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CLASS OF 1676 


Cornell University Library 

The book of Chinese poetry :belna the co 

3 1924 023 365 764 

The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

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" If Chinese scholars would bring the ancient literature near 
to us, if they would show us something in it that really concerns 
us, something that is not merely old but eternally young, Chinese 
studies would soon take their place in public estimation by the 
side of Indo-European, Babylonian, and Egyptian scholarship." 

Max Mullee. 


Chinese Canonical Literature consists of "The Four 

Books" and "The Five Classics." The former are, i. "The 

Great Learning;" 2. "The Doctrine of the Mean;" 3. "The 

Confucian Analects," or " The Conversations of Confucius;" 

and 4. " The Sayings of Mencius." " The Five Classics " 

are, i. The Yi Ching,ot " Book of Changes ;" 2. The Shih 

Ching, or "Classic of Poetry;" 3. The Shu.Ching, or 

" Book of History ; " 4. The Li Chi, or " Canon of Rites ;" 

and 5. The Chiin Chiu, " The Spring and Autumn Annals." 

The second of these " Classics " is the subject of this work. 

The "Classic of Poetry" consists of four divisions. — " The 

Fing;' " The Lesser Ya," " The Greater Ya," and " The 

Sung," terms which I translate respectively " The Ballads," 

" The Songs for the Minor Festivals," " The Songs for the 

Greater Festivals," and " The Hymns." The reasons why 

I have adopted these titles are given in the introductory 

notes to each part. 

The Chinese commentators further divide the poems into 
three classes, viz., Fu ^, "Descriptive," Pi Jt, "Meta- 
phorical," and Hsing J^, " Allusive." The commentary on 
each poem states under which head the poem is to be / 
included. In some cases a piece is put under two heads,- 
such as " Narrative and allusive," or " Allusive and meta- 

Dr. Legge, in his Prolegomena to Vol. IV. of>his version 


-of the "Chinese Classics," pp. 82-86, gives a table showing 
the date to which each poem in the classic belongs. I refer 
the student of Chinese to this, contenting myself with 
pointing out to the general reader that the oldest pieces are 

1 the last five h ymns, . These indisputably were in existence 
during Kh^Shang ( also c ajl ed th e Yin) d ynasty, w hich 
lasted from B.C. 1766 to B.C. 11 22. Some of the ballads 
and festival-songs, according to Dr. Legge's table, were 
also composed in the later years of the same dynasty; that 
is to say during the lifetime of King Wen, the founder of 
the C/iou dynasty, who, though canonized as King, never 
sat on the throne of China. Their date may be said to be 
B.C. 1 184 to B.C. 1 134. The remainder belong to the time 
of the C/iou dynasty, from the~~reign of King Wu, who 
came to the throne in B.C. i i2i7to the time of King Tmg, 
who reigned from B.C. 606 to B.C. 585 . The poems, 

According to Chinese historians and commentators, were 
collected and edited by the great Confucius himself, who, 
be it remembered, lived from B.C. 551 to B.C. 479. 

At this point I think it advisable to make a few brief 
remarks on the ancient history of China, that the reader 
may more clearly understand the events which are men- 
tioned or referred to in the poems. 

I am a believer in Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie's theory, 
that the Chinese have no claim whatever to the immense 
antiquity in which they delight to boast, and that they 
camejrom Babylonia _and Elam. in successive imm igrations, 
into China,* where they first settled, near the great bend of 

* " Origin from Babylonia and Elam of the Early Chinese 
Civilization." A Summary of the Proofs, by Professor Dr. 
Terrien de Lacouperie. " Babylonian and Oriental Record," 
Vol. III., No. 3, e( seq. 


theYellow River somewhere about B.C. 2500.* The settlers 
brought ~wilh them fronT^aEyloma'to^ China a written 
language closely akin to the cuneiform,t and sundry arts 
and sciences. 

Archaic Chinese history is nothing more than a collection 
of myths and legends with, nevertheless, a possible sub- 
stratum of truth. W. F. Mayers, in his " Chinese Readers' 
Manual" (page 365) says: "It is only in the age of Yao 
and Shun that a claim to anything like authenticity is set 
up, and even here the sterner requirements of European 
criticism demand proofs, which native historians are content 
to forego. It is convenient, nevertheless, for chronological 
purposes to accept the last of the line of imaginary epochs 
as that with which the legendary, as distinct from the 
purely mythical, period of Chinese history may be deemed 
to commence." I thankfully accept his suggestion. This 
last line of " imaginary epochs " is known as " The Age 
of the Five Rulers,'' the first of whom was Fu Hsi ^ ^ , 
B.C. 2852-2738. No mention is made of him in the "Classic 
of Poetry." An allusion is made to his successor Shin Nung 
%^ j^, the Divine Husbandman, or God of Husbandry. 
Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie has identified him with Sargon.J 

* " Mark in particular the sharp bend some way to the east- 
ward of Si-ngan, for it is at a spot not so very far fiom this that 
the Central Kingdom, as the Chinese still style their country, is 
first made known to us in the ancient books of China, as existing 
some 4000 years ago." — "China," by Sir Thomas Wade, 
"P. & O. Handbook." 

f See " Early History of the Chinese Civilization," and other 
works by Professor Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie. 

% " The Old Babylonian Characters and their Chinese Deri- 
vatives," and "Wheat Carried from Mesopotamia to Early 
China," p. i. 


Then we have in full the legend of Hon Chi,* the reputed 
son of the Empress Chiang Yuan, the wife of the Emperor 
Ti Ku. Hou Chi was miraculously conceived. He was 
supposed to have lived about B.C. 2400. If he was any- 
thing more than a solar mythj I conjecture that he was 
in all probability the man who first introduced agriculture 
into China. 

After Hou Chi we get on more solid ground. It is 
advisable to search in Babylonian or Accadian annals for 
all events which are alleged to have taken place in China 
beibreRC. 2500, but from this date onwards China itself 
may be taken as the scene of occurrences narrated in the 
Classic. Yii, the Great, who reigned from B.C. 2205 to 
B.C. 2197, is frequently mentioned and alluded to in these 
poems. He founded the Hsia dynasty, and is further 
famous for having in nine years drained away the great 
deluge, by which the Empire was overwhelmed.t 

The Hsia dynasty lasted till B.C. i ^66, when Chieh Kuei, 
the last king of it, a monster of cruelty and wickedness, was 
overthrown by T'ang, the founder of the Shang dynasty. 
This dynasty was in power from B.C. 1766 to B.C. 11 22, 
during which period twenty-eight monarchs .sat on the 
throne J Of these four only were kings of renown, viz.: — 

T'ang, the founder of the dynasty, B.C. 1766- 17 54. 

His son T'ai Chia, B.C. 1753-1721. 

TaiMou, B.C. 1637-1563. 

Wu Ting, B.C. 1 324-1 266. 

* III., ii., I. See also "Wheat Carried from Mesopotamia to 
Early China," by Professor Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie. 

\ Mayers' "Chinese Readers' Manual," Part I., art. 873. 

\ Each of the names of these twenty-eight monarchs, except 
that of the first King, contains a "horary character," /. e. a word 


The other reigns call for no remark, until we come to 
that of the last King of the dynasty, Chou Hsin, who, like 
Ckieh Kuei, was everything that was wicked. His prime 
minister was Ch'ang, the Duke of Chou, whom the King 
cast into prison as dangerous to his power. The Duke 
was released after two years, and sent to fight the tribes 
on the frontier. At his death he bequeathed his title and 
the command of his forces to his son Fa, who rose in revolt 
against King Chou Hsin, overthrew him, and became 
King of China in B.C. 1122, with the title of King Wu. 
He canonized his father as King Wen. 

We must now go back a little to trace the history and 
lineage of the great family of Ckoii ^. They claimed 
descent from Hou Chi, the inventor of agriculture,* and 
from -his mother Chiang Yiian, a daughter of the house of 
T'ai ^15, with which principality Hou Chi was invested. 
The first descendant of Hou Chi of whom we hear is Liu, 
canonized as Duke Liu\ He settled his tribe in Pin, the 
modern Pin Chou ® >]\\ or gjj ;Ill, lat. N. 3 5 '04. long E. 

used to denote periods of time, and in Chinese arithmetical, astro- 
nomical, and geometrical notation, much as numerals and the 
letters A, B, C, &c., are used in English. Mr. T. W. Kingsmill 
(see the " Proceedings of the North China Branch of the R.A.S., 
1889") therefore jumps to the conclusion that "the twenty-eight 
so-called kings of the Shang line were simply an old rendering 
of the twenty-eight mansions of the lunar Zodiac." Mr. Herbert J. 
Allen (see "Journal of the R.A.S.," p. 524) has the wonderful 
theory that Ssu Ma Ch'ien rI ,^ j^ (b.c. 163-85) invented the 
whole of Chinese history and philosophy previous to his own time, 
and that his revision of the calendar, in B.C. 104, suggested his 
giving the name of stars and of divisions of time to non-existent 
Kings, whom he evolved from his own inner consciousness. 

* See III, ii., i. 

I See III., ii., 6. 


10806, though whether he came from Tai (in the Shensi 
Province), or further west, history does not say. Anyhow 
he migrated with his tribe, and settled in Pin, where his 
folk lived peacefully and practised the arts of agriculture. 
The life which they led is well described in I., xv., i. 

