Front Page Titles (by Subject) LESSONS FROM THE STATES. Odes and Stanzas illustrating the Religious Views and Practices of the Writers and their Times. - The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism. Part I The Shu King, the Religious Portions of the Shih King, the Hsiao King
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LESSONS FROM THE STATES. Odes and Stanzas illustrating the Religious Views and Practices of the Writers and their Times. - 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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LESSONS FROM THE STATES.
It has been stated in the Introduction, p. 276, that the first Part of the Shih, called the Kwo Făng, or ‘Lessons from the States,’ consists of 160 pieces, descriptive of manners and events in several of the feudal states into which the kingdom of Kâu was divided. Nearly all of them are short; and the passages illustrating the religious views and practices of their times are comparatively few. What passages there are, however, of this nature will all be found below. The pieces are not arranged in decades, as in the Odes of the Kingdom, but in Books, under the names of the states in which they were produced.
Although the Kwo Făng form, as usually published, the first Part of the Shih, nearly all of them are more recent in their origin than the pieces of the other Parts. They bring us face to face with the states of the kingdom, and the ways of their officers and people for several centuries of the dynasty of Kâu.
The Odes of Shâo and the South.
The Shû and previous portions of the Shih have made us familiar with Shâo, the name of the appanage of Shih, one of the principal ministers at the court of Kâu in the first two reigns of the dynasty. The site of the city of Shâo was in the present department of Făng-khiang, Shen-hsî. The first possessor of it, along with the still more famous duke of Kâu, remained at court, to watch over the fortunes of the new dynasty. They were known as ‘the highest dukes’ and ‘the two great chiefs,’ the duke of Kâu having charge of the eastern portions of the kingdom, and the other of the western. The pieces in this Book are supposed to have been produced in Shâo, and the principalities south of it within his jurisdiction, by the duke.
The Zhâi Fan.
We must suppose the ladies of a harem, in one of the states of the south, admiring and praising in these simple stanzas the way in which their mistress discharged her duties. A view of the ode maintained by many is that the lady gathered the southernwood, not to use it in sacrificing, but in the nurture of the silkworms under her care; but the evidence of the characters in the text is, on the whole, in favour of the more common view. Constant reference is made to the piece by Chinese moralists, to show that the most trivial things are accepted in sacrifice, when there are reverence and sincerity in the presenting of them.
One critic asked Kû Hsî whether it was conceivable that the wife of a prince did herself what is here related, and he replied that the poet said so. Another has observed that if the lady ordered and employed others, it was still her own doing. But that the lady did it herself is not incredible, when we consider the simplicity of those early times, in the twelfth century bc
She gathers the white southernwood, By the ponds, on the islets. She employs it, In the business of our prince.
She gathers the white southernwood, Along the streams in the valleys. She employs it, In the temple1 of our prince.
With head-dress reverently rising aloft, Early, while yet it is night, she is in the prince’s (temple). In her head-dress, slowly retiring, She returns (to her own apartments).
The Zhâi Pin.
She gathers the large duckweed, By the banks of the stream in the southern valley. She gathers the pondweed, In those pools left by the floods.
She deposits what she gathers, In her square baskets and round ones. She boils it, In her tripods and pans.
She sets forth her preparations, Under the window in the ancestral chamber1 . Who superintends the business? It is (this) reverent young lady.
The Odes of Phei.
When king Wû overthrew the dynasty of Shang, the domain of its kings was divided into three portions, the northern portion being called Phei, the southern Yung, and the eastern Wei, the rulers of which last in course of time absorbed the other two. It is impossible to say why the old names were retained in the arrangement of the odes in this Part of the Shih, for it is acknowledged on all hands that the pieces in Books iii and iv, as well as those of Book v, are all odes of Wei.
The ZĂh Yüeh.
