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PART I.: CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STATES. - Misc (Confucian School), The Shi King, the Old “Poetry Classic” of the Chinese 
The Shi King, the Old “Poetry Classic” of the Chinese. A Close Metrical Translation, with Annotations by William Jennings (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1891).
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CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STATES.
THE ODES OF CHOW AND THE SOUTH.*
I. i. 1.
SONG OF WELCOME TO THE BRIDE OF KING WĂN.†
I. i. 2.
INDUSTRY AND FILIAL PIETY OF WĂN’S QUEEN.
I. i. 3.
THE ABSENT HUSBAND.†
I. i. 4.
I. i. 5.
I. i. 6.
I. i. 7.
THE STALWART RABBIT-CATCHER.*
I. i. 8.
SONG OF THE PLANTAIN-GATHERERS.*
I. i. 9.
THE UNAPPROACHABLE MAIDENS.†
I. i. 10.
I. i. 11.
THE ODES OF SHÂU AND THE SOUTH.*
I. ii. 1.
THE WEDDING-JOURNEY OF A PRINCESS.
A REVERENT HELPMATE.*
I. ii. 3.
A LONG-ABSENT HUSBAND.
I. ii. 4.
THE YOUNG WIFE’S ZEALOUS CARE IN THE WORSHIP OF HER HUSBAND’S ANCESTORS.
I. ii. 5.
IN MEMORY OF A WORTHY CHIEFTAIN.
I. ii. 6.
THE RESISTED SUITOR.*
I. ii. 7.
DIGNITY AND ECONOMY OF KING WĂN’S COUNCILLORS.
I. ii. 8.
THE LONELY WIFE.*
I. ii. 9.
FEARS OF MATURE MAIDENHOOD.
I. ii. 10.
I. ii. 11.
I. ii. 12.
THE CUNNING HUNTER.‡
I. ii. 13.
A ROYAL WEDDING.
I. ii. 14.
THE TSOW YU.*
Note.—Although this is one of the shortest and apparently most trivial of the Odes in the Book of Poetry, it is credited by the Chinese editors with as much meaning as the largest. It is regarded, like so many more, as illustrating the extent of the reformation brought about by King Wăn. Not only was the kingdom better ruled, society better regulated, and individuals more self-disciplined and improved in manners, but the reformation affected all things: vegetation flourished, game became most abundant, hunting was attended to at the right seasons, and the benign influence of the King was everywhere felt by the people. The poet thinks it is sufficient to dwell upon these last characteristics. Probably the lines were written after some royal hunt.
THE ODES OF P‘EI.
P‘ei was one of three principalities which King Wu created after he overthrew the dynasty of Shang. It was in the north; and the two others were—Yung in the south, and Wei in the west. P‘ei and Yung were, after a short time, absorbed in Wei, which had a long history. We have, in Books III., IV. and V. titles taken from all three; but evidently the division is only artificial: the three Books might all have been included properly under the title Wei, since it is that State with which all are connected.
I. iii. 1.
I. iii. 2.
I. iii. 3.
FRIENDS IN DISTRESS.*
I. iii. 4.
I. iii. 5.
I. iii. 6.
THE SOLDIER SIGHS FOR WIFE AND HOME.
I. iii. 7.
THE DISCONTENTED MOTHER.*
I. iii. 8.
I. iii. 9.
I. iii. 10.
LAMENT OF A DISCARDED WIFE.
I. iii. 11.
A PRINCE AND HIS OFFICERS IN TROUBLE.*
I. iii. 12.
LI FINDS NO HELP IN WEI.*
I. iii. 13.
BUFFOONERY AT COURT.‡
I. iii. 14.
I. iii. 15.
I. iii. 16.
I. iii. 17.
I. iii. 18.
THE NEW TOWER.*
I. iii. 19.
THE TWO SONS.†
THE ODES OF YUNG.*
I. iv. 1.
THE FAITHFUL WIDOW.†
I. iv. 2.
VILE DOINGS AT COURT.*
I. iv. 3.
I. iv. 4.
I. iv. 5.
I. iv. 6.
THE DILIGENT RULER.†
I. iv. 7.
REFORMS IN LOVE AND MARRIAGE.∥
I. iv. 8.
MANNERS MAKE THE MAN.‡
I. iv. 9.
HONOUR TO THE WORTHY.*
I. iv. 10.
THE ODES OF WEI.
I. v. 1.
PRAISE OF DUKE WU OF WEI. (bc 811-757.)
I. v. 2.
THE HAPPY RECLUSE.*
I. v. 8.
I. v. 4.
I. v. 5.
I. v. 6.
A CONCEITED LORDLING.
I. v. 7.
SO FAR, AND YET SO NEAR.§
I. v. 8.
THE ABSENT HERO-HUSBAND.
I. v. 9.
WIFELESS AND FORLORN.*
I. v. 10.
THE ODES OF THE ROYAL DOMAIN.*
I. vi. 1.
THE DESOLATED CAPITALS: LAMENT OF A STATESMAN.†
I. vi. 2.
THE HUSBAND ABROAD.
I. vi. 3.
THE HUSBAND RETURNED.
I. vi. 4.
HOME-LONGINGS OF THE FRONTIER-GUARDSMEN.
I. vi. 5.
THE WIFE DIVORCED BY FAMINE*
I. vi. 6.
A WEARIED STATESMAN.*
I. vi. 7.
I. vi. 8.
ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER.
I. vi. 9.
WHY SHE CAME NOT.‡
I. vi. 10.
THE LOITERING LOVERS.
THE ODES OF CH‘ING.*
I. vii. 1.
DEVOTION OF THE PEOPLE TO DUKE WU OF CH‘ING.
I. vii. 2.
I. vii. 3.
A DASHING, POPULAR YOUNG HUNTER.
I. vii. 4.
I. vii. 5.
IDLE MANŒUVRING ON THE BORDERS.*
I. vii. 6.
PRAISE OF A HIGH OFFICIAL.
I. vii. 7.
OLD LOVE SHOULD NOT BE RUPTURED.
I. vii. 8.
THE GOOD HOUSEWIFE.
I. vii. 9.
MY LADY’S CHARMS.
I. vii. 10.
I. vii. 11.
I. vii. 12.
TIT FOR TAT.
I. vii. 13.
I. vii. 14.
I. vii. 15.
SO NEAR, AND YET SO FAR.
I. vii. 16.
JOY AT THE GOODMAN’S RETURN.
I. vii. 17.
I. vii. 18.
TRUST THY LAST FRIEND AGAINST THE WORLD.
I. vii. 19.
ONE MODEST MAID IS MORE THAN ALL.
I. vii. 20.
I. vii. 21.
A SPRINGTIDE CARNIVAL.
THE ODES OF TS‘I.*
I. viii. 1.
THE GOOD WIFE EARLY WAKES HER LORD.
I. viii. 2.
THE CONCEITED SPORTSMEN.*
I. viii. 3.
THE COMING OF THE BRIDEGROOM.
I. viii. 4.
THE WINSOME VISITOR.*
I. viii. 5.
AN UNTIMELY SUMMONS.‡
I. viii. 6.
I. viii. 7.
SEEK NOT TO BE A MAN BEFORE THY TIME.
I. viii. 8.
THE HOUNDS AND THE HUNTSMAN.