In B.C. 1325 H ^ T'an Fu, canonized as King Tai, 
removed the tribe of Ckou from Pin to the plain of Chou, 
which lay to the south of Mount Ck'i |I[J , in which is 
now the Department of Feng ChHang gi. ^ , being driven 
to do so by the incursions of the barbarians. Mencius 
says of him that, after vainly trying to appease the bar- 
barous tribes by giving them tribute of skins and silk, 
of dogs and horses, and pearls and gems, he left the land 
of Pin. His' people deserted their homes to follow him, 
so greatly did they love and respect him.* 

T'an Fu was in course of time succeeded by his third son 
Chi ^ , the father of King W^n. T'an Fu had noted the 
promise of his youthful grandson, and determined to make 
him his successor by nominating Chi his heir. The two 
elder brothers therefore disinterestedly retired in favour of 
their junior.t Chi's wife was Taijui, one of the examples 
of Chinese female virtue. Of King Wen we have written 
already. I should add that he removed the capital to 
Fdng ^, making the old State of Chou into two fiefs, one 
of Chou, and the other of Shao Q. 

King W^n left behind him two sons. We must mention 
two of them. King Wu ^ and T'an ^, the fourth son, 

* See III., i., 3, and Mencius I., Part II,, xv., i. 

+ See III., i., 7, and the Confucian "Analects," VIII., i. 
Confucius says in these : " T'ai Po (the eldest brother of Chi) 
may be said to have reached the highest point of virtuous action. 
Thrice he declined the empire." 

PREFACE. , xi 

afterwards known as " The Duke ofChou." King Wen, 
after overthrowing King Chou Hsin, reigned gloriously 
from C.B. 1 1 22 to C.B. 1116, establishing the State known 
as " The Royal Domain," and fixing his capital at Hao 
H, which was apparently close to Fing. This was known 
as the Western Capital. 

King Wu was succeeded in B.C. 11 15 by King Cheng, a 
minor of thirteen years. During his minority his uncle, 
the aforesaid Duke of Chou, acted as regent. His accession 
to this office excited the envy of two of his brothers, who 
conspired with Wu King % ^, the son of the dethroned 
King C/iou Hsin, to overthrow the government and restore 
the Shang dynasty. The regent put down the rebellion 
with a strong hand, executing Roman justice on his two 
guilty brothers. This, however, did not prevent the King 
suspecting him for a time, though he had afterwards to 
confess that he had wronged his uncle by such unworthy 

King Cheng was followed by King K'ang in B.C. 1078. 
He is the last of the kings mentioned by name. King 
K'ang in turn was succeeded by King Chao in 1052 ; and 
he by King Mu in looi. The history of the next four 
Kings is left blank in the " Classic of History." Dr. 
Legge collects a short account of them from other sources, 
which he gives in his notes to the Shu Ching, f 

According to this. King Li ascended the throne B.C. Z'jZ, 
and greatly misgoverned the kingdom. He was dethroned 
in B.C. 878, and only saved his life by flight. He lived in 
exile till 827, his kingdom being ruled in his absence by 

* See the "Classic of History," V., Book vi., Parts 15, 16; 
also Dr. Legge's notes on I., xv., 2, in this Classic, 
t Legge's " Chinese Classics," Vol. III., p. 614, 


two of his nobles.* King Hsilan then succeeded, and 
during the earlier part of his reign ruled well and wisely, 
though the country in his time was ravaged by the 
barbarous tribes, and a great drought devastated the land. 
In B.C. 788 he was defeated by the western tribes, and 
before he could avenge the defeat he died, as Dr. Legge 
says, in a fit of moody insanity. Next came King Yu, 
B.C. 781, who did evil in the sight of heaven. He was the 
thrall of a beautiful concubine named Pao Ssu ® ^, 
for whose sake he degraded his Queen, and drove her and 
his son by her, ^ fj Yi Cliiu, the heir-apparent, into 
exile. To amuse Pao Ssu he once summoned the 
feudatory Princes to the capital by raising false alarms 
of ah invasion. Afterwards, when the barbarian Jung 
tribes really came, and the Princes were summoned in 
.grim earnest, they paid no attention to the beacon fires 
ht to call them, and allowed their King to perish, and 
Pao Ssu to be captured and put to death. f 

The feudal Princes of the kingdom having driven out 
the Jung brought back Yi Chiu from exile. He ascended 
the throne as King P'ing, and transferred the capital to 
Lo \^ , the modern Loyang, a place where former kings had 
ir&<\VLQni\y \ie\d durbars. He reigned until B.C. 720. With 
the later kings of the dynasty we need have no concern. 

The kingdom of China during the time when this classic 
was compiled, extended, we may say, from long. E. 1 10° 
to the sea, and from the Yangtze to lat. 58 N. It con- 
sisted of a congeries of feudal States, each of which was 

* See III., iii., 3. 

t See Mayers' "Chinese Readers' Manual," art. 541, and 
" The Cleopatra of China," by H. Kopsch, " China Review," 
Vol. IV., Nos. 2 and 3. 

PREFACE. xiii 

probably composed of one of the tribes which had settled 
in the country during the successive waves of immigration 
from the west. One of these States was supreme, and its 
ruler exercised suzerain rights over the others. He had 
the title of Wang jg , which I have throughout translated 
'•' King," or " Monarch." He was also "K •? Tien Tzv,, " the 
Son of Heaven " (as is the Emperor at the present day), 
and therefore the High Priest of his nation. His State 
was known as " The Royal Domain." The King ruled it 
in the same manner as. the feudal Princes ruled their 
territories ; but these latter were bound to render their 
suzerain military service, and to come to his Court once 
every five years, and give an account of themselves, while 
the King himself made a progress through their States 
once in twelve years.* 

Wild nomad tribes, probably the remnants of earlier 
immigrants, who had brought with them neither ideas 
of good government, nor any of the arts of civilized life, 
infested the borders of the kingdom on all sides. We 
find in this classic frequent mention of the expeditions 
undertaken to subdue them, or to keep them in order. 

Such was the kingdom of China, which lasted till 
B.C. 221, when Prince C/teng "^ ]^, of the State of Ck'in ^, 
assumed the title of Huang-ti ^ "^ , which we translate 
Emperor, abolished the feudal system, and made himself 
the supreme ruler of the whole of what then constituted 
the Chinese Empire. 

So much for the history of China. Let me now say a 
word or two on the history of this classic. There are 

* See Dr. Legge's Prolegomena to the " Shu Cking." " Chinese 
Classics," Vol. III., Proleg., p. 198. 


those who assert that up to the time of Confucius there 
was no such thing as a written Chinese book, and that 
these ballads and other poems had been handed down 
orally only.* The weight of evidence is certainly against 
this theory. The Chinese history of the production of 
the classic is this : — " Every fifth year the ' Son of Heaven ' 
made a progress through the kingdom, when the Grand 
Music Master was commanded to lay before him the 

* Dr. Ernest Faber, in his paper on Prehistoric China ("Journal 

of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society,'' 

vol. xxiv., p. 141), divides old Chinese characters into three 

classes, " elementary," " ideographic," and "phonetic," assigning 

the following dates to the beginning of the use of each. 

Characters then 
^ c. known. 

2000. Beginning of elementary characters 100. 

1200. ,, „ ideographic ,, 500. 

800. ,, ,, phonetic ,, 1000. 

The "Classic of Poetry" contains many more than 1000 
separate characters. 

According to Dr. Faber the Chinese language grew in China 
itself. " Attempts may have been made to record important 
events in one way or another, as by quipos (knotted cords), 
trigrams, figures, etc., as aids to memory," and pictures of things 
can be drawn, "but the origin of writing, in the proper sense of 
the word, must result from the introduction of the phonetic ele- 
ment into some ancient forms of figure representation." This is 
true enough in the abstract, and would apply here if we assume 
that China was composed of aboriginal tribes only, or of people 
who had settled there without bringing with them the knowledge 
of any art or of any form of literature. But this assumption I 
cannot adopt. I hold with Prof Terrien de Lacouperie that 
"everything shows that the primitive writing in China was an old 
and decayed one, and if I may be permitted to say so, a second- 
hand one." Whether the " Classic of Poetry " was written in 
Confucius's time or not, I feel convinced that there were then 
in existence a sufficient number of characters to write it if 


poems collected in the States, as an exhibition of the 
manners of the people." * Dr. Legge goes on to say that 
it may be taken for granted that the Duke of Chou, in 
legislating for his dynasty, enacted that the poems pro- 
duced in the different feudal States should be collected 
on the occasion of the royal progresses, and lodged 
thereafter among the archives of the bureau of music at 
the royal Court. The same thing, it may be presumed 
a fortiori would be done with those produced in the Royal 
Domain itself He says, further, that the feudal Princes, 
when they came to meet the suzerain, would be attended 
by their music masters, carrying with them the poetical 
compositions collected in their several regions to present 
them to their superior of the royal CoUrt. Arrangements 
were also made to disseminate the poems of one State 
through the other States. The result of these arrange- 
ments was that, in the time of Confucius, there were 3000 
poems extant in a collection known as the Shih. From 
it Confucius selected 305 pieces conducive to propriety 
and righteousness, which he used to sing to his lute.f 
This statement is made on the authority of Ssu Ma Ch'ien 
rI .'^ ^ (B.C. 163-^85). Dr. Legge does not believe in 
the existence of 3000 poems, nor that Confucius ex- 
purgated them, reducing the number to a little over 300. 
He holds that the collection of 305, or at most 311, poems 
had been already made before the time of Confucius, 
whose labours were confined to, possibly, re-arranging the 
order of the pieces, and to, certainly, giving an impulse to 
the study of the Shih-X 

* Dr. Legge's "Prolegomena," p. 23, et seq. 
■f See Dr. Legge's " Prolegomena," p. i. 
X Dr. Legge's " Projegomena," pp. 6, 7. 