All the Chinese critics give this interpretation of the piece. Kwang Kiang was a daughter of the house of Khî, about the middle of the eighth century bc, and was married to the marquis Yang, known in history as ‘duke Kwang,’ of Wei. She was a lady of admirable character, and beautiful; but her husband proved faithless and unkind. In this ode she makes her subdued moan, appealing to the sun and moon, as if they could take cognizance of the way in which she was treated. Possibly, however, the addressing those bodies may simply be an instance of prosopopoeia.
O sun, O moon, Which enlighten this lower earth! Here is this man, Who treats me not according to the ancient rule. How can he get his mind settled? Would he then not regard me?
O sun, O moon, Which overshadow this lower earth! Here is this man, Who will not be friendly with me. How can he get his mind settled? Would he then not respond to me?
O sun, O moon, Which come forth from the east! Here is this man, With virtuous words, but really not good. How can he get his mind settled? Would he then allow me to be forgotten?
O sun, O moon, From the east that come forth! O father, O mother, There is no sequel to your nourishing of me. How can he get his mind settled? Would he then respond to me contrary to all reason?
Ode 15, Stanza 1.
The Pei MĂn.
I go out at the north gate, With my heart full of sorrow. Straitened am I and poor, And no one takes knowledge of my distress. So it is! Heaven has done it1 ;—What then shall I say?
The Odes of Yung.
See the preliminary note on p. 433.
The Pai Kâu.
This piece, it is said, was made by Kung Kiang, the widow of Kung-po, son of the marquis Hsî of Wei (bc 855-814). Kung-po having died an early death, her parents (who must have been the marquis of Khî and his wife or one of the ladies of his harem) wanted to force her to a second marriage, against which she protests. The ode was preserved, no doubt, as an example of what the Chinese have always considered a great virtue,—the refusal of a widow to marry again.
It floats about, that boat of cypress wood, There in the middle of the Ho1 . With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead2 , He was my mate; And I swear that till death I will have no other. O mother, O Heaven3 , Why will you not understand me?
It floats about, that boat of cypress wood, There by the side of the Ho. With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead, He was my only one; And I swear that till death I will not do the evil thing. O mother, O Heaven, Why will you not understand me?
Ode 3, Stanza 2.
The Kün-Ȝze Kieh Lâo.
Hsüan Kiang was a princess of Khî, who, towards the close of the seventh century bc, became wife to the marquis of Wei, known as duke Hsüan. She was beautiful and unfortunate, but various things are related of her indicative of the grossest immoralities prevailing in the court of Wei.
How rich and splendid. Is her pheasant-figured robe1 ! Her black hair in masses like clouds, No false locks does she descend to. There are her earplugs of jade, Her comb-pin of ivory, And her high forehead, so white. She appears like a visitant from heaven! She appears like a goddess2 .
Ode 6, Stanzas 1 and 2.
The Ting kih fang Kung.
The state of Wei was reduced to extremity by an irruption of some northern hordes in bc 660, and had nearly disappeared from among the states of Kâu. Under the marquis Wei, known in history as duke Wăn, its fortunes revived, and he became a sort of second founder of the state.
When Ting culminated (at night-fall)3 , He began to build the palace at Khû4 , Determining its aspects by means of the sun. He built the palace at Khû. He planted about it hazel and chesnut trees, The Î, the Thung, the Ȝze, and the varnish tree. Which, when cut down, might afford materials for lutes.
He ascended those old walls, And thence surveyed (the site of) Khû. He surveyed Khû and Thang1 , With the lofty hills and high elevations about. He descended and examined the mulberry trees. He then divined by the tortoise-shell, and got a favourable response2 ; And thus the issue has been truly good.
The Odes of Wei.
It has been said on the title of Book iii, that Wei at first was the eastern portion of the old domain of the kings of Shang. With this a brother of king Wû, called Khang-shû, was invested. The principality was afterwards increased by the absorption of Phei and Yung. It came to embrace portions of the present provinces of Kih-lî, Shan-tung, and Ho-nan. It outlasted the dynasty of Kâu itself, the last prince of Wei being reduced to the ranks of the people only during the dynasty of Khin.
Ode 4, Stanzas 1 and 2.
