Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART IV.: THE BOOKS OF SHANG. - The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King
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PART IV.: THE BOOKS OF SHANG. - Misc (Confucian School), The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King 
The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King, trans. James Legge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879).
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THE BOOKS OF SHANG.
The Speech of Thang.
Shang was the name under which the dynasty that superseded Hsiâ (bc 1766) held the kingdom for fully 300 years. Yin then began to be used as well as Shang, and the dynasty was called indifferently Shang or Yin, and sometimes Yin-Shang by a combination of the two names. The ruling House traced its origin into the remote times of antiquity, through Hsieh, whose appointment by Shun to be Minister of Instruction is related in the Canon of Shun. For his services Hsieh was invested with the principality of Shang, corresponding to the present small department of the same name in Shen-hsî. From Hsieh to Thang, the founder of the dynasty, there are reckoned fourteen generations, and we find Thang, when he first becomes prominent in history, a long way from the ancestral fief, in ‘the southern Po,’ corresponding to the present district of Shang-khiû, department Kwei-teh, Ho-nan. The title of the dynasty, however, was derived from the original Shang.
There were in the Shû, when the collection was formed, thirty-one documents of Shang in forty Books, of which only eleven remain in seventeen Books, two of them containing each three parts or sections. The Speech of Thang, that is now the first Book in the Part, was originally only the sixth. Thang was the designation of the hero, whose surname, dating from Hsieh, was Ȝze, and name Lî. Thang may be translated, ‘the Glorious One.’ His common style in history is as Khăng Thang, ‘Thang the Completer,’ or ‘Thang the Successful.’
He had summoned his people to take the field with him against Kieh, the cruel and doomed sovereign of Hsiâ, and finding them backward to the enterprise, he sets forth in this Book his reasons for attacking the tyrant, argues against their reluctance, using in the end both promises and threats to induce them to obey his orders.
The king said, ‘Come, ye multitudes of the people, listen all to my words. It is not I, the little child1 , who dare to undertake a rebellious enterprise; but for the many crimes of the sovereign of Hsiâ, Heaven has given the charge to destroy him.*
‘Now, ye multitudes, you are saying, “Our prince does not compassionate us, but (is calling us) away from our husbandry to attack and punish Hsiâ.” I have indeed heard (these) words of you all; (but) the sovereign of Hsiâ is guilty, and, as I fear God, I dare not but punish him.*
‘Now you are saying, “What are the crimes of Hsiâ to us?” The king of Hsiâ in every way exhausts the strength of his people, and exercises oppression in the cities of Hsiâ. His multitudes are become entirely indifferent (to his service), and feel no bond of union (to him). They are saying, “When wilt thou, O sun, expire? We will all perish with thee2 .” Such is the course of (the sovereign) of Hsiâ, and now I must go (and punish him).
‘Assist, I pray you, me, the One man, to carry out the punishment appointed by Heaven. I will greatly reward you. On no account disbelieve me;—I will not eat my words. If you do not obey the words which I have thus spoken to you, I will put your children to death with you;—you shall find no forgiveness.’
The Announcement of Kung-hui.
This Book is the first of the ‘Announcements,’ which form a large class of the documents in the Shû. They are distinguished from the Speeches, as being made in a general assembly, or published, for the information of all, whereas the Speeches were made to an army.
Kung-hui, of an old family, whose surname was Zăn, with its seat in the territory of Hsieh, corresponding to the present district of Thang, department Yen-kâu, Shan-tung, was a minister of Thang. Thang has been successful against Kieh, and dethroned him, but is haunted by some feeling of remorse, and afraid that what he has done may be appealed to in future ages as an apology for rebellion. This gives occasion to the Announcement, in which Kung-hui vindicates the proceeding of the king, showing, first, that he had only obeyed the guidance of Heaven, and, then, that men consented with Heaven in the matter. He concludes with various counsels addressed to the king.
1. When Thang the Successful was keeping Kieh in banishment in Nan-khâo1 , he had a feeling of shame on account of his conduct, and said, ‘I am afraid that in future ages men will fill their mouths with me, (as an apology for their rebellious proceedings.)’
2. On this Kung-hui made the following announcement: ‘Oh! Heaven gives birth to the people with (such) desires, that without a ruler they must fall into all disorders; and Heaven again gives birth to the man of intelligence to regulate them.* The sovereign of Hsiâ had his virtue all-obscured, and the people were (as if they had fallen) amid mire and (burning) charcoal. Heaven hereupon gifted (our) king with valour and prudence, to serve as a sign and director to the myriad regions, and to continue the old ways of Yü. You are now (only) following the proper course, honouring and obeying the appointment of Heaven. The king of Hsiâ was an offender, falsely and calumniously alleging the sanction of supreme Heaven, to spread abroad his commands among the people. On this account God viewed him with disapprobation, caused our Shang to receive his appointment, and employed (you) to enlighten the multitudes (of the people).’*
3. ‘Contemners of the worthy and parasites of the powerful,—many such followers he had indeed; (but) from the first our country was to the sovereign of Hsiâ like weeds among the springing corn, and blasted grains among the good. (Our people), great and small, were in constant apprehension, fearful though they were guilty of no crime. How much more was this the case, when our (prince’s) virtues became a theme (eagerly) listened to! Our king did not approach to (dissolute) music and women; he did not seek to accumulate property and wealth. To great virtue he gave great offices, and to great merit great rewards. He employed others as if (their excellences) were his own; he was not slow to change his errors. Rightly indulgent and rightly benevolent, from the display (of such virtue), confidence was reposed in him by the millions of the people.
‘When the earl of Ko1 showed his enmity to the provision-carriers, the work of punishment began with Ko. When it went on in the east, the wild tribes of the west murmured; when it went on in the south, those of the north murmured:—they said, “Why does he make us alone the last?” To whatever people he went, they congratulated one another in their families, saying, “We have waited for our prince; our prince is come, and we revive.” The people’s honouring our Shang is a thing of long existence.’
4. ‘Show favour to the able and right-principled (among the princes), and aid the virtuous; distinguish the loyal, and let the good have free course. Absorb the weak, and punish the wilfully blind; take their states from the disorderly, and deal summarily with those going to ruin. When you (thus) accelerate the end of what is (of itself) ready to perish, and strengthen what is itself strong to live, how will the states all flourish! When (a sovereign’s) virtue is daily being renewed, he is cherished throughout the myriad regions; when his mind is full (only) of himself, he is abandoned by the nine branches of his kindred. Exert yourself, O king, to make your virtue (still more) illustrious, and set up (the standard of) the Mean before the people. Order your affairs by righteousness; order your heart by propriety;—so shall you transmit a grand example to posterity. I have heard the saying, “He who finds instructors for himself, comes to the supreme dominion; he who says that others are not equal to himself, comes to ruin. He who likes to put questions, becomes enlarged; he who uses only his own views, becomes smaller (than he was).” Oh! he who would take care for the end must be attentive to the beginning. There is establishment for the observers of propriety, and overthrow for the blinded and wantonly indifferent. To revere and honour the path prescribed by Heaven is the way ever to preserve the favouring appointment of Heaven.’*
The Announcement of Thang.