For my own part, I think it superfluous to hunt in 
Chinese records for the origin of such poems as we find 
in this classic. Surely what has taken place in other 
nations, from India to Wales, has taken place in China 
likewise. Ballads and sagas were first sung, and when 
frequent repetition had made them known and had brought 
them into general circulation, they were written down and 
put on record, and eventually became part of the poetic 
wealth of the nation. I offer no opinion on the question 
whether Confucius did, or did not, make the expurgations 
and compilation with which Ssu Ma Ch'ien credits him ; 
but I feel convinced that if he did, his amended and 
expurgated version has reached us in a very corrupt and 
imperfect form, as a study of the poems themselves will 
show. The admiration which Confucius expresses for the 
Shik, might well induce his readers to regard it as his 
own literary bantling. He speaks of it in the following 
terms : " My children, why do you not study the Skih ? 
Its poems are suggestive of thought. They encourage 
observation. They teach the arts of social life (or of 
civilization). They inculcate a righteous indignation. 
From them you learn filial piety and loyalty, and from 
them you pick up a good deal of natural history." * Nor 
is this the only place in which he sings its praises. More- 
over, both he and Mencius constantly quote from it. 

The student, who wishes to know the history of the 
classic after the time of Confucius, is referred once more 
to the "Prolegomena" of Dr. Legge. The "Classic of 
Poetry" was destroyed with the rest of the canons of 
learning by the Emperor Shik Huang ti, but was 

* " Analects," XVII., ix. 1-7. 

PREFACE. xvii 

recovered in the early part of the Han dynasty. The 
fact of the contents of the classic being in verse gave it 
an advantage over the rest of the books which were 
burnt. There were, doubtless, many scholars during the 
troublous times of Shih Huang ti who could say nearly 
all the poems by heart. These would repeat them to 
their children, who could thus supply the necessary 
emendations when the text was recovered. 

During the early part of the Han dynasty, Which began 
in B.C. 206, three versions of the text were recovered, 
known respectively as the texts of Ltt %, Ctii ^, and 
Han 15, the places where they were found. These versions 
disappeared, when a scholar named Mao Hing ^ pf had 
brought out his version, which, in its turn, was also lost. 
Mao Hing had, however, communicated his knowledge of 
the classic to a descendant, or clansman, named Mao 
Ch'ang ^ ]g, whose version became and remains the 
standard version of the classic to the present day.* 
Where he found his text is not stated. No doubt a great 
deal of it was learnt and collated from various reciters, 
who could repeat poems, or parts of poems, but could not 
say how they were written. The text of the classic as it 
exists in the present day is incomplete and corrupt. How 
could a text collated in such a way be otherwise .' It 
should also be remembered that the bulk of the poems 
were written before the time of King Hsiian, in the 
character known as the " Ku Win," "Archaic writing," 
probably incised marks on bamboos, the remnants of 
the Cuneiform characters brought from Babylonia. In 
King //j«a«'.r time the " Great Seal" character was intro 

* Mayers' " Chinese Readers' Manual," Art. 480. 


duced.* The transference of the Shih from one script to the 
other would doubtless give a chance for errors to creep in. 
Chinese criticism seldom busies itself in the correction or 
emendation of texts. It prefers to spend its energy in 
hunting up possible meanings, and finding far-fetched 
allusions, leaving the accuracy of the text itself to be 
taken for granted. This habit of seeking for allusions 
which have no existence except in the imagination of the 
commentator, and the determination to " hook everything 
to some useful end," effectually destroys the idyllic sim- 
plicity of the ballads, and robs the book of a great deal of 
its interest. It is no wonder that Sir John Lubbock, who 
includes the Shih Ching in the lOO great books of the 
world,t says that individually he does not admire it. I 
refer again to this " idyllic simplicity " later on. 

The first commentary with which we have to deal is 
" The Preface," which is divided into two parts " The Great 
Preface" and " The Little Preface." These are published 

* The oldest style of Chinese character, the Ku W4n -^ J , 
was in use until about 800 e.g., when, in the time of King 
Hsiian ^ , the Ta Chuan j^ ^ > or " Great Seal character," was 
introduced. This was succeeded by the " Small Seal character," 
which lasted from about 225 B.C., to about 350 a.d., when the 
Chiai Shu ^^ '^ took its place. Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie 
informs me that he has compared the oldest versions of the 
" Classic of History " with the present standard editions, and finds 
the discrepancies to amount to nearly twenty-five per cent, of the 
whole text. A comparison of the earliest and latest versions of 
the Shih would surely show as large a proportion of error. See 
Prof. Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie, " On the History of the Archaic 
Writing and Texts." See also, " The Six Scripts," by L. C. 

t "As regards the 'Sheking,' and the 'Analects' of Con- 
fucius, I must humbly confess that I do not greatly admire 
either." — "The Pleasures of Life," Preface, p. viii. 


with every native edition of the classic of any pretension. 
"The Great Preface," Ta Hsu y^ /?, is a short dissertation 
on the general scope and intent of the classic, "The Little 
Preface" Hsiao Hsii i\^ J^ contains a resume of the contents 
of each piece. I constantly refer to it in my foot-notes. 

Tzu Hsia ^ J, otherwise known as Pu Shang \s ■^* 
a disciple of Confucius, though forty-five years his junior, is 
said to be the author of the Preface, or at any rate of 
"The Great Preface." By some the "Little Preface is" 
assigned to the elder Mao. 

I have confined myself to the study of three commentaries 
in addition to the Preface^ viz. the commentary of Chu Hsi, 
of Mao ChU ling, and oi Liu, YUan, a list which compares 
unfavourably with that of the Chinese works consulted by 
Dr. Legge, which were fifty-five in all. 

Chu Hsi ^ ^ , or Chu Fu tzu ^ ^ ^, lived from 
A.D. 1 1 30 to 1200. "His commentaries on the classical 
writings have formed for centuries the recognized standard 
of orthodoxy" (Mayers). His commentary on the "Book 
of Poetry" is concise, plain and easy of comprehension. 

Mao Ch'i ling ^ ^ f^, A.D. 1623-1713, is considered 
the foremost modern' authority on the classics. His 
commentary on the Shih is diffuse and voluminous. I 
have only made use of it as a work of reference, 

I am indebted to my friend Consul Watters for an intro- 
duction to the work of Liu YUan gj ^, styled the Shih 
Ching Hing Chieh. ff j^ 'g %, or " Complete Expla- 
nation of the Shih Ching." Strange to say I do not find 

* Pu Shang, styled Tzii Hsia, is represented as a scholar 

extensively read and exact What is called Mao's " Shih 

Ching," is said to contain the views of Tzu Hsia. Legge's 
" Chinese Classics," Vol. I., Prolegomena, p. 118. 

b 2 


this book familiar either to native moonshees or to European 
sinologues. It was published, in 1802, at Canton. I have 
tried in vain to procure a copy of the book at Shanghai, or 
elsewhere. I have found this commentary to be, as it 
professes, complete and exhaustive, and full of most valu- 
able hints. 

I have, in addition to these commentaries, availed myself 
of three translations. Dr. Legge's monumental work on 
the Chinese Classics has been, it is needless to say, my - 
stay and support. My notes will show the unsparing use 
which I have made of his labours. In return I can only 
express to him my most grateful thanks for his kind per- 
mission to do so. My thanks are scarcely less due to the 
Rev. Pere Angelo Zottoli, of the Jesuit Mission at Nanking, 
for his Latin version, forming part of his "Cursus Literaturae, 
Sinicse." I have also occasionally referred to the trans- 
lation made by Lacharme. This has been styled by 
Monsieur Callery "la production la plus indigeste et la plus 
ennuyeuse dont la Sinologie ait a rougir," — a verdict which 
I consider harsh ; but at the best of times Lacharme's book 
makes but a poor show by the side of Pere Zottoli\ to 
say nothing ot Dr. Legge's.' 

Dr. Legge, in addition to his prose translation of the 
Shih Ching, has given the world a metrical version, which 
he published in 1876 under the title of "The Sheking, or 
Book of Poetry." I trust that he will forgive me for 
saying that I cannot put it on the lofty level of his prose 
translation. His modus operandi appears to have been 
this : to take the Chinese version of a poem as explained 
by the commentary, usually that of Chu Hsi, and to turn 
this, stanza by stanza, and often line by line, into English 
verse, without, if possible, omitting or altering a word of 
the original. The resultant poetry is wanting in melo- 


diousness and smoothness. As equivalents of the old poems 
seen through the spectacles of the modern Chinaman, Dr. 
Legge's pieces are perfect ; as specimens of English poetry 
they are worth little. From this harsh verdict I except 
those verses which are written in the Scotch dialect. 
These are admirable and charming, and afford ample 
proof, if such be needed, that the want of melody, of which 
I complain, is not due to any poetic deficiency on Dr. 
Legge's part. 

I know no other complete English metrical version of 
the Shih Ching. Sir John Davis gives a translation of 
one or two of the pieces in his " Poetry of the Chinese." 
His versions^j «r,e ■„eas3 ^,.jjid.. graceful, but not accurate.* 
Residents in""CEina'from time to time insert a translation 
of one or ofher of the poems in the local newspapers and 
magazines. Those of the late Mr. Alfred Lister, published 
in the " China Review," were always interesting. I notice 
in the seventeenth - volume of the same review a large 
number of translations by the Rev. Mr. Jennings, Colonial 
Chaplain of Hongkong. I trust that he will eventually 
publish them all in a collected form. A writer, who signs 
himself V. W. X., has also given us a few specimens of his 
muse. He has sacrificed everything to accuracy with 
perfectly appalling consequences. Here is his version 
of L, i., I. — 

As the ospreys woo 
On the river ait. 
So the graceful lass 
Has her manly mate. 

* See Dr. Legge's notes and my own on L, ii., i. 


As the coy marsh flowers 
Here and there do peep ; 
So the graceful lass 
In his wakeful sleep. 

But he seeks in vain, 
Brooding night and day, 
Ah me, ah me, 
Tossing rest away. 

As the coy marsh flower 
Chosen here and there, 
So the graceful lass ; 
He in tune with her. 


As the coy marsh flower 
Gathered here and there. 
So the graceful lass ; 
Bells now ring for her. 

