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ODES OF THE TEMPLE AND THE ALTAR. - 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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ODES OF THE TEMPLE AND THE ALTAR.
It was stated in the Introduction, p. 278, that the poems in the fourth Part of the Shih are the only ones that are professedly religious; and there are some even of them, it will be seen, which have little claim on internal grounds to be so considered. I commence with them my selections from the Shih for the Sacred Books of the Religions of the East. I will give them all, excepting the first two of the Praise Odes of Lû, the reason for omitting which will be found, when I come to that division of the Part.
The ancestral worship of the common people.The Odes of the Temple and the Altar are, most of them, connected with the ancestral worship of the sovereigns of the Shang and Kâu dynasties, and of the marquises of Lû. Of the ancestral worship of the common people we have almost no information in the Shih. It was binding, however, on all, and two utterances of Confucius may be given in illustration of this. In the eighteenth chapter of the Doctrine of the Mean, telling how the duke of Kâu, the legislator of the dynasty so called, had ‘completed the virtuous course of Wăn and Wû, carrying up the title of king to Wăn’s father and grandfather, and sacrificing to the dukes before them with the royal ceremonies,’ he adds, ‘And this rule he extended to the feudal princes, the great officers, the other officers, and the common people. In the mourning and other duties rendered to a deceased father or mother, he allowed no difference between the noble and the mean.’ Again, his summary in the tenth chapter of the Hsiâo King, of the duties of filial piety, is the following:—‘A filial son, in serving his parents, in his ordinary intercourse with them, should show the utmost respect; in supplying them with food, the greatest delight; when they are ill, the utmost solicitude; when mourning for their death, the deepest grief; and when sacrificing to them, the profoundest solemnity. When these things are all complete, he is able to serve his parents.’
The royal worship of ancestors.Of the ceremonies in the royal worship of ancestors, and perhaps on some other occasions, we have much information in the pieces of this Part, and in many others in the second and third Parts. They were preceded by fasting and various purifications on the part of the king and the parties who were to assist in the performance of them. There was a great concourse of the feudal princes, and much importance was attached to the presence among them of the representatives of former dynasties; but the duties of the occasion devolved mainly on the princes of the same surname as the royal House. Libations of fragrant spirits were made, especially in the Kâu period, to attract the Spirits, and their presence was invoked by a functionary who took his place inside the principal gate. The principal victim, a red bull in the temple of Kâu, was killed by the king himself, using for the purpose a knife to the handle of which small bells were attached. With this he laid bare the hair, to show that the animal was of the required colour, inflicted the wound of death, and cut away the fat, which was burned along with southernwood to increase the incense and fragrance. Other victims were numerous, and the fifth ode of the second decade, Part II, describes all engaged in the service as greatly exhausted with what they had to do, flaying the carcases, boiling the flesh, roasting it, broiling it, arranging it on trays and stands, and setting it forth. Ladies from the palace are present to give their assistance; music peals; the cup goes round. The description is that of a feast as much as of a sacrifice; and in fact, those great seasonal occasions were what we might call grand family reunions, where the dead and the living met, eating and drinking together, where the living worshipped the dead, and the dead blessed the living.
This characteristic of these ceremonies appeared most strikingly in the custom which required that the departed ancestors should be represented by living relatives of the same surname, chosen according to certain rules that are not mentioned in the Shih. These took for the time the place of the dead, received the honours which were due to them, and were supposed to be possessed by their spirits. They ate and drank as those whom they personated would have done; accepted for them the homage rendered by their descendants; communicated their will to the principal in the service, and pronounced on him and on his line their benediction, being assisted in this point by a mediating priest, as we may call him for want of a more exact term. On the next day, after a summary repetition of the ceremonies of the sacrifice, those personators of the dead were specially feasted, and, as it is expressed in the second decade of Part III, ode 4, ‘their happiness and dignity were made complete.’ We have an allusion to this strange custom in Mencius (VI, i, ch. 5), showing how a junior member of a family, when chosen to represent one of his ancestors, was for the time exalted above his elders, and received the demonstrations of reverence due to the ancestor.
When the sacrifice to ancestors was finished, the king feasted his uncles and younger brothers or cousins, that is, all the princes and nobles of the same surname with himself, in another apartment. The musicians who had discoursed with instrument and voice during the worship and entertainment of the ancestors, followed the convivial party ‘to give their soothing aid at the second blessing.’ The viands that had been provided, we have seen, in great abundance, were brought in from the temple, and set forth anew. The guests ate to the full and drank to the full, and at the conclusion they all did obeisance, while one of them declared the satisfaction of the Spirits, and assured the king of their favour to him and his posterity, so long as they did not neglect those observances. During the feast the king showed particular respect to those among his relatives who were aged, filled their cups again and again, and desired ‘that their old age might be blessed, and their bright happiness ever increased.’
The above sketch of the seasonal sacrifices to ancestors shows that they were intimately related to the duty of filial piety, and were designed mainly to maintain the unity of the family connexion. There was implied in them a belief in the continued existence of the spirits of the departed; and by means of them the ancestors of the kings were raised to the position of the Tutelary spirits of the dynasty; and the ancestors of each family became its Tutelary spirits. Several of the pieces in Part IV are appropriate, it will be observed, to sacrifices offered to some one monarch. They would be used on particular occasions connected with his achievements in the past, or when it was supposed that his help would be valuable in contemplated enterprises. With regard to all the ceremonies of the ancestral temple, Confucius gives the following account of the purposes which they were intended to serve, hardly adverting to their religious significance, in the nineteenth chapter of the Doctrine of the Mean:—‘By means of them they distinguished the royal kindred according to their order of descent. By arranging those present according to their rank, they distinguished the more noble and the less. By the apportioning of duties at them, they made a distinction of talents and worth. In the ceremony of general pledging, the inferiors presented the cup to their superiors, and thus something was given to the lowest to do. At the (concluding) feast places were given according to the hair, and thus was marked the distinction of years.’
The worship paid to God.The Shih does not speak of the worship which was paid to God, unless it be incidentally. There were two grand occasions on which it was rendered by the sovereign,—the summer and winter solstices. These two sacrifices were offered on different altars, that in winter being often described as offered to Heaven, and that in summer to Earth; but we have the testimony of Confucius, in the nineteenth chapter of the Doctrine of the Mean, that the object of them both was to serve Shang-Tî. Of the ceremonies on these two occasions, however, I do not speak here, as there is nothing said about them in the Shih. But there were other sacrifices to God, at stated periods in the course of the year, of at least two of which we have some intimation in the pieces of this fourth Part. The last in the first decade of the Sacrificial Odes of Kâu is addressed to Hâu Kî as having proved himself the correlate of Heaven, in teaching men to cultivate the grain which God had appointed for the nourishment of all. This was appropriate to a sacrifice in spring, offered to God to seek His blessing on the agricultural labours of the year, Hâu Kî, as the ancestor of the House of Kâu, being associated with Him in it. The seventh piece of the same decade again was appropriate to a sacrifice to God in autumn, in the Hall of Light, at a great audience to the feudal princes, when king Wăn was associated with Him as being the founder of the dynasty of Kâu.
With these preliminary observations to assist the reader in understanding the pieces in this Part, I proceed to give—
The Sacrificial Odes of Shang.
These odes of Shang constitute the last Book in the ordinary editions of the Shih. I put them here in the first place, because they are the oldest pieces in the collection. There are only five of them.
The sovereigns of the dynasty of Shang occupied the throne from bc 1766 to 1123. They traced their lineage to Hsieh, who appears in the Shû as Minister of Instruction to Shun. By Yâo or by Shun, Hsieh was invested with the principality of Shang, corresponding to the small department which is so named in Shen-hsî. Fourteenth in descent from him came Thien-yî, better known as Khăng Thang, or Thang the Successful, who dethroned the last descendant of the line of Hsiâ, and became the founder of a new dynasty. We meet with him first at a considerable distance from the ancestral fief (which, however, gave name to the dynasty), having as his capital the southern Po, which seems correctly referred to the present district of Shang-khiû, in the department of Kwei-teh, Ho-nan. Among the twenty-seven sovereigns who followed Thang, there were three especially distinguished:—Thâi Kiâ, his grandson and successor (bc 1753 to 1721), who received the title of Thâi Ȝung; Thâi Mâu (bc 1637 to 1563), canonized as Kung Ȝung; and Wû-ting (bc 1324 to 1266), known as Kâo Ȝung. The shrines of these three sovereigns and that of Thang retained their places in the ancestral temple ever after they were first set up, and if all the sacrificial odes of the dynasty had been preserved, most of them would have been in praise of one or other of the four. But it so happened that at least all the odes of which Thâi Ȝung was the subject were lost; and of the others we have only the small portion that has been mentioned above.
