravity, As beseemed such eminent officers.
ODE 5. THE HAN LU.
IN PRAISE OF THE VIRTUE OF KING WAN, BLESSED BY HIS ANCESTORS,
AND RAISED TO THE HIGHEST DIGNITY WITHOUT' SEEKING OF HIS OWN.
Look at the foot of the Han, How abundantly grow the hazel and
arrow-thorn. Easy and self-possessed was our prince, In his pursuit
of dignity (still) easy and self-possessed.
Massive is that libation-cup of jade, With the
[1. It is difficult to trace the connexion between-these allusive lines
and the rest of the piece.
2. Here we have the lord of Kau in his ancestral temple, assisted by his
ministers or great officers in pouring out the libations to the spirits
of the departed. The libation-cup was fitted with a handle of jade, that
used by the king having a complete kwei, the obelisk-like symbol of
rank, while the cups used by a minister had for a handle only half a kwei.
3. Where mount Han was cannot now be determined.
4 As the foot of the hill was favourable to vegetable growth, so were
king Wan's natural qualities to his distinction and advancement.]
yellow liquid sparkling in it. Easy and self-possessed was our
prince, The fit recipient of blessing and dignity.
The hawk flies up to heaven, The fishes leap in the deep . Easy and
self-possessed was our prince:--Did he not exert an influence on men?
His clear spirits were in the vessels; His red bull was ready;--To
offer, to sacrifice, To increase his bright happiness.
Thick grow the oaks and the buckthorn, Which the people use for fuel
. Easy and self-possessed was our prince, Cheered and encouraged by
the spirits .
Luxuriant are the dolichos and other creepers, Clinging to the branches
and stems. Easy and self-possessed was our prince, Seeking for happiness
by no crooked ways.
ODE 6. THE SZE KAI.
THE VIRTUE OF WAN, WITH HIS FILIAL PIETY AND CONSTANT REVERENCE,
AND THEIR WONDERFUL EFFECTS. THE EXCELLENT CHARACTER OF HIS
MOTHER AND WIFE.
Pure and reverent was Thai Zan, The mother of king Wan. Loving was
she to Kau Kiang ;--
[1. As a cup of such quality was the proper receptacle for the yellow,
herb-flavoured spirits, so was the character of Wan such that all
blessing must accrue to him.
2. It is the nature of the hawk to fly and of fishes to swim, and so
there went out an influence from Wan unconsciously to himself.
3. Red, we have seen, was the proper colour for victims in the ancestral
temple of Kau.
4. As it was natural for the people to take the wood and use it, so it
was natural for the spirits of his ancestors, and spiritual beings
generally, to bless king Wan.
5. Thai Zan is celebrated, above, in the second ode.
6. Kau Kiang is 'the lady Kiang' of ode 3, the wife of Than-fu or king
Thai, who came with him from Pin. She is here called Kau, as having
married the lord of Kau.]
A wife becoming the House of Kau. Thai Sze  inherited her excellent
fame, And from her came a hundred sons .
He conformed to the example of his ancestors, And their spirits had no
occasion for complaint. Their spirits had no occasion for
dissatisfaction; And his example acted on his wife, Extended to his
brethren, And was felt by all the clans and states.
Full of harmony was he in his palace; Full of reverence in the ancestral
temple. Unseen (by men), he still felt that he was under inspection:
Unweariedly he maintained his virtue.
Though he could not prevent (some) great calamities, His brightness and
magnanimity were without stain. Without previous instruction he did what
was right; Without admonition he went on (in the path of goodness).
So, grown. up men became virtuous (through him), And young men made
(constant) attainments. (Our) ancient prince never felt weariness, And
from him were the fame and eminence of his officers.
[1. Thai Sze, the wife of Wan, we are told in ode 2, was from the state
of Hsin. The surname Sze shows that its lords must have been descended
from the Great Yue.
2. We are not to suppose that Thai Sze had herself a hundred sons. She
had ten, and her freedom from jealousy so encouraged the fruitfulness of
the harem, that all the sons born in it are ascribed to her.
3. Where there was no human eye to observe him, Wan still felt that he
was open to the observation of spiritual beings.]
ODE 7. THE HWANG I.
SHOWING THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF KAU TO THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE
KINGDOM THROUGH THE FAVOUR OF GOD, THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF KINGS
THAI AND KI, AND ESPECIALLY OF KING WAN.
Great is God, Beholding this lower world in majesty. He surveyed the
four quarters (of the kingdom), Seeking for some one to give
establishment to the people. Those two earlier dynasties  Had failed
to satisfy him with their government; So, throughout the various states,
He sought and considered For one on whom he might confer the rule.
Hating all the great states, He turned his kind regards on the west, And
there gave a settlement (to king Thai).
(King Thai) raised up and removed The dead trunks and the fallen trees.
He dressed and regulated The bushy clumps and the (tangled) rows. He
opened up and cleared The tamarisk trees and the stave trees. He hewed
and thinned The mountain mulberry trees. God having brought about the
removal thither of this intelligent ruler, The Kwan hordes fled away.
Heaven had raised up a helpmeet for him, And the appointment he had
received was made sure.
God surveyed the hills, Where the oaks and the buckthorn were thinned,
And paths made through the firs and cypresses. God, who had raised the
[1. Those of Hsia and Shang.
2. The same as 'the hordes of the Khwan' in ode 3. Mr. T. W. Kingsmill
says that 'Kwan' here should be 'Chun,' and charges the transliteration
Kwan with error (journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for April, 1878).
He had not consulted his dictionary for the proper pronunciation of the
state, raised up a proper ruler for it,--From the time of Thai-po and
king Ki (this was done) . Now this king Ki In his heart was full of
brotherly duty. Full of duty to his elder brother, He gave himself the
more to promote the prosperity (of the country), And secured to him the
glory (of his act) . He accepted his dignity and did not lose it, And
(ere long his family) possessed the whole kingdom.
This king Ki Was gifted by God with the power of judgment, So that the
fame of his virtue silently grew. His virtue was highly
intelligent,--Highly intelligent, and of rare discrimination; Able to
lead, able to rule, To rule over this great country; Rendering a cordial
submission, effecting a cordial union . When (the sway) came to king
[1. King Wan is 'the proper ruler' intended here, and the next line
intimates that this was determined before there was any likelihood of
his becoming the ruler even of the territory of Kau; another instance of
the foreseeing providence ascribed to God. Thai-po was the eldest son of
king Thai, and king Ki was, perhaps, only the third. The succession
ought to have come to Thai-po; but he, seeing the sage virtues of Khang
(afterwards king Wan), the son of Ki, and seeing also that king Thai was
anxious that this boy should ultimately become ruler of Kau, voluntarily
withdrew from Kau altogether, and left the state to Ki and his son. See
the remark of Confucius on Thai-po's conduct, in the Analects, VIII, i.
2 .The lines from six to ten speak of king Ki in his relation to his
elder brother. He accepted Thai-po's act without -any failure of his own
duty to him, and by his own improvement of it, made his brother more
glorious through it. His feeling of brotherly duty was simply the
natural instinct of his heart. Having accepted the act, it only made him
the more anxious to promote the good of the state, and thus he made his
brother more glorious by showing what advantages accrued from his
resignation and withdrawal from Kau.
3. This line refers to Ki's maintenance of his own loyal duty to the
dynasty of Shang, and his making all the states under his presidency
virtue left nothing to be dissatisfied with, He received the blessing of
God, And it was extended to his descendants.
God said to king Wan , 'Be not like those who reject this and cling
to that; Be not like those who are ruled by their likings and desires;'
So he grandly ascended before others to the height (of virtue). The
people of Mi  were disobedient, Daring to oppose our great country,
And invaded Yuean, marching to Kung. The king rose, majestic in his
wrath; He marshalled his troops, To stop the invading foes; To
consolidate the prosperity of Kau; To meet the expectations of all under
He remained quietly in the capital, But (his troops) went on from the
borders of Yuean. They ascended our lofty ridges, And (the enemy) arrayed
no forces on our hills, On our hills, small or large, Nor drank at our
springs, Our springs or our pools. He then determined the finest of the
plains, And settled on the south of Khi, On the banks of
[1. The statement that 'God spake to king Wan,' repeated in stanza 7,
vexes the Chinese critics, and they find in it simply an intimation that
Wan's conduct was 'in accordance with the will of Heaven.' I am not
prepared to object to that view of the meaning; but it is plain that the
writer, in giving such a form to his meaning, must have conceived of God
as a personal Being, knowing men's hearts, and able to influence them.
2. Mi or Mi-hsue was a state in the present King-ning Kau, of Phing-liang
3. Yuean was a state adjacent to Mi,--the present King Kau, and Kung must
have been a place or district in it.
4 Wan, it appears, made now a small change in the site of his capital,
but did not move to Fang, where he finally settled.]
the Wei, The centre of all the states, The resort of the lower people.
God said to king Wei, 'I am pleased with your intelligent virtue, Not
loudly proclaimed nor pourtrayed, Without extravagance or
changeableness, Without consciousness of effort on your part, In
accordance with the pattern of God.' God said to king Wan, 'Take
measures against the country of your foes. Along with your 'brethren,
Get ready your scaling ladders, And your engines of onfall and assault,
To attack the walls of Khung.'
The engines of onfall and assault were (at first) gently plied, Against
the walls of Khung high and
question were brought in, one after another; The left ears (of the
slain) were taken leisurely . He had sacrificed to God and to the
Father of War , Thus seeking to induce
[1. Khung was a state, in the present district of Hu, department Hsi-an,
Shen-hsi. His conquest of Khung was an important event in the history of
king Win. He moved his capital to it, advancing so much farther towards
the east, nearer to the domain of-Shang. According to Sze-mg Khien the
marquis of Khung had slandered the lord of Kau, who was president of the
states of the west, to Kau-hsin, the king of Shang, and our hero was put
in prison. His friends succeeded in effecting his deliverance by means
of various gifts to the tyrant, and he was reinstated In the west with
more than his former power. Three years afterwards he attacked the
marquis of Khung.