Here, too, is his translation of I., ii., 12. 

The rough hunter's quarry 
With reeds he guards ; 
Whilst we maids are prey 
To seductive arts. 

In the jungle wild 
Lies the quarry dead, 
With a better guard 
Than our maidenhead. 

PREFA CE. xxiii 

Nay, gently, gently there, 
Touch not my maiden cowl. 
Rouse not the mastiff's growl. 

In German there are two metrical versions of the ",Book 
of Poetry," one that of Riickert, the other that of Victor 
von Strauss. The former being frankly borrowed from 
Lacharme's Latin trarislation — Herr Riickert not being a 
Chinese scholar — is of no special importance to the student 
of Chinese, though it contains many graceful and pretty 
verses.. Von Strauss's version, on the other hand, is as 
accurate as, — and even more cramped than, — that of 
Dr. Legge. He even makes an effort to follow the 
Chinese prosody by making a German metrical foot the 
equivalent of each Chinese character. The result is of 
course the sacrifice of melody to accuracy. Herr von 
Strauss's prolegomena should be carefully read. 

I have persuaded myself that these various versions 
have left room for another attempt to put the classic 
into English metre, and, in defiance of a certain proverb 
about fools and angels, I have rushed in to make it. I 
began by versifying a few of the Chinese poems, in 
moments of leisure, for my own amusement, and by 
degrees becoming interested in the work I applied myself 
to text and commentary, and undertook the task of 
translating the whole book, being encouraged thereto by 
Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie and other kind friends. From 
the first I determined not to be bound by any commentary, 
Chinese or European, but as far as possible to give the 
simple meaning of the text, without hauling in some 
moral lesson by the head and shoulders. I found the 
Chinese commentators most misleading, especially in their 


notes on the ballads. These ballads, so far as I can 
understand them, describe a simpler time, when, all the 
worljl over, the relations between the sexes were innocently 
freer than they are now,* but to expect an Oriental, 
especially a Chinaman, to admire, or even to realize 
such a state of things is ridiculous. The Chinese critic 
feels that Confucius would never have included verses so 
wanting in " propriety and righteousness " in his collection, 
except indeed as a warning to sinners, so little idyls are 
made to be shocking examples of lewd manners and 
morals, and the love of a woman for her husband to haVe 
nothing in it appealing to our sympathies. f My trans- 
lations are at any rate free from a bias of this kind. 

I must say a word or two in defence of my freedom of 
translation. Sir John Davis, in his "Poetry of the 
Chinese," remarks : " A verbal translation from Chinese 
must of necessity degenerate into a horrible jargon, which 
few persons will undergo the disgust of perusing." Let 
the verses of V. W. X. prove the truth of this observation. 
To avoid a similar fate I have assumed the utmost license, 
but I plead that license is not necessarily inaccuracy. I 
go further, and say that in these cases it is unfair to the 
original author of a poem to reproduce his work in a form 

* " In those far off primeval days, 

Fair India's daughters were not pent 
In closed zenanas." 

" ' Leave it to God,' she answering cried, 
' Sivitri may herself select 
Some day her future lord and guide.' " 

" Savitri," by Toru Dutt. 

t See my paper on "The Book of the Odes for English 
RtdiAtrs," Journal Royal Asiastic Society, Vol. XVI,, art 4. 


that strikes the perceptions of those who have to take it in, 
as harsh and barbarous. A poem in stanzas of four lines, 
each of four words, is to Chinamen composed in a simple 
form of poetic expression. Such a composition in English 
is at best a tour de force requiring the skill of Mr. Swin- 
burne to infuse anything like music into it. Humbler 
versifiers must alter the structure and recast it in a more 
melodious shape. This is what I have tried to do, using 
my best endeavours to compose verses in honest flowing 
metre suitable to the subjects of the poems. When a 
piece consists of one sentence expressed three or four 
times over with the least possible variation, I have often 
compressed the whole of it into one stanza. Moreover, 
I have avoided the use of Chinese names as far as I can, 
knowing how the general reader dislikes them. I have 
also allowed myself considerable licence in the use of 
botanical terms. I have relegated the jujube, the dolichos 
creeper, the ephemeral hedge tree, the polygonum, and the 
broussonetia, — to say nothing of Tung, Yi and Tzu trees 
— to the foot-notes ; substituting for them better known 
plants and trees, or using some such generic term as 
creepers, shoots, shrubs, trees, or flowers in their stead. 

I hope that the students of primitive religion, and of 
archaic manners, customs, and modes of thought, may 
find something worthy of their notice in this book. As 
regards religion, what most impresses me is the purity of 
primaeval Chinese monotheism, and the clear idea which 
the men of those times had of God, not as a tribal God, but 
as the Supreme Ruler of the universe ; though it must not 
be forgotten that the Chinese of the date of the Shih looked 
on the world as China only, with a few barbarous tribes 
round about its frontiers, a view that is not altogether 


extinct yet. Von Strauss defines their ideas thus :* 
" The Highest Lord is all ruling, and no one can resist 
Him. He is a conscious spirit which sees, hears, and 
recognizes most clearly everything. He wills and works, 
but without sound or smell, i. e. incorporeally. Thus He 
is omnipresent, for He goes out and in with man, and is 
above and below him. He gives life to man and existence 
to nature. All virtue and wisdom come from Him. He 
prefers none and hates none; but He loves those who 
fear him, and rewards and blesses the good. The crimes 
of the wicked anger Him and He punishes them. So 
from Him come all blessings and all misfortunes. He 
foresees the course of the world, arranges accordingly the 

* Der Hochste Herr nun, oder der Himmel, ist all herr 
schend und Nietnand kann ihm widerstehen. Er ist bewuszter 
Geist, der Alias sicht, hort und auf das lichtvollste erkennt. Er 
will und wirkt, doch ohne Laut und ohne Geruch, d. h. unkor- 
perlich. So ist er allgegenwartig, denn er geht mit dem Men- 
schen aus und ein, und ist fiber und unter ihm. Er giebt dem 
Menschen das Leben und dem Volkern das Dasein. Alle 
Tugend und Weisheit stammt von ihm. Keinen bevorzugt er, 
hasset auch Keinen ; aber er liebt, die ihn furchten, belohnt und 
segnet die Guten. Der Bosen Frevel erziirnen ihm und er 
bestraft sie. So kommt von ihm alle Segen, von ihm alles 
Ungliick. Er sieht den Weltgang voraus, setzt demzufolge die 
Bestimmung der Menschen und beschlieszt iiber sie, je nachdem 
sie seinem Willen gehorchen. Dorum regieren auch die Konige 
aus seinem Austrage, und nach ihrem Verhalten zu seinem 
Willen macht er sie gross oder stiirzt er sie. Die Erkenntniss 
seines Willens wird durch die von ihm bestimmte Naturord- 
nung, vernehmlich auch durch das allgemeine Volksbewusztsein 
vermittelt; ja, nach einem unserer Lieder (III., i., 7) hat der 
Hochste Herr sogar drei Mai zu dem Konige Wen unmittelbar 
geredet; eine Angabe, welche freilich die spateren chinesischen 
Ausleger in die grosste Verlegenheit setzt. — " Prolegomena " p. 7. 

PREFACE. xxvii 

destiny of men, and decides about them according as they 
obey His will. Hence kings also rule by His charge, 
and, according to their relation to His will, He makes 
them great or ruins them. The recognition of His will is 
eflfected through the divinely ordained order of nature, 
especially through the universal national consciousness. 
Indeed, according to one poem, HI., i., 7, the Supreme 
Lord spoke three times to King Wen face to face, an 
assertion which has put the later Chinese commentators 
to much embarrassment." • 

Dr. Legge, in his "Prolegomena," pp. 131, 132, uses 
very similar language, and so does Mons. Edouard Biot in 
his essay reproduced from the " Journal Asiatique " for 
November and December 1843, by Dr. Legge.* There is 
but little of this religious purity now extant in China. 
To the worship of heaven and of the Supreme Being by 
the Emperor, was first added the worship of earth.f 
Heaven represents the male ([J^ Yang) principle, and 
earth the corresponding (|^ Yin) female principle, on 
which two principles the whole of existence depends. 
Afterwards, the Imperial worship also included sacrifices 
to the ancestors of the Emperor, and the gods of the land 
and grain, who are the special patrons of each dynasty.J 

* "Prolegomena," p. 142, et seq. 

\ In III., iii., 4, it is stated that maces and certain "tokens" 
were offered to the gods to stay the drought that was tormenting 
the country. Many of the Chinese commentators say that these 
were buried in the ground as an offering to earth ; but even if 
this were so, there is nothing to show that the worshipper 
regarded earth as the equal of heaven, for the speaker in the 
poem, presumably King Hsuan, says that he has not failed to 
sacrifice to every spirit that existed. 

% Williams's " Middle Kingdom," revised edition. Vol. II., 
p. 195. Edkins's " Religion in China," Chapter II. 


The ancient Chinese had the anthropomorphic ideas of 
God which were common to all the nations of Asia.'H 
God accompanied them to battle.f God, well pleased, 
smells a sweet savour, J just as in Genesis viii. 21, it is 
mentioned that " The Lord smelled a sweet savour " when 
Noah sacrificed to Him. But with all their anthropo- 
morphic conceptions of God, the Chinese then and now 
are free from the gross impurities which have defiled so 
many other Eastern religions. As Dr. Williams says : 
" There is no deification of sensuality, which in the name 
of religion could shield and countenance those licentious 
rites and orgies that enervated the minds of worshippers 
and polluted their hearts in so many heathen countries."§ 
The late Canon MacClatchie I know combated this view,|| 
but as I never heard that his theories obtained him any 
followers, we need not trouble ourselves to controvert 

But thoilgh the Chinese of the time of the " Book of 
Poetry " believed in one Supreme Being, yet this belief 
did not deter them from the worship of spirits and inferior 
deities. We find in these poems mention of prayers and 
sacrifices made to the spirits of the land, and of the four 
quarters, to " the father of husbandry," the god of war, 
the god of the roads, and the god of horses, and to the 

* See Dr. Robertson Smith's " Second Lecture on the 
Religion of the Semites." 

t III., i., 2. 