Of how it is that we have even these, we have the following account in the Narratives of the States, compiled, probably, by a contemporary of Confucius. The count of Wei was made duke of Sung by king Wû of Kâu, as related in the Shû, V, viii, there to continue the sacrifices of the House of Shang; but the government of Sung fell subsequently into disorder, and the memorials of the dynasty were lost. In the time of duke Tâi (bc 799 to 766), one of his ministers, Kăng-khâo, an ancestor of Confucius, received from the Grand Music-Master at the court of Kâu twelve of the sacrificial odes of Shang with which he returned to Sung, where they were used in sacrificing to the old Shang kings. It is supposed that seven of these were lost subsequently, before the collection of the Shih was formed.
The Nâ1 .
We cannot tell by which of the kings of Shang the sacrifice here referred to was first performed. He is simply spoken of as ‘a descendant of Thang.’ The ode seems to have been composed by some one, probably a member of the royal House, who had taken part in the service.
How admirable! how complete! Here are set our hand-drums and drums. The drums resound harmonious and loud, To delight our meritorious ancestor2 .
The descendant of Thang invites him with this music, That he may soothe us with the realization of our thoughts3 . Deep is the sound of our hand-drums and drums; Shrilly sound the flutes; All harmonious and blending together, According to the notes of the sonorous gem. Oh! majestic is the descendant of Thang; Very admirable is his music.
From of old, before our time, The former men set us the example;—How to be mild and humble from morning to night, And to be reverent in discharging the service.
May he regard our sacrifices of winter and autumn3 , (Thus) offered by the descendant of Thang!
The Lieh Ȝû.
Neither can we tell by which of the kings of Shang this ode was first used. Kû Hsî says that the object of the sacrifice was Thang. The Preface assigns it to Thâi Mâu, the Kung Ȝung, or second of the three ‘honoured ones.’ But there is not a word in praise of Kung Ȝung, and the ‘meritorious ancestor’ of the first line is not to be got over. Still more clearly than in the case of the former ode does this appear to have been made by some one who had taken part in the service, for in line 4 he addresses the sacrificing king as ‘you.’
Ah! ah! our meritorious ancestor! Permanent are the blessings coming from him, Repeatedly conferred without end;—They have come to you in this place.
The clear spirits are in our vessels, And there is granted to us the realization of our thoughts. There are also the well-tempered soups, Prepared beforehand, with the ingredients rightly proportioned. By these offerings we invite his presence, without a word, Without (unseemly) contention (among the worshippers). He will bless us with the eyebrows of longevity, With the grey hair and wrinkled face in unlimited degree.
With the naves of their wheels bound with leather, and their ornamented yokes, With the eight bells at their horses’ bits all tinkling, (The princes) come to assist at the offerings1 . We have received the appointment in all its greatness, And from Heaven is our prosperity sent down, Fruitful years of great abundance. (Our ancestor) will come and enjoy (our offerings), And confer on us happiness without limit.
May he regard our sacrifices of winter and autumn, (Thus) offered by the descendant of Thang!
The Hsüan Niâo.
If this ode were not intended to do honour to Wû-ting, the Kâo Ȝung of Shang, we cannot account for the repeated mention of him in it. Kû Hsî, however, in his note on it, says nothing about Wû-ting, but simply that the piece belonged to the sacrifices in the ancestral temple, tracing back the line of the kings of Shang to its origin, and to its attaining the sovereignty of the kingdom. Not at all unlikely is the view of Kăng Hsüan, that the sacrifice was in the third year after the death of Wû-ting, and offered to him in the temple of Hsieh, the ancestor of the Shang dynasty.
Heaven commissioned the swallow, To descend and give birth to (the father of our) Shang1 . (His descendants) dwelt in the land of Yin, and became great. (Then) long ago God appointed the martial Thang, To regulate the boundaries throughout the four quarters (of the kingdom).
(In those) quarters he appointed the princes, And grandly possessed the nine regions2 . The first sovereign of Shang1 . Received the appointment without any element of instability in it, And it is (now) held by the descendant of Wû-ting2 .
The descendant of Wû-ting Is a martial sovereign, equal to every emergency. Ten princes, (who came) with their dragon-emblazoned banners, Bear the large dishes of millet.
The royal domain of a thousand lî. Is where the people rest; But the boundaries that reach to the four seas commence there.
From the four seas3 they come (to our sacrifices); They come in multitudes. King has the Ho for its outer border4 . That Yin5 should have received the appointment (of Heaven) was entirely right;—(Its sovereign) sustains all its dignities.
The Khang Fâ.
It does not appear on occasion of what sacrifice this piece was made. The most probable view is that of Mâo, that it was the ‘great Tî sacrifice,’ when the principal object of honour would be the ancient Khû, the father of Hsieh, with Hsieh as his correlate, and all the kings of the dynasty, with the earlier lords of Shang, and their famous ministers and advisers, would have their places at the service. I think this is the oldest of the odes of Shang.
Profoundly wise were (the lords of) Shang, And long had there appeared the omens (of their dignity).
When the waters of the deluge spread vast abroad, Yü arranged and divided the regions of the land, And assigned to the exterior great states their boundaries, With their borders extending all over (the kingdom). (Even) then the chief of Sung was beginning to be great, And God raised up the son (of his daughter), and founded (the line of) Shang1 .
The dark king exercised an effective sway2 . Charged with a small state, he commanded success; Charged with a large state, he commanded success3 . He followed his rules of conduct without error; Wherever he inspected (the people), they responded (to his instructions)4 . (Then came) Hsiang-thû all ardent5 , And all within the four seas, beyond (the middle regions), acknowledged his restraints.
The favour of God did not leave (Shang), And in Thang was found the fit object for its display. Thang was not born too late, And his wisdom and reverence daily advanced:—Brilliant was the influence of his character (on Heaven) for long. God he revered, And God appointed him to be the model for the nine regions.
He received the rank-tokens of the states, small and large, Which depended on him like the pendants of a banner:—So did he receive the blessing of Heaven. He was neither violent nor remiss, Neither hard nor soft. Gently he spread his instructions abroad, And all dignities and riches were concentrated in him.
He received the tribute of the states, small and large, And he supported them as a strong steed (does its burden):—So did he receive the favour of Heaven. He displayed everywhere his valour, Unshaken, unmoved, Unterrified, unscared:—All dignities were united in him.
The martial king displayed his banner, And with reverence grasped his axe. It was like (the case of) a blazing fire which no one can repress. The root, with its three shoots, Could make no progress, no growth1 . The nine regions were effectually secured by Thang. Having smitten (the princes of) Wei and Kû, He dealt with (him of) Kün-wû and with Kieh of Hsiâ.
Formerly, in the middle of the period (before Thang), There was a time of shaking and peril1 . But truly did Heaven (then) deal with him as a son, And sent him down a high minister, Namely, Â-hăng2 , Who gave his assistance to the king of Shang.
The Yin Wû.
The concluding lines indicate that the temple was made on the occasion which I thus assign to it. After Wû-ting’s death, his spirit-tablet would be shrined in the ancestral temple, and he would have his share in the seasonal sacrifices; but several reigns would elapse before there was any necessity to make any other arrangement, so that his tablet should not be removed, and his share in the sacrifices not be discontinued. Hence the composition of the piece has been referred to the time of Tî-yî, the last but one of the kings of Shang.
Rapid was the warlike energy of (our king of) Yin, And vigorously did he attack King-Khû3 . Boldly he entered its dangerous passes, And brought the multitudes of King together, Till the country was reduced under complete restraint:—Such was the fitting achievement of the descendant of Thang!
‘Ye people,’ (he said), ‘of King-Khû, Dwell in the southern part of my kingdom. Formerly, in the time of Thang the Successful, Even from the Kiang of Tî1 , They dared not but come with their offerings; (Their chiefs) dared not but come to seek acknowledgment2 :—Such is the regular rule of Shang.’
Heaven had given their appointments (to the princes), But where their capitals had been assigned within the sphere of the labours of Yü, For the business of every year they appeared before our king3 , (Saying), ‘Do not punish nor reprove us; We have not been remiss in our husbandry.’