I. viii. 9.
WĂN-KIANG’S BOLD ESCAPADES TO TS‘I.§
I. viii. 10.
HER SHAMELESS MEETINGS WITH DUKE SIANG.
I. viii. 11.
LAMENTFUL PRAISE OF DUKE CHANG OF LU.*
THE ODES OF WEI.*
I. ix. 1.
A WEALTHY NIGGARD.
I. ix. 2.
I. ix. 3.
SECRET GRIEF OF A STATESMAN AT THE APPROACHING DOWNFALL OF THE STATE.
I. x. 4.
I. ix. 5.
WEARY OFFICIALS CONTEMPLATING A RETREAT.*
I. ix. 6.
THE THRIFTY WOODMAN AND THE HOARDING OFFICIAL.
I. ix. 7.
SONG OF FARMERS DRIVEN FORTH BY EXTORTION.
THE ODES OF T‘ANG.*
I. x. 1.
SONG OF PEASANTRY AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.
I. x. 2.
ENJOY LIFE’S GOOD THINGS WHILE YOU MAY.
I. x. 3.
HWAN-SHUH AND HIS SECRET BAND.*
I. x. 4.
ADMIRATION OF SOME CHIEF, AND JOY AT BEHOLDING HIS NUMEROUS FAMILY.*
I. x. 5.
AN UNEXPECTED UNION.‡
I. x. 6.
I. x. 7.
COMPLAINT AGAINST A HIGH OFFICIAL.*
I. x. 8.
I. x. 9.
A HAUGHTY USURPER’S PETITION TO THE KING FOR CONFIRMATION OF HIS POSITION.*
I. x. 10.
TOO POOR TO ENTERTAIN.§
I. x. 11.
A WIDOW’S SORROW AND DEVOTION.
I. x. 12.
MIND NOT IDLE TALES.
THE ODES OF TS‘IN.*
I. xi. 1.
LIFE AT COURT—BUDDING INTO OPULENCE AND GAIETY.
I. xi. 2.
I. xi. 3.
THE ABSENT WARRIOR-HUSBAND.§
I. xi. 4.
CHASING THE PHANTOM.*
I. xi. 5.
THE RULER’S RETURN FROM THE KING’S COURT AFTER PROMOTION TO HIGHER RANK.
I. xi. 6.
THE LIVING BURIED WITH THE DEAD.‡
I. xi. 7.
OUT OF SIGHT AND OUT OF MIND.
I. xi. 8.
COMRADES IN WAR-TIME.
I. xi. 9.
A REFUGEE HEIR OF TSIN ASSISTED IN HIS RIGHTS.*
I. xi. 10.
OLD OFFICIALS LEFT IN THE COLD.*
THE ODES OF CH‘IN.*
I. xii. 1.
A PLEASURE-LOVING OFFICIAL.
I. xii. 2.
THE YOUNG FOLKS’ HOLIDAY.
I. xii. 3.
I. xii. 4.
I. xii. 5.
THE BROKEN TRYST.
I. xii. 6.
I. xii. 7.
WHO LURED MY LOVE AWAY?
I. xii. 8.
I. xii. 9.
DUKE LING’S VISITS TO THE LADY OF CHU-LIN.*
I. xii. 10.
THE ODES OF KWAI.*
I. xiii. 1.
A RULER FONDER OF HIS ROBES THAN OF HIS DUTY.
I. xiii. 2.
DECAY OF FILIAL PIETY SEEN IN THE DECAY OF MOURNING.*
I. xiii. 3.
CONTRASTS WITH NATURE.
I. xiii. 4.
LAMENT OVER THE DECAY OF CHOW.
THE ODES OF TS‘ÂU.*
I. xiv. 1.
I. xiv. 2.
WORTHLESS DISPLAY AT THE COURT.*
I. xiv. 3.
PRAISE OF AN EXCELLENT RULER.
I. xiv. 4.
HARD TIMES IN TS‘ÂU—NO HELP FORTHCOMING AS FORMERLY FROM THE ROYAL CAPITAL OF CHOW.
THE ODES OF PIN.*
I. xv. 1.
LIFE IN PIN IN THE OLDEN TIME.†
I. xv. 2.
THE NEST, SO HARD TO BUILD, NOW ROBBED.*
I. xv. 3.
SONG OF THE TROOPS ON RETURNING FROM THE EASTERN CAMPAIGN.*
I. xv. 4.
I. xv. 5.
I. xv. 6.
LAMENTS IN THE EAST AT THE DUKE’S RECALL.
I. xv. 7.
THE DUKE’S CALMNESS UNDER CALUMNY.†
[* ]By “Chow” is here meant the Royal State, or crown-lands, as distinguished from the Feudal States around. It was the district in which the ancient Chow family had had their seat from bc 1325 to King Wăn’s time (1231-1135). It lay between the rivers Han and Wai (the latter a tributary of the Ho, or Yellow River). By “the South” we are to understand the States or country south of this Chow.
[† ]The song is supposed to have been made by the inmates of the Palace, the ladies of the harêm, who, it seems, were far from being jealous of her: see Ode 4. Her retiring, gentle ways and chaste disposition made her a proper match as the principal wife of this virtuous prince. For an account of Wăn see the whole of Part III. Book I.; in Odes 2 and 4 of that Book will also be found reference to his bride. Her name was T‘ai-sze.
[‡ ]There is a difference of opinion as to the name of the birds: some say they are ospreys or fish-hawks, some a species of duck, found always in pairs and inseparable.
[§ ]Kwân, Kwân, onomatopoetic, like our “quack, quack”; but the Chinese commentators will have it that it is the harmonious call and response of the pairs of birds.
[* ]Strictly, an aquatic gentian,—marsh-flower; sought for its beauty and purity.
[† ]I give the meaning of these perplexing verbs as found in the old Chinese Dictionary, the Urh-ya.
[‡ ]“Lute” is here given for an instrument with a single octave of strings; “harp” for a larger instrument of the same kind with several octaves.
[§ ]Bells and drums were much used in old China as musical instruments.
[∥ ]The creeper here specified (Kŏ) has no English name. It is a species from the fibres of which a material for clothing is made.
[* ]A Court-Stewardess, or Mistress of Ceremonies.
[† ]Referred also to T‘ai-sze.
[‡ ]The “mouse-ear” is a Chinese edible fungus; so called from its shape.
[* ]A cup made of rhinoceros’ or unicorn’s horn.
[† ]The creeper is here again the Kŏ. The bending trees would naturally seem to represent the husband, and the creepers the wife. But, the speakers being the concubines, some suppose that T‘ai-sze is the tree, and those ladies themselves the creepers, delighting in her society, and showing themselves absolutely free from jealousy.
[* ]Under the figure of the locusts—prolific and harmonious—a wish is here expressed for one of the blessings most highly valued by the Chinese,—a numerous progeny; or, if such were already the case with T‘ai-sze, then it is congratulation:—i, translated “may” in the third line, means strictly “it is fitting.” This piece is also supposed to emanate from the Court ladies, who, it is said, were willing even to count their own children as hers!
[† ]The maiden is not thus directly addressed in the original; but the above is otherwise exactly literal.
[* ]Under King Wăn’s rule men of all, even the humblest, classes who did their duty well and energetically were qualifying themselves for promotion. Two men are said in his reign to have been raised to the rank of Ministers from their rabbit-trapping.