An extract is given from the pathetic history here related, because it shows how divination was used among the common people, and entered generally into the ordinary affairs of life.
A simple-looking lad you were, Carrying cloth to exchange it for silk. (But) you came not so to purchase silk;—You came to make proposals to me. I convoyed you through the Khî1 , As far as Tun-khiû2 , ‘It is not I,’ (I said), ‘who would protract the time; But you have had no good go-between. I pray you be not angry, And let autumn be the time.’
I ascended that ruinous wall, To look towards Fû-kwan3 ; And when I saw (you) not (coming from) it, My tears flowed in streams. When I did see (you coming from) Fû-kwan, I laughed and I spoke. You had consulted, (you said), the tortoise-shell and the divining stalks, And there was nothing unfavourable in their response4 . ‘Then come,’ (I said), ‘with your carriage, And I will remove with my goods.’
The Odes of the Royal Domain.
King Wăn, it has been seen, had for his capital the city of Făng, from which his son, king Wû, moved the seat of government to Hâo. In the time of king Khăng, a city was built by the duke of Kâu, near the present Lo-yang, and called ‘the eastern capital.’ Meetings of the princes of the states assembled there; but the court continued to be held at Hâo till the accession of king Phing in bc 770. From that time, the kings of Kâu sank nearly to the level of the princes of the states, and the poems collected in their domain were classed among the ‘Lessons of Manners from the States,’ though still distinguished by the epithet ‘royal’ prefixed to them.
Ode 1, Stanza 1.
The Shû Lî.
There is no specific mention of the old capital of Kâu in the piece, but the schools of Mâo and Kû are agreed in this interpretation, which is much more likely than any of the others that have been proposed.
There was the millet with its drooping heads; There was the sacrificial millet coming into blade1 . Slowly I moved about, In my heart all-agitated. Those who knew me Said I was sad at heart. Those who did not know me, Said I was seeking for something. O thou distant and azure Heaven2 ! By what man was this (brought about)3 ?
Ode 9, Stanzas 1 and 3.
The Tâ Kü.
His great carriage rolls along, And his robes of rank glitter like the young sedge. Do I not think of you? But I am afraid of this officer, and dare not (fly to you).
While living we may have to occupy different apartments; But, when dead, we shall share the same grave. If you say that I am not sincere, By the bright sun I swear that I am1 .
The Odes of Thang.
The odes of Thang were really the odes of Ȝin, the greatest of the fiefs of Kâu until the rise of Khin. King Khăng, in bc 1107, invested his younger brother, called Shû-yü, with the territory where Yâo was supposed to have ruled anciently as the marquis of Thang, in the present department of Thâi-yüan, Shan-hsî, the fief retaining that ancient name. Subsequently the name of the state was changed to Ȝin, from the river Ȝin in the southern part of it.
Ode 8, Stanza 1.
The Pâo Yü.
Sû-sû go the feathers of the wild geese, As they settle on the bushy oaks1 . The king’s affairs must not be slackly discharged, And (so) we cannot plant our millets;—What will our parents have to rely on? O thou distant and azure Heaven2 ! When shall we be in our places again?
The Ko ShĂng.
It is supposed that the husband whose death is bewailed in this piece had died in one of the military expeditions of which duke Hsien (bc 676-651) was fond. It may have been so, but there is nothing in the piece to make us think of duke Hsien. I give it a place in the volume, not because of the religious sentiment in it, but because of the absence of that sentiment, where we might expect it. The lady shows the grand virtue of a Chinese widow, in that she will never marry again. And her grief would not be assuaged. The days would all seem long summer days, and the nights all long winter nights; so that a hundred long years would seem to drag their slow course. But there is not any hope expressed of a re-union with her husband in another state. The ‘abode’ and the ‘chamber’ of which she speaks are to be understood of his grave; and her thoughts do not appear to go beyond it.
The dolichos grows, covering the thorn trees; The convolvulus spreads all over the waste3 . The man of my admiration is no more here;—With whom can I dwell? I abide alone.