When Heaven by its will is inspecting (the kingdom), The lower people are to be feared. (Our king) showed no partiality (in rewarding), no excess (in punishing); He dared not to allow himself in indolence:—So was his appointment (established) over the states, And he made his happiness grandly secure.
The capital of Shang was full of order, The model for all parts of the kingdom. Glorious was (the king’s) fame; Brilliant his energy. Long lived he and enjoyed tranquillity, And so he preserves us, his descendants.
We ascended the hill of King1 , Where the pines and cypresses grew symmetrical. We cut them down and conveyed them here; We reverently hewed them square. Long are the projecting beams of pine; Large are the many pillars. The temple was completed,—the tranquil abode (of the martial king of Yin).
The Sacrificial Odes of Kâu.
In this division we have thirty-one sacrificial odes of Kâu, arranged in three decades, the third of which, however, contains eleven pieces. They belong mostly to the time of king Wăn, the founder of the Kâu dynasty, and to the reigns of his son and grandson, kings Wû and Khăng. The decades are named from the name of the first piece in each.
The First Decade, or that of Khing Miâo.
The Khing Miâo.
Chinese critics agree in assigning this piece to the sacrifice mentioned in the Shû, in the end of the thirteenth Book of Part V, when, the building of Lo being finished, king Khăng came to the new city, and offered a red bull to Wăn, and the same to Wû. It seems to me to have been sung in honour of Wăn, after the service was completed. This determination of the occasion of the piece being accepted, we should refer it to bc 1108.
Oh! solemn is the ancestral temple in its pure stillness. Reverent and harmonious were the distinguished assistants1 ; Great was the number of the officers2 :—(All) assiduous followers of the virtue of (king Wăn). In response to him in heaven, Grandly they hurried about in the temple. Distinguished is he and honoured, And will never be wearied of among men.
The Wei Thien Kih Ming.
According to the Preface, there is an announcement here of the relization of complete peace throughout the kingdom, and some of the old critics refer the ode to a sacrifice to king Wăn by the duke of Kâu, when he had completed the statutes for the new dynasty. But there is nothing to authorize a more definite argument of the contents than I have given.
The ordinances of Heaven,—How deep are they and unintermitting! And oh! how illustrious Was the singleness of the virtue of king Wăn3 !
How does he (now) show his kindness? We will receive it, Striving to be in accord with him, our king Wăn; And may his remotest descendant be abundantly the same!
The Wei Khing.
Nothing more can, with any likelihood of truth, be said of this short piece, which moreover has the appearance of being a fragment.
Clear and to be preserved bright, Are the statutes of king Wăn. From the first sacrifice (to him), Till now when they have issued in our complete state, They have been the happy omen of (the fortunes of) Kâu.
The Lieh WĂn.
The Preface says that this piece was made on the occasion of king Khăng’s accession to the government, when he thus addressed the princes who had assisted him in the ancestral temple. Kû Hsî considers that it was a piece for general use in the ancestral temple, to be sung when the king presented a cup to his assisting guests, after they had thrice presented the cup to the representatives of the dead. There is really nothing in it to enable us to decide in favour of either view.
Ye, brilliant and accomplished princes, Have conferred on me this happiness. Your favours to me are without limit, And my descendants will preserve (the fruits of) them.
Be not mercenary nor extravagant in your states, And the king will honour you. Thinking of this great service, He will enlarge the dignity of your successors.
What is most powerful is the being the man:—Its influence will be felt throughout your states. What is most distinguished is the being virtuous:—It will secure the imitation of all the princes. Ah! the former kings cannot be forgotten!
The Thien Ȝo.
We cannot tell what the sacrifice was; and the Preface, indeed, says that the piece was used in the seasonal sacrifices to all the former kings and dukes of the House of Kâu. King Thâi was the grandfather of king Wăn, and, before he received that title, was known as ‘the ancient duke Than-fû.’ In bc 1327, he moved with his followers from Pin, an earlier seat of his House, and settled in the plain of Khî, about fifty lî to the north-east of the present district city of Khî-shan, in Shen-hsî.
Heaven made the lofty hill1 , And king Thâi brought (the country about) it under cultivation. He made the commencement with it, And king Wăn tranquilly (carried on the work), (Till) that rugged (mount) Khî. Had level roads leading to it. May their descendants ever preserve it!
The Hâo Thien yû KhĂng Ming.
Khăng was the honorary title of Sung, the son and successor of king Wû, bc 1115 to 1079.
Heaven made its determinate appointment, Which our two sovereigns received2 . King Khăng did not dare to rest idly in it, But night and day enlarged its foundations by his deep and silent virtue. How did he continue and glorify (his heritage), Exerting all his heart, And so securing its tranquillity!
The Wo Kiang.
There is, happily, an agreement among the critics as to the occasion to which this piece is referred. It took place in the last month of autumn, in the Hall of Audience, called also ‘the Brilliant Hall,’ and ‘the Hall of Light.’ We must suppose that the princes are all assembled at court, and that the king receives them in this hall. A sacrifice is then presented to God, and with him is associated king Wăn, the two being the fountain from which, and the channel through which, the sovereignty had come to Kâu.
I have brought my offerings, A ram and a bull. May Heaven accept them1 !
I imitate and follow and observe the statutes of king Wăn, Seeking daily to secure the tranquillity of the kingdom. King Wăn, the Blesser, has descended on the right, and accepted (the offerings).
Do I not, night and day, Revere the majesty of Heaven, Thus to preserve (its favour)?
The Shih Mâi.
Here again there is an agreement among the critics. We find from the Ȝo Kwan and ‘the Narratives of the States,’ that the piece was, when those compilations were made, considered to be the work of the duke of Kâu; and, no doubt, it was made by him soon after the accession of Wû to the kingdom, and when he was making a royal progress in assertion of his being appointed by Heaven to succeed to the rulers of Shang. The ‘I’ in the fourteenth line is, most probably, to be taken of the duke of Kâu, who may have recited the piece on occasion of the sacrifices, in the hearing of the assembled princes and lords.
Now is he making a progress through his states; May Heaven deal with him as its son!
Truly are the honour and succession come from it to the House of Kâu. To his movements All respond with tremulous awe. He has attracted and given rest to all spiritual beings1 , Even to (the spirits of) the Ho and the highest hills. Truly is the king our sovereign lord.
Brilliant and illustrious is the House of Kâu. He has regulated the positions of the princes; He has called in shields and spears; He has returned to their cases bows and arrows2 . I will cultivate admirable virtue, And display it throughout these great regions. Truly will the king preserve the appointment.
The Kih King.
The Chinese critics differ in the interpretation of this ode, the Preface and older scholars restricting it to a sacrifice to king Wû, while Kû Hsî and others find reference in it, as to me also seems most natural, to Khăng and Khang, who succeeded him.
The arm of king Wû was full of strength; Irresistible was his ardour. Greatly illustrious were Khăng and Khang1 , Kinged by God.
When we consider how Khăng and Khang Grandly held all within the four quarters (of the kingdom), How penetrating was their intelligence!
The bells and drums sound in harmony; The sounding-stones and flutes blend their notes; Abundant blessing is sent down.
Blessing is sent down in large measure. Careful and exact is all our deportment; We have drunk, and we have eaten, to the full; Our happiness and dignity will be prolonged.
The Sze WĂn.
Hâu-kî was the same as Khî, who appears in Part II of the Shû, as Minister of Agriculture to Yâo and Shun, and co-operating with Yü in his labours on the flooded land. The name Hâu belongs to him as lord of Thâi; that of Kî, as Minister of Agriculture. However the combination arose, Hâu-kî became historically the name of Khî of the time of Yâo and Shun, the ancestor to whom the kings of Kâu traced their lineage. He was to the people the Father of Husbandry, who first taught men to plough and sow and reap. Hence, when the kings offered sacrifice and prayer to God at the commencement of spring for his blessing on the labours of the year, they associated Hâu-kî with him at the service.
O accomplished Hâu-kî, Thou didst prove thyself the correlate of Heaven. Thou didst give grain-food to our multitudes:—The immense gift of thy goodness. Thou didst confer on us the wheat and the barley, Which God appointed for the nourishment of all. And without distinction of territory or boundary, The rules of social duty were diffused throughout these great regions.
The Second Decade, or that of KhĂn Kung.
The KhĂn Kung.