[* ]This simple song is inserted to illustrate the cheerful industry of the time of peace brought about by King Wăn. The women go out collecting ribgrass or plantains for medicinal or other purposes after their ordinary day’s labours are over, and sing as they go.
[† ]King Wăn had brought about a great reformation in the manners of the people, which heretofore had been very dissolute. The damsels in the neighbourhood of the river Han could now roam unmolested; men could not mix even with the grass-cutters and fuel-gatherers, under the pretence of helping them. It was as if the broad Han and the long Kiang (the Yang-tse) kept them asunder.
[* ]A kind of southernwood is here named in the original.
[† ]The husband had been absent with Wăn (who at that time was in charge of military affairs) during the wars of Shau, the last and most tyrannical sovereign of the Shang dynasty.
[‡ ]Meaning that a year had passed, and spring had come again.
[§ ]This last stanza is full of confused and certainly confusing metaphor. The bream’s tail is not naturally red, but is said to become so after lashing about in shallow waters: such was the husband’s sunburnt and beaten appearance when he returned. I have taken some liberty with the last three lines. In the original the characters literally mean
The Chinese commentators treat the words “house” and “flames” as representing government with barbarity; and Chu Hi, one of the best of these commentators, thinks that the expression “father and mother” refers, by way of contrast, to the paternal authority and protection of Wăn.
[* ]The lin was a fabulous creature, somewhat corresponding to our unicorn. It was supposed to appear only when a race of good rulers arose, as the auspice of all good. Its hoofs hurt nothing living, it did not butt with its brow, and its horn, though formidable-looking, was tipped with soft flesh. The song is in praise of King Wăn’s descendants and kindred. Surely the lin had come! The descriptive “chan chan” in each second line in the original has various meanings assigned to it, which may justify the varied translation given above.
[* ]Shâu was a feudal State west of the Chow of last Book, and adjoining it. Both together were originally one district, known as K‘i-Chow. “The South” refers to the lands south of Shâu.
[† ]The cockney rhyme must be pardoned; the words are a literal rendering.
[* ]The Ode is said to illustrate the influence of the reforms of King Wăn. The wife of a feudal prince is here praised for her diligence in preparing for her husband’s offerings in the ancestral temple.
[† ]The white southernwood.
[‡ ]Different seasons of the year are thus poetically referred to in the opening lines of each verse. The ferns were edible ones.
[* ]Further illustrating the reformations made by King Wăn. The women by the new rules are able to protect themselves against forcible seizure and marriage. Dr. Legge thus cites the account given by an ancient writer of the origin of these lines: “A lady of Shin was promised in marriage to a man of Fung. The ceremonial offerings from his family, however, were not so complete as the rules required; and when he wished to meet her and convey her home, she and her friends refused to carry out the engagement. The other party brought the case to trial, and the lady made this Ode, asserting that while a single ceremony was not complied with, she would not allow herself to be forced from her parent’s house.” The language of the piece is, however, very difficult and obscure.
[* ]Wu kiâ, lit., “without home”, but the commentators twist it into meaning “without going through the rites of engagement and betrothal.”
[† ]Kiâ shih puh tsuh;—“kiâ shih” often stands for husband and wife, and “puh tsuh” (lit., not sufficient) may simply mean “not quite.”
[‡ ]These seem to be the meanings of kih and tsung, as variations from the p‘i, the woolly skin of the first stanza. The idea of the writer seems to be that, however faded and worn these garments were, they still retained and exhibited entire their dignity and self-respect.
[* ]The husband being constantly called forth for military expeditions, the wife is led to think of him by the occurrence of storms, to which he must be exposed.
[* ]Lit., “callings in life are various.” The ladies of the bed-chamber, or inferior wives,—quasi servants,—are here represented, like those in Book I. (Odes 1 and 4), as recognizing their position, and as being free from envy of the lady who occupies the rank of “first wife.”
[* ]The words are put into the mouths of some Prince’s concubines. The new wife was at first jealous of these, but afterwards, owing, it is said, to the example of T‘ai-sze in King Wăn’s household, she ceased to be so.
[† ]Helping words are used in the translation, to give more clearly the idea in these lines of separation and reunion.
[‡ ]Native expositors find here an instance of maidenly modesty and virtue (another result of Wăn’s beneficent rule); but who will take the concluding lines in this light?
[* ]Lit., like a jewel.
[† ]The name “Ki,” in the original, was the surname of the House of Chow.
[‡ ]This was doubtless the son of one of the feudal lords or princes. Such marriages tended to strengthen the union of the States and the throne.
[* ]Tsow Yu was the name of a fabulous beast resembling a tiger, supposed to appear only in the time of princes of rare benevolence and uprightness. There is a later explanation of the term, which makes it the name of a celebrated hunter; but the old view is more probably the right one.
[* ]It is very probable that the first five Odes in this Book, and the third of the Odes of Wei (Bk. V.), are to be taken as referring to the same lady,—the wife of Duke Ch‘wang, of Wei (who ruled that state bc 756-734). Putting the six together, and the last first—as the Epithalamium—we have part of the story of this admirable and beautiful lady (Ch‘wang Kiang), as given in one or two histories of those times. The chief points in that story may be stated here. Ch‘wang Kiang had had the misfortune to be childless, and was in consequence rudely treated, and at length supplanted by another wife. The second wife, another lady of rank, bore a son, but he died in childhood. There was, however, another son (Hwan) by a concubine, the cousin of Ch‘wang Kiang, whom the duke looked upon as his successor, and Ch‘wang Kiang, at his wish, readily adopted the child as her own. On the death of the duke, a third son, Chow-Yu, the child of a concubine of meaner birth, brought trouble into the family, and in course of time murdered Hwan, and tried, but without success, to usurp his position.
[* ]See Ode 4. The reference to the sun and moon changing positions seems to point to her own abandonment for another.
[* ]This is truly Chinese. Ch‘wang Kiang feels her degraded position, and the expression of her grief takes a very metaphorical turn. Green is a colour less esteemed than yellow. All things are inverted, and out of place.
[† ]Lit., I muse upon the ancients,—i.e., the examples of great women of old time.
[‡ ]Grass-cloth. She must even now wear a cold dress in cold weather.
[* ]The supplanted wife seems to have lived harmoniously, and even very amicably, with the lady who took her place. In this Ode she pours out her grief at the departure of the latter, who after the murder of her son Hwan returned home to her parents.
[† ]Chung is properly the “second” sister or daughter. Her name was Tai Kwei.
[‡ ]Lit., the former lord. From this we learn that the husband was now dead.
[* ]This and the following piece ought properly to have been placed before Ode 3.
[* ]A city in Wei.
[† ]Chow-yu (see note on Ode 1 of this Book), after his murder of Hwan, found the people disaffected towards him, and sought popularity by directing an expedition against Ch‘in, in the South, for which he obtained the co-operation of these two States, Ch‘in and Sung.
[* ]Seven sons accuse themselves of being the cause of their mother’s discontent and fretfulness. It is supposed the fault was her own, and that, although having so many sons, she desired more; and the sons, in making these lines, and laying the blame on themselves, wished delicately to recall her to a sense of duty. The Ode is said by the Chinese commentators to illustrate the licentious manners of Wei. The opening lines of each verse point, by way of contrast, to the glad content of nature all around her.
[* ]The wife of some officer tells of their mutual regret at his absence on foreign service.
[† ]The husband’s comrades.