Thang had made an end of the dynasty of Hsiâ, and returned to Po, when he issued this Announcement, which may be considered as a solemn inauguration of the new dynasty. He shows how he had taken possession of the throne in reverent submission to the will of Heaven, what appreciation he had of the duties devolving on him, and the spirit in which he would discharge them. In the end he calls on the princes and the people to sympathize and co-operate with him.
1. When the king returned from vanquishing Hsiâ and came to Po, he made a grand announcement to the myriad regions.
2. The king said, ‘Ah! ye multitudes of the myriad regions, listen clearly to the announcement of me, the One man1 . The great God has conferred (even) on the inferior people a moral sense, compliance with which would show their nature invariably right.* To make them tranquilly pursue the course which it would indicate is the work of the sovereign.
‘The king of Hsiâ extinguished his virtue, and played the tyrant, extending his oppression over you, the people of the myriad regions. Suffering from his cruel injuries, and unable to endure the wormwood and poison, you protested with one accord your innocence to the spirits of heaven and earth.* The way of Heaven is to bless the good, and make the bad miserable. It sent down calamities on (the House of) Hsiâ, to make manifest its guilt. Therefore I, the little child, charged with the decree of Heaven and its bright terrors, did not dare to forgive (the criminal). I presumed to use a dark-coloured victim-bull, and, making clear announcement to the Spiritual Sovereign in the high heavens1 , requested leave to deal with the ruler of Hsiâ as a criminal.* Then I sought for the great Sage2 , with whom I might unite my strength, to request the favour (of Heaven) for you, my multitudes. High Heaven truly showed its favour to the inferior people, and the criminal has been degraded and subjected. What Heaven appoints is without error;—brilliantly (now), like the blossoming of plants and trees, the millions of the people show a true reviving.’*
3. ‘It is given to me, the One man, to secure the harmony and tranquillity of your states and clans; and now I know not whether I may not offend against (the Powers) above and below.* I am fearful and trembling, as if I were in danger of falling into a deep abyss. Throughout all the regions that enter on a new life under me, do not, (ye princes), follow lawless ways; make no approach to insolence and dissoluteness; let every one be careful to keep his statutes;—that so we may receive the favour of Heaven.* The good in you I will not dare to keep concealed; and for the evil in me I will not dare to forgive myself. I will examine these things in harmony with the mind of God.* When guilt is found anywhere in you who occupy the myriad regions, let it rest on me, the One man1 . When guilt is found in me, the One man, it shall not attach to you who occupy the myriad regions.
‘Oh! let us attain to be sincere in these things, and so we shall likewise have a (happy) consummation.’
The Instructions of Î.
Thang died in bc 1754 or 1753, and was succeeded, so far as the evidence of the Shû goes, by his grandson, known as Thâi Kiâ. The chief minister of Thang had been Î Yin, who delivers these Instructions to his young sovereign soon after his accession. Î was a great and wise man, ‘a great sage,’ as Thang calls him in the last Book, and is classed by Mencius among other celebrated ministers as ‘the one most inclined to take office.’ He reasons thus:—‘Heaven’s plan with mankind is that they who are first informed should instruct those who are later in being informed, and they who first apprehend principles should instruct those who are later in doing so.’ He thought he was one of the former class, and a fire burned within him, impelling him to seek for office with a view to benefit the ignorant and erring. There were many legends about him in the times of Kâu. He was surnamed Î, from having been born near the river of that name, an affluent of the Ho. His name is said to have been Kih, and also Â-hăng (see the beginning of next Book). Yin was his designation. Thang had, probably, entrusted to him the guardianship of his grandson, and so he now went over the history of the kingdom from Yü, till it was transferred from the line of Hsiâ to that of Shang, celebrated the virtues of Thang and his government, and warned the young king of the fate that he must incur, if he neglected the instructions given to him.
1. In the twelfth month of the first year, on (the day) Yî-khâu, Î Yin sacrificed to the former king, and presented the heir-king reverently before (the shrine of) his grandfather.* All the princes from the domain of the nobles and the royal domain were present; all the officers (also), each continuing to discharge his particular duties, were there to receive the orders of the chief minister. Î Yin then clearly described the complete virtue of the Meritorious Ancestor for the instruction of the (young) king.
2. He said, ‘Oh! of old the former kings of Hsiâ cultivated earnestly their virtue, and then there were no calamities from Heaven. The spirits of the hills and rivers likewise were all in tranquillity; and the birds and beasts, the fishes and tortoises, all enjoyed their existence according to their nature.* But their descendant did not follow (their example), and great Heaven sent down calamities, employing the agency of our (ruler) who was in possession of its favouring appointment.* The attack (on Hsiâ) may be traced to (the orgies in) Ming-thiâo1 , but our (rise) began in Po. Our king of Shang brilliantly displayed his sagely prowess; for oppression he substituted his generous gentleness; and the millions of the people gave him their hearts. Now your Majesty is entering on the inheritance of his virtue;—all depends on (how) you commence your reign. To set up love, it is for you to love (your relations); to set up respect, it is for you to respect (your elders). The commencement is in the family and the state; the consummation is in (all within) the four seas.’
3. ‘Oh! the former king began with careful attention to the bonds that hold men together. He listened to expostulation, and did not seek to resist it; he conformed to (the wisdom of) the ancients; occupying the highest position, he displayed intelligence; occupying an inferior position, he displayed his loyalty; he allowed (the good qualities of) the men (whom he employed), and did not seek that they should have every talent; in the government of himself, he seemed to think that he could never (sufficiently) attain. It was thus he arrived at the possession of the myriad regions.—How painstaking was he in these things!
‘He extensively sought out wise men, who should be helpful to you, his descendant and heir. He laid down the punishments for officers, and warned those who were in authority, saying, “If you dare to have constant dancing in your palaces, and drunken singing in your chambers,—that is called the fashion of sorcerers; if you dare to set your hearts on wealth and women, and abandon yourselves to wandering about or to the chase,—that is called the fashion of extravagance; if you dare to despise sage words, to resist the loyal and upright, to put far from you the aged and virtuous, and to seek the company of procacious youths,—that is called the fashion of disorder. Now if a high noble or officer be addicted to one of these three fashions with their ten evil ways1 , his family will surely come to ruin; if the prince of a country be so addicted, his state will surely come to ruin. The minister who does not (try to) correct (such vices in the sovereign) shall be punished with branding.” These rules were minutely inculcated (also) on the sons of officers and nobles in their lessons.’
4. ‘Oh! do you, who now succeed to the throne, revere (these warnings) in your person. Think of them!—sacred counsels of vast importance, admirable words forcibly set forth! (The ways) of God are not invariable:—on the good-doer he sends down all blessings, and on the evil-doer he sends down all miseries.* Do you but be virtuous, be it in small things (or in large), and the myriad regions will have cause for rejoicing. If you be not virtuous, be it in large things (or in small), it will bring the ruin of your ancestral temple.’