The place of this piece among the sacrificial odes makes us assign it to the conclusion of some sacrifice; but what the sacrifice was we cannot tell. The Preface says that it was addressed, at the conclusion of the spring sacrifice to ancestors, to the princes who had been present and taken part in the service. Kû Hsî says nothing but what I have stated in the above argument of the piece.
Ah! ah! ministers and officers, Reverently attend to your public duties. The king has given you perfect rules;—Consult about them, and consider them.
Ah! ah! ye assistants, It is now the end of spring1 ; And what have ye to seek for? (Only) how to manage the new fields and those of the third year. How beautiful are the wheat and the barley! The bright and glorious God. Will in them give us a good year. Order all our men To be provided with their spuds and hoes:—Anon we shall see the sickles at work.
The Î Hsî.
Again there is a difficulty in determining to what sacrifice this piece should be referred. The Preface says it was sung on the occasions of sacrifice by the king to God, in spring and summer, for a good year. But the note on the first two lines will show that this view cannot be accepted without modification.
Oh! yes, king Khăng2 Brightly brought himself near . Lead your husbandmen. To sow their various kinds of grain, Going vigorously to work on your private fields1 , All over the thirty lî2 . Attend to your ploughing, With your ten thousand men all in pairs.
The Kâu Lû.
This piece may have been used when the king was dismissing his distinguished guests in the ancestral temple. See the introductory note to this Part, pp. 300, 301.
A flock of egrets is flying, About the marsh there in the west3 . My visitors came, With an (elegant) carriage like those birds.
There, (in their states), not disliked, Here, (in Kâu), never tired of;—They are sure, day and night, To perpetuate their fame.
The FĂng Nien.
The Preface says the piece was used at sacrifices in autumn and winter. Kû Hsî calls it an ode of thanksgiving for a good year,—without any specification of time. He supposes, however, that the thanks were given to the ancient Shăn-năng, ‘the father of Agriculture,’ Hâu-kî, ‘the first Husbandman,’ and the spirits presiding over the four quarters of the heavens. To this the imperial editors rightly demur, saying that the blessings which the piece speaks of could come only from God.
Abundant is the year with much millet and much rice; And we have our high granaries, With myriads, and hundreds of thousands, and millions (of measures in them); For spirits and sweet spirits, To present to our forefathers, male and female, And to supply all our ceremonies. The blessings sent down on us are of every kind.
The Yû Kû.
The critics agree in holding that this piece was made on occasion of the duke of Kâu’s completing his instruments of music for the ancestral temple, and announcing the fact at a grand performance in the temple of king Wăn. It can hardly be regarded as a sacrificial ode.
There are the blind musicians; there are the blind musicians; In the court of (the temple of) Kâu1 .
There are (the music-frames with their) face-boards and posts, The high toothed-edge (of the former), and the feathers stuck (in the latter); With the drums, large and small, suspended from them; And the hand-drums and sounding-stones, the instrument to give the signal for commencing, and the stopper. These being all complete, the music is struck up. The pan-pipe and the double flute begin at the same time1 .
Harmoniously blend their sounds; In solemn unison they give forth their notes. Our ancestors will give ear. Our visitors will be there;—Long to witness the complete performance.
Such is the argument of this piece given in the Preface, and in which the critics generally concur. In the Lî Kî, IV, vi, 49, it is recorded that the king, in the third month of winter, gave orders to his chief fisher to commence his duties, and went himself to see his operations. He partook of the fish first captured, but previously presented some as an offering in the back apartment of the ancestral temple. In the third month of spring, again, when the sturgeons began to make their appearance (Lî Kî, IV, i, 25), the king presented one in the same place. On these passages, the prefatory notice was, no doubt, constructed. Choice specimens of the earliest-caught fish were presented by the sovereign to his ancestors, as an act of duty, and an acknowledgment that it was to their favour that he and the people were indebted for the supplies of food, which they received from the waters.
Oh! in the Khî and the Khü, There are many fish in the warrens;—Sturgeons, large and snouted, Thryssas, yellow-jaws, mud-fish, and carp;—For offerings, for sacrifice, That our bright happiness may be increased.
From a reference in the Analects, III, ii, to an abuse of this ode in the time of Confucius, we learn that it was sung when the sacrificial vessels and their contents were being removed.
They come full of harmony; They are here in all gravity;—The princes assisting, While the Son of Heaven looks profound.
(He says), ‘While I present (this) noble bull, And they assist me in setting forth the sacrifice, O great and august Father, Comfort me, your filial son.
‘With penetrating wisdom thou didst play the man, A sovereign with the gifts both of peace and war, Giving rest even to great Heaven1 , And ensuring prosperity to thy descendants.
‘Thou comfortest me with the eyebrows of longevity; Thou makest me great with manifold blessings, I offer this sacrifice to my meritorious father, And to my accomplished mother1 .’
The Ȝâi Hsien.
They appeared before their sovereign king, To seek from him the rules (they were to observe). With their dragon-emblazoned banners, flying bright, The bells on them and their front-boards tinkling, And with the rings on the ends of the reins glittering, Admirable was their majesty and splendour.
He led them to appear before his father shrined on the left2 , Where he discharged his filial duty, and presented his offerings;—That he might have granted to him long life, And ever preserve (his dignity). Great and many are his blessings. They are the brilliant and accomplished princes, Who cheer him with his many sources of happiness, Enabling him to perpetuate them in their brightness as pure blessing.
The Yû Kho.
The mention of the white horses here in the chariot of the visitor sufficiently substantiates the account in the Preface that he was the famous count of Wei, mentioned in the Shu, IV, xi, and whose subsequent investiture with the duchy of Sung, as the representative of the line of the Shang kings, is also related in the Shû, V, viii. With the dynasty of Shang white had been the esteemed and sacred colour, as red was with Kâu, and hence the duke had his carriage drawn by white horses. ‘The language,’ says one critic, ‘is all in praise of the visitor, but it was sung in the temple, and is rightly placed therefore among the Sung.’ There is, in the last line, an indication of the temple in it.
The noble visitor! The noble visitor! Drawn, like his ancestors, by white horses! The reverent and dignified, Polished members of his suite!
The noble guest will stay (but) a night or two! The noble guest will stay (but) two nights or four! Give him ropes, To bind his horses1 .
I will convoy him (with a parting feast); I will comfort him in every possible way. Adorned with such great dignity, It is very natural that he should be blessed.
This account of the piece, given in the Preface, is variously corroborated, and has not been called in question by any critic. Perhaps this brief ode was sung as a prelude to the dance, or it may be that the seven lines are only a fragment. This, indeed, is most likely, as we have several odes in the next decade, all said to have been used at the same occasion.
Oh! great wast thou, O king Wû, Displaying the utmost strength in thy work. Truly accomplished was king Wăn, Opening the path for his successors. Thou didst receive the inheritance from him. Thou didst vanquish Yin, and put a stop to its cruelties;—Effecting the firm establishment of thy merit.
The Third Decade, or that of Min Yü Hsiâo Ȝze.
The Min Yü.
The speaker in this piece is, by common consent, king Khăng. The only question is as to the date of its composition, whether it was made for him, in his minority, on his repairing to the temple when the mourning for his father was completed, or after the expiration of the regency of the duke of Kâu. The words ‘little child,’ according to their usage, are expressive of humility and not of age. They do not enable us to determine the above point.
Alas for me, who am a little child, On whom has devolved the unsettled state! Solitary am I and full of distress. Oh! my great Father, All thy life long, thou wast filial.
Thou didst think of my great grandfather, (Seeing him, as it were) ascending and descending in the court, I, the little child, Day and night will be as reverent.
Oh! ye great kings, As your successor, I will strive not to forget you.
The Fang Lo.
This seems to be a sequel to the former ode. We can hardly say anything about it so definite as the statement in the Preface, that it relates to a council held by Khăng and his ministers in the ancestral temple.
I take counsel at the beginning of my (rule), How I can follow (the example of) my shrined father. Ah! far-reaching (were his plans), And I am not yet able to carry them out. However I endeavour to reach to them, My continuation of them will still be all-deflected. I am a little child, Unequal to the many difficulties of the state. Having taken his place, (I will look for him) to go up and come down in the court, To ascend and descend in the house. Admirable art thou, O great Father, (Condescend) to preserve and enlighten me.
The King Kih.
Let me be reverent! Let me be reverent! (The way of) Heaven is evident, And its appointment is not easily preserved1 . Let me not say that it is high aloft above me. It ascends and descends about our doings; It daily inspects us wherever we are.