X IIL, ii., I. 

§ "Middle Kingdom," Vol. IL, p. 192. 

II A Translatfon of the Confucian ^ jg , or " Classic of 
Change." See, also, his article " Confucian Cosmogony " in 
the " China Review," No. 2 of Vol. IV. 

PREFACE. xxix 

stars. I note that the sacrifices to the gods of the roads * 
and of the horses f were made by nobles, not by the King 
himself. I must leave it to others to trace the progress 
of Chinese religious thought and ritual from the days of 
the Chou dynasty down to the present day. Suffice it to 
say of the common people of China, now-a-days, that it is 
more difficult to say what they will not worship than what 
they will. " The inferior kind of sacrifices are offered to 
the ancient patron of the healing art, and the innumerable 
spirits of deceased philanthropists, eminent statesmen, 
martyrs to virtue, &c. ; clouds, rain, wind, and thunder ; 
the five celebrated mountains, four seas, and four rivers ; 
famous hills, great watercourses, flags, triviae, gods of 
cannon, gates, queen goddess of earth, the north pole, 
and many other things." f 

Superstition may be said to be the parasite of religion. 
Such forms of superstition as come under the head of 
folk lore, are for many gopd reasons not thought unworthy 
of the attention of the learned. The student of such will 
find a few places in this book worthy of a momentary 

I cannot promise much to the person who loves to 
study prosody and the forms of poetic composition. I 
refer him to Dr. Legge's " Prolegomena," p. 96, et seq. 
We may say, without going into details, that the majority 
of the poems consist of stanzas containing four or more 
lines of four Chinese characters a-piece, whereof sometimes 
two lines, more often three, and occasionally four or more 

* See III., iii., 6 and III., iii., 7. 

t See II., iii., 6. 

X " Middle Kingdom," Vol. II., p. 195. 


are supposed to rhyme, but the exceptions to these rules 
are numerous. In a few instances a line will contain only 
two words, and lines of three, five, six, seven, and even of 
eight characters, occasionally occur. The fact is that the 
secret of Chinese prosody has not yet been discovered. 
I believe, with Dr. Terrien de Lacouperie, that the irregu- 
larities in the verses are to be accounted for in this way, — 
that when these verses were first written, or composed 
without being written, the Chinese language was not so 
monosyllabic as it is now. That is to say, many a 
character which is now read as a monosyllable was 
then read as a dissyllable, possibly in some.cases as a tris- 
syllable. It must also be remembered that the " Classic of 
History" is also composed principally in four-character 
lines. I think that there is no doubt that this book, too, 
was in metre if not in rhyme. 

The student of Chinese will note that I have, through- 
out, adopted Sir Thomas Wade's transliteration of Chinese 
as taught in the Tz% Erh Chi. I do so partly because I 
think it the best system yet invented, and partly because 
I learnt such Chinese as I know according to it. The 
reader who is ignorant of Chinese should observe that i 
by itself is pronounced ee, so that Chi is a perfect rhyme 
to tree. Shih is pronounced as if a man were going to 
say " ship" but was pulled up short before he could reach 
the/. Wen rhymes to bun. At Nanking certain words 
are pronounced King and others Tsing. Both these are 
pronounced Ching in northern mandarin, which is the 
language spoken at Peking and in most of the north and 
centre of China. Those who, like my friend Dr. Terrien 
de Lacouperie, are accustomed to the older systems of 
Medhurst and Morrison, to say nothing of the later one of 



Dr. Williams, may object to the modern transliteration, 
declaring that to them Shih Ching conveys no idea, while 
Shi King, or She King, does, but I fear that they must sub- 
mit to be sacrificed. There are three classes of Europeans 
who study the language in China, i. Consular officials ; 
2. Customs officials ; 3. Missionaries. Of these the two 
former have to learn on Sir Thomas's system whether 
they like it or not. Missionaries, who do not also do so, 
seem to me to invent systems of their own, which seldom 
commend themselves to outsiders. 

I must not conclude this Preface without expressing my 
best thanks to those who have so kindly aided me in 
my labours. I have already stated my obligation to the 
Rev. Dr. James Legge, of Oxford, and to P^re Angelo 
Zottoli, as well as to Consul Watters. To these I must 
especially add my friend, Professor Terrien de Lacouperie, 
as but for his encouragement I do not think that I should 
ever have undertaken the task of this translation, and to 
him I am indebted for the solution of numberless diffi- 
culties to which his marvellous knowledge of ancient 
Asiatic literature and languages has furnished a clue 
hitherto undiscovered. Professor R. K. Douglas, of the 
London University, too, has been a good and helpful 
friend to me. I also record my obligation to Mr. P". 
Lawrence, Barrister-at-Law, for his assistance in my study 
of the German translations of the classic. 

With these words I offer this volume to the student of 
Chinese, hoping that he may find it of some use in sup- 
plementing Dr. Legge's standard edition of the Chinese 
classics, which will not be superseded in our time. I also 
present it to any " general reader " who may care to amuse 
his leisure moments with the stories of old days and strange 


people. May the one not throw it aside as superficial and 
useless, nor the other reject it as dull and uninteresting, 
for if they do so they will leave me to fall to the ground 
between the two stools which I trusted would support me. 

C. F. R. A. 
London. January, 1891. 




Ballads illustrative of the Manners and Customs 

OF THE Feudal States of China 


Book I. 

Ballads collected in the State of Chou, and the regions to the 

southward of it . . . 


King Wgn's Epithalamium . 6 

The Rabbit Catcher . 


The Young Housewife . . 8 

Song of the Plantain Gatherers 


The Absent One • • 9 

The Lady of the Han . 


The Banyan Tree . . . 1 1 



The Locusts . . . . I2 

The "Lin". 


The Peach Tree . . .13 

Book II. 

Ballads collected in the State of ;Shao, and the country to the 

south of it 


TheDoveintheMagpie'sNest, 22 

"Why don't the Men Pro- 

The Wife's Sacrifice . . 23 

pose ? " 


The Absent Husband . . 24 

" An Assignation 


The Maiden's Offering . . 25 

" Friends once parted grown 

The Pear Tree . . 27 

single-hearted " 


The Trial . . .27 

The Huntsman and the Maiden 


The Grandees . . .29 

The Princess and the Marquis, 


Thoughts in Absence . . . 29 



Book III. 

Ballads and other Poems collected in the land of P'ei 


The Complaint of Chuang 

Chuang Chiang's Lament 


Chiang .... 38 

The 111 Wind . 


Chuang Chiang neglected . . 40 

Hopeless .... 


The Parting of Chuang Chiang 

A Sorrowing Mother . 


and Tai Kuei . . . 41 

The Pheasant . 




" In the Spring a Young Man's 
fancy lightly turns to 
thoughts of Love " 

The Neglected Wife 

Exiles. A Fragment . 

The Exiles' Appeal . 

" Sampson Agonistes " 




" It's hame, hame, hame. 
hame I fain wad be " 
Failure .... 
Hard Times 
A Disappointed Lover 
The New Tower . 
The Murdered Youths . 



Book IV. 
Ballads and other pieces collected in the country of Yung 

Constancy beyond the Grave 

Dark Deeds 

Hsiian Chiang 

A Male Flirt 

The Quail and the Magpie 



Duke W6n . 

The Rainbow . 

The Rat . . . 

The Sage 

The Lament of Lady Mu 





Ballads and other Poems collected in the country of Wei 

Duke Wu .... 


Home Sickness 

The Recluse .... 


The Swaggerer . 

Chuang Chiang's Epithala- 




My Absent Hero 

" When lovely Woman stoops 

A Chinese Musidora 

to folly " . 



Friendship . 
t VI. 

Ballads and other pieces collect! 

;d in the country 1 

" The Royal Domains " . 

"Jam seges est ubi Troia fuit " 



" Our Good Man's Awa " . . 


A Stranger 

The Good Man's Return . 


Constant Still . 

Unwelcome Service . . . 


True Lovers Parted. 

Drought and Famine 


The Flirt . 

known as 







Ballads and other pieces collected in the country of Ch'^ng 

Ode to Duke Wu . 

. 102 

Trespassers Beware ! . 

. . 102 

Shu Tuan 

. 103 

Shu Tuan Hunting 

. . 104 

Manoeuvres .... 106 
The Right Man in the Right 

Place 107 

Broken Ties .... 107 


The Fowler and his Wife . 
Bride and Bridegroom . 
Mockery. A Song 
Withered Leaves. A Song 
Defiance. A Song 
" In utrumque parata " . 
The Bride and the Bridegroom, 



. io8 

" So Near and yet so Far " . 


. 109 

"No Place like Home " . 


. no 

Constancy and Fickleness . . 


. Ill 

Distrust. A Fragment . 


. Ill 

" A poor thing, but mine own" 


. 112 

Love at first sight . 


. 113 

The Spring Flower Festival . 


Book VIII. 
Ballads, Songs, and other pieces collected in the country of Ch'i 

A Wife's Duties 

. 122 

Time the Consoler . 


A Hunting Song . 

. . 122 

Hunting Song. John Peel in 

The Bridegroom 

. 123 


. 128 

A Lover's Meeting 

. 124 

Wen Chiang's Return . 

. 129 

The Court Usher . 

• 125 

Wen Chiang in her Chariot 

. 130 

A Warning . 

. 126 

Our Lost Prince 

. 130 


. IX. 

Ballads, Poems, and Songs collected 

in the country of Wei . 


A Snob . 

■ 134 

Hard Times. A Fragment 

• 139 

Genteel Poverty . 