2. So far the siege was prosecuted slowly and, so to say, tenderly, Wan
hoping that the enemy would be induced to surrender without great
sacrifice of life.
3. The sacrifice to God had been offered in Kau, at the commencement of
the expedition; that to the Father of War, on the army's arriving at the
borders of Khung. We can hardly tell who is intended by the Father of
War. Ku Hsi and others would require the plural 'Fathers,' saying the
sacrifice was to Hwang Ti and Khih Yu, who are found engaged in
hostilities far back in the mythical period of Chinese history. But Khih
Yu appears as a rebel, or opposed to the One man in all the country who
was then fit to rule. It is difficult to imagine how they could be
associated, and sacrificed to together.]
submission, And throughout the region none had dared to insult him. The
engines of onfall and assault were (then) vigorously plied, Against the
walls of Khung very strong. He attacked it, and let loose all his
forces; He extinguished (its sacrifices) , and made an end of its
existence; And throughout the kingdom none dared to oppose him.
ODE 9. THE HSIA WU.
IN PRAISE OF KING WU, WALKING IN THE WAYS OF HIS FOREFATHERS,
AND BY HIS FILIAL PIETY SECURING THE THRONE TO HIMSELF AND HIS
Successors tread in the steps (of their predecessors) in our Kau. For
generations there had been wise kings; The three sovereigns were in
heaven ; And king (Wu) was their worthy successor in his capital .
King (Wu) was their worthy successor in his capital, Rousing himself to
seek for the hereditary virtue, Always striving to be in accordance with the
[1. The extinction of its sacrifices was the final act in the extinction
of a state. Any members of its ruling House who might survive could no
longer sacrifice to their ancestors as having been men of princely
dignity. The family was reduced to the ranks of the people.
2. 'The three sovereigns,' or 'wise kings,' are to be understood of the
three celebrated in ode 7,--Thai, Ki, and Wan. We are thus obliged, with
all Chinese scholars, to understand this ode of king Wu. The statement
that 'the three kings were in heaven' is very express.
3. The capital here is Hao, to which Wu removed in B.C. 1134, the year
after his father's death. It was on the east of the river Fang, and only
about eight miles from Wan's capital of Fang.]
will (of Heaven); And thus he secured the confidence due to a king.
He secured the confidence due to a king, And became the pattern of all
below him. Ever thinking how to be filial, His filial mind was the model
(which he supplied).
Men loved him, the One man, And responded (to his example) with a docile
virtue. Ever thinking how to be filial, He brilliantly continued the
doings (of his fathers).
Brilliantly! and his posterity, Continuing to walk in the steps of their
forefathers, For myriads of years, Will receive the blessing of Heaven.
They will receive the blessing of Heaven, And from the four quarters (of
the kingdom) will felicitations come to them. For myriads of years Will
there not be their helpers?
ODE 10. THE WAN WANG YU SHANG.
THE PRAISE OF KINGS WAN AND WU:-HOW THE FORMER DISPLAYED HIS
MILITARY PROWESS ONLY TO SECURE THE TRANQUILLITY OF THE PEOPLE;
AND HOW THE LATTER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RESULTS OF
DIVINATION, ENTERED IN HIS NEW CAPITAL OF HAO, INTO THE
SOVEREIGNTY OF THE KINGDOM WITH THE SINCERE GOOD WILL OF ALL THE
King Win is famous; Yea, he is very famous. What he sought was the
repose (of the people); What he saw was the completion (of his work). A
sovereign true was king Wan!
King Win received the appointment (from Heaven), And achieved his
martial success. Having overthrown Khung. He fixed his (capital) city
in Fang . A sovereign true was king Wan!
[1. As related in ode 7.
2. Fang had, probably, been the capital of Khung, and Wan removed to it,
simply making the necessary repairs and alterations. This explains how
we find nothing about the divinations which should have preceded so
important a step as the founding of a new capital.]
He repaired the walls along the (old) moat. His establishing himself in
Fang was according to (the pattern of his forefathers), It was not that
lie was in haste to gratify his wishes;--It was to show the filial duty
that had come down to him. A sovereign true was the royal prince!
His royal merit was brightly displayed By those walls of Fang. There
were collected (the sympathies of the people of) the four quarters, Who
regarded the royal prince as their protector. A sovereign true was the
The Fang-water flowed on to the east (of the city), Through the
meritorious labour of Yue. There were collected (the sympathies of the
people of) the four quarters, Who would have the great king as their
ruler. A sovereign true was the great king
In the capital of Hao he built his hall with its circlet of water .
From the west to the east, From the south to the north, There was not a
thought but did him homage. A sovereign true was the great king!
He examined and divined, did the king, About settling in the capital of
Hao. The tortoise-shell decided the site, And king Wu completed the
city. A sovereign true was king Wu!
[1. The writer has passed on to Wu, who did actually become king.
2. See on the third of the Praise Odes of Lu in Part IV.
3. Hao was built by Wu, and hence we have the account of his divining
About the site and the undertaking.]
By the Fang-water grows the white millet;--Did not king Wu show
wisdom in his employment of officers? He would leave his plans to his
descendants, And secure comfort and support to his son. A sovereign true
was king Wu!
The Second Decade, or that of Shang Min.
ODE 1. THE SHANG MIN.
THE LEGEND OF HAU-KI:--HIS CONCEPTION; HIS BIRTH; THE PERILS OF
HIS INFANCY; HIS BOYISH HABITS OF AGRICULTURE; HIS SUBSEQUENT
METHODS AND TEACHING OF AGRICULTURE; HIS FOUNDING OF CERTAIN
SACRIFICES; AND THE HONOURS OF SACRIFICE PAID TO HIM BY THE
HOUSE OF KAU.
Of Hau-ki there is some notice on the tenth ode of the first decade of
the Sacrificial Odes of Kau. To him the kings of Kau traced their
lineage. Of Kiang Yuean, his mother, our knowledge is very scanty. It is
said that she was a daughter of the House of Thai, which traced its
lineage up to Shan-nung in prehistoric times. From the first stanza of
this piece it appears that she was married, and had been so for some
time without having any child. But who her husband was it is impossible
to say with certainty. As the Kau surname was Ki, he must have been one
of the descendants of Hwang Ti.
The first birth of (our) people Was from Kiang Yuean. How did she give
birth to (our) people She had presented a pure offering and sacrificed,
[1. 'The white millet,' a valuable species, grown near the Fang,
suggests to the writer the idea of all the men of ability whom Wu
collected around him.
2. Our 'people' is of course the people of Kau. The whole piece is about
the individual from whom the House of Kau sprang, of which were the
kings of the dynasty so called.
3. To whom Kiang Yuean sacrificed and prayed we are not told, but I
receive the impression that it was to God,--see the next stanza,--and
that she did so all alone with the special object which is mentioned.]
That her childlessness might be taken away. She then trod on a toe-print
made by God, and was moved, In the large place where she rested. She
became pregnant; she dwelt retired; She gave birth to, and nourished (a
son), Who was Hau-ki.
When she had fulfilled her months, Her firstborn son (came forth) like a
lamb. There was no bursting, nor rending, No injury, no hurt; Showing
how wonderful he would be. Did not God give her the comfort? Had he not
accepted her pure offering and sacrifice, So that thus easily she
brought forth her son?
He was placed in a narrow lane, But the sheep and oxen protected him
with loving care. He was placed in a wide forest, Where he was met
with by the wood-cutters. He was placed on the cold ice, And a bird
screened and supported him with its wings. When the bird went away,
Hau-ki began to wail. His cry was long and loud, So that his voice
filled the whole way.
[1. The 'toe-print made by God' has occasioned much speculation of the
critics. We may simply draw the conclusion that the poet meant to have
his readers believe with him that the conception of his hero was
supernatural. We saw in the third of the Sacrificial Odes of Shang that
there was also a legend assigning a praeternatural birth to the father of
the House of Shang.
2 It does not appear from the ode who exposed the infant to these
various perils; nor did Chinese tradition ever fashion any story on the
subject. Mao makes the exposure to have been made by Mang Yuean's
husband, dissatisfied with what had taken place; Kang, by the mother
herself, to show the more the wonderful character of her child. Readers
will compare the accounts with the Roman legends about Romulus and
Remus, their mother and her father; but the two legends differ according
to the different characters, of the Chinese and Roman peoples.]
When he was able to crawl, He looked majestic and intelligent. When he
was able to feed himself, He fell to planting beans. The beans grew
luxuriantly; His rows of paddy shot up beautifully; His hemp and wheat
grew strong and close; His gourds yielded abundantly.
The husbandry of Hau-ki Proceeded on the plan of helping (the growth).
Having cleared away the thick grass, He sowed the ground with the yellow
cereals. He managed the living grain, till it was ready to burst; Then
he used it as seed, and it sprang up; It grew and came into car; It
became strong and good; It hung down, every grain complete; And thus he
was appointed lord of Thai.
He gave (his people) the beautiful grains;-The black millet and the
double-kernelled, The tall red and the white. They planted extensively
the black and the double-kernelled, Which were reaped and stacked on the
ground. They planted extensively the tall red and the white, Which were
carried on their shoulders and backs, Home for the sacrifices which he
And how as to our sacrifices (continued from him)?
[1. Hau-ki's mother, we have seen, was a princess of Thai, in the
present district of Wu-kung, Khien Kau, Shen-hsi. This may have led to
his appointment to that principality, and the transference of the
lordship from Kiangs to Kis. Evidently he was appointed to that dignity
for his services in the promotion of agriculture. Still be has not
displaced the older Shan-nung, with whom on his father's side he had a
connexion, as 'the Father of Husbandry.'
2. This is not to be understood of sacrifice in general, as if there had
been no such thing before Hau-ki; but of the sacrifices of the of House
of Kau,--those in the ancestral temple and others,--which began with him
as its great ancestor.]
Some hull (the grain); some take it from the mortar; Some sift it; some
tread it. It is rattling in the dishes; It is distilled, and the steam
floats about. We consult; we observe the rites of purification; We
take southernwood and offer it with the fat; We sacrifice a ram to the
spirit of the path; We offer roast flesh and broiled:--And thus
introduce the coming year.