I am a little child, Without intelligence to be reverently (attentive to my duties); But by daily progress and monthly advance, I will learn to hold fast the gleams (of knowledge), till I arrive at bright intelligence. Assist me to bear the burden (of my position), And show me how to display a virtuous conduct.
The Hsiâo Pî.
This piece has been considered by some critics as the conclusion of the council in the ancestral temple, with which the previous two also are thought to be connected. The Preface says that the king asks in it for the assistance of his ministers, but no such request is expressed. I seem myself to see in it, with Sû Kheh and others, a reference to the suspicions which Khăng at one time, we know, entertained of the fidelity of the duke of Kâu, when he was inclined to believe the rumours spread against him by his other uncles, who joined in rebellion with the son of the last king of Shang.
I condemn myself (for the past), And will be on my guard against future calamity. I will have nothing to do with a wasp, To seek for myself its painful sting. At first indeed it seemed to be (but) a wren1 , But it took wing, and became a large bird. I am unequal to the many difficulties of the kingdom, And am placed in the midst of bitter experiences.
The Ȝâi Shû.
The Preface says that this ode was used in spring, when the king in person turned up some furrows in the field set apart for that purpose, and prayed at the altars of the spirits of the land and the grain, for an abundant year. Kû Hsî says he does not know on what occasion it was intended to be used; but comparing it with the fourth ode of the second decade, he is inclined to rank it with that as an ode of thanksgiving. There is nothing in the piece itself to determine us in favour of either view. It brings before us a series of pleasing pictures of the husbandry of those early times. The editors of the imperial edition say that its place in the Sung makes it clear that it was an accompaniment of some royal sacrifice. We need not controvert this; but the poet evidently singled out some large estate, and describes the labour on it, from the first bringing it under cultivation to the state in which it was before his eyes, and concludes by saying that the picture which he gives of it had long been applicable to the whole country.
They clear away the grass and the bushes; And the ground is laid open by their ploughs.
In thousands of pairs they remove the roots, Some in the low wet land, some along the dykes.
There are the master and his eldest son; His younger sons, and all their children; Their strong helpers, and their hired servants. How the noise of their eating the viands brought to them resounds! (The husbands) think lovingly of their wives; (The wives) keep close to their husbands. (Then) with their sharp ploughshares. They set to work on the south-lying acres.
They sow their various kinds of grain, Each seed containing in it a germ of life.
In unbroken lines rises the blade, And, well nourished, the stalks grow long.
Luxuriant looks the young grain, And the weeders go among it in multitudes.
Then come the reapers in crowds, And the grain is piled up in the fields, Myriads, and hundreds of thousands, and millions (of stacks); For spirits and for sweet spirits, To offer to our ancestors, male and female, And to provide for all ceremonies.
Fragrant is their aroma, Enhancing the glory of the state. Like pepper is their smell, To give comfort to the aged.
It is not here only that there is this (abundance); It is not now only that there is such a time:—From of old it has been thus.
The Liang Sze.
Very sharp are the excellent shares, With which they set to work on the south-lying acres.
They sow their various kinds of grain, Each seed containing in it a germ of life.
There are those who come to see them, With their baskets round and square, Containing the provisions of millet.
With their light splint hats on their heads, They ply their hoes on the ground, Clearing away the smartweed on the dry land and wet.
The weeds being decayed, The millets grow luxuriantly.
They fall rustling before the reapers. The gathered crop is piled up solidly, High as a wall, United together like the teeth of a comb; And the hundred houses are opened (to receive the grain)1 .
Those hundred houses being full, The wives and children have a feeling of repose.
(Now) we kill this black-muzzled tawny bull2 , with his crooked horns, To imitate and hand down, To hand down (the observances of) our ancestors.
The Sze Î.
The Preface and the editors of the Yung-khăng Shih say that the piece has reference to the entertainment given, the day after a sacrifice, in the ancestral temple, to the personators of the dead, described on p. 301. Kû Hsî denies this, and holds simply that it belongs to the feast after a sacrifice, without further specifying what sacrifice. The old view is probably the more correct.
In his silken robes, clean and bright, With his cap on his head, looking so respectful, From the hall he goes to the foot of the stairs, And (then) from the sheep to the oxen1 . (He inspects) the tripods, large and small, And the curved goblet of rhinoceros horn2 . The good spirits are mild, (But) there is no noise, no insolence:—An auspice (this) of great longevity.
This was sung, according to the Preface, at the conclusion of the dance in honour of king Wû;—see on the last piece of the second decade.
Oh! powerful was the king’s army, But he nursed it, in obedience to circumstances, while the time was yet dark. When the time was clearly bright, He thereupon donned his grand armour. We have been favoured to receive What the martial king accomplished. To deal aright with what we have inherited, We have to be sincere imitators of thy course, (O king).
According to a statement in the Ȝo Kwan, this piece also was sung in connexion with the dance of Wû. The Preface says it was used in declarations of war, and in sacrificing to God and the Father of War. Perhaps it came to be used on such occasions; but we must refer it in the first place to the reign of king Khăng.
There is peace throughout our myriad regions. There has been a succession of plentiful years:—Heaven does not weary in its favour. The martial king Wû Maintained (the confidence of) his officers, And employed them all over the kingdom, So securing the establishment of his family. Oh! glorious was he in the sight of Heaven, Which kinged him in the room (of Shang).
This is the only account of the piece that can be given from itself. The Ȝo Kwan, however, refers it to the dance of king Wû; and the Preface says it contains the words with which Wû accompanied his grant of fiefs and appanages in the ancestral temple to his principal followers.
King Wăn laboured earnestly:—Right is it we should have received (the kingdom). We will diffuse (his virtue), ever cherishing the thought of him; Henceforth we will seek only the settlement (of the kingdom). It was he through whom came the appointment of Kâu. Oh! let us ever cherish the thought of him.
In the eighth piece of the first decade we have an ode akin to this, relating a tentative progress of king Wû, to test the acceptance of his sovereignty. This is of a later date, and should be referred, probably, to the reign of king Khăng, when the dynasty was fully acknowledged. Some critics, however, make it, like the three preceding, a portion of what was sung at the Wû dance.
Oh! great now is Kâu. We ascend the high hills, Both those that are long and narrow, and the lofty mountains. Yes, and (we travel) along the regulated Ho, All under the sky, Assembling those who now respond to me. Thus it is that the appointment belongs to Kâu.
The Praise Odes of Lû.
It is not according to the truth of things to class the Sung of Lû among the sacrificial odes, and I do not call them such. Kû Hsî says:—‘King Khăng, because of the great services rendered by the duke of Kâu, granted to Po-khin, (the duke’s eldest son, and first marquis of Lû), the privilege of using the royal ceremonies and music, in consequence of which Lû had its Sung, which were sung to the music in its ancestral temple. Afterwards, they made in Lû other odes in praise of their rulers, which they also called Sung.’ In this way it is endeavoured to account for there being such pieces in this part of the Shih as the four in this division of it. Confucius, it is thought, found them in Lû, bearing the name of Sung, and so he classed them with the true sacrificial odes, bearing that designation. If we were to admit, contrary to the evidence in the case, that the Shih was compiled by Confucius, this explanation of the place of the Sung of Lû in this Part would not be complimentary to his discrimination.
Whether such a privilege as Kû states was really granted to the first marquis of Lû, is a point very much controverted. Many contend that the royal ceremonies were usurped in the state, in the time of duke Hsî (bc 659 to 627). But if this should be conceded, it would not affect the application to the odes in this division of the name of Sung. They are totally unlike the Sung of Shang and of Kâu. It has often been asked why there are no Făng of Lû in the first Part of the Shih. The pieces here are really the Făng of Lû, and may be compared especially with the Făng of Pin.
Lû was one of the states in the east, having its capital in Khüfâu, which is still the name of a district in the department of Yen-kâu, Shan-tung. According to Kû, king Khăng invested the duke of Kâu’s eldest son with the territory. According to Sze-mâ Khien, the duke of Kâu was himself appointed marquis of Lû; but being unable to go there in consequence of his duties at the royal court, he sent his son instead. After the expiration of his regency, the territory was largely augmented, but he still remained in Kâu.
I pass over the first two odes, which have no claim to a place among ‘sacred texts.’ And only in one stanza of the third is there the expression of a religious sentiment. I give it entire, however.
The Phan Shui.
The marquis here celebrated was, probably, Shăn, or ‘duke Hsî,’ mentioned above. The immediate occasion of its composition must have been some opening or inauguration service in connexion with the repair of the college.