The Thâi Kiâ.
This Book also belongs to the class of ‘Lessons or Instructions,’ and is called ‘the Thâi Kiâ,’ because the Instructions were addressed to the young monarch so named. It is divided into three sections or parts. Î Yin finds the young sovereign disobedient to his counsels, and proceeds to a high-handed measure. He removes him from his palace and companions, and keeps him in a sort of easy confinement, near the grave of his grandfather, all the period of mourning; and Thâi Kiâ becomes sincerely penitent and virtuous. This is related in the first section. In the second, Î Yin brings the king back with honour to Po, to undertake the duties of the government, and congratulates him on his reformation. The king responds suitably, and asks the minister to continue to afford him his counsels, which the other at once proceeds to do. The third section is all occupied with further and important counsels.
1. The king, on succeeding to the throne, did not follow (the advice of) Â-hăng1 . (Â-hăng or) Î Yin then made the following writing1 :—‘The former king kept his eye continually on the bright requirements of Heaven, and so he maintained the worship of the spirits of heaven and earth, of those presiding over the land and the grain, and of those of the ancestral temple;—all with a sincere reverence.* Heaven took notice of his virtue, and caused its great appointment to light on him, that he should soothe and tranquillize the myriad regions.* I, Yin, then gave my assistance to my sovereign in the settlement of the people; and thus it is that you, O heir-king, have received the great inheritance. I have seen it myself in Hsiâ with its western capital2 , that when its rulers went through a prosperous course to the end, their ministers also did the same, and afterwards, when their successors could not attain to such a consummation, neither did their ministers. Take warning, O heir-king. Reverently use your sovereignty. If you do not play the sovereign, as the name requires, you will disgrace your grandfather.’
2. The king would not think (of these words), nor listen to them. On this Î Yin said, ‘The former king, before it was light, sought to have large and clear views, and then sat waiting for the dawn (to carry them into practice). He (also) sought on every side for men of ability and virtue, to instruct and guide his posterity. Do not frustrate his charge (to me), and bring on yourself your own overthrow. Be careful to strive after the virtue of self-restraint, and cherish far-reaching plans. Be like the forester, who, when he has adjusted the spring, goes to examine the end of the arrow, whether it be placed according to rule, and then lets go; reverently determine your aim, and follow the ways of your grandfather. Thus I shall be delighted, and be able to show to all ages that I have discharged my trust.’
3. The king was not yet able to change (his course). Î Yin said (to himself), ‘This is (real) unrighteousness, and is becoming by practice (a second) nature. I cannot bear to be near (so) disobedient (a person). I will build (a place) in the palace at Thung1 , where he can be in silence near (the grave of) the former king. This will be a lesson which will keep him from going astray all his life.’ The king went (accordingly) to the palace at Thung, and dwelt during the period of mourning. In the end he became sincerely virtuous.
1. On the first day of the twelfth month of his third year, Î Yin escorted the young king in the royal cap and robes back to Po. (At the same time) he made the following writing:—
‘Without the sovereign, the people cannot have that guidance which is necessary to (the comfort of) their lives; without the people, the sovereign would have no sway over the four quarters (of the kingdom). Great Heaven has graciously favoured the House of Shang, and granted to you, O young king, at last to become virtuous.* This is indeed a blessing that will extend without limit to ten thousand generations.’
2. The king did obeisance with his face to his hands and his head to the ground, saying, ‘I, the little child, was without understanding of what was virtuous, and was making myself one of the unworthy. By my desires I was setting at nought all rules of conduct, and violating by my self-indulgence all rules of propriety, and the result must have been speedy ruin to my person. Calamities sent by Heaven may be avoided, but from calamities brought on by one’s self there is no escape.* Heretofore I turned my back on the instructions of you, my tutor and guardian;—my beginning has been marked by incompetency. Let me still rely on your correcting and preserving virtue, keeping this in view that my end may be good!’
3. Î Yin did obeisance with his face to his hands and his head on the ground, and said, ‘To cultivate his person, and by being sincerely virtuous, bring (all) below to harmonious concord with him;—this is the work of the intelligent sovereign. The former king was kind to the distressed and suffering, as if they were his children, and the people submitted to his commands,—all with sincere delight. Even in the states of the neighbouring princes, (the people) said, “We are waiting for our sovereign; when our sovereign comes, we shall not suffer the punishments (that we now do).”
‘O king, zealously cultivate your virtue. Regard (the example of) your meritorious grandfather. At no time allow yourself in pleasure and idleness. In worshipping your ancestors, think how you can prove your filial piety;* in receiving your ministers, think how you can show yourself respectful; in looking to what is distant, try to get clear views; have your ears ever open to lessons of virtue;—then shall I acknowledge (and respond to) the excellence of your majesty with an untiring (devotion to your service).
1. Î Yin again made an announcement to the king, saying, ‘Oh! Heaven has no (partial) affection;—only to those who are reverent does it show affection.* The people are not constant to those whom they cherish;—they cherish (only) him who is benevolent. The spirits do not always accept the sacrifices that are offered to them;—they accept only the sacrifices of the sincere.* A place of difficulty is the Heaven-(conferred) seat. When there are (those) virtues, good government is realized; when they are not, disorder comes. To maintain the same principles as those who secured good government will surely lead to prosperity; to pursue the courses of disorder will surely lead to ruin. He who at last, as at first, is careful as to whom and what he follows is a truly intelligent sovereign. The former king was always zealous in the reverent cultivation of his virtue, so that he was the fellow of God1 .* Now, O king, you have entered on the inheritance of his excellent line;—fix your inspection on him.’
2. ‘(Your course must be) as when in ascending high you begin from where it is low, and when in travelling far you begin from where it is near. Do not slight the occupations of the people;—think of their difficulties. Do not yield to a feeling of repose on your throne;—think of its perils. Be careful for the end at the beginning. When you hear words that are distasteful to your mind, you must enquire whether they be not right; when you hear words that accord with your own views, you must enquire whether they be not contrary to what is right. Oh! what attainment can be made without anxious thought? what achievement can be made without earnest effort? Let the One man be greatly good, and the myriad regions will be rectified by him.’
3. ‘When the sovereign does not with disputatious words throw the old rules of government into confusion, and the minister does not, for favour and gain, continue in an office whose work is done,—then the country will lastingly and surely enjoy happiness.’
The Common Possession of Pure Virtue.
This is the last of the ‘Instructions’ of Î Yin;—addressed, like those of the last two Books, to Thâi Kiâ, but at a later period when the great minister wished to retire from the toils of administration. He now disappears from the stage of history, though according to Sze-mâ Khien, and a notice in the Preface to the Shû, he lived on to bc 1713, the eighth year of Thâi Kiâ’s son and successor.
In this Book, his subject is ‘Pure or Single-eyed Virtue,’ and the importance of it to the ruler of the kingdom. He dwells on the fall of Kieh through his want of this virtue, and the elevation of Thang through his possession of it; treats generally on its nature and results; and urges the cultivation of it on Thâi Kiâ.