• 135 

The Wheelwright 

■ 139 

A Would-be Recluse 

. 136 


. 140 

A distant view of Home 

■ 137 

Book X. 
Ballads and^ther poems collected in the land of T'ang 

. 143 

Merry and Wise 


Anxiety for the Absent Ones . 


" Carpe Diem " . 


Clothes or Robes . . . 


The Conspirators . 


" 'Tis poverty parts good com- 

A Good Tree 


pany" . . . . 


Lovers Meeting 


The Widow 


Alone in the World . 


'Ware Slander. 


Loyalty Tried Hard 


Book XI. 
Ballads, Songs, and other pieces collected in the country of Ch'in 

■ 157 

A Prince Indeed . . . . 158 
A Hunting Song . . .159 
Among the Wild Tribes . . 160 

"Divided" . . . .161 

A Welcome 162 

SatiofYSnHsi& his two brothers 163 




The Young Duke . 

The Autumn Flower Festival 


Learned and Beautiful 

Alone at the Tryst 

. 167 

Chung Erh's Return . 

. 168 

. 168 

A Change for the Worse . 

. 169 



acted in the country of Ch'en . 


. 172 

A Warning 

. 176 

■ 173 

A Lamentation . 

. 177 

• 174 

A Love Song i 

. 178 

■ 175 

The Visit to Chu Lin. . 

. 178 

• 175 

Love Lorn 

• 179 

Book XIII. 
Ballads and other pieces collected in the State of Kuei 
A Constant Memory . .182 

The Neglect of Pious Obser- 
vance .... 183 

The Cherry Tree 
A Puzzle . 



Book XIV. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the country of Ts'ao . . .187 

A Love Song . . . 188 I The Dove and her Brood . . 190 

Another Puzzle . . . 189 ( The Good Old Times of Chou 191 

Book XV. 
Ballads and other pieces collected in the country of Pin 


Life in the Old Times . .194 

The Owl 199 

'' Home, Sweet Home ! " . 200 
Loyal Service . . . . 202 

The Carpenters . . . 203 
The Visit of the Duke of Chou 204 
Old Wolves . . . . 205 

" The Lesser Ya," or Songs for the Minor Festivals 

Book I. 


A Festal Song. . . .211 
The Royal Behest . 212 

The King's Messenger . .213 

" Let Brotherly Love Continue" 2 1 4 
The Feast . . . .216 
The Response of the Guests .218 





The Expedition against the 

The Soldier's Return . 

. . 225 

Huns . 


The Southern Terrace . 

. 227 

The Victories over the Huns 


Book n. 

White and Beautiful 

. 229 

The Lofty Mound . 

. 232 

The Splendid Millet . 


Honoured Veterans . 

. • 232 

Good Eating, Good Drinking 


By Usage — . 

• 234 

From Age — . 


A Welcome Guest 

• • 234 

Rejoicings in the South 


A Carouse 


Book HI. 

A Royal Gift .... 

The Recluse and his Visitor . 

Chi Fu's Expedition against 
the Huns . . . . 

Fang Shu's Expedition against 
the Huns and the Wild 
Tribes of the South . 




The Grand Hunting . . . 244 
The Royal Hunting Song . 246 
The Scattered Folk collected 

into Villages . . . 247 

Expectation 248 

A Longing for Rest . . . 249 
A Prospect 251 

Book IV. 

A Mutinous Song . 


The Misgovernment of the 

The White Colt . . . . 


Grand Master Yin . 


Unkindness . . . . 


King Yu's Misgovernment. 




Huang Fu's Villainies . 


King Hsiian's Palace 


The Disloyalty of the King's 

King Hsiian's Flocks and 

Ministers . . . . 


Herds . . . . 


K V. 

A Multitude of Counsellors, 

The Eunuch's Remonstrance . 


but no Wisdom . _ . 


An Estrangement . 


Fraternal Advice . . . 


The Orphan . . . . 


Song of the Disinherited Son, 


The East and the West . . 


Slanderous Tongues . . . 


A Time of Misrule . 


A Forsaken One 


C VI. 

Overvpork . . . . 


Thoughts in Banishment 


Take it Easy . . . . 


Musical Memories . . . 




The Sacrifice at the Harvest 

Thanksgiving . . . 306 
Song of the Harvest. No. i. . 311 

„ No. 2. . 313 

Song of the Harvest. No. 3. . 315 
The Durbar at Lo- Yang . .317 
The Nobles at the Durbar at 

Lo-Yang .... 318 

Book vn. 

The King to his Nobles 
A Time of Good Omen 
A Family Gathering 
The Woodman's Bride 
The Flies 

• 321 
. 322 

• 323 

• 324 

• 326 

A Contrast 327 

The Jolly Fishes . . . 329 
The Princes' Visit to the King, 330 
Advice to a Prince . . . 332 
Beware of Slothfulness . . 335 


The Days of Auld Lang Syne. 337 
An Absent Husband . ■ . 338 
The Earl of Shao's Expedition 

to Hsieh . . . . 340 
A Princely Husband . . 341 
Queen Shen's Lament' . . 342 

A Tired Soldier 

A Soldier's Supper 

The Strain of Responsibility 

A Time of Famine . 




The Greater Songs of the Festivals 

Book I. 



The Foundation of the 

Dynasty . 
The Founders of the Chou 

Dynasty . . . . 
Duke T'an Fu's Removal of 

the Royal House of Chou 

from the Land of Pin . . 
King Wen .... 

• 355 



Duke Chou's Advice to King 
Ching, when he offered his 
First Royal Sacrifice . . 366 
The Race of Chou . . . 369 
The Rise of the House of Chou, 370 
The Marvellous Tower . . 376 

King Wu 377 

King WSn and King Wu. . 379 

The Legend of Hou Ohi. 
A Royal Family Gathering. 
A Blessing on the King . 

Book II. 


The Banquet to the Persona- 
tors of the Dead . . 393 
The Praise of King Ching . . 394 

The Migration of Duke Liu 

Pure Water. 

Duke Shao's Song . 



A Scheme of Reform . 

An Old Statesman's Warning 



■ 404 



King Li Warned to take Ex- 
ample by the Fall of the 
Yin Dynasty , . .411 

A Warning Addressed to a 
King by his old Preceptor, 414 

The Earl of Jui's Lament over 
the troubles which prevailed 
during the reign of King Li 4 1 9 

The Drought in the time of 

King Hsiian . . . 424 

The Investiture of the Marquis 
of Sh^n as Warden of the 
Southern Marches . . 428 

Chung Shan fu's Expedition 

to the Land of Ch'i . . 432 

The Investiture and Marriage 

of the Marquis of Han. . 435 

The Expedition of the Earl of 
Shao against the Tribes of 
Huai 439 

The Royal Expedition to the 

Huai. . . . 441 

The Infatuation of King Yu . 444 

The Misery in the time of 

King Yu ... 447 


Hymns and Eulogies 

Hymns of the Chou Dynasty 

Hymn to King Wte. No. i . 

Hymn to King WSn. No. 2 . 

Hymn to King Wgn. No. 3 . 

King Chang's Hymn, sung 
when the Princes assisted 
at the Sacrifice . . . 

Hymn to King T'ai and King 

• 451 

Book I. 




Hymn to King Chgng. . 

Hymn to King Win, as the 
Mediator between the 
Worshipper and Heaven . 

King Wu's Hymn . 

Hymn to King Win, King 
ChSng, and King K'ang . 

Hymn to Hou Chi . . . 




Book Ia. 

Instructions to the Officers of 
Husbandry . . . 465 

Instructions to the Husband- 
men 466 



Noble Guests 
Hymn for the Harvest 
A Choral Service 
Royal Offerings of-Fish 

467 I The Royal Anthem . . . 47i 

468 The Princes at the Sacrifice . 472 

469 The Arrival oT Duke Sung . 473 

470 I Hymn to King Wu . . 475 

Book Ib. 

King 'Chang's Meditations 

No I 


King Chang's Meditations 

No 2 , 


King ChSng's Meditations 

No 3, . . 


King Chang's Confession . 


Harvest Hymn. No. i . 


Harvest Hymn. N 

Q. 2 . . 


Preparations for 




Hymn to King Wu. 

No. 2 . 


Hymn to King Wu. 

No. 3 . 


Hymn to King Wu. 

No 4 . 


The Greatness of the Kingdom 488 

Book II. 

Eulogies collected in the land of Lu 489 

The Marquis's Horses . . 490 | The Temple Built by Duke 

A Festival at the Court of Lu, 491 Hsi 497 

The Semi-Circular Pool . . 493 j 

Hymns of the Shang Dynasty 

Hymn to King T'ang " The 

Completer." No. i . .507 

Hymn to King T'ang "The 

Completer." No. 2 . . 508 

Hymn to King Wu Ting. No. 1, 511 


Hymn to the Ancestors and 
Founders of the Shang 
Dynasty . . . .513 

Hymn to King Wu Ting. No 2, 517 








I THINK that the word "ballad" is the nearest English 
equivalent of part of the Chinese title of this book, which 
is Kuo Fing g JH,, meaning literally " Manners of the 
Kingdoms." Pere Zottoli translates the term Regnorum 
Mores, which is of course the exact rendering. Other French 
sinologues follow the same idea, and call this part of the 
Classic " Les Mceurs des royaumes." Dr. Legge translates 
the phrase, " Lessons from the States," a translation which 
he says is vindicated by the notes on the " Great Preface." 
In support of his theory he goes on to quote Chu Hsi's 
explanation of the use of the word Fhig, ' wind,' in the 
metaphorical sense of influence. In my humble opinion 
this explanation is uncalled for. Fing is used over and 
over again in Chinese for manner, fashion, custom and so 
on. I understand it to have such a meaning in this con- 
nection ; and " ballad," I take it, is the most appropriate 
word to apply to short poems descriptive of such manners 
and customs. 