1. Pleasant is the semicircular water1 , And we gather the cress about it. The marquis of Lû is coming to it, And we see his dragon-figured banner. His banner waves in the wind, And the bells of his horses tinkle harmoniously. Small and great, All follow the prince in his progress to it.
2. Pleasant is the semicircular water, And we gather the pondweed in it. The marquis of Lû has come to it, With his horses so stately. His horses are grand; His fame is brilliant. Blandly he looks and smiles; Without any impatience he delivers his instructions.
3. Pleasant is the semicircular water, And we gather the mallows about it. The marquis of Lû has come to it, And in the college he is drinking. He is drinking the good spirits. May there be given to him such old age as is seldom enjoyed! May he accord with the grand ways, So subduing to himself all the people!
4. Very admirable is the marquis of Lû, Reverently displaying his virtue, And reverently watching over his deportment, The pattern of the people. With great qualities, both civil and martial, Brilliantly he affects his meritorious ancestors1 . In everything entirely filial, He seeks the blessing that is sure to follow.
5. Very intelligent is the marquis of Lû, Making his virtue illustrious. He has made this college with its semicircle of water, And the tribes of the Hwâi will submit to him2 . His martial-looking tiger-leaders. Will here present the left ears (of their foes)3 . His examiners, wise as Kâo-yâo4 , Will here present the prisoners.
6. His numerous officers, Men who have enlarged their virtuous minds, With martial energy conducting their expedition, Will drive far away those tribes of the east and south. Vigorous and grand, Without noise or display, Without appeal to the judges1 , They will here present (the proofs of) their merit.
7. How they draw their bows adorned with bone! How their arrows whiz forth! Their war chariots are very large! Their footmen and charioteers never weary! They have subdued the tribes of Hwâi, And brought them to an unrebellious submission. Only lay your plans securely, And all the tribes of the Hwâi will be won2 .
8. They come flying on the wing, those owls, And settle on the trees about the college; They eat the fruit of our mulberry trees, And salute us with fine notes3 . So awakened shall be those tribes of the Hwâi. They will come presenting their precious things, Their large tortoises, and their elephants’ teeth, And great contributions of the southern metals4 .
The Pî Kung.
There is no doubt that duke Hsî is the hero of this piece. He is mentioned in the third stanza as ‘the son of duke Kwang,’ and the Hsî-sze referred to in the last stanza as the architect under whose superintendence the temples had been repaired was his brother, whom we meet with elsewhere as ‘duke’s son, Yü.’ The descriptions of various sacrifices prove that the lords of Lû, whether permitted to use royal ceremonies or not, did really do so. The writer was evidently in a poetic rapture as to what his ruler was, and would do. The piece is a genuine bardic effusion.
The poet traces the lords of Lû to Kiang Yüan and her son Hâu-kî. He then comes to the establishment of the Kâu dynasty, and under it of the marquisate of Lû; and finally to duke Hsî, dilating on his sacrificial services, the military power of Lû, and the achievements which he might be expected to accomplish in subjugating all the territory lying to the east, and a long way south, of Lû.
1. How pure and still are the solemn temples, In their strong solidity and minute completeness! Highly distinguished was Kiang Yüan1 , Of virtue undeflected. God regarded her with favour, And without injury or hurt, Immediately, when her months were completed, She gave birth to Hâu-kî! On him were conferred all blessings,—(To know) how the (ordinary) millet ripened early, and the sacrificial millet late; How first to sow pulse and then wheat. Anon he was invested with an inferior state, And taught the people how to sow and to reap, The (ordinary) millet and the sacrificial, Rice and the black millet; Ere long over the whole country:—(Thus) continuing the work of Yü.
2. Among the descendants of Hâu-kî, There was king Thâi1 , Dwelling on the south of (mount) Khî, Where the clipping of Shang began. In process of time Wăn and Wû. Continued the work of king Thâi, And (the purpose of) Heaven was carried out in its time, In the plain of Mû2 . ‘Have no doubts, no anxieties,’ (it was said), ‘God is with you3 .’ Wû disposed of the troops of Shang; He and his men equally shared in the achievement. (Then) king (Khăng) said, ‘My uncle4 , I will set up your eldest son, And make him marquis of Lû. I will greatly enlarge your territory there, To be a help and support to the House of Kâu.’
3. Accordingly he appointed (our first) duke of Lû, And made him marquis in the east, Giving him the hills and rivers, The lands and fields, and the attached states5 . The (present) descendant of the duke of Kâu, The son of duke Kwang, With dragon-emblazoned banner, attends the sacrifices, (Grasping) his six reins soft and pliant. In spring and autumn he is not remiss; His offerings are all without error1 . To the great and sovereign God, And to his great ancestor Hâu-kî, He offers the victims, red and pure2 . They enjoy, they approve, And bestow blessings in large number. The duke of Kâu, and (your other) great ancestors, Also bless you.
4. In autumn comes the sacrifice of the season3 , But the bulls for it have had their horns capped in summer4 ; They are the white bull and the red one5 . (There are) the bull-figured goblet in its dignity6 ; Roast pig, minced meat, and soups; The dishes of bamboo and wood, and the large stands7 , And the dancers all complete. The filial descendant will be blessed. (Your ancestors) will make you gloriously prosperous, They will make you long-lived and good, To preserve this eastern region, Long possessing the state of Lû, Unwaning, unfallen, Unshaken, undisturbed! They will make your friendship with your three aged (ministers)1 Like the hills, like the mountains.
5. Our prince’s chariots are a thousand, And (in each) are (the two spears with their) vermilion tassels, and (the two bows with their) green bands. His footmen are thirty thousand, With shells on vermilion strings adorning their helmets2 . So numerous are his ardent followers, To deal with the tribes of the west and north, And to punish those of King and Shû3 , So that none of them will dare to withstand us. (The spirits of your ancestors) shall make you grandly prosperous; They shall make you long-lived and wealthy. The hoary hair and wrinkled back, Marking the aged men, shall always be in your service. They shall grant you old age, ever vigorous, For myriads and thousands of years, With the eyebrows of longevity, and ever unharmed.
6. The mountain of Thâi is lofty, Looked up to by the state of Lû1 . We grandly possess also Kwei and Măng2 ; And we shall extend to the limits of the east, Even the states along the sea. The tribes of the Hwâi will seek our alliance; All will proffer their allegiance:—Such shall be the achievements of the marquis of Lû.
7. He shall maintain the possession of Hû and Yî3 , And extend his sway to the regions of Hsü4 , Even to the states along the sea. The tribes of the Hwâi, the Man, and the Mo5 , And those tribes (still more) to the south, All will proffer their allegiance;—Not one will dare not to answer to his call, Thus showing their obedience to the marquis of Lû.
8. Heaven will give great blessing to our prince, So that with the eyebrows of longevity he shall maintain Lû. He shall possess Kang and Hsü1 , And recover all the territory of the duke of Kâu. Then shall the marquis of Lû feast and be glad, With his admirable wife and aged mother; With his excellent ministers and all his (other) officers2 . Our region and state shall he hold, Thus receiving many blessings, To hoary hair, and with teeth ever renewed like a child’s.
9. The pines of Ȝû-lâi3 , And the cypresses of Hsin-fû , Were cut down and measured, With the cubit line and the eight cubits’ line. The projecting beams of pine were made very large; The grand inner apartments rose vast. Splendid look the new temples, The work of Hsî-sze, Very wide and large, Answering to the expectations of all the people.
[1 ] The piece is called the Nâ, because a character so named is an important part of the first line. So generally the pieces in the Shih receive their names from a character or phrase occurring in them. This point will not be again touched on.
[2 ] The ‘meritorious ancestor’ is Thang. The sacrifices of the Shang dynasty commenced with music; those of the Kâu with libations of fragrant spirits;—in both cases with the same object, to attract the spirit, or spirits, sacrificed to, and secure their presence at the service. Khăn Hâo (Ming dynasty) says, ‘The departed spirits hover between heaven and earth, and sound goes forth, filling the region of the air. Hence in sacrificing, the people of Yin began with a performance of music.’
[3 ] The Lî Kî, XXIV, i, parr. 2, 3, tells us, that the sacrificer, as preliminary to the service, had to fast for some days, and to think of the person of his ancestor,—where he had stood and sat, how he had smiled and spoken, what had been his cherished aims, pleasures, and delights; and on the third day he would have a complete image of him in his mind’s eye. Then on the day of sacrifice, when he entered the temple, he would seem to see him in his shrine, and to hear him, as he went about in the discharge of the service. This line seems to indicate the realization of all this.