1. Î Yin, having returned the government into the hands of his sovereign, and being about to announce his retirement, set forth admonitions on the subject of virtue.
2. He said, ‘Oh! it is difficult to rely on Heaven;—its appointments are not constant.* (But if the sovereign see to it that) his virtue be constant, he will preserve his throne; if his virtue be not constant, the nine provinces will be lost by him. The king of Hsiâ could not maintain the virtue (of his ancestors) unchanged, but contemned the spirits and oppressed the people. Great Heaven no (longer) extended its protection to him. It looked out among the myriad regions to give its guidance to one who should receive its favouring appointment, fondly seeking (a possessor of) pure virtue, whom it might make lord of all the spirits.* Then there were I, Yin, and Thang, both possessed of pure virtue, and able to satisfy the mind of Heaven. He received (in consequence) the bright favour of Heaven, so as to become possessor of the multitudes of the nine provinces, and proceeded to change Hsiâ’s commencement of the year. It was not that Heaven had any private partiality for the lord of Shang;—it simply gave its favour to pure virtue.* It was not that Shang sought (the allegiance of) the lower people;—the people simply turned to pure virtue. Where (the sovereign’s) virtue is pure, his enterprizes are all fortunate; where his virtue is wavering and uncertain, his enterprizes are all unfortunate. Good and evil do not wrongly befal men, but Heaven sends down misery or happiness according to their conduct.’*
3. ‘Now, O young king, you are newly entering on your (great) appointment,—you should be seeking to make new your virtue. At last, as at first, have this as your one object, so shall you make a daily renovation. Let the officers whom you employ be men of virtue and ability, and let the ministers about you be the right men. The minister, in relation to (his sovereign) above him, has to promote his virtue, and, in relation to the (people) beneath him, has to seek their good. How hard must it be (to find the proper man)! what careful attention must be required! (Thereafter) there must be harmony (cultivated with him), and a oneness (of confidence placed in him).
‘There is no invariable model of virtue;—a supreme regard to what is good gives the model of it. There is no invariable characteristic of what is good that is to be supremely regarded;—it is found where there is a conformity to the uniform consciousness (in regard to what is good). (Such virtue) will make the people with their myriad surnames all say, “How great are the words of the king!” and also, “How single and pure is the king’s heart!” It will avail to maintain in tranquillity the rich possession of the former king, and to secure for ever the (happy) life of the multitudes of the people.’
4. ‘Oh! (to retain a place) in the seven-shrined temple1 of ancestors is a sufficient witness of virtue.* To be acknowledged as chief by the myriad heads of families is a sufficient evidence of one’s government. The sovereign without the people has none whom he can employ; and the people without the sovereign have none whom they can serve. Do not think yourself so large as to deem others small. If ordinary men and women do not find the opportunity to give full development to their ability, the people’s lord will be without the proper aids to complete his merit.’
Pan-kĂng was the seventeenth sovereign in the line of Thang. From Thâi Kiâ to him, therefore, there was a space of 321 years, which are a gap in the history of the Shang dynasty, so far as the existing documents of the Shû are concerned. When the collection was complete, there were seven other documents between ‘the Common Possession of Pure Virtue’ and ‘the Pan-kăng,’ but the latest of them belonged to the reign of Ȝû-yî, bc 1525-1507.
The reign of Pan-kăng extended from bc 1401 to 1374, and is remarkable as that in which the dynasty began to be called Yin, instead of Shang. The Book belongs to the class of ‘Announcements,’ and is divided into three sections.
The contents centre round the removal of the capital from the north of the Ho to Yin on the south of it. The king saw that the removal was necessary, but had to contend with the unwillingness of the people to adopt such a step, and the opposition of the great families. The first section relates how he endeavoured to vindicate the measure, and contains two addresses, to the people and to those in high places, respectively, designed to secure their cordial co-operation. The second section brings before us the removal in progress, but there continue to be dissatisfactions, which the king endeavours to remove by a long and earnest defence of his course. The third section opens with the removal accomplished. The new city has been founded, and the plan of it laid out. The king makes a fresh appeal to the people and chiefs, to forget all their heart-burnings, and join with him in building up in the new capital a great destiny for the dynasty.
1. Pan-kăng wished to remove (the capital) to Yin1 , but the people would not go to dwell there. He therefore appealed to all the discontented, and made the following protestations. ‘Our king, (Ȝû-yî), came, and fixed on this (Kăng for his capital). He did so from a deep concern for our people, and not because he would have them all die, where they cannot (now) help one another to preserve their lives. I have consulted the tortoise-shell, and obtained the reply—“This is no place for us.” When the former kings had any (important) business, they gave reverent heed to the commands of Heaven.* In a case like this especially they did not indulge (the wish for) constant repose,—they did not abide ever in the same city. Up to this time (the capital has been) in five regions2 . If we do not follow (the example) of these old times, we shall be refusing to acknowledge that Heaven is making an end of our dynasty (here);—how little can it be said of us that we are following the meritorious course of the former kings! As from the stump of a felled tree there are sprouts and shoots, Heaven will perpetuate its decree in our favour in this new city;—the great inheritance of the former kings will be continued and renewed, and tranquillity will be secured to the four quarters (of the kingdom).’*
2. Pan-kăng, in making the people aware of his views, began with those who were in (high) places, and took the constantly-recurring circumstances of former times to lay down the right law and measure (for the present emergency), saying, ‘Let none of you dare to suppress the remonstrances of the poor people.’ The king commanded all to come to him in the courtyard (of his palace).
The king spoke to this effect:—‘Come, all of you; I will announce to you my instructions. Take counsel how to put away your (selfish) thoughts. Do not with haughty (disregard of me) follow after your own ease. Of old, our former kings planned like me how to employ the men of old families to share in (the labours of) government. When they wished to proclaim and announce what was to be attended to, these did not conceal the royal views; and on this account the kings greatly respected them. They did not exceed the truth (in their communications with the people), and on this account the people became greatly changed (in their views). Now, (however), you keep clamouring, and get the confidence (of the people) by alarming and shallow speeches;—I do not know what you are wrangling about. (In this movement) I am not myself abandoning my proper virtue, but you conceal the goodness of my intentions, and do not stand in awe of me, the One man. I see you as clearly as one sees a fire; but I, likewise, by my undecided plans, have produced your error.