We load the stands with the offerings, The stands both of wood and of
earthenware. As soon as the fragrance ascends, God, well pleased, smells
the sweet savour. Fragrant it is, and in its due season. Hau-ki
founded our sacrifices, And no one, we presume, has given occasion for
blame or regret in regard to them, Down to the present day.
ODE 2. THE HSIN WEI.
A FESTAL ODE, CELEBRATING SOME ENTERTAINMENT GIVEN BY THE KING
TO HIS RELATIVES, WITH THE TRIAL OF ARCHERY AFTER THE FEAST;
CELEBRATING ESPECIALLY THE HONOUR DONE ON SUCH OCCASIONS TO THE
This ode is given here, because it is commonly taken as a prelude to the
next. Ku Hsi interprets it of the feast, given by, the
[1. That is, we divine about the day, and choose the officers to take
part in the service.
2. A sacrifice was offered to the spirit of the road on commencing a
journey, and we see here that it was offered also in connexion with the
king's going to the ancestral temple or the border altar.
3. It does not appear clearly what sacrifices the poet had in view here.
I think they must be all those in which the kings of Kau appeared as the
principals or sacrificers. The concluding line is understood to intimate
that the kings were not to forget that a prosperous agriculture was the
foundation of their prosperity.
4. In this stanza we have the peculiar honour paid to Kau-ki by his
descendants at one of the great border sacrifices to God,--the same to
which the last ode in the first decade of the Sacrificial Odes of Kau
king, at the close of the sacrifice in the ancestral temple, to the
princes of his own surname. There are difficulties in the interpretation
of the piece on this view, which, however, is to be preferred to any other.
In thick patches are those rushes, Springing by the way-side:--Let not
the cattle and sheep trample them. Anon they will grow up; anon they
will be completely formed, With their leaves soft and glossy. Closely
related are brethren; Let none be absent, let all be near. For some
there are mats spread; For some there are given Stools .
The mats are spread, and a second one above; The stools are given, and
there are plenty of servants. (The guests) are pledged, and they pledge
(the host) in return; He rinses the cups (and refills them, but the
guests) put them down, Sauces and pickles are brought in, With roasted
meat and broiled. Excellent provisions there are of tripe and palates;
With singing to lutes, and with drums.
The ornamented bows are strong, And the four arrows are all balanced.
They discharge the arrows, and all hit, And the guests are arranged
according to their skill. The ornamented bows are drawn to the full, And
the arrows are grasped in the hand. They go straight to the mark as if
[1. In the rushes growing up densely from a common root we have an
emblem of brothers all sprung from the same ancestor; and in the plants
developing. so finely, when preserved from injury, an emblem of the
happy fellowships of consanguinity, when nothing is allowed to interfere
with mutual confidence and good, feeling.
2. In a previous note I have said that chairs and tables had not come
into use in those early times. Guests sat and feasts were spread on mats
on the floor; for the aged, however, stools were. placed on which they
could lean forward.]
in it, And the guests are arranged according to the humble propriety of
The distant descendant presides over the feast; His sweet spirits are
strong. He fills their cups from a large vase, And prays for the hoary
old (among his guests):--That with hoary age and wrinkled back, They may
lead on one another (to virtue), and' support one another (in it); That
so their old age may be blessed, And their bright happiness ever increased.
ODE 3. THE KI ZUI.
RESPONSIVE TO THE LAST:--THE UNCLES AND BRETHREN OF THE KING
EXPRESS THEIR SENSE OF HIS KINDNESS, AND THEIR WISHES FOR HIS
HAPPINESS, MOSTLY IN THE WORDS IN WHICH THE PERSONATORS OF THE
DEPARTED ANCESTORS HAD CONVEYED THEIR SATISFACTION WITH THE
SACRIFICE OFFERED TO THEM, AND PROMISED TO HIM THEIR BLESSING.
You have made us drink to the full of your spirit; You have satiated us
with your kindness. May you enjoy, O our lord,, myriads of years! May
your bright happiness (ever) be increased!
You have made us drink to the full of your spirits; Your viands were set
out before us. May you enjoy, O our lord, myriads of years! May your
bright intelligence ever be increased!
May your bright intelligence become perfect, High and brilliant, leading
to a good end! That good end has (now) its beginning:--The personators
of your ancestors announced it in their blessing.
What was their announcement? '(The offerings) in your dishes of bamboo
and wood are clean and fine. Your friends , assisting in the service,
Have done their part with reverent demeanour.
'Your reverent demeanour was altogether what the occasion required; And
also that of your filial son . For such filial piety, continued
without ceasing, There will. ever be conferred blessings upon you.'
What will the blessings be? 'That along the passages of your palace, You
shall move for ten thousand years, And there will be granted to you for
ever dignity and posterity.'
How as to your posterity? 'Heaven invests you with your dignity; Yea,
for ten thousand years, The bright appointment is attached (to your line).'
How is it attached? 'There is given you a heroic wife. There is given
you a heroic wife, And from her shall come the (line of) descendants.'
ODE 4. THE HU I.
AN ODE APPROPRIATE TO THE FEAST GIVEN TO THE PERSONATORS OF THE
DEPARTED, ON THE DAY AFTER THE SACRIFICE IN THE ANCESTRAL TEMPLE.
This supplementary sacrifice on the day after the principal service in
the temple appeared in the ninth Book of the fourth Part of the Shu; and
of the feast after it to the personators of the dead I have spoken on p.
The wild-ducks and widgeons are on the King;
[1. That is, the guests, visitors, and officers of the court.
2. Towards the end of the sacrificial service, the eldest son of the
king joined in pledging the representatives of their ancestors.
3. The King is an affluent of the Wei, not far from Wu's capital of Hao.
The birds, feeling at home in its waters, on its sands, &c., serve to
introduce the parties feasted, in a situation where they might relax
from the gravity of the preceding day, and be happy.]
The personators of your ancestors feast and are happy. Your spirits are
clear; Your viands are fragrant. The personators of your ancestors feast
and drink;--Their happiness and dignity are made complete.
The wild-ducks and widgeons are on the sand; The personators of the dead
enjoy the feast, their appropriate tribute. Your spirits are abundant;
Your viands are good. The personators of your ancestors feast and
drink;--Happiness and dignity lend them their aids.
The wild-ducks and widgeons are on the islets; The personators of your
ancestors feast and enjoy themselves. Your spirits are strained; Your
viands are in slices. The personators of your ancestors feast and
drink;--Happiness and dignity descend on them.
The wild-ducks and widgeons are where the waters meet; The personators
of your ancestors feast and are honoured. The feast is spread in the
ancestral temple. The place where happiness and dignity descend. The
personators of your ancestors feast and drink;--Their happiness and
dignity are at the highest point.
The wild-ducks and widgeons are in the gorge; The personators of your
ancestors rest, full of complacency. The fine spirits are delicious;
Your meat, roast and broiled, is fragrant. The personators of your
ancestors feast and drink;--No troubles will be theirs after this.
ODE 5, STANZA 1. THE KIA LO.
IN PRAISE OF SOME KING, WHOSE VIRTUE SECURED TO HIM THE FAVOUR
Perhaps the response of the feasted personators of the ancestors.
Of our admirable, amiable sovereign Most illustrious is the excellent
virtue. He orders rightly the people, orders rightly the officers, And
receives his dignity from Heaven, Which protects and helps him, and
(confirms) his appointment, By repeated acts of renewal from heaven.
ODE 8. THE KHUeAN A.
ADDRESSED, PROBABLY, BY THE DUKE OF SHAO TO KING KHANG, DESIRING
FOR HIM LONG PROSPERITY, AND CONGRATULATING HIM, IN ORDER TO
ADMONISH HIM, ON THE HAPPINESS OF HIS PEOPLE, THE NUMBER OF HIS
ADMIRABLE OFFICERS, AND THE AUSPICIOUS OMEN ARISING FROM THE
APPEARANCE OF THE PHOENIX.
The duke of Shao was the famous Shih, who appears in the fifth and other
Books of the fifth Part of the Shu, the colleague of the duke of Kin in
the early days of the Kau dynasty. This piece may have been composed by
him, but there is no evidence in it that it was so. The assigning it to
him rests entirely on the authority of the preface. The language,
however, is that in which an old statesman of that time might express
his complacency in his young sovereign.
Into the recesses of the large mound Came the wind, whirling from the
south. There was (our) happy, courteous sovereign, Rambling and singing;
And I took occasion to give forth my notes.
'Full of spirits you ramble; Full of satisfaction you rest. O happy and
courteous sovereign, May you fulfil your years, And end them like your
'Your territory is great and glorious, And perfectly secure. O happy and
courteous sovereign, May you fulfil your years, As the host of all the
'You have received the appointment long acknowledged, With peace around
your happiness and dignity. O happy and courteous sovereign, May you
fulfil your years, With pure happiness your constant possession!
'You have helpers and supporters, Men of filial piety and' of virtue, To
lead you on, and act as wings to you, (So that), O happy and courteous
sovereign, You are a pattern to the four quarters (of the kingdom).
Full of dignity and majesty (are they), Like a
[1. 'Host of the hundred--i.e., of all--the spirits' is one of the
titles of the sovereign of China. It was and is his prerogative to offer
the great 'border sacrifices' to Heaven and Earth, or, as Confucius
explains. them, to God, and to the spirits of his ancestors in his
ancestral temple; and in his progresses (now neglected), among the
states, to the spirits of the hills and 'rivers throughout the kingdom.
Every feudal prince could only sacrifice to the hills and streams within
his own territory. Under the changed conditions of the government of
China, the sacrificial ritual of the emperor still retains the substance
of whatever belonged to the sovereigns in this respect from the earliest
dynasties. On the text here, Khung Ying-ta of the Thang dynasty said,
'He who possesses all under the sky, sacrifices to all the spirits, and
thus he is the host of them all.' Ku Hsi said on it, 'And always be the
host of (the spirits of) Heaven and Earth, of the hills and rivers, and
of the departed.' The term 'host' does not imply any superiority of rank
on the part of the entertainer. In the greatest sacrifices the emperor
acknowledges himself as 'the servant or subject of Heaven.' See the
prayer of the first of the present Manchau line of emperors, in
announcing that he had ascended the throne, at the altar of Heaven and
Earth, in 1644, as translated by the Rev. Dr. Edkins in the chapter on
Imperial Worship, in the recent edition of his 'Religion in China.']
jade-mace(in its purity), The subject of praise, the contemplation of
hope. O happy and courteous sovereign, (Through them) the four quarters
(of the kingdom) are guided by you.