The other word of which the title is composed is Kuo g 
Kingdoms or Feudal States. The student who wishes 
to go deeper into the history of these is referred to " The 
Classic of History" and other Chinese works, and to Dr. 


Legge's Prolegomena to the " Shih Ching," where he will 
also find a useful map. China, as I have explained in 
my preface, was divided into a number of feudal states, 
ruled by nobles of various ranks, who acknowledged 
the Rulers of Chow ^ as their suzerain kings. There 
were as many as 125 states at one time, but when Con- 
fucius collected these ballads there were only 52. The 
dynasty of Chow lasted from B.C. 1122 to B.C. 255. In 
its later days its power was much enfeebled and the neigh- 
bouring states gradually encroached on it. It was eventually 
stamped out by the Ch'in ^, whose ruler Shih Huang Ti 
^ ^ ^ (who built the Great Wall of China and burnt 
the Classics) extinguished all the feudal states, and made 
himself the first Emperor of China, B.C. 221. 


Book I. 

Ballads collected in the State of Chow and the 
regions to the southward of it. 

The ballads of this book are said to have been collected by 
T'an 0_, the Duke of Chow Jg ^, the son of King Win 
"% ^, and the brother of King Wu ||g, the first actual 
King of the Chow dynasty. I have written about these 
three worthies in the Preface, but I must recapitulate a 
little here. J"he race of Chow claimed descent from Hou 
Chi, the deified inventor of agriculture (see Part III. 
Book ii. No. i). Kung Liu ^ glj of this family settled 
in Pin ^ or ^J B.C. 1796, and there his descendants 
remained till the time of King T'ai, who moved the tribe, 
B.C. 1225, to CKi (see III. i. No. 3), where the plain 
country received the name of Chow j^ or CK Chow |1| j^ j^. 
King W^n, about 200 years after this, moved the tribe 
again to Feng ^, which lay south east from Chow. 
When he did this he divided the state of Chow in two, 
giving one half the name of Chow, and the other half the 
name of Shao ^, bestowing the former on his son, the 
aforesaid T'an, or Duke of Chow. This Duke for his virtues 
is remembered in China as one who yields place only to 
the great rulers of antiquity, Yao and Shun. (See Mayers's 
" Chinese Readers' Manual," Part I. Art. 67.) He collected 
these poems in his own domain, and in the countries to 
the south of it, viz. the Valley of the Han, and other parts 
of the present Hu Pei Province. 


No. I. 



They sent me to gather the cresses, which lie 
And sway on the stream, as it glances by, 
That a fitting welcome we might provide 
For our prince's modest and virtuous bride. 

I heard, as I gathered the cress, from the ait 
The mallard's endearing call to its mate ; 
And I said, as I heard it, " Oh may this prove 
An omen of joy to our master's love !" 

No. I. 

Although no names are mentioned in this ballad, the Chinese 
commentators all agree that it is a nuptial ode, to celebrate King 
WMs marriage with T'ai Ssu -^ ^, a lady as renowned for 
feminine virtue as her husband was for masculine worth. 

The speaker in this ode I understand to be one of the ladies 
of the harem. Dr. Legge and the commentators say that it is the 
ladies of the harem in chorus, but I think that the use of the 
singular makes the poem more dramatic. 

Confucius stated his admiration of this poem in these terms ; 
" It is expressive of enjoyment without being licentious, and of 
anxious longing without excess." Let us hope that an English 
version may have power enough to show this. Many of the native 
critics, however, think that anxious longings were beneath the 
dignity of a man of King Wen's calibre, and say that not he, but 
the lady was kept awake at night by her feelings. Of course it 
was no desire for her lover that could inflame so modest and 
virtuous a maiden. It was her desire to fill the king's harem 
with other virtuous consorts ! They may believe this who 

I translate ||| ^ Ts'ou Chiu as the mallard, believing that 
the bird indicated is the mandarin duck {Anas galericulaia), 
^ ^^ Yuan Yang, which is in China the emblem of conjugal 
fidelity. Ur. Legge translates" the words ' osprey,' Pfere Zottoli 


Long, long for his bride has the Prince been yearning, 
With such desire has his heart been burning, 
That his thoughts by day and his dreams by night 
Have had but her as his sole delight. 

But a doubt tormented his anxious brain. 
And sleep was banished by aching pain. 
As tossing in fear and distress he lay 
Till the long night watches had passed away. 

And now he has won her, this lady fair, 
With her modest mind and her gracious air. 
Let our lutes and our music and feasting show 
The love we to her and our master owe. 

' Casarca Rulila ' (genre canard). The two birds at the top of the 
common willow-pattern plate, by the way, are meant to represent 
these mandarin ducks. The Chinese words for cresses are fj ^ 
IfSng Ts'ai, the 'lemna minor' according to Dr. Legge, the 
' villarsia nymphoides ' according to Zottoli. This fare sounds 
rather too lenten for a marriage feast, but we must suppose that 
these vegetables were cooked for a sacrificial offering, and not as 
a feast for the bride and bridegroom, in which capacity they 
would hardly come up to the " tarts and ginger wine ' of the 
marriage breakfast in Gilbert's comedy " Engaged." 

The Chinese commentators would fail in their duty if they 
omitted to discover a number of allusions in this ode. The 
birds, whatever they were, are said to be most affectionate and 
yet undemonstrative in their manner. This is what wise husbands 
and wives should be. Others find allusions to the soft and 
delicate nature of the young lady in the mere mention of cresses, 
which are soft and delicate plants. Ziu Yiian says that the great 
lesson conveyed by the ode is that marriage is one of the ' five 
cardinal relations ' among mankind, a fact of which the savage 
tribes of that time were ignorant. The cry of the mallard has an 


No. 2. 

It is a lovely summer scene^ 

And sweet and clear 'mid foliage green 

Is heard the oriole's song. 
Throughout the vale wherein we dwell 
The hemp and flax are growing well, 

With fibres thick and strong. 

Now let m,e like a faithful spouse 
Contrive to deck my husband's house 

With fabrics that we need. 
I'll shrink not from the useful toil, 
The flax I'll cut, the hemp I'll boil. 

For strong and lasting weed. 

allusion to King WSn's precepts conveyed to his subjects, and as 
bells and drums are sonorous instruments, which can be heard at 
a great distance, so were the sounds of his commands to be heard 
all over the kingdom. 

The translation is free. In this, as in most of the ballads, no 
attempt has been made to follow the structure of the originalj but 
I hope that its meaning has been pretty accurately conveyed. 

No. 2. 

The subject of the ballad is said to be Queen T'ai Ssu, though 
there is nothing in the piece itself to show this. In fact we scarcely 
expect to find the Queen occupied in cutting and boiling hemp. 
Still, other times, other manners. Ulysses found the King's 
daughter Nausicaa superintending the family wash, so why should 
not this Queen look after the flax cutting ? 

The mention of the oriole appearing in early summer helps to 
fix the place where this ballad was written. At Hankow (where 
I write this note) the golden orioles always appear about the end 


And when 'tis done, then leave to roam, 
And see once more my childhood's home 

Shall prove a guerdon meet. 
When clad in robes washed bright and clean 
And linen of the glossiest sheen, 

My parents dear I'll greet. 

No. 3. 

My heart is oppressed and weary ; 

The husband I love has gone ; 
He has gone to some distant country, 

And has left me to weep alone. 

of May, I scarcely know which to admire most, their beautiful 
plumage, or their liquid notes. 

The purist must remember that hemp and flax should properly 
be translated dolichos. (Dolichos tuberosus, Legge.) I have never 
to my knowledge seen the plant, but it is found to this day growing 
wild in the Kiangsi Province, where a considerable quantity of 
cloth of the nature of grass cloth is woven from it. Consul Jaraie- 
son, who calls the plant Pueraria Tkunbufgiana, has sent specimens 
of it to Kew Gardens. 

The leave mentioned in stanza 3 was to be obtained from the 
duenna of the harem (|j^ ^ Shih shih), who would inform the 
King, for, say the commentators. King Win and T"ai Ssu were so 
virtuous that they would not speak to each other, except through 
the medium of a third person. 

The commentators speak of this ballad as subjective. The 
Queen's personal behaviour, as a wife and mistress of a household, 
the fulfilment of her own duties, and her charm and obedience to 
the powers that be, are what is set forth in this piece. From it 
let the rest of the world learn how a woman should behave, and 
imitate her example. 


To gather the blue rush blossoms, 
I went through the fields to stray ; 

But too heart-sick to fill my basket, 
I cast all the flowers away. 

I said I will climb to the hill-top, 

To gaze on the distant plain, 
That thence I may see returning 

My lord and his martial train. 

So rough was the ridge and rocky. 

So steep was the hill and high, 
That my servants had sunk exhausted, 

Ere the goal of my hopes was nigh. 

No. 3. 

This ballad is of course assigned to T'ai Ssu, though there is 
nothing in the poem itself to show who is the subject of it, but 
the possession of wine cups, as well as of horses and servants, 
proves that the subject of the poem is a lady of rank. 

The ' rush flower ' is the ' Lappa Minor ' (Legge), or the ' Xan- 
thium Strumarium ' (Zottoli). 

The ' mystic wine cups ' consisted of a gilt vase, and a rhino- 
ceros horn goblet, which took three men to lift. Confucius 
mentions as one of the advantages of the study of the Classic of 
Poetry, the knowledge of national history thereby attained. Chu 
Hsi and other commentators say that the rhinoceros has a horn 
1333 lbs. avoirdupois in weight. We should like to see the post- 
diluvian animal who could carry it. I do not agree with Dr. Legge 
that the lady "proceeds to console herself with a cup of spirits." 
I think that her wish was to pour a libation to the gods, and to 
propitiate them that they might bring back her husband in safety. 

