Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK III.: THE HYMNS OF CHOW. THIRD SECTION. - The Shi King, the Old Poetry Classic of the Chinese
BOOK III.: THE HYMNS OF CHOW. THIRD SECTION. - 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:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
THE HYMNS OF CHOW.
IV. iii. 1.
AT KING CH‘ING’S FIRST OFFERING TO HIS FATHER AFTER THE PERIOD OF MOURNING.
- Alas, that I in childhood’s years
- Should come to an unsettled throne,
- And in my trouble stand alone!
- Thou, O great father, now no more,
- Wast all thy life a duteous son:
- Didst mine august grandsire recall
- (As though still) moving through the hall.
- I am a child, yet night and day
- (Such filial) reverence I will pay.
- O ye great kings! it shall be mine
- Ne’er to forget I am a scion of your line.
IV. iii. 2.
KING CH‘ING’S PRAYER TO HIS DECEASED FATHER.
- Now, on my inauguration
- I seek counsel, fain to follow
- In my glorious father’s footsteps.
- But, ah me! how far ’twill lead me!
- I am yet thereto unfitted.
- Aid my efforts. My succession
- Bodes but severance and failure.
- I am but a child, unequal
- To the many cares of statecraft.
- —Up and down the court still moving,
- Up and down within the household,
- Be mine august sire propitious,—
- So enlighten and sustain me.
IV. iii. 3.
KING CH‘ING AND HIS COUNSELLORS.
- The Counsellors.
- In reverence persevere;
- Heaven’s (purpose) may be clear,
- Yet ah, its Charge upon thee is not slight!
- Say not, “Heaven is so far, so high”;—
- Its Servants it is ever nigh,
- And daily are we here within its sight.
- The Young King.
- I am a child, and hence
- Unskilled in reverence;
- But with the days and months will Learning’s rays
- Grow into fullest light at last.
- Aid me to bear this burden vast;
- And teach me of illustrious Virtue’s ways.
IV. iii. 4.
THE RESOLVE OF KING CH‘ING AFTER HIS FIRST ERROR.
- I have had my warning,
- And will guard ’gainst future evils:
- Will no more with wasps have dealings,
- Courting but their stings and venom.
- What at first was but a “peach-tree insect,”
- Taking wing, became a bird undoubted.
- I, unequal yet to all the cares of statecraft,
- Here am placed moreover on a bed of smartweed.
IV. iii. 5.
HUSBANDRY AND WORSHIP.
- Clear the twitch-grass, clear the scrub;
- Ploughs the soddened soil shall grub.
- Thousand couples weed the ground,
- Crossing swampy field and bound:
- There the master, there the son,
- Younger sons, aye every one;
- Strong men here, assistants there.
- Hear them o’er their (mid-day) fare.
- Husbands eye their wives with pride,
- Wives cling to their husbands’ side.
- Now the sharpened shares are in;—
- On South Acres they begin.
- Sown is grain, of every kind:
- Living germs in all enshrined.
- Bursting now, in faultless rows,
- Succulent and tall it grows.
- ’Mid the young and thriving grain
- Weeders wade, a numerous train.
- Last, the reapers, band on band,
- Pile the produce on the land,
- Till the stacks unnumbered stand.
- Liquor sweet and strong ’twill brew,
- ’Gainst the time when gifts be due
- To departed dame and sire,
- And for what all rites require.
- Fragrant odour thence doth rise
- That a nation glorifies;
- While the pungent perfume cheers
- Men in their declining years.
- Not that here alone ’tis so,
- Nor that now alone ’tis so:—
- Thus it was long long ago.
IV. iii. 6.
- Now the good sharp shares are in:
- On South Acres they begin.
- Grain they sow, of every kind;
- Living germs in all enshrined.
- Some there come to see them there,
- Bringing baskets, round and square,
- With the millet for their fare.
- Now the light splint hats are worn,
- Hoes are hacking through the corn,
- Tare and weed away are torn.
- Tare and weed decayed and dead,
- Millets thrive and come to head.
- Hark! the sickles now they ply;
- See! the sheaves in masses lie;
- Reared anon like ramparts high,—
- Smooth as had there been a comb!
- Open now be every home!
- Every home is well supplied,
- Wife and children satisfied.
- So this ox, with crooked horn
- And the tawny hide, we kill:—
- Rites men kept ere we were born
- Thus be kept and copied still.
IV. iii. 7.
AT THE SACRIFICIAL FEAST.
- In robe of silk, all spick and span,
- And festal cap, the reverent man
- From hall to basement now descends,
- From ram to bull his way he wends.—
- Arrayed are tripod pot and pan,
- Curved cup of horn of unicorn.
- And mellow wine of flavour fine.
- No noise, no bluster here—sure gage
- Of life prolonged to green old age.
IV. iii. 8.
IN HONOUR OF KING WU.
- O, splendid gleam the royal troops,
- Well cared for through the days of gloom.
- Now, as the times grow bright and clear,
- They don their grand accoutrements.
- To us is given the grace to take
- What thou, our hero-king, achiev’dst.
- So let us use our heritage,
- Being indeed true followers in thy steps.
IV. iii. 9.
- The myriad lands are tranquil;
- The years are ever prosperous:—
- Heaven’s bounty never halteth.
- Wu, the great warrior-monarch,
- Retaining still his Servants
- On every hand to aid him,
- His House established firmly.
- Ah, now he shines in Heaven,
- August, its Mediator!
IV. iii. 10.
WU’S PRAISE OF HIS FATHER WĂN.
- King Wăn was zealous toiler;
- Be I his meet successor.
- Proclaim it, ne’er forget it.
- My aim alone shall be (his work) to stablish.
- ’Twas he (won) Chow’s Appointment!—
- O ne’er forget it!
IV. iii. 11.
ROYAL PROGRESS OF WU THROUGH HIS DOMINIONS.
- Ah, now is Chow exalted!—
- He climbs the lofty mountains,
- The alp, the long sierra;
- And true, as Ho’s bound waters,
- Are all beneath the Heavens,
- Assembling now to meet him.
- Here (see we) Chow’s Appointment!