'The male and female phoenix fly about , Their wings rustling, While
they settle in their proper resting-place. Many are your admirable
officers, O king, Ready to be employed by you, Loving you, the Son of
'The male and female phoenix fly about, Their wings rustling, As they
soar up to heaven. Many are your admirable officers, O king, Waiting for
your commands, And loving the multitudes of the people, The male and
female phoenix give out their notes, On that lofty ridge. The dryandras
grow, On those eastern slopes. They grow luxuriantly; And harmoniously
the notes resound.
[1. The phoenix (so the creature has been named) is a fabulous bird, 'the
chief of the 360 classes of the winged tribes.' It is mentioned in the
fourth Book of the second Part of the Shu, as appearing in the courtyard
of Shun; and the appearance of a pair of them has always been understood
to denote a sage on the throne and prosperity in the country. Even
Confucius (Analects, IX, viii) could not express his hopelessness about
his own times more strongly than by saying that 'the phoenix did not make
its appearance.' He was himself also called 'a phoenix,' in derision, by
one of the recluses of his time (Analects, XVIII, v). The type of' the
bird was, perhaps, the Argus pheasant, but the descriptions of it are of
a monstrous creature, having' a fowl's head, a swallow's chin, a
serpent's neck, a fish's tail,' &c. It only lights on the dryandra
cordifolia, of which tree also many marvellous stories are related. The
poet is not to be understood as saying that the phoenix actually
appeared; but that the king was Age and his government prosperous, as if
it had appeared.]
'Your chariots, O sovereign, Are numerous, many. Your horses, O
sovereign, Are well trained and fleet. I have made my few verses, In
prolongation of your song.'
ODE 9, STANZA 1. THE MIN LAO.
IN A TIME OF DISORDER AND SUFFERING, SOME OFFICER OF,
DISTINCTION CALLS ON HIS FELLOWS TO JOIN WITH HIM TO EFFECT A
REFORMATION IN THE CAPITAL, AND PUT AWAY THE PARTIES WHO WERE
THE CAUSE OF THE PREVAILING MISERY.
With the Khuean A, what are called the 'correct' odes of Part III, or
those belonging to a period of good government, and the composition of
which is ascribed mainly to the duke of Kau, come to an end; and those
that follow are the 'changed' Major Odes of the Kingdom, or those
belonging to a degenerate period, commencing with this. Some among them,
however, are equal to any of the former class. The Min Lao has been
assigned to duke Mu of Shao, a descendant of duke Khang, the Shih of the
Shu, the reputed author of the Khuean A, and was directed against king
Li, B.C. 878 to 828.
The people indeed are heavily burdened, But perhaps a little relief may
be got for them. Let us cherish this centre of the kingdom, To secure
the repose of the four quarters of it. Let us give no indulgence to the
wily and obsequious, In order to make the unconscientious careful, And
to repress robbers and oppressors, Who have no fear of the clear will
(of Heaven). Then let us show kindness to those who are distant, And
help those who are near,--Thus establishing (the throne of) our king.
[1. 'The clear will,' according to Ku Hsi, is 'the clear appointment of
Heaven;' according to Ku Kung-khien, 'correct principle.' They both mean
the law of human duty, as gathered from the nature of man's moral
constitution conferred by Heaven.]
ODE 10. THE PAN.
AN OFFICER OF EXPERIENCE MOURNS OVER THE PREVAILING MISERY;
COMPLAINS OF THE WANT OF SYMPATHY WITH HIM SHOWN BY OTHER
OFFICERS; ADMONISHES THEM, AND SETS FORTH THE DUTY REQUIRED OF
THEM, ESPECIALLY IN THE ANGRY MOOD IN WHICH IT MIGHT SEEM THAT
This piece, like the last, is assigned to the time of king Li.
God has reversed (his usual course of procedure), And the lower
people are full of distress. The words which you utter are not right;
The plans which you form are not far-reaching. As there are not sages,
you think you have no guidance;--You have no real sincerity. (Thus) your
plans do not reach far, And I therefore strongly admonish you.
Heaven is now sending down calamities;--Do not be so complacent. Heaven
is now producing such movements;--Do not be so indifferent. If your
words were harmonious, The people would become united. If your words
were gentle and kind, The people would be settled.
Though my duties are different from yours, I am your fellow-servant. I
come to advise with you, And you hear me with contemptuous indifference,
My words are about the (present urgent) affairs;--Do not think them
matter for laughter. The ancients had a saying:--'Consult the gatherers
of grass and firewood.'
[1. The proof of God's having reversed his usual course of procedure was
to be found in the universal misery of the people, whose good He was
understood to desire, and for the securing of which government by,
righteous kings was maintained by him.
2 If ancient worthies thought that persons in such mean employments were
to he consulted surely, the advice of the writer deserved to be taken
into account by his comrades.]
Heaven is now exercising oppression;--Do not in such a way make a mock
of things. An old man, (I speak) with entire sincerity; But you, my
juniors, are full of pride. It is not that my words are those of age,
But you make a joke of what is sad. But the troubles will multiply like
flames, Till they are beyond help or remedy.
Heaven is now displaying its anger;--Do not be either boastful or
flattering, Utterly departing from all propriety of demeanour, Till good
men are reduced to personators of the dead . The people now sigh and
groan, And we dare not examine (into the causes of their trouble). The
ruin and disorder are exhausting all their means of living, And we show
no kindness to our multitudes.
Heaven enlightens the people , As the bamboo flute responds to the
earthen whistle; As two half-maces form a whole one; As you take a
thing, and bring it away in your hand, Bringing it away, without any
more ado. The enlightenment of the people is very easy. They have (now)
many perversities;--Do not you set up your perversity before them.
Good men are a fence; The multitudes of the people are a wall; Great
states are screens; Great families are buttresses;--The cherishing of virtue
[1. During all the time of the sacrifice, the personators of the dead
said not a word, but only ate and drank. To the semblance of them good
men were now reduced.
2. The meaning is, that Heaven has so attuned the mind to virtue, that,
if good example were set before the people, they would certainly and
readily follow it. This is illustrated by various instances of things,
in which the one succeeded the other freely and as it necessarily; so
that government by virtue was really very easy.]
secures repose; The circle of (the king's) relatives is a fortified
wall. We must not let the fortified wall get destroyed; We must not let
(the king) be solitary and consumed with terrors.
Revere the anger of Heaven, And presume not to make sport or be idle.
Revere the changing moods of Heaven, And presume not to drive about (at
your pleasure). Great Heaven is intelligent, And is with you in all your
goings. Great Heaven is clear-seeing, And is with you in your wanderings
The Third Decade, or that of Tang.
ODE 1. THE TANG.
WARNINGS, SUPPOSED TO BE ADDRESSED TO KING LI, ON THE ISSUES OF
THE COURSE WHICH HE WAS PURSUING, SHOWING THAT THE MISERIES OF
THE TIME AND THE IMMINENT DANGER OF RUIN WERE TO BE ATTRIBUTED,
NOT TO HEAVEN, BUT TO HIMSELF AND HIS MINISTERS.
This ode, like the ninth of the second decade, is attributed to duke Mu
of Shao. The structure of the piece is peculiar, for, after the first
stanza, we have king Win introduced delivering a series of warnings to
Kau-hsin, the last king of the Shang dynasty. They are put into Win's
mouth, in the hope that Li, if, indeed, he was the monarch whom the
writer had in view, would transfer the figure of Kau-hsin to himself,
and alter his course so as to avoid a similar ruin.
How vast is God, The ruler of men below! How arrayed in terrors is God,
With many things irregular in his ordinations. Heaven gave birth to the
multitudes of the people, But the nature it confers is not to be
depended on. All are (good) at first, But few prove themselves to be so
at the last.
King Wan said, 'Alas! Alas! you sovereign of Shang, That you should have
such violently oppressive ministers, That you should have such
extortionate exactors, That you should have them in offices, That you
should have them in the conduct of affairs! "Heaven made them with their
insolent dispositions;" But it is you who employ them, and give them
King Wan said, 'Alas! Alas! you (sovereign of) Yin-shang, You ought to
employ such as are good, But (you employ instead) violent oppressors,
who cause many dissatisfactions. They respond to you with baseless
stories, And (thus) robbers and thieves are in your court. Hence come
oaths and curses, Without limit, without end.'
King Wan said, 'Alas! Alas! you (sovereign of) Yin-shang, You show a
strong fierce will in the centre of the kingdom, And consider the
contracting of enmities a proof of virtue. All-unintelligent are you. Of
your (proper) virtue, And so, you have no (good) men behind you, nor by
your side. Without any intelligence of your (proper) virtue, You have no
(good) intimate adviser or minister.'
King Wan said, 'Alas! Alas! you (sovereign of) Yin-shang, It is not
Heaven that flushes your face with spirits, So that you follow what is
evil and imitate it. You go wrong in all your conduct; You make no
distinction between the light and the
[1. The meaning seems to be that, whatever miseries might prevail, and
be ignorantly ascribed to God, they were in reality owing to men's
neglect of the law of Heaven inscribed on their hearts.]
darkness; But amid clamour and shouting, You turn the day into night.'
King Wan said, 'Alas! Alas! you (sovereign of) Yin-shang, (All round
you) is like the noise of cicadas, Or like the bubbling of boiling soup.
Affairs, great and small, are approaching to ruin, And still you (and
your creatures) go on in this course. Indignation is rife against you
here in the Middle Kingdom, And extends to the demon regions .'
