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II.: The Sacrificial Odes of K âu. - 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 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.
[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.