The dolichos grows, covering the jujube trees; The convolvulus spreads all over the tombs. The man of my admiration is no more here;—With whom can I dwell? I rest alone.
How beautiful was the pillow of horn! How splendid was the embroidered coverlet1 ! The man of my admiration is no more here;—With whom can I dwell? Alone (I wait for) the morning.
Through the (long) days of summer, Through the (long) nights of winter (shall I be alone), Till the lapse of a hundred years, When I shall go home to his abode.
Through the (long) nights of winter, Through the (long) days of summer (shall I be alone), Till the lapse of a hundred years, When I shall go home to his chamber.
The Odes of Khin.
The state of Khin took its name from its earliest principal city, in the present district of Khing-shui, in Khin Kâu, Kan-sû. Its chiefs claimed to be descended from Yî, who appears in the Shû as the forester of Shun, and the assistant of the great Yü in his labours on the flood of Yâo. The history of his descendants is very imperfectly related till we come to a Fei-ȝze, who had charge of the herds of horses belonging to king Hsiâo (bc 909895), and in consequence of his good services was invested with the small territory of Khin, as an attached state. A descendant of his, known as duke Hsiang, in consequence of his loyal services, when the capital was moved to the east in bc 770, was raised to the dignity of an earl, and took his place among the great feudal princes of the kingdom, receiving also a large portion of territory, which included the ancient capital of the House of Kâu. In course of time Khin, as is well known, superseded the dynasty of Kâu, having gradually moved its capital more and more to the east. The people of Khin were, no doubt, mainly composed of the wild tribes of the west.
Ode 6, Stanza 1.
The Hwang Niâo.
There is no difficulty or difference in the interpretation of this piece; and it brings us down to bc 621. Then died duke Mû, after playing an important part in the north-west of China for thirty-nine years. The Ȝo Kwan, under the sixth year of duke Wăn, makes mention of Mû’s requiring that the three brothers here celebrated should be buried with him, and of the composition of this piece in consequence. Sze-mâ Khien says that this barbarous practice began with Mû’s predecessor, with whom sixty-six persons were buried alive, and that one hundred and seventy-seven in all were buried with Mû. The death of the last distinguished man of the House of Khin, the emperor I, was subsequently celebrated by the entombment with him of all the inmates of his harem.
They flit about, the yellow birds, And rest upon the jujube trees1 . Who followed duke Mû in the grave? Ȝze-kü Yen-hsî. And this Yen-hsî. Was a man above a hundred. When he came to the grave, He looked terrified and trembled. Thou azure Heaven there! Could he have been redeemed, We would have given a hundred (ordinary) men for him1 .
The Odes of Pin.
Duke Liû, an ancestor of the Kâu family, made a settlement, according to its traditions, in bc 1797, in Pin, the site of which is pointed out, 90 lî to the west of the present district city of San-shui, in Pin Kâu, Shen-hsî, where the tribe remained till the movement eastwards of Than-fû, celebrated in the first decade of the Major Odes of the Kingdom, ode 3. The duke of Kâu, during the minority of king Khăng, made, it is supposed, the first of the pieces in this Book, describing for the instruction of the young monarch, the ancient ways of their fathers in Pin; and subsequently some one compiled other odes made by the duke, and others also about him, and brought them together under the common name of ‘the Odes of Pin.’
Ode 1, Stanza 8.
The Khî Yüeh.
If the piece was made, as the Chinese critics all suppose, by the duke of Kâu, we must still suppose that he writes in the person of an old farmer or yeoman of Pin. The picture which it gives of the manners of the Chinese people, their thrifty, provident ways, their agriculture and weaving, nearly 3,700 years ago, is full of interest; but it is not till we come to the concluding stanza that we find anything bearing on their religious practices.
In the days of (our) second month, they hew out the ice with harmonious blows1 ; And in those of (our) third month, they convey it to the ice-houses, (Which they open) in those of (our) fourth, early in the morning. A lamb having been offered in sacrifice with scallions2 . In the ninth month, it is cold, with frost. In the tenth month, they sweep clean their stack-sites. (Taking) the two bottles of spirits to be offered to their ruler, And having killed their lambs and sheep, They go to his hall, And raising the cup of rhinoceros horn, Wish him long life,—that he may live for ever1 .