[‡ ]Lit., coveteousness.
[* ]i.e., the gourds (the shells of which were used in crossing rivers) were not yet ripe.
[† ]The proper custom, when a man wished to have a day fixed for the bringing home of his bride, was to send a live goose to her parents’ house at the early dawn.
[‡ ]Marriages took place in the spring, and the ceremony of sending the goose was to be observed some time before, ere the winter’s ice began to break up. It may be that this explains the allusion to the swollen ford.
[* ]In explanation of this piece we are told that in the time of Duke Swân, of Wei, the chief of the adjoining state of Li had been driven out of his territory by the Tih hordes, and had sought help in Wei; but was long detained there by false promises, and was reduced to great straits, and evidently treated with indignity. His officers, while showing attachment to him, complain of his hardships and their own, and urge him to return to Li.
[* ]See note on the last Ode. The officers of the Chief of Li complain of the delay and indifference of their brother officers of Wei in their extremity.
[† ]Lit., O ye younger and elder uncles.
[‡ ]Satire. The Duke of Wei was employing his best men as buffoons.
[† ]These refer to various dances. See I. vi. 3, and II. vi. 4.
[‡ ]In the West-country was the seat of Chow, where the rulers knew better than to use such a man as this merely as a dancer.
[§ ]A princess of Wei, married to the chief of some other State, desires to visit her native land. This it would have been permissible to do, had her parents been still living; but these being dead, she could not do so. She forms her plans for the journey, and thinks that a visit to her relatives might not be objected to, but again shrinks back in doubt as to the propriety of so doing.
[∥ ]One of the chief rivers of Wei.
[¶ ]The ladies of the palace, who had come with her.
[* ]Places in Wei through which she had passed on her wedding journey. The terms translated “god-speed cup” refer to the parting feast which was usual on the return of the escorting friends. At this feast an offering was first made to propitiate “the spirits of the way.”
[† ]Lit., “I think of the Fei-ts‘ün, and for it am perpetually sighing.” Fei-ts‘un is said to be the name of a river in Wei; but the words signify fertile springs.
[‡ ]Cities of Wei. We have met with the latter in Ode 6.
[§ ]An officer of Wei, hard pressed by work and poor pay, sets forth his grievances and his meek submission to them as the will of Heaven, yet slyly means the whole to be a rebuke to the Governwent. “Passing out by the north gate” is an apt introduction to what follows, as symbolizing the way to cold and darkness. Cf. beginning of next Ode.
[* ]In a time of tyranny and confusion in Wei, the peasants felt compelled to emigrate to another State.
[† ]The opening lines are merely symbolical of the oppression felt by the people.
[* ]The fox and the crow were regarded as ill omens.
[† ]This is said to be directed against the times; therefore, according to this view, the opening words, “the modest maiden,” must be understood from the lover’s point of view.
[‡ ]The city wall.
[* ]Duke Swân, one of the most dissolute of the rulers of Wei, had contracted for the marriage of his son Kĭ with a lady of T‘si. But when the father saw her, he became so enamoured of her beauty that he took her himself, and lodged her in a tower which he caused to be built on an island in the Ho. She is afterwards known by the name of Swân-Kiang.
[† ]Quite a romantic story is attached to this piece, which may be told in the words of the commentator Chu-Hi. Swân-Kiang (see note on last Ode) became the mother of two sons, Sheu and Sŏ. Sŏ and his mother brought some charge against Kĭ, the son of a former wife of the Duke (see again note to last Ode); and the Duke, believing it, sent him on some errand to T‘si, and employed some ruffians to waylay and murder him. Sheu heard of this, and warned Kĭ of his danger. Kĭ answered: “The Duke has given me a command, and I cannot disobey it.” Whereupon Sheu secretly disguised himself and took the journey himself, and was killed in the place of his brother. When Kĭ came to the spot he cried: “The Duke gave orders that I should be killed. What wrong has Sheu committed?” The murderers killed him also. The country folks were hurt at this, and made this Ode.
[* ]On the name Yung see note on I. iii. page 54.
[† ]The widow’s name is given as Kung-Kiang. Her husband, Kung-poh, son of the Marquis Hi (bc 854-813), died early, and her mother wished her to marry again, contrary to what she regarded as right and proper. She made a solemn vow to remain true to her departed husband, and here commemorates the fact.
[‡ ]During the lifetime of the parents, sons wore their hair in two tufts over the temples.
[§ ], Mu ya t‘ien chi. Cf. II. v. 8, last line of 4th stanza.
[∥ ]The “wrong” meant here is re-marriage. To abstain from this “wrong” was, and is still accounted a great virtue in China.
[* ]Contrast with the last. Swân-Kiang (see on I. iii. 18) was now a widow, and had consented to live with Hwan, the son of her late husband by a former wife. The people condemned this as incest, but dared only speak of it indirectly.
[† ]I have coined this name for a prickly creeper which has not yet, so far as I know, been identified.
[‡ ]Tuh () here to recite, or hum over.
[* ]Satire on Swân-Kiang. The satire consists probably in the exaggeration of her beauty, but chiefly in the concluding lines of the first and second stanzas, which so quaintly spoil all that goes before and after.
[* ]The names of the plants seem to be of little importance, only introduced in the original to rhyme with the names of the women.
[† ]A district in Wei.
[‡ ]The eldest daughter of the house that bore that family name. So with Yih and Yung. All three were great names; why introduced here in a popular love song? Probably it is satire, and aimed by the people at their superiors.
[§ ]The names in the last three lines are those of small localities in the district of Mei.
[* ]The wanton ones are Swân-Kiang and Hwan, living together as stated in note on Ode 2 of this Book. The piece is intended as satire, the words being put into the mouth of Sŏ (step-brother of Hwan), who was then ruling, and ought not to have permitted such conduct in the palace. Bitter satire it is, and truly Chinese!
[† ]Duke Wăn—about bc 660. Soon after the time of Duke Swân the State of Wei almost collapsed, and its capital was in ruins; but the country found a reformer in this new ruler Wăn, otherwise known as Wei (), a son of Hwan and Swân-Kiang.
[‡ ]Ting was a small constellation composed of some stars in Pegasus. Its culmination at the termination of husbandry-work signalled the proper time for commencing building operations.
[§ ]Lit., measuring or computing by the sun; the aspect of the palace was thus determined.
[∥ ]This probably points to the duke’s love of music.
[* ]The walls of the old capital.
[† ]A city on the hills of Ts‘u.
[‡ ]Scil., to urge and encourage the labourers in their work.
[§ ]I believe this is the correct translation of this concluding passage, though it differs from all I have so far seen. It agrees also with most native commentaries.
[∥ ]Said to refer to the change in the people’s morals brought about by Duke Wăn of Wei.
[¶ ]The rainbow was supposed to be the result or offspring of some irregular union between the male and female principles in nature (Yin and Yang). People were ashamed now to point at the rainbow; greater modesty was seen, and marriage unions were formed according to the established rules.
[* ]The meaning seems to be that irregular or unlawful love does not last long. This is contrary to our ideas of “a rainbow in the morning,” so far as the rain is concerned.
[† ]Fearing the time may never come, and taking the matter into their own hands, instead of leaving it to the parents.