‘When the net has its line, there is order and not confusion; and when the husbandman labours upon his fields, and reaps with all his might, there is the (abundant) harvest. If you can put away your (selfish) thoughts, and bestow real good upon the people, reaching (also) to your own relatives and friends, you may boldly venture to make your words great, and say that you have accumulated merit. But you do not fear the great evils which (through our not removing) are extending far and near; (you are like) idle husbandmen, who yield themselves to ease, and are not strong to toil and labour on their acres, so that they cannot get their crop of millets. You do not speak in a spirit of harmony and goodness to the people, and are only giving birth to bitter evils for yourselves. You play the part of destroyers and authors of calamity, of villains and traitors, to bring down misery on your own persons. You set the example of evil, and must feel its smart;—what will it avail you (then) to repent? Look at the poor people;—they are still able to look to one another and give expression to their remonstrances, but when they begin to speak, you are ready with your extravagant talk;—how much more ought you to have me before your eyes, with whom it is to make your lives long or short! Why do you not report (their words) to me, but go about to excite one another by empty speeches, frightening and involving the multitudes in misery? When a fire is blazing in the flames so that it cannot be approached, can it still be beaten out? So, it will not be I who will be to blame, that you all cause dispeace in this way, (and must suffer the consequences.)
‘Khih Zăn1 has said, “In men we seek those of old families; in vessels, we do not seek old ones, but new.” Of old, the kings, my predecessors, and your forefathers and fathers shared together the ease and labours (of the government);—how should I dare to lay undeserved afflictions on you? For generations the toils of your (fathers) have been approved, and I will not conceal your goodness. Now when I offer the great sacrifices to my predecessors, your forefathers are present to share in them.* (They all observe) the happiness I confer and the sufferings I inflict, and I cannot dare to reward virtue that does not exist.
‘I have announced to you the difficulties (of the intended movement), being bent on it, like an archer (whose only thought is to hit). Do not you despise the old and experienced, and do not make little of the helpless and young. Seek every one long continuance in this (new city), which is to be your abode; exert yourselves and put out your strength (in furthering the removal), and listen to the plans of me, the One man. I will make no distinction between men as being more distantly or more nearly related to me;—the criminal (in this matter) shall die the death, and the good-doer shall have his virtue distinguished. The prosperity of the country (ought to) come from you all. If it fail of prosperity, that must arise from me, the One man, erring in the application of punishment. Be sure, all of you, to make known this announcement. From this time forward, attend respectfully to your business; have (the duties of) your offices regularly adjusted; bring your tongues under the rule of law:—lest punishment come upon you, when repentance will be of no avail.’
1. Pan-kăng arose, and (was about to) cross the Ho with the people, moving (to the new capital). Accordingly, he addressed himself to those of them who were (still) dissatisfied, and made a full announcement to their multitudes, to induce a sincere acquiescence (in the measure). They all attended, and (being charged) to take no liberties in the royal courtyard, he called them near, and said, ‘Listen clearly to my words, and do not disregard my commands.
‘Oh! of old time my royal predecessors cherished, every one and above every other thing, a respectful care of the people, who (again) upheld their sovereign with a mutual sympathy. Seldom was it that they were not superior to any (calamitous) time sent by Heaven. When great calamities came down on Yin, the former kings did not fondly remain in their place. What they did was with a view to the people’s advantage, and therefore they moved (their capitals). Why do you not reflect that I, according to what I have heard of the ancient sovereigns, in my care of you and actings towards you, am only wishing to rejoice with you in a common repose? It is not that any guilt attaches to you, so that (this movement) should be like a punishment. If I call upon you to cherish this new city, it is simply on your account, and as an act of great accordance with your wishes. My present undertaking to remove with you, is to give repose and stability to the country. You, (however), have no sympathy with the anxieties of my mind; but you all keep a great reserve in declaring your minds, (when you might) respectfully think by your sincerity to move me, the One man. You only exhaust and distress yourselves. The case is like that of sailing in a boat;—if you do not cross the stream (at the proper time), you will destroy all the cargo. Your sincerity does not respond to mine, and we are in danger of going together to destruction. You, notwithstanding, will not examine the matter;—though you anger yourselves, what cure will that bring?
‘You do not consult for a distant day, nor think of the calamity that must befal you (from not removing). You greatly encourage one another in what must prove to your sorrow. Now you have the present, but you will not have the future;—what prolongation of life can you look for from above? My measures are forecast to prolong your (lease of) life from Heaven;—do I force you by the terrors of my power? My object is to support and nourish you all. I think of my ancestors, (who are now) the spiritual sovereigns;* when they made your forefathers toil (on similar occasions it was only for their good), and I would be enabled in the same way greatly to nourish you and cherish you.’
2. ‘Were I to err in my government, and remain long here, my high sovereign, (the founder of our dynasty), would send down on me great punishment for my crime, and say, “Why do you oppress my people?”* If you, the myriads of the people, do not attend to the perpetuation of your lives, and cherish one mind with me, the One man, in my plans, the former kings will send down on you great punishment for your crime, and say, “Why do you not agree with our young grandson, but go on to forfeit your virtue?” When they punish you from above, you will have no way of escape.* Of old, my royal predecessors made your ancestors and fathers toil (only for their good). You are equally the people whom I (wish to) cherish. But your conduct is injurious;—it is cherished in your hearts. Whereas my royal predecessors made your ancestors and fathers happy, they, your ancestors and fathers, will (now) cut you off and abandon you, and not save you from death.* Here are those ministers of my government, who share with me in the offices (of the kingdom);—and yet they (only think of hoarding up) cowries and gems. Their ancestors and fathers earnestly represent (their course) to my high sovereign, saying, “Execute great punishments on our descendants.” So do they advise my high sovereign to send down great calamities (on those men).’*
3. ‘Oh! I have now told you my unchangeable purpose;—do you perpetually respect (my) great anxiety; let us not get alienated and removed from one another; share in my plans and thoughts, and think (only) of following me; let every one of you set up the true rule of conduct in his heart. If there be bad and unprincipled men, precipitously or carelessly disrespectful (to my orders), and taking advantage of this brief season to play the part of villains or traitors, I will cut off their noses, or utterly exterminate them. I will leave none of their children. I will not let them perpetuate their seed in this new city.
‘Go! preserve and continue your lives. I will now transfer you (to the new capital), and (there) establish your families for ever.’
1. Pan-kăng having completed the removal, and settled the places of residence, proceeded to adjust the several positions (of all classes at an assembly); and then he soothed and comforted the multitudes, saying to them, ‘Do not play nor be idle, but exert yourselves to build (here) a great destiny (for us).
‘Now I have disclosed my heart and belly, my reins and bowels, and fully declared to you, my people, all my mind. I will not treat any of you as offenders; and do not you (any more) help one another to be angry, and form parties to defame me, the One man.
‘Of old, my royal predecessor, (Thang), that his merit might exceed that of those who were before him, proceeded to the hill-site1 . Thereby he removed our evils, and accomplished admirable good for our country. Now you, my people, were by (your position) dissipated and separated, so that you had no abiding place. (And yet) you asked why I was troubling your myriads and requiring you to remove. But God, being about to renew the virtuous service of my high ancestor, and secure the good order of our kingdom, I, with the sincere and respectful (of my ministers), felt a reverent care for the lives of the people, and have made a lasting settlement in (this) new city.*
‘I, a youth, did not neglect your counsels;—I (only) used the best of them. Nor did any of you presumptuously oppose the decision of the tortoise-shell;—so we are here to enlarge our great inheritance.’*
2. ‘Oh! ye chiefs of regions, ye heads of departments, all ye, the hundreds of officers, would that ye had a sympathy (with my people)! I will exert myself in the choice and guiding of you;—do ye think reverently of my multitudes. I will not employ those who are fond of enriching themselves; but will use and revere those who are vigorously, yet reverently, labouring for the lives and increase of the people, nourishing them and planning for their enduring settlement.