THE HSIÂO KING OR CLASSIC OF FILIAL PIETY.
[1 ] If the character here translated ‘temple’ had no other signification but that, there would be an end of the dispute about the meaning of the piece. But while we find it often used of the ancestral temple, it may also mean any building, especially one of a large and public character, such as a palace or mansion; and hence some contend that it should be interpreted here of ‘the silkworm house.’ We are to conceive of the lady, after having gathered the materials for sacrificial use, then preparing them according to rule, and while it is yet dark on the morning of the sacrificial day, going with them into the temple, and setting them forth in their proper vessels and places.
[1 ] ‘The ancestral chamber’ was a room behind the temple of the family, dedicated specially to the ancestor of the officer whose wife is the subject of the piece. The princes of states were succeeded, as a rule, by the eldest son of the wife proper. Their sons by other wives were called ‘other sons.’ The eldest son by the wife proper of one of them became the ‘great ancestor’ of the clan descended from him, and ‘the ancestral chamber’ was an apartment dedicated to him. Mâo and other interpreters, going on certain statements as to the training of daughters in the business of sacrificing in this apartment for three months previous to their marriage, contend that the lady spoken of here was not yet married, but was only undergoing this preparatory education. It is not necessary, however, to adopt this interpretation. The lady appears doing the same duties as the wife in the former piece.
[1 ] The ‘Complete Digest of Comments on the Shih’ warns its readers not to take ‘Heaven’ here as synonymous with Ming, ‘what is decreed or commanded.’ The writer does not go on to define the precise idea which he understood the character to convey. This appears to be what we often mean by ‘Providence,’ when we speak of anything permitted, rather than appointed, by the supreme ruling Power.
[1 ] These allusive lines, probably, indicate the speaker’s widowhood, which left her like ‘a boat floating about on the water.’
[2 ] Such was the mode in which the hair was kept, while a boy or young man’s parents were alive, parted into two tufts from the pia mater, and brought down as low as the eyebrows on either side of the forehead.
[3 ] Mâo thought that the lady intended her father by ‘Heaven;’ while Kû held that her father may have been dead, and that the mother is called Heaven, with reference to the kindness and protection that she ought to show. There seems rather to be in the term a wild, and not very intelligent, appeal to the supreme Power in heaven.
[1 ] The lady is introduced arrayed in the gorgeous robes worn by the princess of a state in the ancestral temple.
[2 ] P. Lacharme translated these two concluding lines by ‘Tu primo aspectu coelos (pulchritudine), et imperatorem (majestate) adaequas,’ without any sanction of the Chinese critics; and moreover there was no Tî () in the sense of imperator then in China. The sovereigns of Kâu were wang or kings. Kû Hsî expands the lines thus:—‘Such is the beauty of her robes and appearance, that beholders are struck with awe, as if she were a spiritual being.’ Hsü Khien (Yüan dynasty) deals with them thus:—‘With such splendour of beauty and dress, how is it that she is here? She has come down from heaven! She is a spiritual being!’
[3 ] Ting is the name of a small space in the heavens, embracing a Markab and another star of Pegasus. Its culminating at night-fall was the signal that the labours of husbandry were over for the year, and that building operations should be taken in hand. Great as was the urgency for the building of his new capital, duke Wăn would not take it in hand till the proper time for such a labour was arrived.
[4 ]Khû, or Khû-khiû, was the new capital of Wei, in the present district of Khăng-wû, department Ȝhâo-kâu, Shan-tung.
[1 ] Thang was the name of a town, evidently not far from Khû.
[2 ] We have seen before how divination was resorted to on occasion of new undertakings, especially in proceeding to rear a city.
[1 ] The Khî was a famous river of Wei.
[2 ] Tun-khiû was a well-known place—‘the mound or height of Tun’—south of the Wei.