[‡ ]See note explanatory of the last Ode. This refers to the altered tone of manners rather than morals. Man without manners was a self-contradiction; and no more should a man continue to live without them than a rat without skin, teeth, and limbs. In the original the words and (i, chi, and li), all represent, with slightly different shades of meaning, the same thing,—propriety in the outward conduct.
[§ ]Lit., “See, the rat has teeth”; but the word for teeth often has the sense given above.
[* ]There are conflicting opinions as to the meaning of this Ode, even amongst the old Chinese interpreters. It seems to illustrate, further, the good effects of the rule of Duke Wăn of Wei;—showing the kind of welcome accorded to men of worth, and showing also that the visits of such would be attended with profit to those who entertained them.
[† ]It will be observed that as one of these worthies approaches a town the attendance upon him gradually increases.
[‡ ]A daughter of Swân-Kiang, married to the baron of Hiu, hears of the troubles in Wei, her native State (see note on Ode 6), and wishes to return home to condole and consult with her brother in his distress; this was not permissible, her parents being dead, and some great officer was despatched instead; but, unlike another princess of Wei (see I. iii. 14), she clung to her wish as being pardonable under the circumstances, and here expostulates with the ministers of Hiu, although yielding to their decision.
[* ]The “Mang” () is described as a “mother-of-pearl” lily, supposed to have the quality of dissipating cares. The words “that care can kill” are added in the translation, as otherwise no meaning would be conveyed.
[† ]Lit., the great State. This would be that of Ts‘i, then the most powerful.
[* ]Said to be directed against Duke Chwang (bc 756-734). Under his rule men of virtue and talent withdrew from public service and lived in obscurity.
[† ]The two first characters may be translated a dozen different ways; but they do not seem important.
[‡ ]Lit., speaks or talks.
[§ ]Lit., sleeping and waking.
[∥ ]I have ventured to differ from all commentators and translators I have seen in the rendering of this line. I take the “vow” as the object and not as the verb, for as a verb it has no object in any of the three verses.
[* ]On the reception of Chwang-Kiang as bride at the Court of Wei. See note on the first Ode of Book III.
[* ]This pathetic Ode tells its own tale. The Chinese say that in it “a lewd woman who has been rejected by her husband repeats her story to herself, and so expresses her repentance”! All that can be said against her is that after much resistance she consented to marry her lover at last without going through all the prescribed forms of marriage.
[† ]The arranger of marriages between the parents—an indispensable personage; see I. viii. 6 and I. xv. 5.
[‡ ]The lover’s place of abode.
[§ ]Divining—trying his fortune.
[* ]There is a small dove that suffers from eating these berries.
[† ]An allusion to the words of the marriage vows.
[* ]A lady of Wei, married in some other State, recalls here the scenes of her youth.
[† ]The K‘i valley seems to have been noted for its bamboos (see Ode 1 of this Book).
[‡ ]The Ts‘ün-yün, known as the Hundred Springs.
[* ]The hwan lan is a delicate creeping plant, full of milky juice, unable, it is said, to rise from the ground without support,—introduced therefore here to characterize the weak youth, otherwise so precocious.
[† ]An ivory or horn stiletto, worn by adults for the loosening of knots about the dress; said to be an emblem also of capacity for difficult business.
[‡ ]This ring, also of ivory or horn, was worn by archers on the right thumb in shooting, but at other times was one of the girdle ornaments.
[§ ]A daughter of Swân-Kiang had been married to Duke Hwan of Sung. She bore him a son, but was afterwards divorced, and returned to her native Wei. On her son’s succession to the dukedom, she desired to go back to him, but the terms of her divorce, and probably her own sense of the proprieties, forbade her doing so. The river was wide, and the way long, that separated her from the son, but she regards these as nothing to overcome, had there been no other obstacle.
[* ]In a time of anarchy and confusion in Wei, there were many who could not marry. Here a widow or unmarried woman has met with a vagabond male, and his forlorn condition has so roused her matronly instincts that she is willing to marry him and look after him! Such is the usual interpretation of the piece. In the ancient Preface to the Book of Poetry it is said to be directed against the times. “The males and females of Wei were losing the time for marriage. . . . Anciently, when a State was suffering from the misery of famine, the rules were relaxed so that there might be many marriages; and men and women who had no partners were brought together, in order to promote the increase of the people.”
[* ]The names of the stones in all three stanzas are difficult to give. Known ones are given for the unknown.
[* ]This is the expansion of the single title “Wang” (royal). The royal domain or State was in Eastern Chow. Fung and Hâu were two successive capitals (see III. i. 10). On the accession of King P‘ing, there was a removal still further East (bc 769), and from this time the dynasty began to wane.
[† ]The old Preface says: “A great officer of Chow, travelling on the public service, came to the old capital, and, as he passed by, found the places of the ancestral temple, palaces, and other public buildings, all overgrown with millet. Struck with sorrow for the downfall of the House of Chow, he moved about the place in an undecided way, as if he could not bear to leave it, and made this piece.”
[* ]The slight variations in the second and third stanzas seem to point to his lingering some months in the neighbourhood.
[* ]Properly, the mouth-piece of the reed-organ.
[† ]A dancer’s fan or screen, Both of these meanings are, how ever, attempted to be brought out by the bracketed words in the fourth lines.
[‡ ]The explanation of the metaphorical allusion to the water and faggots seems to be that as the course of a stream is choked, and the water deepens till it finds some way of proceeding, so the thought of home-ties was growing upon the soldiers till it threatened some ebullition.
[* ]The old Chinese interpreters here put the blame for the separation on the government. “When the government is good, husbands and wives support each other; when the State is disordered they separate.”
[* ]Referred to the time of King Hwan (bc 719-696), when the States revolted from him, and his army was defeated, and calamity followed calamity.
[† ]By the wily hares are meant those statesmen who had been the cause of these disorders, and sought to escape the consequence of their own acts; by the pheasants, those who acted straightforwardly, and suffered.
[* ]i.e., flourishing on their native soil.
[† ]Lit., far from my brothers, i.e., clansmen or kin. The old interpreters give a historical significance to this Ode. “King P‘ing’s relatives find fault with him for slighting ‘the nine classes of his kindred.’ ”
[* ]The Kŏ, as in I. i. 2 et al.
[† ]A kind of southernwood. The plants named seem only to have been chosen for the sake of the rhymes in the original.
[‡ ]In the decline of Chow there was much licentiousness between the sexes, but here and there it was curbed by stringent officers. Here is an instance of fear to elope under such an officer’s rule.
[§ ]Lit., like the young sedge—one of the five colours on the robes of great officials. Dark red, another of these colours, is referred to in the second stanza.
[* ]Lit., as; but here the phrase has the appearance of an oath.
[* ]Ch‘ing was a feudal State of later foundation (805 bc). Duke Wu was its second ruler (773-742).
[† ]Jet-black was the official colour of the king’s ministers’ robes, worn at their own audiences.
[‡ ]The people would first make sure that all preparations were made for him in the Court-lodgings (which were sometimes out of repair), and then furnish his table. Evidently the verses were written on his succession to the dukedom.
[* ]Chung () is the second of two or more brothers. The eldest is called pih (), the second chung (), the third shuh (), the fourth ki (). In the next two pieces we have a shuh, a third brother; but this appellation is often given to younger brothers indiscriminately.
[* ]See note to last piece. This Shuh is said to have been a son of Duke Wu of Ch‘ing; and of him Chu-hi remarks in his commentary, “though a scape-grace, he yet won all: his countrymen loved him.”