‘I have now brought forward and announced to you my mind, whom I approve and whom I disallow;—let none of you but reverence (my will). Do not seek to accumulate wealth and precious things, but in fostering the life of the people, seek to find your merit. Reverently display your virtue in behalf of the people. For ever maintain this one purpose in your hearts.’
The Charge to Yüeh.
After Pan-kăng came the reigns of Hsiâo-hsin and Hsiâo-yî, of which we have no accounts in the Shû. Hsiâo-yî was followed by Wû-ting (bc 1324-1264), to the commencement of whose reign this Book, in three sections, belongs. His name is not in it, but that he is the king intended appears from the prefatory notice, and the Confucian Analects, XIV, xliii. The Book is the first of the ‘Charges’ of the Shû. They relate the designation by the king of some officer to a particular charge or to some fief, with the address delivered by him on the occasion. Here the charge is to Yüeh, in the first section, on his appointment to be chief minister. In the other two sections Yüeh is the principal speaker, and not the king. They partake more of the nature of the ‘Counsels.’ Yüeh had been a recluse, living in obscurity. The king’s attention was drawn to him in the manner related in the Book, and he was discovered in Fû-yen, or amidst ‘the Crags of Fû,’ from which he was afterwards called Fû Yüeh, as if Fû had been his surname.
The first section tells us how the king met with Yüeh, and appointed him to be his chief minister, and how Yüeh responded to the charge that he received. In the second section, Yüeh counsels the king on a variety of points, and the king responds admiringly. In the third, the king introduces himself as a pupil at the feet of Yüeh, and is lectured on the subject of enlarging his knowledge. In the end the king says that he looks to Yüeh as another Î Yin, to make him another Thang.
1. The king passed the season of sorrow in the mourning shed for three years1 , and when the period of mourning was over, he (still) did not speak (to give any commands). All the ministers remonstrated with him, saying, ‘Oh! him who is (the first) to apprehend we pronounce intelligent, and the intelligent man is the model for others. The Son of Heaven rules over the myriad regions, and all the officers look up to and reverence him. They are the king’s words which form the commands (for them). If he do not speak, the ministers have no way to receive their orders.’ On this the king made a writing, for their information, to the following effect:—‘As it is mine to serve as the director for the four quarters (of the kingdom), I have been afraid that my virtue is not equal to (that of my predecessors), and therefore have not spoken. (But) while I was reverently and silently thinking of the (right) way, I dreamt that God gave me a good assistant who should speak for me.’* He then minutely recalled the appearance (of the person whom he had seen), and caused search to be made for him everywhere by means of a picture. Yüeh, a builder in the wild country of Fû-yen, was found like to it.
2. On this the king raised and made (Yüeh) his prime minister, keeping him (also) at his side.
He charged him, saying, ‘Morning and evening present your instructions to aid my virtue. Suppose me a weapon of steel;—I will use you for a whetstone. Suppose me crossing a great stream;—I will use you for a boat with its oars. Suppose me in a year of great drought;—I will use you as a copious rain. Open your mind, and enrich my mind. (Be you) like medicine, which must distress the patient, in order to cure his sickness. (Think of me) as one walking barefoot, whose feet are sure to be wounded, if he do not see the ground.
‘Do you and your companions all cherish the same mind to assist your sovereign, that I may follow my royal predecessors, and tread in the steps of my high ancestor, to give repose to the millions of the people. Oh! respect this charge of mine;—so shall you bring your work to a (good) end.’
3. Yüeh replied to the king, saying, ‘Wood by the use of the line is made straight, and the sovereign who follows reproof is made sage. When the sovereign can (thus) make himself sage, his ministers, without being specially commanded, anticipate his orders;—who would dare not to act in respectful compliance with this excellent charge of your Majesty?’
1. Yüeh having received his charge, and taken the presidency of all the officers, he presented himself before the king, and said, ‘Oh! intelligent kings act in reverent accordance with the ways of Heaven. The founding of states and the setting up of capitals, the appointing of sovereign kings, of dukes and other nobles, with their great officers and heads of departments, were not designed to minister to the idleness and pleasures (of one), but for the good government of the people. It is Heaven which is all-intelligent and observing;—let the sage (king) take it as his pattern.* Then his ministers will reverently accord with him, and the people consequently will be well governed.
‘It is the mouth that gives occasion for shame; they are the coat of mail and helmet that give occasion to war. The upper robes and lower garments (for reward should not be lightly taken from) their chests; before spear and shield are used, one should examine himself. If your Majesty will be cautious in regard to these things, and, believing this about them, attain to the intelligent use of them, (your government) will in everything be excellent. Good government and bad depend on the various officers. Offices should not be given to men because they are favourites, but only to men of ability. Dignities should not be conferred on men of evil practices, but only on men of worth.
‘Anxious thought about what will be best should precede your movements, which also should be taken at the time proper for them. Indulging the consciousness of being good is the way to lose that goodness; being vain of one’s ability is the way to lose the merit it might produce.
‘For all affairs let there be adequate preparation;—with preparation there will be no calamitous issue. Do not open the door for favourites, from whom you will receive contempt. Do not be ashamed of mistakes, and (go on to) make them crimes. Let your mind rest in its proper objects, and the affairs of your government will be pure. Officiousness in sacrificing is called irreverence;* and multiplying ceremonies leads to disorder. To serve the spirits acceptably (in this way) is difficult.’*
2. The king said, ‘Excellent! your words, O Yüeh, should indeed be put in practice (by me). If you were not so good in counsel, I should not have heard these rules for my conduct.’ Yüeh did obeisance with his head to the ground, and said, ‘It is not the knowing that is difficult, but the doing. (But) since your Majesty truly knows this, there will not be the difficulty, and you will become really equal in complete virtue to our first king. Wherein I, Yüeh, refrain from speaking (what I ought to speak), the blame will rest with me.’
1. The king said, ‘Come, O Yüeh. I, the little one, first learned with Kan Pan1 . Afterwards I lived concealed among the rude countrymen, and then I went to (the country) inside the Ho, and lived there1 . From the Ho I went to Po;—and the result has been that I am unenlightened. Do you teach me what should be my aims. Be to me as the yeast and the malt in making sweet spirits, as the salt and the prunes in making agreeable soup. Use various methods to cultivate me; do not cast me away;—so shall I attain to practise your instructions.’
Yüeh said, ‘O king, a ruler should seek to learn much (from his ministers), with a view to establish his affairs; but to learn the lessons of the ancients is the way to attain this. That the affairs of one, not making the ancients his masters, can be perpetuated for generations, is what I have not heard.