King Wan said, 'Alas! Alas! you (sovereign of) Yin-shang, It is not God
that has caused this evil time, But it arises from Yin's not using the
old (ways). Although you have not old experienced men, There are still
the ancient statutes and laws. But you will not listen to them, And so
your great appointment is being overthrown.'
King Wan said, 'Alas! Alas! you (sovereign of) Shang, People have a
saying, "When a tree falls utterly, While its branches and leaves are
yet uninjured, It must first have been uprooted." The beacon of Yin is
not far distant;--It is in the age of the (last) sovereign of Hsia.'
[1. We speak of 'turning night into day.' The tyrant of Shang turned day
into night, Excesses, generally committed in darkness, were by him done
2 These 'demon regions' are understood to mean the seat of the Turkic
tribes to the north of China, known from the earliest times by various
names-'The hill Zung,' 'the northern Li,' 'the Hsien-yun,' &c. Towards
the beginning of our era, they were called Hsiung-nu, from which,
perhaps, came the name Huns; and some centuries later, Thu-kueeh
(Thuh-kueeh), from which came Turk. We are told in the Yi, under the
diagram Ki-ki, that Kao Zung (B.C. 1324-1266) conducted an expedition
against the demon regions, and in three years subdued them.]
ODE 2. THE YI.
CONTAINING VARIOUS COUNSELS WHICH DUKE WU OF WEI MADE TO
ADMONISH HIMSELF, WHEN HE WAS OVER HIS NINETIETH YEAR;
ESPECIALLY ON THE DUTY OF A RULER TO BE CAREFUL OF HIS OUTWARD
DEMEANOUR, FEELING THAT HE IS EVER UNDER THE INSPECTION OF
SPIRITUAL BEINGS, AND TO RECEIVE WITH DOCILITY INSTRUCTIONS
DELIVERED TO HIM.
The sixth ode in the seventh decade of the Minor Odes of the Kingdom is
attributed to the same duke of Wei as this; and the two bear traces of
having proceeded from the same writer. The external authorities for
assigning this piece to duke Wu are the statement of the preface and an
article in the 'Narratives of the States,' a work already referred to as
belonging to the period of the Kau dynasty. That article relates how Wu,
at the age of ninety-five, insisted on all his ministers and officers
being instant, in season and out of season, to admonish him on his
conduct, and that 'he made the warnings in the I to admonish himself.'
The I is understood to be only another name for this Yi. Thus the
speaker throughout the piece is Wu, and 'the young Son,' whom he
sometimes addresses, is himself also. The conception of the writer in
taking such a method to admonish himself, and give forth the lessons of
his long life, is very remarkable; and the execution of it is successful.
Outward demeanour, cautious and grave, Is an indication of the (inward)
virtue. People have the saying, 'There is no wise man who is not (also)
stupid.' The stupidity of the ordinary man Is determined by his
(natural) defects. The stupidity of the wise man Is from his doing
violence (to his proper character).
What is most powerful is the being the man ;--
[1. Wu writes as the marquis of Wei, the ruler of a state; but what he
says is susceptible of universal application. In every smaller sphere,
and in the largest, 'being the man,' displaying, that is, the proper
qualities of humanity, will be appreciated and felt.]
In all quarters (of the state) men are influenced by it. To an upright
virtuous conduct All in the four quarters of the state render obedient
homage. With great counsels and determinate orders, With far-reaching
plans and timely announcements, And with reverent care of his outward
demeanour, One will become the pattern of the people.
As for the circumstances of the present time, You are bent on error and
confusion in your government. Your virtue is subverted; You are besotted
by drink . Although you thus pursue nothing but pleasure, How is it
you do not think of your relation to the past, And do not widely study
the former kings, That you might hold fast their wise laws?
Shall not those whom great Heaven does not approve of, Surely as the
waters flow from a spring, Sink down together in ruin? Rise early and go
to bed late, Sprinkle and sweep your courtyard;--So as to be a pattern
to the people . Have in good order your chariots and horses, Your
bows and arrows, and (other) weapons of war;--To be prepared for warlike
action, To keep at a distance (the hordes of) the south.
Perfect what concerns your officers and people;
[1. Han Ying (who has been mentioned in the Introduction) says that Wu
made the sixth ode of the seventh decade of the former Part against
drunkenness, when he was repenting of his own giving way to that vice.
His mention of the habit here, at the age of ninety-five, must be
understood as a warning to other rulers.
2. Line 3 describes things important to the cultivation of one's self;
and line 4, things important to the regulation of one's family. They may
seem unimportant, it is said,. as compared with the defence of the
state, spoken of in the last four lines of the stanza; but the ruler
ought not to neglect them.]
Be careful of your duties as a prince (of the kingdom). To be prepared
for unforeseen dangers, Be cautious of what you say; Be reverentially
careful of your outward behaviour; In all things be mild and correct. A
flaw in a mace of white jade May be ground away; But for a flaw in
speech Nothing can be done.
Do not speak lightly; your words are your own. Do not say, 'This is
of little importance; No one can hold my tongue for me.' Words are not
to be cast away. Every word finds its answer; Every good deed has its
recompense. If you are gracious among your friends, And to the people,
as if they were you: children, Your descendants will continue in
unbroken line, And all the people will surely be obedient to you.
Looked at in friendly intercourse with superior men, You make your
countenance harmonious and mild; Anxious not to do anything wrong.
Looked at in your chamber, You ought to be equally free from shame
before the light which shines in. Do not say, 'This place is not public;
No one can see me here.' The approaches of spiritual beings Cannot be
calculated beforehand; But the more should they not be slighted .
[1. And therefore every one is himself responsible for his words.
2 Ku Hsi says that from the fourth line this stanza only speaks of the
constant care there should be in watching over one's thoughts; but in
saying so, be overlooks the consideration by which such watchful care is
enforced. Compare what is said of king Wan in the third stanza of the
sixth ode of the first decade. King Wan and duke Wu were both influenced
by the consideration that their inmost thoughts, even when 'unseen by
men,' were open to the inspection of spiritual beings.]
O prince, let your practice of virtue Be entirely good and admirable.
Watch well over your behaviour, And allow nothing wrong in your
demeanour. Committing no excess, doing nothing injurious, There are few
who will not in such a case take you for their pattern. When one throws
to me a peach, I return to him a plum . To look for horns on a young
ram Will only weary you, my son .
The tough and elastic wood Can be fitted with the silken string . The
mild and respectful man Possesses the foundation of virtue. There is a
wise man;--I tell him good words, And he yields to them the practice of
docile virtue. There is a stupid man;--He says on the contrary that my
words are not true:--So different are people's minds.
Oh! my son, When you did not know what was good, and what was not good,
Not only did I lead you by the hand, But I showed the difference between
them by appealing to instances. Not (only) did I charge you face to
face, But I held you by the ear . And still perhaps you do not know,
Although you have held a son in your arms. If people be not
self-sufficient, Who comes to a late maturity after early instruction?
Great Heaven is very intelligent, And I pass,
[1. That is, every deed, in fact, meets with its recompense.
2. See the conclusion of duke Wu's ode against drunkenness. Horns grow
as the young ram grows. Effects must not be expected where there have
not been the conditions from which they naturally spring.
3. Such wood is the proper material for a bow.
4. That is, to secure your attention.]
my life without pleasure. When I see you so dark and stupid, My heart is
full of pain. I taught you with assiduous repetition, And you listened
to me with contempt. You would not consider me as your teacher, But
regarded me as troublesome. Still perhaps you do not know;--But you are
Oh! my son, I have told you the old ways. Hear and follow my
counsels:--Then shall you have no cause for great regret. Heaven is now
inflicting calamities, And is destroying the state. My illustrations are
not taken from things remote:--Great Heaven makes no mistakes. If you go
on to deteriorate in your virtue, You will bring the people to great
ODE 3, STANZAS 1, 2, 3, 4, AND 7. THE SANG ZAU.
THE WRITER MOURNS OVER THE MISERY AND DISORDER OF THE TIMES,
WITH A VIEW TO REPREHEND THE MISGOVERNMENT OF KING LI, APPEALING
ALSO TO HEAVEN TO HAVE COMPASSION.
King Li is not mentioned by name in the piece, but the second line of
stanza 7 can only be explained of him. He was driven from the throne, in
consequence of his misgovernment, in B.C. 842, and only saved his life
by flying to Kih, a place in the present Ho Kau, department Phing-yang,
Shan-hsi, where he remained till his death in B.C. 828. The government
in the meantime was carried on by the dukes of Shao and Kau, whose
administration, called the period of 'Mutual Harmony,' forms an
important chronological era in Chinese history. On the authority of a
reference in the Zo Kwan, the piece is ascribed to an earl of Zui.
Luxuriant is that young mulberry tree, And beneath it wide is the shade;
But they will pluck its leaves till it is quite destroyed. The distress
[1. These three lines are metaphorical of the once flourishing kingdom,
which was now brought to the verge of ruin.]
inflicted on these (multitudes of the) people, Is an unceasing sorrow to
my heart; My commiseration fills (my breast). O thou bright and great
Heaven, Shouldest thou not have compassion on us?
The four steeds (gallop about), eager and strong; The
tortoise-and-serpent and the falcon banners fly about. Disorder grows,
and no peace can be secured. Every state is being ruined; There are no
black heads among the people. Everything is reduced to ashes by
calamity. Oh! alas! The doom of the kingdom hurries on.
There is nothing to arrest the doom of the kingdom; Heaven does not
nourish us. There is no place in which to stop securely; There is no
place to which to go. Superior men are the bonds (Of the social
state), Allowing no love of strife in their hearts. Who reared the
steps of the dissatisfaction , Which has reached the present distress?
The grief of my heart is extreme, And I dwell on (the condition of) our
land. I was born at an unhappy time, To meet with the severe anger of
Heaven. From the west to the east, There is no quiet place of abiding.
Many are the distresses I meet with; Very urgent is the trouble on our
Heaven is sending down death and disorder, And
[1. That is, the war-chariots, each drawn by its team of four horses.
2. The young and able-bodied of the people were slain or absent on
distant expeditions, and only old and gray-headed men were to be seen.