[† ]The two outer horses (of the four). “Like dancers”—moving with regular step.
[* ]Viz., to beat up the game.
[† ]Being a little behind the two inside horses, they presented the wedge-shaped appearance of a flock of wild-geese.
[* ]Duke Wăn of Ch‘ing (bc 662-627), through dislike to his minister Kâu K‘ih, despatched him with some troops to the Ho, and he was stationed at different places along the river without being recalled. Evidently he enjoyed his banishment.
[† ]A city of Ch‘ing.
[‡ ]These weapons seem to have had hooks near the point for grappling, and from these hooks the plumes of v. 1 were suspended. At this second stage of their banishment the plumes were evidently worn off.
[* ]Seven of these were usually worn strung together with pearls, dangling from the girdle. They would vary in costliness with the rank of the wearer, but as a rule seem to have been of precious stones.
[* ]A woman’s playful mockery of her lover.
[† ]The fu-su () tree does not seem to be identified.
[‡ ]Tse-tu and Tse-ch‘ung are probably not to be taken as names, but as somewhat equivalent to our Adonis and Apollo. Mencius refers to a Tse-tu who lived about bc 800, as the type of a handsome man. Tse-ch’ung, after the allusion to the lofty fir, may refer to some other tall and handsome person, then well known.
[§ ]Lit., the “wandering dragon”—a sort of marsh plant.
[∥ ]The old expositors say that this piece is directed against the ruler of the State, who was weak while his ministers were strong. The speakers, according to this view, would be the inferior officers, addressing their superiors; and the “fading tree” would be the decaying state of the country. But later expositors see in it the solicitations of immodest women. The position which the piece occupies would seem to favour this latter view; yet it ought to be mentioned that a historical interpretation has been given to almost all these Odes, whether they will bear such or not.
[* ]“Far” only in the sense of his never showing himself.
[* ]The sounds of the cock’s crowing are thus varied in the original for the sake of the rhyme.
[* ]This seems to have been a proverbial expression, and capable of different applications. Here it seems to point to the inability of slander to affect the hearts of those who are joined together in the bonds of friendship. They are like bundles of thorns or fuel.
[* ]Evidently these flowers were of a medicinal character, and the annual search for them in spring was now undertaken with a very different object.
[* ]The precise flower here mentioned is the small sweet-smelling peony.
[* ]Ts‘i was one of the first and greatest of the feudal States of Chow. It lay between the Yellow River and the Sea, in the modern province of Shan-tung.
[* ]A satire on the hunters of Ts‘i in general. The writer represents one as unable to praise another without praising himself.
[† ]Silken strings depending from the head-dress over the ears, and strung with gems.
[‡ ]The variations of colour seem only introduced to vary the rhymes; or it may be that as the lover approached nearer more of his jowels became visible.
[* ]This piece is said by all to illustrate the licentious intercourse of the men and women of Ts‘i, and their disregard of all rules of propriety; and the visitor is taken to mean the lady. But the original is ambiguous, and I have therefore preserved the ambiguity in the translation. The visitor may be either male or female (ch‘u che): the same expression is used of a male in I. iv. 9.
[† ]I take tseih and fa adverbially.
[‡ ]A satire on the disorder and irregularity of the Court of Ts‘i.
[* ]Or, cannot keep count of the hours of night. As the garden hedge marks off private property, so the dawn of day is the boundary line between working and non-working hours.
[† ]Said to be directed—the first two stanzas—against the Duke Siang of Ts‘i, and the last two against Duke Hwan of Lu. Duke Siang loved a princess of his own family named Wăn-Kiang, though married to Duke Hwan. She reciprocated his love, and persuaded her husband to accompany her on a visit to Ts‘i, during which visit he was murdered by Siang. The piece was evidently composed before this climax was reached. Date about bc 700.
[‡ ]“The five (kinds of).” More freely we might translate,—
[* ]Complaint against Hwan’s carelessness with regard to his wife.
[† ]The usual interpretation is a historical one, and this line is taken quite literally, “Do not think of people far away,” referring, it is thought, to Duke Siang’s ambition; but is it not more in keeping with the last stanza to translate sze yün jên as wanting to be a man—to overleap the distance in time?
[‡ ]There was a ceremony of capping when the youth arrived at maturity.
[* ]Lit., with a second ring.
[† ]Chu-Hi’s explanation of these words, as “full-whiskered,” and “full-bearded,” make the piece ridiculous.
[‡ ]Lit., with two rings attached to a third.
[§ ]After the murder of her husband (see on Ode 6), the lady continues her unlawful visits to Ts‘i, unrestrained by her son, Duke Chwang. His power over her was no better than that of a broken fish-trap over the fish.
[* ]In true Chinese fashion the complaint against him is not openly expressed. The fault bewailed in the opening exclamation in every verse was his weakness in not restraining the lawless conduct of his mother already referred to. See note on Ode 9.
[* ]This Wei is different from that of the 5th Book. It was a small State situated within the modern province of Shan-si, and was incorporated in the seventh century bc with the State of Tsin.
[† ]Lit., withdraw to the left.
[‡ ]A line seems to have been lost here, which I have ventured to replace with the bracketed words, the meaning of the whole verse being that though the gentleman was outwardly correct in all things in public, he was a niggard at home.
[* ]The Făn, or Hwun, is a tributary of the Ho, and the capital of Wei was near their junction.
[† ]In all the stanzas, “not”=one different from (i ü).
[* ]His opponents in the government.
[* ]This Ode is a favourite one as giving an example of filial piety, and of the feelings which ought to exist between parents and children, and elder and younger brothers. It is quoted as such in commentaries on the Shing ü hâu (), a well-known school book.
[* ]On account of the confusion in the government and the dangers threatening the State.
[† ]Dr. Legge has a lengthy note on the question “Why ten acres are here specified?”, and on the allotments made to farmers on the original division of the country; but does not see the force of the mention of “ten” acres. As a Chinese acre (mau) is less than a sixth of an English one, a plot of ten acres would represent one of the very smallest holdings; and with such some men could live contentedly.
[‡ ]This wood was much used in making carriages (see III. i. 2, v. 6). This will explain the “spoke-wood” and “tire-wood” in the 2nd and 3rd stanzas.
[* ]There is great diversity of opinion as to the last two lines. I think they must refer to the woodman, and translate accordingly.
[* ]Huge. The State officials had grown fat on their extortion, and were no less troublesome than rats.
[† ]Borders, frontiers.
[* ]One of the oldest and greatest of the feudal States. Its name was at an early date,—earlier perhaps than that of these poems,—changed to Tsin, the latter taken from the river Tsin, which flowed to the south of it. It lay in the present province of Shan-si.
[† ]For the time of the appearance of the cricket in the house, see the Odes of Pin, I. xv. 1, verse 5.
[* ]Here is an instance where the introductory lines seem to have absolutely no connection with the subject, and only supply words to rhyme with.
[* ]Ch’âu, lord of Tsin (bc 744-738) had handed over to his uncle Hwan the important city of K‘iu-yuh; and the growing popularity of the latter led to a conspiracy by which it was sought to bring the whole State under his rule. The above is the song of the secret followers of Hwan, addressed to one of his captains.
[† ]i.e., the power of Ch‘âu is greatly weakened.
[‡ ]The robe described in the two first stanzas is the sacrificial robe of a ruling prince.