‘In learning there should be a humble mind and the maintenance of a constant earnestness;—in such a case (the learner’s) improvement will surely come. He who sincerely cherishes these things will find all truth accumulating in his person. Teaching is the half of learning; when a man’s thoughts from first to last are constantly fixed on learning, his virtuous cultivation comes unperceived.
‘Survey the perfect pattern of our first king;—so shall you for ever be preserved from error. Then shall I be able reverently to meet your views, and on every side to look out for men of eminence to place in the various offices.’
2. The king said, ‘Oh! Yüeh, that all within the four seas look up to my virtue is owing to you. As his legs and arms form the man, so does a good minister form the sage (king). Formerly, there was the first premier of our dynasty, Pâo-hăng1 , who raised up and formed its royal founder. He said, “If I cannot make my sovereign like Yâo or Shun, I shall feel ashamed in my heart, as if I were beaten in the market-place.” If any common man did not get (all he should desire), he said, “It is my fault.” (Thus) he assisted my meritorious ancestor, so that he became equal to great Heaven.* Do you give your intelligent and preserving aid to me, and let not Â-hăng engross all the good service to the House of Shang.
‘The sovereign should share his government with none but worthy officers. The worthy officer should accept his support from none but the proper sovereign. May you now succeed in making your sovereign a (true) successor of the founder of his line, and in securing the lasting happiness of the people!’
Yüeh did obeisance with his head to the ground, and said, ‘I will venture to respond to, and display abroad, your Majesty’s excellent charge.’
The Day of the Supplementary Sacrifice to Kâo Ȝung.
Kâo Ȝung was the title given to Wû-ting, after his death, in the ancestral temple. A supplementary sacrifice was offered on the day following the regular and more solemn service. What special idea was connected with it, it would be difficult to say; but at the close of it, the representatives or personators of the dead in the sacrifice of the preceding day were all feasted.
The title of this short Book leaves it uncertain whether the sacrifice was offered to Wû-ting or by him. The prefatory notice proceeds on the former view. Many critics of great intelligence decide for the latter, which a renewed consideration of the text has induced me to adopt. The king then is Ȝû-kăng, Wû-ting’s son. Something irregular or excessive in his sacrificing to his father was the thing which his monitor Ȝû Kî wished to censure, taking occasion to do so from the incident mentioned in the first sentence.
On the day of the supplementary sacrifice of Kâo Ȝung, there appeared a crowing pheasant1 . Ȝû Kî said, ‘To rectify this affair, the king must first be corrected.’ He delivered accordingly a lesson to the king, saying, ‘In its inspection of men below, Heaven’s first consideration is of their righteousness, and it bestows on them (accordingly) length of years or the contrary.* It is not Heaven that cuts short men’s lives; they bring them to an end themselves. Some men who have not complied with virtue will yet not acknowledge their offences, and when Heaven has by evident tokens charged them to correct their conduct, they still say, “What are these things to us?”
‘Oh! your Majesty’s business is to care reverently for the people. And all (your ancestors) were the heirs of (the kingdom by the gift of) Heaven;—in attending to the sacrifices (to them), be not so excessive in those to your father.’*
The Chief of the West’s Conquest of Lî.
The reigns of seven more kings of Yin or Shang have passed, and this Book brings us to the time of Kâu-hsin or Shâu, its last sovereign, bc 1154-1123. The House of Kâu begins to come to the front, for ‘the Chief of the West’ was one of the acknowledged founders of the Kâu dynasty;—whether Khang, known as king Wăn, or his son Fâ, known as king Wû, is uncertain. Khang’s father, the duke of Kâu in the present department of Făng-hsiang, Shen-hsî, had been appointed Chief of the West, that is, of all the western portion of the kingdom, embracing Yü’s provinces of Yung, Liang, and King. The same jurisdiction descended to his son and grandson. The state of Lî, the conquest of which is mentioned, was in the present department of Lû-an, Shan-hsî, within the royal domain, so that the Chief of the West was no longer confining himself to the west, but threatening the king himself.
Ȝû Î, a loyal officer, hears of the conquest of Lî, and hurries away to inform the king and warn him of the danger threatening the dynasty through his evil conduct. The king gives no heed to his remonstrances, and Ȝû Î retires, sighing over the ruin, which he sees is not to be averted.
The Book is classed, it would be hard to tell why, among the ‘Announcements.’
The Chief of the West having subdued Lî, Ȝû Î was afraid, and hastened to report it to the king.
He said, ‘Son of Heaven, Heaven is bringing to an end the dynasty of Yin;* the wisest men and the shell of the great tortoise do not presume to know anything fortunate for it.* It is not that the former kings do not aid us, the men of this later time;* but by your dissoluteness and sport you are bringing on the end yourself. On this account Heaven has cast us off, and there are no good harvests to supply us with food.* Men have no regard to their heavenly nature, and pay no obedience to the statutes (of the kingdom). (Yea), our people now all wish (the dynasty) to perish, saying, “Why does not Heaven send down its indignation? Why does not (some one with) its great appointment make his appearance? What has the present king to do with us?” ’
The king said, ‘Oh! was not my birth in accordance with the appointment of Heaven (in favour of my House)?’ (On this) Ȝû Î returned (to his own city), and said, ‘Your crimes, which are many, are registered above, and can you still appeal to the appointment of Heaven in your favour?* Yin will perish very shortly. As to all your deeds, can they but bring ruin on your country?’
The Count of Wei.
The conversation recorded here—called, like the last Book, and with as little reason, an ‘Announcement’—is referred to bc 1123, the year in which the dynasty of Shang perished.
Wei was a principality in the royal domain, corresponding to the present district of Lû-khăng, department Lû-an, Shan-hsî, the lords of which were counts. The count who appears here was, most probably, an elder brother of the king, and by the same mother, who was, however, only a concubine when the count was born, but raised to be queen before the birth of Kâu-hsin. Saddened with the thought of the impending ruin of the dynasty, the count seeks the counsel of two other high nobles, and asks them to tell him what was to be done. One of them replies to him in still stronger language about the condition and prospects of the kingdom, and concludes by advising the count to make his escape, and declaring that he himself would remain at his post, and share in the unavoidable ruin.
1. The Count of Wei spoke to the following effect:—‘Grand-Master and Junior-Master1 , (the House of) Yin, we may conclude, can no longer exercise rule over the four quarters (of the kingdom). The great deeds of our founder were displayed in former ages, but by our maddened indulgence in spirits, we have destroyed (the effects of) his virtue in these after-times. (The people of) Yin, small and great, are given to highway robberies, villainies, and treachery. The nobles and officers imitate one another in violating the laws, and there is no certainty that criminals will be apprehended. The smaller people (consequently) rise up, and commit violent outrages on one another. Yin is now sinking in ruin;—its condition is like that of one crossing a stream, who can find neither ford nor bank. That Yin should be hurrying to ruin at the present pace!’
He added, ‘Grand-Master and Junior-Master, we are manifesting insanity. The most venerable members of our families are withdrawn to the wilds; and you indicate no course (to be taken), but (only) tell me of the impending ruin;—what is to be done?’