[1 ] Dancing thus entered into the service as an accompaniment of the music. Two terms are employed; one denoting the movements appropriate to a dance of war, the other those appropriate to a dance of peace.
[2 ] The visitors would be the representatives of the lines of Hsiâ, Shun, and Yâo.
[3 ] Two of the seasonal sacrifices are thus specified, by synecdoche, for all the four.
[1 ] These lines are descriptive of the feudal princes, who were present and assisted at the sacrificial service. The chariot of each was drawn by four horses yoked abreast, two insides and two outsides, on each side of the bits of which small bells were attached.
[1 ] The father of Shang is Hsieh, who has already been mentioned. The mother of Hsieh was a daughter of the House of the ancient state of Sung, and a concubine of the ancient ruler Khû (bc 2435). According to Mâo, she accompanied Khû, at the time of the vernal equinox, when the swallow made its appearance, to sacrifice and pray to the first match-maker, and the result was the birth of Hsieh. Sze-mâ Khien and Kăng make Hsieh’s birth more marvellous:—The lady was bathing in some open place, when a swallow made its appearance, and dropt an egg, which she took and swallowed; and from this came Hsieh. The editors of the imperial edition of the Shih, of the present dynasty, say we need not believe the legends;—the important point is to believe that the birth of Hsieh was specially ordered by Heaven.
[2 ] ‘The nine regions’ are the nine provinces into which Yü divided the kingdom.
[1 ] That is, Thang.
[2 ] If this ode were used, as Kăng supposes, in the third year after Wû-ting’s death, this ‘descendant’ would be his son Ȝû-kăng, bc 1265 to 1259.
[3 ] This expression, which occurs also in the Shû, indicates that the early Chinese believed that their country extended to the sea, east, west, north, and south.
[4 ]Kû Hsî says he did not understand this line; but there is ground in the Ȝo Kwan for our believing that King was the name of a hill in the region where the capital of Shang was.
[5 ] We saw in the Shû that the name Shang gave place to Yin after the time of Pan-kăng, bc 1401 to 1374. Wû-ting’s reign was subsequent to that of Pan-kăng.
[1 ] This line refers to the birth of Hsieh, as described in the previous ode, and his being made lord of Shang.
[2 ] It would be hard to say why Hsieh is here called ‘the dark king.’ There may be an allusion to the legend about the connexion of the swallow,—‘the dark bird,’—with his birth. He never was ‘a king;’ but his descendants here represented him as such.
[3 ] All that is meant here is, that the territory of Shang was enlarged under Hsieh.
[4 ] There is a reference here to Hsieh’s appointment by Shun to be Minister of Instruction.
[5 ] Hsiang-thû appears in the genealogical lists as grandson of Hsieh. We know nothing of him but what is related here.
[1 ] By ‘the root’ we are to understand Thang’s chief opponent, Kieh, the last king of Hsiâ. Kieh’s three great helpers were ‘the three shoots,’—the princes of Wei, Kû, and Kün-wû; but the exact sites of their principalities cannot be made out.
[1 ] We do not know anything of this time of decadence in the fortunes of Shang between Hsieh and Thang.
[2 ] Â-hăng is Î Yin, who plays so remarkable a part in the Shû, IV, Books iv, v, and vi.
[3 ]King, or Khû, or King-Khû, as the two names are combined here, was a large and powerful half-savage state, having its capital in the present Wû-pei. So far as evidence goes, we should say, but for this ode, that the name of Khû was not in use till long after the Shang dynasty. The name King appears several times in ‘the Spring and Autumn’ in the annals of duke Kwang (bc 693 to 662), and then it gives place to the name Khû in the first year of duke Hsî (bc 659), and subsequently disappears itself altogether. In consequence of this some critics make this piece out to have been composed under the Kâu dynasty. The point cannot be fully cleared up; but on the whole I accept the words of the ode as sufficient proof against the silence of other documents.
[1 ] The Tî Kiang, or Kiang of Tî, still existed in the time of the Han dynasty, occupying portions of the present Kan-sû.
[2 ] The chiefs of the wild tribes, lying beyond the nine provinces of the kingdom, were required to present themselves once in their lifetime at the royal court. The rule, in normal periods, was for each chief to appear immediately after he had succeeded to the headship of his tribe.
[3 ] The feudal lords had to appear at court every year. They did so, we may suppose, at the court of Wû-ting, the more so because of his subjugation of King-Khû.
[1 ] See on the last line but two of ode 3.
[1 ] These would be the princes who were assembled on the occasion, and assisted the king in the service.
[2 ] That is, the officers who took part in the libations, prayers, and other parts of the sacrifice.
[3 ] See what Ȝze-sze says on these four lines in the Doctrine of the Mean, XXVI, par. 10.
[1 ] Meaning mount Khî.
[2 ] Wăn and Wû.
[1 ] This is a prayer. The worshipper, it is said, in view of the majesty of Heaven, shrank from assuming that God would certainly accept his sacrifice. He assumes, below, that king Wăn does so.
[1 ] ‘All spiritual beings’ is, literally, ‘the hundred spirits,’ meaning the spirits presiding, under Heaven, over all nature, and especially the spirits of the rivers and hills throughout the kingdom. Those of the Ho and the lofty mountains are mentioned, because if their spirits were satisfied with Wû, those of all other mountains and hills, no doubt, were so.
[2 ] Compare with these lines the last chapter of ‘the Completion of the War’ in the Shû.
[1 ] If the whole piece be understood only of a sacrifice to Wû, this line will have to be translated—‘How illustrious was he, who completed (his great work), and secured its tranquillity.’ We must deal similarly with the next line. This construction is very forced; nor is the text clear on the view of Kû Hsî.
[1 ] It is this line which makes it difficult to determine after what sacrifice we are to suppose these instructions to have been delivered. The year, during the Hsiâ dynasty, began with the first month of spring, as it now does in China, in consequence of Confucius having said that that was the proper time. Under the Shang dynasty, it commenced a month earlier; and during the Kâu period, it ought always to have begun with the new moon preceding the winter solstice,—between our November 22 and December 22. But in the writings of the Kâu period we find statements of time continually referred to the calendar of Hsiâ,—as here.
[2 ] These first two lines are all but unmanageable. The old critics held that there was no mention of king Khăng in them; but the text is definite on this point. We must suppose that a special service had been performed at his shrine, asking him to intimate the day when the sacrifice after which the instructions were given should be performed; and that a directing oracle had been received.
[1 ] The mention of ‘the private fields’ implies that there were also ‘the public fields,’ cultivated by the husbandmen in common, in behalf of the government. As the people are elsewhere introduced, wishing that the rain might first fall on ‘the public fields,’ to show their loyalty, so the king here mentions only ‘the private fields,’ to show his sympathy and consideration for the people.
[2 ] For the cultivation of the ground, the allotments of single families were separated by a small ditch; ten allotments, by a larger; a hundred, by what we may call a brook; a thousand, by a small stream; and ten thousand, by a river. The space occupied by 10,000 families formed a square of a little more than thirty-two lî. We may suppose that this space was intended by the round number of thirty lî in the text. So at least Kăng Khang-khăng explained it.
[3 ] These two lines make the piece allusive. See the Introduction, p. 279.
[1 ] The blind musicians at the court of Kâu were numerous. The blindness of the eyes was supposed to make the ears more acute in hearing, and to be favourable to the powers of the voice. In the Official Book of Kâu, III, i, par. 22, the enumeration of these blind musicians gives 2 directors of the first rank, and 4 of the second; 40 performers of the first grade, 100 of the second, and 160 of the third; with 300 assistants who were possessed of vision. But it is difficult not to be somewhat incredulous as to this great collection of blind musicians about the court of Kâu.
[1 ] All the instruments here enumerated were performed on in the open court below the hall. Nothing is said of the stringed instruments which were used in the hall itself; nor is the enumeration of the instruments in the courtyard complete.
[1 ] To explain this line one commentator refers to the seventh stanza of the first piece in the Major Odes of the Kingdom, where it is said, ‘God surveyed the four quarters of the kingdom, seeking for some one to give settlement and rest to the people;’ and adds, ‘Thus what Heaven has at heart is the settlement of the people. When they have rest given to them, then Heaven is at rest.’