[§ ]Yuh is the K‘iu-yuh mentioned above.
[∥ ]Kâu was another city in the vicinity.
[* ]Supposed to refer to Hwan-shuh (see last Ode), and his house.
[† ]The pepper-plant is in China an emblem of prolificness; but it may be that this Ode originally suggested it. It might even, taken with the last Ode, refer simply to the number of Hwan’s constituents.
[‡ ]Why unexpected is a question not yet settled. All that the Ancient Preface says is that the piece is directed against the disorders of the State, and that owing to such disorders it was impossible for the people to marry at the proper season, i.e. in the Spring.
[* ]Lit., at an angle. The three positions in the stanzas seem to point to the time of night—first high, then declining, and lastly setting.
[† ]The contrast should be noted.
[* ]This is one of the most perplexing pieces. In the Ancient Preface we are told that it is directed against the times, and that the people of Tsin thus stigmatized those who were in exalted positions and who failed to show compassion to them. But the question is, to whom is it addressed? I cannot but agree with Victor von Strauss in his opinion that the people are appealing to the ruler to make some change in his own interests. There is then some sense in the 3rd and 4th lines.
[† ]So, according to the Urh-ya.
[* ]Said to have been written in a time of incessant warfare, when of course agriculture was neglected and the parents left to live as they could.
[† ]The fluttering of the birds would seem to represent the restless movements of the army, and also, as these particular birds were not wont to light on trees, having no hind-claws, their difficulty in doing so is an apt image of the peasant engaged in soldiering.
[* ]Duke Wu, the grandson of Hwan of K‘iu-yuh (see Ode 3), having become, in the year 678 bc, complete master in the State of Tsin, sent to the king some of his ill-gotten treasures as a bribe, and was thereupon invested legally with the rulership.
[† ]Seven of the ten royal orders were worn by a feudal prince in his own State; six when he was serving at Court as the king’s minister.
[‡ ]Tsze for T‘ien tsze, Son of Heaven. So Chu-Hi. The king was Li, alias Hi (bc 681-676).
[§ ]Originally supposed to be a satire on Duke Wu (see last Ode), who dwelt by himself and would not entertain the worthy men around him,—a view now given up.
[∥ ]An image of the writer himself.
[* ]These last lines do not rhyme in the original.
[† ]The Kŏ. These lines seem to point to conjugal affection, or protection.
[‡ ]“The lone one” might mean either the dead husband or the widow.
[§ ]It is usual still in China to use hard pillows of wood or other material, upon which the upper part of the neck rests without disarranging the elaborately dressed hair.
[* ]The word (kwai) is used, as if the bridal journey was to be taken over again.
[† ]On this particularly barren mountain none of these things ever grew. As likely were they to be found there as that truth should be found in idle gossiping stories. These opening lines may not really be interrogative, but by taking them so the sense becomes more apparent.
[* ]See note on previous page.
[* ]The State of Ts‘in was about 900 bc quite a small fief in the North-West. Many of its inhabitants belonged to the wild Mongolian tribes, and probably also some of its princes. The State grew by degrees into importance, and in the third century bc the ruling Chief made himself master of the whole of China and established the Ts‘in Dynasty.
[* ]Lit., males.
[† ]The light vehicles, with small bells at the horses’ bits, seem to have been used for beating up the game, and for conveying home the dogs; or, in the latter case, it may have been that the tinkling bells simply kept together the dogs.
[‡ ]“Long and short-nosed.”
[§ ]The first six lines in each stanza give a rapid confused picture of the equipments of the husband on his setting out to the wars,—a picture which is ever present to the wife’s mind; and in the last four she explains herself and passes on to the thought of his present surroundings. The Expedition would be against the wild tribes of the West.
[∥ ]Some provision for keeping under control the outside horses.
[* ]i.e., at the ends of the traces.
[† ]The colours of the horses throughout are only approximate in the translation. One of them is described, in one syllable, as a horse with a white left foot!
[‡ ]Lit., like a jewel.
[§ ]Two interior reins were attached to the carriage front, and these are those referred to in the 6th line.
[∥ ]A pair of shields, showing the imperial emblem, stood on the front of the carriage.
[¶ ]An instrument to keep the bows from warping.
[* ]No other title than this which I venture can well be given to this piece. All Chinese guesses as to the meaning seem far-fetched and absurd. Perhaps the “happy mean,” which so many miss, is the answer to the riddle.
[* ]A noted mountain in the State of Ts‘in, at the foot of which was the ruler’s seat. The beauties of the scenery seem introduced in comparison with the ruler’s new adornments.
[† ]Ki and t’ang, are thus explained by Chu Hi and his followers.
[‡ ]A practice evidently learnt from their barbarous neighbours in the West, and unknown in any other State in China.
[§ ]It seems hopeless to seek any meaning in these introductory lines.
[∥ ]“Dead” is not in the original, but the sense requires it. Duke Muh died 620 bc, and not only these three clansmen, but 170 persons in all, it is said, were buried alive with him.
[* ]Lit., yonder azure Heaven!
[* ]A long history is attached to this piece, for which see Dr. Legge’s “Shi King,” Vol. I. p. 203. The writer is Duke K‘ang of Ts‘in (son of Duke Muh of Ode 6), at that time, however, only heir-apparent; and the cousin was Ch‘ung-urh, afterwards Duke Wan of Tsin.
[† ]i.e., on the king’s acknowledgment of him as rightful heir, when the king would present him with the car of state. The cousin had, however, to fight his way in order to regain his rightful possessions; and the danger attending this enterprise seems to be the cause of the anxiety expressed in verse 2.
[* ]Supposed to satirize Duke K’ang’s treatment of the old servants of his father (Muh).
[* ]Ch‘in was a marquisate in the present province of Ho-nan, given originally by King Wu (1121-1114 bc) to Mwan, his chief potter, who claimed descent from the Emperor Shun. Mwan is known as Duke Hu. His capital was built around, or near, the Yun-hill mentioned in the two first pieces.
[† ]Lit., is without regard.
[‡ ]Egret-plumes, or fans, were used in dancing (see I. vi. 3).
[§ ]The body of these drums was of porcelain or earthenware.
[* ]Kiang was the clan name of the ruling House of Ts‘i, and Tse that of the ducal House of Sung.
[* ]Ki, strictly one of the House of Chow, but often used as a euphemism.
[† ]This is in the original another species of hemp. The three varieties of plants mentioned—out of which clothing-material was made—were probably cut and prepared at different seasons.
[‡ ]“Renew” is not in the text, but the argument I have adopted would suggest it as understood.
[* ]Lych-gate, lit., “tomb-gate,” whether a gate of the city leading to a cemetery, or the cemetery-gate, is doubtful. The opening lines in each stanza are ominous of evil.
[† ]Evidently the person held some important position in the State.
[* ]This Ode brings us down to the time nearest of all to that of Confucius. Duke Ling ruled in Ch‘in bc 612-598. Chu-lin, or Chu, was a city of Ch‘in, where resided Hià-ki, a daughter of Duke Muh of Ch‘ing, now married to an officer of Ch‘in. Duke Ling’s intrigues with this lady were notorious.
[† ]Hià-nan was the lady’s son. The duke excuses himself, saying he seeks only the son’s companionship. The son afterwards murdered him. The whole story connected with this intrigue is to be found in the Tso-chün, and the Ode is only interesting to those who are acquainted with that history.