3. Intimating that no such men were now to be found in office.
4. Meaning the king by his misgovernment and employment of bad men.]
has put an end to our king. It is (now) sending down those devourers of
the grain, So that the husbandry is all in evil case. Alas for our
middle states ! All is in peril and going to ruin. I have no strength
(to do anything), And think of (the Power in) the azure vault.
ODE 4. THE YUN HAN.
KING HSUeAN, ON OCCASION OF A GREAT DROUGHT, EXPOSTULATES WITH
GOD AND ALL THE SPIRITS, WHO MIGHT BE EXPECTED TO HELP HIM AND
HIS PEOPLE; ASKS THEM WHEREFORE THEY WERE CONTENDING WITH HIM;
AND DETAILS THE MEASURES HE HAD TAKEN, AND WAS STILL TAKING, FOR
THE REMOVAL OF THE CALAMITY.
King Hsuean does not occur by name in the ode, though the remarkable
prayer which it relates is ascribed to a king in stanza 1. All critics
have admitted the statement of the Preface that the piece was made, in
admiration of king Hsuean, by Zang Shu, a great officer, we may presume,
of the court. The standard chronology places the commencement of the
drought in B.C. 822, the sixth year of Hsuean's reign. How long it
continued we cannot tell.
Bright was the milky way, Shining and revolving in the sky. The king
said, 'Oh! What crime is chargeable on us now, That Heaven (thus) sends
down death and disorder? Famine comes again and again. There is no
spirit I have not sacrificed to; There is no victim I have grudged; Our
[1. We must translate here in the plural, 'the middle states' meaning
all the states subject to the sovereign of Kau.
2. In the Official Book of Kau, among the duties of the Minister of
Instruction, or, as Biot translates the title, 'the Director of the
Multitudes,' it is stated that one of the things he has-to do, on
occurrences of famine, is 'to seek out the spirits,' that is, as
explained by the commentators, to see that sacrifices are offered to all
the spirits, even such as may have been discontinued. This rule had, no
doubt, been acted on during the drought which this ode describes.]
jade symbols, oblong and round, are exhausted;--How is it that I am
'The drought is excessive; Its fervours become more and more tormenting.
I have not ceased offering pure sacrifices; From the border altars I
have gone to the ancestral temple . To the (Powers) above and below I
have presented my offerings and then' buried them;--There is no
spirit whom I have not honoured. Hau-ki is not equal to the occasion;
God does not come to us. This wasting and ruin of our country,--Would
that it fell (only) on me!
'The drought is excessive, And I may not try to excuse myself. I am full
of terror, and feel the peril, Like the clap of thunder or the roll. Of
the remnant of Kau, among the black-haired people, There will not be
half a man left; Nor will God from his great heaven exempt (even) me. Shall
[1. We have, in the sixth Book of the fifth Part of the Shu, an instance
of the use of the symbols here mentioned in sacrificing to the spirits
of departed kings. The Official Book, among the duties of the Minister
of Religion, mentions the use of these and other symbols--in all six, of
different shapes and colours--at the different sacrifices.
2. By 'the border altars' we are to understand the altars in the suburbs
of the capital, where Heaven and Earth were sacrificed to -the great
services at the solstices, and any other seasons. The mention of Hau-ki
in the seventh line makes us think especially of the service in the
spring, to pray for a good year, when Hau-ki was associated with God.
3. 'The (Powers) above and below' are Heaven and Earth. The offerings,
during the progress of the service, were placed on the ground, or on the
altars, and buried in the earth at the close of it. This explains what
the king says in the first stanza about the offerings of jade being
we not mingle our fears together? (The sacrifices to) my ancestors will
'The drought is excessive, And it -cannot be stopped. More fierce and
fiery, It is leaving me no place. My end is near;--I have none to look
up, none to look round, to. The many dukes and their ministers of the
past  Give me no help. O ye parents and (nearer) ancestors , How
can ye bear to see me thus?
'The drought is excessive;--Parched are the hills, and the streams are
dried. The demon of drought exercises his oppression, As if scattering
flames and fire  My heart is terrified with the heat;--My sorrowing
heart is as if on fire. The
[1. Equivalent to the extinction of the dynasty.
2. The king had sacrificed to all the early lords of Kau. 'The many
dukes' may comprehend kings Thai and Ki. He had also sacrificed to their
ministers. Compare what Pan-kang says in the Shu, p. 109, about his
predecessors and their ministers. Some take 'the many dukes, and the
ministers,' of all princes of states who had signalised themselves by
services to the people and kingdom.
3. The king could hardly hope that his father, the oppressive Li, would
in his spirit-state give him any aid; but we need only find in his words
the expression of natural feeling. Probably it was the consideration of
the character of Li which has made some critics understand by 'parents'
and 'ancestors' the same individuals, namely, kings Wan and Wu, 'the
ancestors' of Hsuean, and who had truly been 'the parents' of the people.
4. Khung Ying-ta, from 'the Book of Spirits and Marvels,' gives the
following account of 'the demon of drought:'--'In the southern regions
there is a man, two or three cubits in height, with the upper part of
his body bare, and his eyes in the top of his head. He runs with the
speed of the wind, and is named Po. In whatever state he appears, there
ensues a great drought.' The Book of Spirits and Marvels, however, as it
now exists, cannot be older, than our fourth or fifth century.]
many dukes and their ministers of the past Do not hear me. O God, from
thy great heaven, Grant me the liberty to withdraw (into retirement).
'The drought is excessive;--I struggle and fear to go away. How is it
that I am afflicted with this drought? I cannot ascertain the cause of
it. In praying for a good year I was abundantly early . I was not
late (in sacrificing) to (the spirits of) the four quarters and of the
land . God in great heaven Does not consider me. Reverent to the
intelligent spirits, I ought not to be thus the object of their anger.
'The drought is excessive;--All is dispersion, and the bonds of
government are relaxed. Reduced to extremities are the heads of
departments; Full of distress are my chief ministers, The Master of the
Horse, the Commander of the Guards, The chief Cook, and my
attendants. There is no one who has not (tried to) help (the people);
They have not refrained on the ground of being unable. I look up to the
great heaven;--Why am I plunged in this sorrow?
'I look up to the great heaven, But its stars sparkle bright. My great
officers and excellent men, Ye have reverently drawn near (to Heaven)
[1. That is, to withdraw and give place to a more worthy sovereign.
2. This was the border sacrifice to God, when Hau-ki was associated with
him. Some critics add a sacrifice in -the first month of winter, for a
blessing on the ensuing year, offered to 'the honoured ones of
heaven,'--the sun, moon, and zodiacal constellations.
3. See note 2 on p. 371.
4. See note 1 On p. 356.]
your powers. Death is approaching, But do not cast away what you have
done. You are seeking not for me only, But to give rest to all our
departments. I look up to the great heaven;--When shall I be favoured
ODE 5, STANZAS 1, 2, AND 4. THE SUNG KAO.
CELEBRATING THE APPOINTMENT BY KING HSUeAN OF A RELATIVE TO BE
THE MARQUIS OF SHAN, AND DEFENDER OF THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF THE
KINGDOM, WITH THE ARRANGEMENTS MADE FOR HIS ENTERING ON HIS CHARGE.
That the king who appears in this piece was king Hsuean is sufficiently
established. He appears in it commissioning 'his great uncle,' an elder
brother, that is, of his mother, to go and rule, as marquis of Shan, and
chief or president of the states in the south of the kingdom, to defend
the borders against the encroaching hordes of the south, headed by the
princes of Khu, whose lords bad been rebellious against the middle
states even in the time of the Shang dynasty;--see the last of the
Sacrificial Odes of Shang.
Grandly lofty are the mountains, With their large masses reaching to the
heavens. From those mountains was sent down a spirit, Who produced the
birth of (the princes of) Fu and Shan . Fu and
[1. Shan was a small marquisate, a part of what is the present
department of Nan-yang, Ho-nan. Fu, which was also called Lue, was
another small territory, not far from Shan. The princes of both were
Kiangs, descended from the chief minister of Yao, called in the first
Book of the Shu, 'the Four Mountains.' Other states were ruled by his
descendants, particularly the great state of Khi. When it is said here
that a spirit was sent down from the great mountains, and produced the
birth of (the princes of) Fu and Shan, we have, probably, a legendary
tradition concerning the birth of Yao's minister, which was current
among all his descendants; and with which we may compare the legends
that have come under our notice about the supernatural births of the
ancestors of the founders of the Houses of Shang and Kau. The character
for mountains' in lines 1 and 3 is the same that occurs in the title of
Yao's minister. On the statement about the mountains sending 'down a
spirit, Hwang Hsuen, a critic of the Sung dynasty, says that it is merely
a personification of the poet, to show how high Heaven had a mind to
revive the fortunes of Kau, and that we need not trouble ourselves about
whether there was such a spirit or not!]
Shan Are the support of Kau, Screens to all the states, Diffusing (their
influence) over the four quarters of the kingdom.
Full of activity is the chief of Shin, And the king would employ him to
continue the services (of his fathers), With his capital in Hsieh ,
Where he should be a pattern to the states of the south. The king gave
charge to the earl of Shao, To arrange all about the residence of the
chief of Shin, Where he should do what was necessary for the regions of
the south, And where his posterity might maintain his merit.
Of the services of the chief of Shan The foundation was laid by the earl
of Shao, Who first built the walls (of his city), And then completed his
ancestral temple . When the temple was completed, wide and grand, The
king conferred on the chief of Shao Four noble steeds, With the hooks
for the trappings of the breast-bands, glittering bright.
[1. Hsieh was in the present Fang Kau of the department of Nan-yang.
2. Compare with this the account given, in ode 3 of the first decade, of
the settling of 'the ancient duke Than-fu' in the plain of Kau. Here, as
there, the great religious edifice, the ancestral temple, takes
precedence of all other buildings in the new city.
3. The steeds with their equipments were tokens of the royal favour,
usually granted on occasions of investiture. The. conferring of them was
followed immediately by the departure of the newly-invested prince to
ODE 6, STANZAS 1 AND 7. THE KANG MIN.