[1 ] At sacrifices to ancestors, the spirit tablets of wives were placed along with those of their husbands in their shrines, so that both shared in the honours of the service. So it is now in the imperial ancestral temple in Peking. The ‘accomplished mother’ here would be Thâi Sze, celebrated often in the pieces of the first Book of Part I, and elsewhere.
[2 ] Among the uses of the services of the ancestral temple, specified by Confucius and quoted on p. 302, was the distinguishing the order of descent in the royal House. According to the rules for that purpose, the characters here used enable us to determine the subject of this line as king Wû, in opposition to his father Wăn.
[1 ] These four lines simply express the wish of the king to detain his visitor, from the delight that his presence gave him. Compare the similar language in the second ode of the fourth decade of Part II.
[1 ] The meaning is this: ‘The way of Heaven is very clear, to bless the good, namely, and punish the bad. But its favour is thus dependent on men themselves, and hard to preserve.’
[1 ] The Chinese characters here mean, literally, ‘peach-tree insect,’ or, as Dr. Williams has it, ‘peach-bug.’ Another name for the bird is ‘the clever wife,’ from the artistic character of its nest, which would point it out as the small ‘tailor bird.’ But the name is applied to various small birds.
[1 ] ‘The hundred houses,’ or chambers in a hundred family residences, are those of the hundred families, cultivating the space which was bounded by a brook;—see note on the second ode of the preceding decade. They formed a society, whose members helped one another in their field work, so that their harvest might be said to be carried home at the same time. Then would come the threshing or treading, and winnowing, after which the grain would be brought into the houses.
[2 ] It has been observed that under the Kâu dynasty, red was the colour of the sacrificial victims. So it was for the ancestral temple; but in sacrificing to the spirits of the land and grain, the victim was a ‘yellow’ bull with black lips.
[1 ] The subject of these lines must be an ordinary officer, for to such the silk robes and a purple cap were proper, when he was assisting at the sacrifices of the king or of a feudal prince. There were two buildings outside the principal gate leading to the ancestral temple, and two corresponding inside, in which the personators of the departed ancestors were feasted. We must suppose the officer in question descending from the upper hall to the vestibule of the gate, to inspect the dishes, arranged for the feast, and then proceeding to see the animals, and the tripods for boiling the flesh, &c.
[2 ] The goblet of rhinoceros horn was to be drained, as a penalty, by any one offending at the feast against the rules of propriety; but here there was no occasion for it.
[1 ] It is said in the tenth ode of the first decade of the Major Odes of the Kingdom, that king Wû in his capital of Hâo built ‘his hall with its circlet of water.’ That was the royal college built in the middle of a circle of water; each state had its grand college with a semicircular pool in front of it, such as may now be seen in front of the temples of Confucius in the metropolitan cities of the provinces. It is not easy to describe all the purposes which the building served. In this piece the marquis of Lû appears feasting in it, delivering instructions, taking counsel with his ministers, and receiving the spoils and prisoners of war. The Lî Kî, VIII, ii, 7, refers to sacrifices to Hâu-kî in connexion with the college of Lû. There the officers of the state in autumn learned ceremonies; in winter, literary studies; in spring and summer, the use of arms; and in autumn and winter, dancing. There were celebrated trials of archery; there the aged were feasted; there the princes held council with their ministers. The college was in the western suburb of each capital.
[1 ] The meaning is that the fine qualities of the marquis ‘reached to’ and affected his ancestors in their spirit-state, and would draw down their protecting favour. Their blessing, seen in his prosperity, was the natural result of his filial piety.
[2 ] The Hwâi rises in the department of Nan-yang, Ho-nan, and flows eastward to the sea. South of it, down to the time of this ode, were many rude and wild tribes that gave frequent occupation to the kings of Kâu.
[3 ] When prisoners refused to submit, their left ears were cut off, and shown as trophies.
[4 ] The ancient Shun’s Minister of Crime. The ‘examiners’ were officers who questioned the prisoners, especially the more important of them, to elicit information, and decide as to the amount of their guilt and punishment.
[1 ] The ‘judges’ decided all questions of dispute in the army, and on the merits of different men who had distinguished themselves.
[2 ] In this stanza the poet describes a battle with the wild tribes, as if it were going on before his eyes.
[3 ] An owl is a bird with a disagreeable scream, instead of a beautiful note; but the mulberries grown about the college would make them sing delightfully. And so would the influence of Lû, going forth from the college, transform the nature of the tribes about the Hwâi.
[4 ] That is, according to ‘the Tribute of Yü,’ in the Shû, from King-kâu and Yang-kâu.
[1 ] About Kiang Yüan and her conception and birth of Hâu-kî, see the first piece in the third decade of the Major Odes of the Kingdom. There also Hâu-kî’s teaching of husbandry is more fully described.
[1 ] See on the Sacrificial Odes of Kâu, decade i, ode 5.
[2 ] See the Shû, V, iii.
[3 ] Shang-fû, one of Wû’s principal leaders, encouraged him at the battle of Mû with these words.
[4 ] That is, the duke of Kâu.
[5 ] That is, small territories, held by chiefs of other surnames, but acknowledging the jurisdiction of the lords of Lû, and dependent on them for introduction to the royal court.
[1 ] These lines refer to the seasonal sacrifices in the temple of ancestors, two seasons being mentioned for all the four, as in some of the odes of Shang.
[2 ] From the seasonal sacrifices the poet passes to the sacrifice to God at the border altar in the spring,—no doubt the same which is referred to in the last ode of the first decade of the Sacrificial Odes of Kâu.
[3 ] The subject of the seasonal sacrifices is resumed.
[4 ] A piece of wood was fixed across the horns of the victim-bulls, to prevent their injuring them by pushing or rubbing against any hard substance. An animal injured in any way was not fit to be used in sacrifice.
[5 ] In sacrificing to the duke of Kâu, a white bull was used by way of distinction. His great services to the dynasty had obtained for him the privilege of being sacrificed to with royal ceremonies. A white bull, such as had been offered to the kings of Shang, was therefore devoted to him; while for Po-khin, and the other marquises (or dukes as spoken of by their own subjects), a victim of the orthodox Kâu colour was employed.
[6 ] This goblet, fashioned in the shape of a bull, or with a bull pictured on it, must have been well known in connexion with these services.
[7 ] ‘The large stand’ was of a size to support half the roasted body of a victim.
[1 ] Referring, probably, to the three principal ministers of the state.
[2 ] These lines describe Hsî’s resources for war. A thousand chariots was the regular force which a great state could at the utmost bring into the field. Each chariot contained three mailed men;—the charioteer in the middle, a spearman on the right, and an archer on the left. Two spears rose aloft with vermilion tassels, and there were two bows, bound with green bands to frames in their cases. Attached to every chariot were seventy-two foot-soldiers and twenty-five followers, making with the three men in it, 100 in all; so that the whole force would amount to 100,000 men. But in actual service the force of a great state was restricted to three ‘armies’ or 375 chariots, attended by 37,500 men, of whom 27,500 were foot-soldiers, put down here in round numbers as 30,000.
[3 ]King is the King-khû of the last of the Sacrificial Odes of Shang, and the name Shû was applied to several half-civilized states to the east of it, which it brought, during the Khun Khiû period, one after another under its jurisdiction.
[1 ] Mount Thâi is well known, the eastern of the four great mountains of China in the time of Shun. It is in the department of Thâi-an, Shan-tung.
[2 ] These were two smaller hills in Lû.
[3 ] These were two hills of Lû, in the present district of Ȝâu.
[4 ] Hsü was the name of one of Yü’s nine provinces, embracing portions of the present Shan-tung, Kiang-sû, and An-hui.
[5 ] Mo was properly the name of certain wild tribes in the north, as Man was that of the tribes of the south. But we cannot suppose any tribes to be meant here but such as lay south of Lû.
[1 ]Kang was a city with some adjacent territory, in the present district of Thăng, that had been taken from Lû by Khî. Hsü, called in the Spring and Autumn ‘the fields of Hsü,’ was west from Lû, and had been granted to it as a convenient place for its princes to stop at on their way to the royal court; but it had been sold or parted with to Kăng in the first year of duke Hwan (bc 711). The poet desires that Hsî should recover these and all other territory which had at any time belonged to Lû.
[2 ] He would feast with the ladies in the inner apartment of the palace, suitable for such a purpose; with his ministers in the outer banqueting-room.
[3 ] These were two hills, in the present department of Thâi-an.