2. The Grand-Master made about the following reply:—‘O son of our (former) king, Heaven in anger is sending down calamities, and wasting the country of Yin.* Hence has arisen that mad indulgence in spirits. (The king) has no reverence for things which he ought to reverence, but does despite to the venerable aged, the men who have long been in office. The people of Yin will now steal even the pure and perfect victims devoted to the spirits of heaven and earth;* and their conduct is connived at, and though they proceed to eat the victims, they suffer no punishment. (On the other hand), when I look down and survey the people of Yin, the methods by which they are governed are hateful exactions, which call forth outrages and hatred;—and this without ceasing. Such crimes equally belong to all in authority, and multitudes are starving with none to whom to appeal. Now is the time of Shang’s calamity;—I will arise and share in its ruin. When ruin overtakes Shang, I will not be the servant (of another House). (But) I tell you, O king’s son, to go away, as being the course (for you). Formerly I injured you by what I said; if you do not (now) go away, our (sacrifices) will entirely perish. Let us rest quietly (in our several parts), and each present himself to the former kings1 (as having done so).* I do not think of making my escape.’
[1 ] ‘The little child’ is a designation used humbly of themselves by the kings of Shang and Kâu. It is given also to them and others by such great ministers as Î Yin and the duke of Kâu.
[2 ]Kieh, it is said, had on one occasion, when told of the danger he was incurring by his cruelties, pointed to the sun, and said that as surely as the sun was in the heavens, so firm was he on the throne.
[1 ] Nan-khâo is identified with the present district of Khâo, department Lû-kâu, An-hui.
[1 ] Ko was a principality corresponding to the present district of Ning-ling, department of Kwei-teh, Ho-nan. It was thus near the southern Po, which belonged to Thang. Mencius tells us (III, ii, ch. 3) that Thang sent a multitude of his people to assist the farmers of Ko, about the poor produce of which their chief had lamented to him. That chief, however, instead of showing any gratitude, surprised and robbed those who were carrying provisions from Po to the labourers in the field, and committed various atrocities upon them. This aroused Thang’s indignation, and he made him the first object of his punitive justice.
[1 ] ‘The One man’ has occurred before, in the Songs of the Five Sons, as a designation of the sovereign. It continues to be so to the present day.
[1 ] For ‘the Spiritual Sovereign in the high heavens,’ we have in the Confucian Analects, XX, 1, professing to quote this passage, ‘the most great and Sovereign God.’
[2 ] ‘The great Sage’ must be Î Yin, Thang’s chief adviser and minister, who appears prominently in the next Book.
[1 ] There was a tradition in the Kâu dynasty, given with variations by Hsün-ȝze, Sze-mâ Khien, and others, which may be quoted to illustrate these noble sentiments of Thang. For seven years after his accession to the throne, bc 1766-1760, there was a great drought and famine. It was suggested at last that some human being should be offered in sacrifice to Heaven, and prayer made for rain. Thang said, ‘If a man must be the victim, I will be he.’ He fasted, cut off his hair and nails, and in a plain carriage, drawn by white horses, clad in rushes, in the guise of a sacrificial victim, he proceeded to a forest of mulberry trees, and there prayed, asking to what error or crime of his the calamity was owing. He had not done speaking when a copious rain fell.
[1 ] Ming-thiâo was a place not far from the capital of Kieh (in the present district of An-yî, Hâi Kâu, Shan-hsî). He had a palace there, where the vilest orgies were celebrated that alienated the minds of the people from him.
[1 ] The ‘ten evil ways’ are those mentioned in connexion with the three evil fashions;—two under the sorcerers’ fashion, and four under each of the other two fashions.
[1 ] Â-hăng, it is said by Sze-mâ Khien, was the name of Î. Others make it the title of the chief minister under the dynasty of Shang, = ‘the Support and Steelyard,’ ‘the Buttress and Director.’
[1 ] This is the first direct statement in the Shû of a communication made in writing.
[2 ] An-yî, the capital of Hsiâ, might be described as ‘western,’ from the standpoint of Po.
[1 ] Thung was the place where Thang’s tomb was; probably in the present district of Yung-ho, department of Phû-kâu, Shan-hsî. The site or supposed site of the grave there was washed away in an overflow of the Fân river under the Yüan dynasty, and a stone coffin was removed to another position, near which a royal tomb has been built.
[1 ] This phrase is used, as here, with reference to the virtue of a sovereign, making him as it were the mate of God, ruling on earth as He rules above; and with reference to the honours paid to a departed sovereign, when he is associated with God in the great sacrificial services.
[1 ] It is beyond a doubt that the ancestral temple of the kings of Kâu contained seven shrines or seven small temples, for the occupancy of which, by the spirit-tablets of such and such kings, there were definite rules, as the line of sovereigns increased. It would appear from the text that a similar practice prevailed in the time of the Shang dynasty.
[1 ] The removal was probably necessitated by an inundation of the Ho. Kăng had been fixed on by Ȝû-yî for his capital. The Yin to which Pan-kăng removed was in the present district of Yen-sze, department Ho-nan, Ho-nan.
[2 ] This fact—the frequent change of capital—does not give us a great idea of the stability and resources of the Shang dynasty.
[1 ] Who Khih Zăn was is not known. The general opinion is, that he was an ancient historiographer. A Kâu Zăn is introduced in a similar way in the Confucian Analects, XVI, 1.
[1 ] It is supposed that this ‘hill-site’ of Thang was the same as that which Pan-kăng had fixed on, but this does not clearly appear in the text.
[1 ] A young king, mourning for his father, had to ‘afflict’ himself in various ways for twenty-five months, nominally for three years. Among other privations, he had to exchange the comforts of a palace for a rough shed in one of the courtyards. During the time of mourning, the direction of affairs was left to the chief minister.
[1 ] From Part V, xvi, 2, we learn that Kan Pan was a great minister of Wû-ting. It is supposed that he had been minister to Wû-ting’s father, and died during the king’s period of mourning.
[1 ] We do not know the events of Wû-ting’s early life sufficiently to explain his language here. His living concealed among the rude people of the country, and then crossing to the north of the Ho, was owing probably to troubles in the kingdom.
[1 ] Styled Â-hăng in the beginning of ‘the Thâi-kiâ.’ Pâo-hăng = ‘the Protector and Steelyard.’
[1 ] Sze-mâ Khien, after the prefatory notice, says that the pheasant sat on the ear—one of the handles—of a tripod.
[1 ] For high ministers with these titles under the Kâu dynasty, see next Part, Book xx. The individuals whom the count of Wei consulted were probably the count of Kî and Pî-kan, who are classed with him in the Confucian Analects, XVIII, 1.
[1 ] It is understood that the former king, the father of both Khî and Kâu-hsin, had wished to leave the throne to Khî, and that the Grand-Master had advocated such a measure;—thereby injuring Khî when it did not take effect, through making Kâu-hsin jealous of him.