CELEBRATING THE VIRTUES OF KUNG SHAN-FU, WHO APPEARS TO HAVE
BEEN ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL MINISTERS OF KING HSUeAN, AND HIS
DESPATCH TO THE EAST, TO FORTIFY THE CAPITAL OF TIM STATE OF KHI.
Heaven, in giving birth to the multitudes of the people, To every
faculty and relationship annexed its law. The people possess this normal
nature, And they (consequently) love its normal virtue . Heaven
beheld the ruler of Kau, Brilliantly affecting it by his conduct below,
And to maintain him, its Son, Gave birth to Kung Shan-fu .
Kung Shan-fu went forth, having sacrificed to the spirit of the road
. His four steeds were strong;
[1. We get an idea of the meaning which has been attached to these four
lines from a very early time by Mencius' quotation of them (VI, i, ch.
6) in support of his doctrine of the goodness of human nature, and the
remark on the piece which he 'attributes to Confucius, that 'the maker
of it knew indeed the constitution (of our nature).' Every faculty,
bodily or mental, has its function to fulfil, and every relationship its
duty to be discharged. The function and the duty are the things which
the human being has to observe:--the seeing clearly, for instance, with
the eyes, and bearing distinctly with the ears; the maintenance of
righteousness between ruler and minister, and of affection between
parent and child. This is the 'normal nature,' and the 'normal virtue'
is the nature fulfilling the various laws of its constitution.
2 The connexion between these four lines and those that precede is
this:--that while Heaven produces all men with the good nature there
described, on occasions it produces others with virtue and powers in a
super-eminent degree. Such an occasion was presented by the case of king
Hsuean, and therefore, to mark its appreciation of him, and for his
help,, it now produced Kung Shan-fu.
3 This was a special sacrifice at the commencement of a journey, or of
an expedition. See note 2 on p. 399.]
His men were alert, He was always anxious lest he should not be equal to
his commission; His steeds went on without stopping, To the tinkling of
their eight bells. The king had given charge to Kung Shan-fu, To fortify
the city there in the east.
ODE 7, STANZAS I AND PART OF 3. THE HAN YI.
CELEBRATING THE MARQUIS OF HAN:--HIS INVESTITURE, AND THE KING S
CHARGE TO HIM; THE GIFTS HE RECEIVED, AND THE PARTING FEAST AT
THE COURT; HIS MARRIAGE; THE EXCELLENCE OF HIS TERRITORY; AND
HIS SWAY OVER THE REGIONS OF THE NORTH.
Only one line--the first of stanza 3--in this interesting piece serves
to illustrate the religious practices of the time, and needs no further
note than what has been given on the first line of stanza 7 in the
preceding ode. The name of the marquisate of Han remains in the district
of Han-khang, department of Hsi-an, Shen-hsi, in which also is mount Liang.
Very grand is the mountain of Liang, Which was made cultivable by Yue.
Bright is the way from it, (Along which came) the marquis of Han to
receive investiture. The king in person gave the charge:--'Continue the
services of your ancestors; Let not my charge to you come to nought. Be
diligent early and late, And reverently discharge your duties:--So shall
my appointment of you not change. Be a support against those princes who
do not come to court, Thus assisting your sovereign.'
When the marquis of Han left the court, he sacrificed to the spirit of
the road. He went forth, and lodged for the night in Tu.
ODE 8, STANZAS 4 AND 5. THE KIANG HAN.
CELEBRATING AN EXPEDITION AGAINST THE SOUTHERN TRIBES OF THE
HWAI, AND THE WORK DONE FOR THE KING IN THEIR COUNTRY, BY HU,
THE EARL OF SHAO, WITH THE MANNER IN WHICH THE KING REWARDED
HIM, AND HE RESPONDED TO THE ROYAL FAVOUR.
Hu was probably the same earl of Shao, who is mentioned in ode 5, as
building his capital of Hsieh for the new marquis of Shan. The lords of
Shao had been distinguished in the service of Kau ever since the rise of
The king gave charge to Hu of Shao:--'You have everywhere made known
(and carried out my orders). When (the kings) Wan and Wu received their
appointment, The duke of Shao was their strong support. You not (only)
have a regard to me the little child But you try to resemble that duke
of Shao. You have commenced and earnestly displayed your merit; And I
will make you happy.
'I give you a large libation-cup of jade, And a jar of herb-flavoured
spirits from the black millet. I have made announcement to the
Accomplished one, And confer on you hills, lands, and fields. In
(Khi-)kau shall you receive investiture, According as your ancestor
received his.' Hu bowed with
[1. See note 2 on p. 386.
2. The cup and the spirits would be used by the earl when sacrificing in
his ancestral temple. Compare the similar gift from king Khang to the
duke of Kau, in the Shu, p. 194. More substantial gifts are immediately
3. 'The Accomplished one' is understood to be king Wan (= 'the
Accomplished king'). He was the founder of the Kau dynasty. To him the
kingdom had first come by the appointment and gift of Heaven. It was the
duty therefore of his successors, in making grants of territory to
meritorious officers, to announce them to him in Khi-kau, the old
territory of the family, and obtain, as it were, his leave for what they
his head to the ground (and said), 'May the Son of Heaven live for ever!'
ODE 10, STANZAS 1, 5, 6, AND 7. THE KAN ZANG.
THE WRITER DEPLORES, WITH AN APPEALING WAIL TO HEAVEN, THE
MISERY AND OPPRESSION THAT PREVAILED, AND INTIMATES THAT THEY
WERE CAUSED BY THE INTERFERENCE OF WOMEN AND EUNUCHS IN THE
The king addressed in this piece was most probably Yu. It suits his
character and reign.
I look up to great Heaven, But it shows us no kindness. Very long have
we been disquieted, And these great calamities are sent down (upon us).
There is nothing settled in the country; Officers and people are in
distress. Through the insects from without and from within, There is no
peace or limit (to our misery). The net of crime is not taken up, And
there is no peace nor cure (for our state).
Why is it that Heaven is (thus) reproving (you)? Why is it that Heaven
is not blessing (you)? You neglect your great barbarian (foes), And
regard me with hatred. You are regardless of the evil omens (that abound
), And your demeanour is all unseemly. (Good) men are going away, And
the country is sure to go to ruin.
Heaven is letting down its net, And many (are the calamities in it).
(Good) men are going away, And my heart is sorrowful. Heaven is letting down
[1. By 'the net of crime' we are to understand the multitude of penal
laws, to whose doom people were exposed. In stanza 6, Heaven is
represented as letting it down.
2. Compare ode 9 of the fourth decade in the former Part.]
its net, And soon (all will be caught in it). (Good) men are going away,
And my heart is sad.
Right from the spring comes the water bubbling, Revealing its depth. The
sorrow of my heart,--Is it (only) of to-day? Why were these things not,
before me? Or why were they not after me? But mysteriously great Heaven
Is able to strengthen anything. Do not disgrace your great ancestors
This will save your posterity.
ODE 11, STANZAS 1 AND 2. THE SHAO MIN.
THE WRITER APPEALS TO HEAVEN, BEMOANING THE MISERY AND RUIN
WHICH WERE GOING ON, AND SHOWING HOW THEY WERE DUE TO THE KING'S
EMPLOYMENT OF MEAN AND WORTHLESS CREATURES.
Compassionate Heaven is arrayed in angry terrors. Heaven is indeed
sending down ruin, Afflicting us with famine, So that the people are all
wandering fugitives. In the settled regions, and on the borders, all is
Heaven sends down its net of crime;--Devouring insects, who weary and
confuse men's minds, Ignorant, oppressive, negligent, Breeders of
confusion, utterly perverse:--These are the men employed.
[1. The writer in these concluding lines ventures to summon the king to
repentance, and to hold out a hope that there might come a change in
their state. He does this, believing that all things are possible with
IV. LESSONS FROM THE STATES.
ODES AND STANZAS ILLUSTRATING THE RELIGIOUS VIEWS AND PRACTICES OF
THE WRITERS AND THEIR TIMES.
IT has been stated in the Introduction, p. 276, that the first Part of
the Shih, called the Kwo Fang, or 'Lessons from the States,' consists of
160 pieces, descriptive of manners and events in several of the feudal
states into which the kingdom of Kau was divided. Nearly all of them are
short; and the passages illustrating the religious views and practices
of their times are comparatively few. What passages there are, however,
of this nature will all be found below. The pieces are not arranged in
decades, as in the Odes of the Kingdom, but in Books, under the names of
the states in which they were produced.
Although the Kwo Fang form, as usually published, the first Part of the
Shih, nearly all of them are more recent in their origin than the pieces
of the other Parts. They bring us face to face with the states of the
kingdom, and the ways of their officers and people for several centuries
of the dynasty of Kau.
BOOK II. THE ODES OF SHAO AND THE SOUTH.
THE Shu and previous portions of the Shih have made us familiar with
Shao, the name of the appanage of Shih, one of the principal ministers
at the court of Kau in the first two reigns of the dynasty. The site of
the city of Shao was in the present department of Fang-khiang, Shen-hsi.
The first possessor of it, along with the still more famous duke of Kau,
remained at court, to watch over the fortunes of the new dynasty. They
were known as 'the highest dukes' and 'the two great chiefs,' the duke
of Kau having charge of the eastern portions of the kingdom, and the
other of the western. The pieces in this Book are supposed to have been
produced in Shao, and the principalities south of it within his
jurisdiction, by the duke.
ODE 2. THE ZHAI FAN.
CELEBRATING THE INDUSTRY AND REVERENCE OF A PRINCE'S WIFE,
ASSISTING HIM IN SACRIFICING.
We must suppose the ladies of a harem, in one Of the states of the
south, admiring and praising in these simple stanzas the way in which
their mistress discharged her duties. A view of the ode maintained by
many is that the lady gathered the southernwood, not to use it in
sacrificing, but in the nurture, of the silkworms under her care; but
the evidence of the characters in the text is, on the whole, in favour
of the more common view. Constant reference is made to the piece by
Chinese moralists, to show that the most trivial things are accepted in
sacrifice, when there are reverence and sincerity in the presenting of them.
