Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK IV.: THE ODES OF YUNG. * - The Shi King, the Old Poetry Classic of the Chinese
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
BOOK IV.: THE ODES OF YUNG. * - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
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.
[* ]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.