[* ]The writer, according to Chu-Hi, is a woman.
[* ]Kwai, like Ch‘in, was a small but ancient fief in the present province of Ho-nan, but about the eighth century bc it was incorporated with Ch‘ing. It lay between the rivers Tsin and Wai.
[† ]The lambskin was for wear in the ruler’s Court or hall at public receptions, &c.; and the foxfur robe only at the Court of the king.
[‡ ]The writer was evidently some officer of Kwai, justly offended at this irregularity and vain display.
[* ]The old custom had been that mourning for parents should be worn for three years. Now, evidently, the sight of it was rare.
[† ]White was then, as now, the colour of the mourning-dress. The white bonnet or cap was to be worn during the third year.
[‡ ]Knee-covers made of white leather.
[* ]In opposition to the view of Dr. Legge and Herr von Strauss, who follow Chu-Hi in his interpretation of this Ode, I prefer the simpler one of Mao, and translate tao—“ways,” “manners.” I inclined to do so in Odes 6 and 10 of Book VIII.; but there the word and context are equivocal.
[† ]So here I think Chu-Hi has beclouded the simple construction, although the terseness of the language allows of some variation in translating.
[‡ ]Western Chow, the capital which lay west of this State of Kwai.
[§ ]Probably the meaning of the whole verse is that purity and patriotism are synonymous.
[* ]Ts‘âu was a small Earldom lying in the present province of Shan-tung. It was annexed to Sung in the fifth century bc
[† ]The insect (fau-yiu) in the original is a dung-fly, an ephemera,—otherwise called the dung-beetle, or tumble-dung. Fau-yiu literally means “floating—wandering.” Our “butterfly” suits the spirit and meaning of the piece. The fops were probably some persons of high standing at Court.
[‡ ]The last lines are generally held to be very puzzling. The above is a verbatim rendering, the “I’ll” only being added.
[§ ]Lit., “hempen clothes.”
[* ]Satire by some man of worth, who, along with a few others like himself, had been dismissed from office, and saw a number of useless and inexperienced men about the Court in their stead.
[† ]Officers employed to meet and to escort guests.
[‡ ]Servants about the Court. Only persons of high rank were entitled to wear the scarlet aprons.
[§ ]Our “mushroom-growth,” and “morning cloud that vanisheth.”
[∥ ]There is nothing to show whose wives are intended. They may be the neglected wives of those “striplings” in office, or the wives of men such as the writer who had no employment. The Chinese commentators say,—some, that they represent the worthy men themselves! some, that the people of the State are meant!
[* ]The turtle-dove. The number of her brood—seven—in the original is unnatural, but “seven” there makes a rhyme with the fourth line!
[† ]Lit., his heart bound, &c.
[‡ ]Lit., for 10,000 years.
[* ]The fountain points to the king, now not fostering, but chilling, his people.
[† ]Chow-king. King=capital, as in Pe-king, Nan-king.
[‡ ]The reference to the Chief of Siun is obscure. Probably, as is supposed by some, he was a sort of vice-roy, exercising anthority over a number of the States, and was tuined to in times of trouble.
[* ]Pin was the name of a district in the west of the present province of Shen-si, and was the home of the ancestry of the Chow family from 1796 to 1325 bc
[† ]We might almost call the piece the “Georgies” of Pin. It is said to have been written by the famous Duke of Chow (Chow-kung,—son of King Wăn, and brother of King Wu) for his young nephew and ward, known afterwards as King Ch‘ing, so the date assigned to it would be between 1116 and 1112 bc (the period during which Chow-kung was Regent). The language is put into the mouth of the farmers, and is supposed to represent the life of the country people some centuries before its date.
[‡ ]Lit., sinks the Fire-star. The Heart of the Scorpion was so called. It is computed that about this time this star passed the meridian in August. The first month therefore would begin during our February.
[§ ]Lit., the first’s days. The nomenclature of some older calendar seems to have been used for the winter months; but I have continued the numbers known to us,—11th, 12th, 1st, 2nd.
[* ]i.e., following the plough. Any one who has seen ploughing in China through mud and water nearly knee-deep will understand this “lilting of toes.”
[† ]Lit., have open-air meals on the south-lying acres.
[‡ ]Or, white southernwood. Besides being used in sacrifice (see I. ii. 2) this herb served in some way to assist in the hatching of the silkworm.
[§ ]i.e., to be married.
[∥ ]No certain month, but that in which the silkworm creeps out, when it must be fed with mulberry leaves.
[* ]A general hunt, which was intended also to keep the people in training for war.
[† ]In this verse three separate insects seem to be named, the locust, the “spinner,” and the cricket; but the Chinese commentators say they are names of the same insect at different stages of its existence.
[* ]An offering to the Spirit who was supposed to preside over the cold season.
[* ]This Ode is said to have been written by the Duke of Chow to vindicate his fidelity at a time when he was accused of treachery towards the young King Ch‘ing (see Note 2 on last Ode). A little history must here be given, which will throw light on this as well as the remaining pieces in this Book.
[† ]On all hands I see this bird is called an owl; but the picture of it in the Urh-ya t‘u is decidedly that of a hawk. The hawk is evidently Wu-Kăng, the “young ones” the Duke’s brothers, and the “nest,” or “house” (v. 3) the infant dynasty of Chow.
[* ]This beautiful allegory Confucius has commented upon. (See Mencius II., Part i. IV. 3, Legge’s Classics.)
[† ]Many were still unwilling to abandon the fallen dynasty of Shang.
[‡ ]The young dynasty still in danger.
[* ]The Duke of Chow’s Expedition to quash the rebellion (see Note 1 on last Ode).
[† ]In the ranks the troops wore a kind of gag in the mouth to prevent their talking.
[* ]It is to be much doubted whether the implements in these verses are weapons of war. It is more probable that they were agricultural and other tools, which had become rusty, blunted, and almost useless during the men’s three years’ absence. At present, when a Chinese wishes to express the fact of his having been long absent from friends, he uses the two opening lines of this Ode.
[† ]Lit., the four States; but this phrase often means the four sides of the State.
[‡ ]He did not go to fight so much as to make peace, and thereby to show his love and pity for his country, then so disturbed.
[* ]This piece is thought by all Chinese critics to refer to the Duke of Chow. Its place in the book lends some support to their view. The substance of Chu-Hi’s comment is, that the first verse expresses the desire of the Eastern people to see the famous Duke, and that the second speaks of their satisfaction on seeing him. Victor von Strauss thinks that if we are to take the lines metaphorically, they may be interpreted thus:—the young monarch Ch‘ing is seeking full possession of his kingdom (the bride), and can do nothing without the Duke as his mediator and example; whilst with him as such all is brought about happily.
[† ]The match-arranger (see I. v. 4) was thus, even in the twelfth century bc, as now, a sine quâ non.
[‡ ]Scil., in the hand.
[§ ]“Feast,” lit., vessels of bamboo and earthenware, used in feasts convivial and sacrificial.
[* ]Lit., with you staying two nights. But the “you” is unimportant: the people are supposed to be talking with each other.
[† ]His serenity is contrasted with the action of a wolf at bay. For the calumny, see Note 1 on the second Ode.
[‡ ]Scoticé. Lit., dewlap.
[§ ]Red slippers were worn by the king and the chief princes.