One critic asked Ku Hsi whether it was conceivable that the wife of a
prince did herself what is here related, and he replied that the poet
said so. Another has observed that if the lady ordered and employed
others, it was still her own doing. But that the lady did it herself is
not incredible, when we consider the simplicity of those early times, in
the twelfth century B.C.
She gathers the white southernwood, By the ponds, on the islets. She
employs it, In the business of our prince.
She gathers the white southernwood, Along the streams in the valleys.
She employs it, In the temple  of our prince.
[1. If the character here translated 'temple' had no other signification
but that, there would-be an end of the dispute about the meaning of the
piece. But while we find it often used- of the ancestral temple, it may
also mean any building, especially one of a large and public character,
such as a palace or. mansion; and hence some contend that it should be
interpreted here of 'the silkworm house.' We are to conceive of the
lady, after, having gathered the materials for sacrificial use, then
preparing them according to rule, and while it is yet dark on the
morning of the -sacrificial day, going with them into the temple, and
setting them forth in their proper vessels and places.]
With head-dress reverently rising aloft, Early, while yet it is night,
she is in the prince's (temple). In her head-dress, slowly retiring, She
returns (to her own apartments).
ODE 4. THE ZHAI PIN.
CELEBRATING THE DILIGENCE AND REVERENCE OF THE YOUNG WIFE OF AN
OFFICER, DOING HER PART IN SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS.
She gathers the large duckweed, By the banks of the stream in the
southern valley. She gathers the pondweed, In those pools left by the
She deposits what she gathers, In her square baskets and round ones. She
boils it, In her tripods and pans.
She sets forth her preparations, Under the window in the ancestral
chamber. Who superintends the business? It is (this) reverent young lady.
[1. 'The ancestral chamber' was a room behind the temple of the family,
dedicated specially to the ancestor of the officer whose wife is the
subject of the piece. The princes of states were succeeded, as a rule,
by the eldest son of the wife proper. Their sons by other wives were
called 'other sons.' The eldest son by the wife proper of one of them
became the 'great ancestor' of the clan descended from him, and 'the
ancestral chamber' was an apartment dedicated to him. Mao and other
interpreters, going on certain statements as to the training of
daughters in the business of sacrificing in this apartment for three
months previous to their marriage, contend that the lady spoken of here
was not yet married, but was only undergoing this preparatory education.
It is not necessary, however, to adopt this interpretation. The lady
appears doing the same duties as the wife in the former piece.]
BOOK III. THE ODES OF PHEI.
WHEN king Wu overthrew the dynasty of Shang, the domain of its kings was
divided into three portions, the northern portion being called Phei, the
southern Yung, and the eastern Wei, the rulers of which last in course
of time absorbed the other two. It is impossible to say why the old
names were retained in the arrangement of the odes in this Part of the
Shih, for it is acknowledged on all hands that the pieces in Books iii
and iv, as well as those of Book v, are all odes of Wei.
ODE 4. THE ZAH YUeEH.
SUPPOSED TO BE THE COMPLAINT AND APPEAL OF KWANG KIANG, A
MARCHIONESS OF WEI, AGAINST THE BAD TREATMENT SHE RECEIVED FROM
All the Chinese critics give this interpretation of the piece. Kwang
Kiang was a daughter of the house of Khi, about the middle of the eighth
century B.C., and was married to the marquis Yang, known in history as
'duke Kwang,' of Wei. She was a lady of admirable character, and
beautiful; but her husband proved faithless and unkind. In this ode she
makes her subdued moan, appealing to the sun and moon, as if they could
take cognizance of the way in which she was treated. Possibly, however,
the addressing those bodies may simply be an instance of prosopopoeia.
O sun, O moon, Which enlighten this lower earth! Here is this man, Who
treats me not according to the ancient rule. How can he get his mind
settled? Would he then not regard me?
O sun, O moon, Which overshadow this lower earth! Here is this man, Who
will not be friendly with me. How can he get his mind settled? Would he
then not respond to me?
O sun, O moon, Which come forth from the east! Here is this man, With
virtuous words, but really not good. How can he get his mind settled?
Would he then allow me to be forgotten?
O sun, O moon, From the east that come forth! O father, O mother, There
is no sequel to your nourishing of me. How can he get his mind settled?
Would he then respond tome contrary to all reason?
ODE 15, STANZA 1. THE PEI MAN.
AN OFFICER OF WEI SETS FORTH HIS HARD LOT, THROUGH DISTRESSES
AND THE BURDENS LAID UPON HIM, AND HIS SILENCE UNDER IT IN
SUBMISSION TO HEAVEN.
I go out at the north gate, With my heart full of sorrow. Straitened am
I and poor, And no one takes knowledge of my distress. So it is! Heaven
has done it;--What then shall I say?
BOOK IV. THE ODES OF YUNG.
See the preliminary note on p. 433.
ODE 1. THE PAI KAU.
PROTEST OF A WIDOW AGAINST BEING URGED TO MARRY AGAIN, AND HER
APPEAL TO HER MOTHER AND TO HEAVEN.
THIS piece, it is said, was made by Kung Kiang, the widow of Kung-po,
son of the marquis Hsi Of Wei (B.C. 855-814). Kung-po having died an
early death, her parents (who must have been the marquis of Khi and his
wife or one of the ladies of his harem) wanted to force her to a second
marriage, against which she protests. The ode was preserved, no doubt,
as an example of
[1. The 'Complete Digest of Comments on the Shih' warns its readers not
to take 'Heaven' here as synonymous with Ming, 'what is decreed or
Commanded.' The writer does not go on to define the precise idea which
he understood the character to convey. This appears to be what we often
mean by 'Providence,' when we speak of anything permitted, rather than
appointed, by the supreme ruling Power.]
what the Chinese have always considered a great virtue,--the refusal of
a, widow to marry again.
It floats about, that boat of cypress wood, There in the middle of the
Ho . With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead , He was
my mate; And I swear that till death I will have no other. O mother, O
Heavens, Why will you not understand me?
It floats about, that boat of cypress wood, There by the side of the Ho.
With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead, He was my only
one; And I swear that till death I will not do the evil thing. O mother,
O Heaven, Why will you not understand me?
ODE 3, STANZA 2. THE KUeN-DZE KIEH LAO.
CONTRAST BETWEEN THE BEAUTY AND SPLENDOUR OF HSUeAN KIANG AND HER
Hsuean Kiang was a princess of Khi, Who, towards the close of the seventh
century B.C., became wife to the marquis of Wei, known as duke Hsuean.
She was beautiful and unfortunate, but various things are related of her
indicative of the grossest immoralities prevailing in the court of Wei.
How rich and splendid Is her pheasant-figured
[1. These allusive lines, probably, indicate the speaker's widowhood,
Which left her like 'a boat floating about on the water.'
2. Such was the mode in which the hair was kept, while a boy or young
man's parents were alive, parted into two tufts from the pia mater, and
brought down as low as the eyebrows on either side of the forehead.
3. Mao, thought that the lady intended her father by 'Heaven;' while Ku
held that her father may have been dead, and that the mother is called
Heaven, with reference to the kindness and protection that she ought to
show. There seems rather to be in the term a wild, and not very
intelligent, appeal to the supreme Power in heaven.]
robe! Her black hair in masses like clouds, No false locks does she
descend to. There are her earplugs of jade, Her comb-pin of ivory, And
her high forehead, so white. She appears like a visitant from heaven!
She appears like a goddess.
ODE 6, STANZAS 1 AND 2. THE TING KIH FANG KUNG.
CELEBRATING THE PRAISE OF DUKE WIN;--HIS DILIGENCE, FORESIGHT,
USE OF DIVINATION, AND OTHER QUALITIES.
The state of Wei was reduced to extremity by an irruption of some
northern hordes in B.C. 660, and had nearly disappeared from among the
states of Kau. Under the marquis Wei, known in history as duke Wan, its
fortunes revived, and he became a sort of second founder of the state.
When Ting culminated (at night-fall) He began to build the palace at
Khu , Determining
[1. The lady is introduced arrayed in the gorgeous robes worn by the
princess of a state in the ancestral temple.
2 P. Lacharme translated these two concluding lines by 'Tu primo aspectu
coelos (pulchritudine), et imperatorem (majestate) adaequas,' without
any sanction of the Chinese critics; and moreover there was no Ti (###)
in the sense of imperator then in China. The sovereigns of Kau were Wang
or kings. Ku Hsi expands the lines thus:--'Such is the beauty of her
robes and appearance, that beholders are struck with awe, as if she were
a spiritual being.' Hsue Khien (Yuean dynasty) deals with them thus:--With
such splendour of beauty and dress, how is it that she is here? She has
come down from heaven I She is a spiritual being!'
3 Ting is the name of a small space in the heavens, embracing /alpha/
Markab and another star of Pegasus. Its culminating at night-fall was
the signal that the labours of husbandry were over for the year, and
that building operations should be taken in hand. Great as was the
urgency for the building of his new capital, duke Win would not take it
in hand till the proper time for such a labour was arrived.
4 Khu, or Khu-khiu, was the new capital of Wei, in the present district
of Khang-wu, department Zhao-kau, Shan-tung.]
its aspects by means of the sun. He built the palace at Khu. He planted
about it hazel and chesnut trees, The I, the Thung, the Dze, and the
varnish tree. Which, when cut down, might afford materials for lutes.
He ascended those old walls, And thence surveyed (the site of) Khu. He
surveyed Khu and Thang, With the lofty hills and high elevations
about. He descended and examined the mulberry trees. He then divined by
the tortoise-shell, and got a favourable response ; And thus the
issue has been truly good.
BOOK V. THE ODES OF WEI.
IT has been said on the title of Book iii, that Wei at first was the
eastern portion of the old domain of the kings of Shang. With this a
brother of king Wu, called Khang-shu, was invested. The principality was
afterwards increased by the absorption of Phei and Yung. It came to
embrace portions of the present provinces of Kih-li, Shan-tung, and
Ho-nan. It outlasted the dynasty of Kau itself, the last prince of Wei
being reduced to the ranks of the people only during the dynasty of Khin.
ODE 4, STANZAS I AND 2. THE MANG.