[3 ] Fû-kwan must have been the place where the man lived, according to Kû. Rather, it must have been a pass (Fû-kwan may mean ‘the gate or pass of Fû’), through which he would come, and was visible from near the residence of the woman.
[4 ] Ying-tâ observes that the man had never divined about the matter, and said that he had done so only to complete the process of seduction. The critics dwell on the inconsistency of divination being resorted to in such a case:—‘Divination is proper only if used in reference to what is right and moral.’
[1 ] That is, there where the ancestral temple and other grand buildings of Hâo had once stood.
[2 ] ‘He cried out to Heaven,’ says Yen Ȝhan, ‘and told (his distress), but he calls it distant in its azure brightness, lamenting that his complaint was not heard.’ This is, probably, the correct explanation of the language. The speaker would by it express his grief that the dynasty of Kâu and its people were abandoned and uncared for by Heaven.
[3 ] Referring to king Yû, whose reckless course had led to the destruction of Hâo by the Zung, and in a minor degree to his son, king Phing, who had subsequently removed to the eastern capital.
[1 ] In the ‘Complete Digest’ this oath is expanded in the following way:—‘These words are from my heart. If you think that they are not sincere, there is (a Power) above, like the bright sun, observing me;—how should my words not be sincere?’
[1 ] Trees are not the proper place for geese to rest on; and the attempt to do so is productive of much noise and trouble to the birds. The lines would seem to allude to the hardships of the soldiers’ lot, called from their homes to go on a distant expedition.
[2 ] See note 2 on ode 1 of Book vi, where Heaven is appealed to in the same language.
[3 ] These two lines are taken as allusive, the speaker being led by the sight of the weak plants supported by the trees, shrubs, and tombs, to think of her own desolate, unsupported condition. But they may also be taken as narrative, and descriptive of the battleground, where her husband had met his death.
[1 ] These things had been ornaments of the bridal chamber; and as the widow thinks of them, her grief becomes more intense.
[1 ] It is difficult to see the relation between these two allusive lines and the rest of the stanza. Some say that it is this,—that the people loved the three victims as they liked the birds; others that the birds among the trees were in their proper place,—very different from the brothers in the grave of duke Mû.
[1 ] This appeal to Heaven is like what we met with in the first of the Odes of the Royal Domain, and the eighth of those of Thang.
[1 ] They went for the ice to the deep recesses of the hills, and wherever it was to be found in the best condition.
[2 ] It is said in the last chapter of ‘the Great Learning,’ that ‘the family which keeps its stores of ice does not rear cattle or sheep,’ meaning that the possessor of an ice-house must be supposed to be very wealthy, and above the necessity of increasing his means in the way described. Probably, the having ice-houses by high ministers and heads of clans was an innovation on the earlier custom, according to which such a distinction was proper only to the king, or the princes of states, on whom it devolved as ‘the fathers of the people,’ to impart from their stores in the hot season as might be necessary. The third and fourth lines of this stanza are to be understood of what was done by the orders of the ruler of the tribe of Kâu in Pin. In the Official Book of Kâu, Part I, ch. 5, we have a description of the duties of ‘the Providers of Ice,’ and the same subject is treated in the sixth Book of ‘the Record of Rites,’ sections 2 and 6. The ice having been collected and stored in winter, the ice-houses were solemnly opened in the spring. A sacrifice was offered to ‘the Ruler of Cold, the Spirit of the Ice,’ and of the first ice brought forth an offering was set out in the apartment behind the principal hall of the ancestral temple. A sacrifice to the same Ruler of Cold, it is said, had also been offered when the ice began to be collected. The ceremony may be taken as an illustration of the manner in which religious services entered into the life of the ancient Chinese.
[1 ] The custom described in the five concluding lines is mentioned to show the good and loyal feeling of the people of Pin towards their chief. Having finished all the agricultural labours of the year, and being now prepared to enjoy the results of their industry, the first thing they do is to hasten to the hall of their ruler, and ask him to share in their joy, and express their loyal wishes for his happiness.