Liu Yiian says that the husband alluded to in this ballad was 
WSn, when he was still King Chou ffsirCs Minister. The 
country then was in a state of confusion, and Wen had to 


My horses, — their flanks all foam flecked 

And sweat stained, — were forced to stop ; 
And I could not get to the summit 

To gaze from the mountain's top. 


I bring forth the mystic wine cups. 

Libations I duly pour, 
As I cry to the gods, " My husband 

To the arms of his wife restore." 

No. 4. 
The traveller in the South may see 
A large wide-spreading banyan tree ; 
The ivies with a loving hold 
The trunk and drooping limbs enfold ; 
Of every danger unafraid 
Beneath the banyan's fostering shade. 

go abroad to fight, leaving T'ai Ssu to weep at home. He goes 
on to say that this poem is objective, as distinguished from the 
last, which is subjective. In that we saw what T'ai Ssu was in 
herself. In this we see how she behaved to her husband and 

We need not trouble ourselves with the curious fancies of 
those who admit that T'ai Ssu is the subject of the ballad, but 
who say that her anxiety was not due to her husband's absence, 
but to her desire to get good men to serve the state. 

No. 4 

The subject of this poem is evidently some great lady, probably 
T'ai Ssu. 

In spite of Dr. Legge's contention that ' the South ' in this ballad 
does not mean the country south of the Yangtze, I am constrained 


Our lady is the banyan tree 

To all this .house. The ivies we. 

Oh, may we never cease to share 

Her watchful and protecting care ! 

May joy and dignity attend 

Our Queen, our lady, and our friend ! 

No. 5. 


The locusts cluster on the ground. 

In ordered ranks unite; 
And then with one harmonious sound 

They spread their wings for flight. 

to believe that it does, for the simple reason that I know no tree 
in Hupei or the North of China to which the description in the 
ballad could apply. The banyan, on the other hand, is very 
common in South China, and has, as the ballad says, curved 
drooping branches round which creepers twine, and I have 
therefore taken it for granted that the banyan is the tree meant, 
though in the ballad itself it has no name beyond ' the tree.' The 
creepers which cling to it are once more dolichos creepers, or 
dolichos and creepers. Ivy is probably accurate enough for 
the English reader. 

The ballad was very possibly sung by the members of the harem 
on their mistress's marriage-day, or birthday. I scarcely agree 
with the commentators that the chief thing praised is T'ai Ssu's 
freedom from jealousy, but the piece shows that the ladies all got 
on very well together. 

No. s. 

This little piece seems to me merely the expression of good- 
will to some one, probably to WSn Wang and his lady. Chinese 
commentators say that the locust mentioned was not the destructive 



Oh, may we in the palace see 

As numerous a brood ; 
And may they, as these locusts, be 

One loving brotherhood ! 

No. 6. 



The slender boughs amid. 

By green leaves scarcely hid 
The blossoms on the peach are shining bright ; 

'Tis a lovely sight to see 

Every bough upon the tree, 
Glowing one entire mass of pink and white. 


This tender maid of ours. 

Fresh and budding like the flowers, 
A match for them in, purity and beauty, 

To-day become.s a bride ;, 

A house to rule and guide. 
Fulfilling with due care a matron's duty. 

locust, but a harmless insect. They also draw the sapient con- 
clusion that unless a head-wife is free from jealousy and allows 
her husband to take secondary consorts ad libitum, it is impossible 
that he should have a brood of children as numerous as these 

No. 6. 

I do not see why we should try to twist this piece into being 
anything more than what it plainly is, some verses made on the 
occasion of a wedding. The commentators of course would not 
be satisfied with this. They declare that it was written to show 
the happy state of things in King Win's time, when youths and 



The blossoms on the sprays 

Promise fruit in coming days. 
From this omen may we hopefully divine 

That the husband of her choice 

Shall have reason to rejoice 
In descendants through a long unbroken line. 

No. 7. 

He placed the snare, where many runs have met, 

Deep in a forest dell. 
The pegs with mighty blows he firmly set. 

And fixed them sure and well. 


So stalwart, strong, and brave was this poor hind, — 

The King of all the land 
No wiser head, no trustier heart might find 

To set at his right hand. 

maidens got married at the proper season, that is to say, in the 
Spring, " when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of 
love." That this was feasible was due^ they say, to T'ai Ssu's 
freedom from jealousy ! 

No. 7. 

Ballads of this description have almost invariably a personal 
application. I have no doubt that in this instance Huang Yao 
iM %) o'' '^''^^ ^'^^^ (^ ]^)— each of whom rose from being 
hunters to the position of King Wen's Ministers — is the person 
referred to. I need not say that I scout the explanation that 
this ballad is meant to sing the praises of the happy days when 
even the rabbit- catchers were great and good men, and that this 


No. 5. 



We gather the plantain, we pluck and we pull it, 
We merrily gather the plantain all day. 

We rub out the seeds as we gather the plantain, 
And then to our houses we bear them away. 


We tie up the seeds in the skirts of our clothing, 
And loop up our skirts in a heap round our waists 

Then carefully bearing the seeds of the plantain, 
Each maiden away with her work-fellows hastes. 

was due not only to King \V6n's virtues, but to T'ai Ssu's freedom 
from jealousy. 

The word ^ T'a, literally a place where nine ways meet, has 
puzzled Dr. Legge. He remarks that a thoroughfare is not a likely 
place to catch rabbits in. But when the word is taken to mean 
' runs,' all difficulty vanishes. 

No. 8. 

I do not see any necessity for making anything m ore out of 
this little piece than a song. No doubt, as Liu Yiian says, it 
indicates a time when girls could work in the fields without fear 
of molestation from friend or foe. I do not know what the girls 
were going to do with the plaintain seeds, which may have been 
used as food, or as physic, or in the manufacture of cotton or 
linen fabrics. The commentators mostly take the view that they 
were meant for medicine, from the fact that a decoction of plan- 
tain seed is used by women in childbirth. From this they draw 
the conclusion that the time when this song was composed was a 
time when the population was increasing and the country pros- 
perous — thanks, of course, to King Wgn and his wife. 

The last lines of this song, referring to the carrying away of the 
seeds in the skirts looped round the waist, are sometimes used in 
a jocose sense to indicate the condition of a young married lady, 
who is " as ladies wish to be, who love their lords." The women 
of those days wore wide girdles, like those worn by the Coreans 


No. 9. 
When the poplars throw but a scanty shade, 
On the banks of the Han roams a lovely maid. 
She is going to leave me, and all in vain 
Is my ardent effort her heart to gain. 
'Twere an easier task by far to strive 
To cross the Han in a single dive ; 
Or to float on a raft down the Yangtze's, tide 
Than win this damsel to be my bride. 

I would feed her steeds for her own dear sake, 
I would slave and toil in the forest brake, 
To cut her faggots or to hew her wood. 
Would she only show me a kinder mood. 

But no, 'twere an easier task to strive 

To cross the Han in a single dive ; 

Or to float on a raft down the Yangtze's tide. 

Than win this damsel to be my bride. 

No. 9. 

In my translation of this ballad I have ventured to cut myself 
adrift from all the commentators, Chinese and European. These 
agree that the poem was written to celebrate the virtuous manners 
of the young women in King W^n's domain. To carry this mean- 
ing out they extract a simile, not only from the breadth of the 
Han, and the dangers of the Yangtze, but from the poplar-trees 
as well. These, they say, give but little shade, and in like 
manner these virtuous young ladies are chary of granting their 
favours. (The freaks of language are curious. To remark that 
there was nothing shady about these girls might seem a bad, not 
to say a vulgar, pun, but it is a literal translation of the Chinese 
commentary.) My own view is that the character ^ Nu, girl 
or woman, must be translated in the singular, and then the ballad 
at once becomes a pleasing . little love song, and all the minor 
difficulties of interpretation vanish. 


No. 10, 

I wander forth beside the River Ju, 

To pluck fresh sprays to please my husband dear, 
And mark how all the shoots have grown anew ; 

I cut them down this very day last year. 

As the Han and the Yangtze are mentioned together, one's 
first guess is that the ballad was written at Hankow, where the 
two rivers meet. The fact, however, that a skilful diver might 
dive across the Han there, and that there is no difficulty in guid- 
ing a raft down the Yangtze in the direction of the mouth of the 
river, makes us assign the scene of the ballad to some place to 
the north-west of Hankow, where the Han is a shallow stream, 
half a mile wide. The Yangtze, as spoken of in this poem, I 
infer to have been the stream above Ichang, where raft naviga- 
tion, even at the present day, would be a dangerous feat. (See 
" Through the Yangtze Gorges," by A. J. Little, F.R.G.S.). 

The commentators boggle a little over the young lady, or, as 
they say, young ladies, rambling about on the banks of the river, 
a thing which no well-educated Chinese damsel of modern times 
would venture to do. They get over the difficulty by saying that 
times were better and purer then, and that though girls might 
roam about, there was no danger of their getting into trouble. 

No. 10. 

The t\\tr/u J'^ was a tributary of the Huai. (See Dr. Legge's 

I have only translated the two first stanzas of this ballad, as 
the third is beyond my comprehension. Dr. Legge translates it ; — 

The bream is showing its tail all red ; 
The royal house is like a blazing fire. 
Though it be like a blazing fire, 
Your parents are very near. 



It was not then as now ; my heart was weary, 
To distant lands my lord had ta'en his way. 

When he is gone my life is sad and dreary, 
But with him here the world is blithe and gay. 

His metrical version is : — 

As the toiled bream makes red its tail, 
Toil you, Sir, for the Royal House ; 

Amid its blazing fires, nor quail, 

Your parents see you pay your vows. 

The explanation is that the poem was written when the tyrant 
Chou Hsin was on the throne, and that the lady who was the 
subject of the piece was anxious to urge her husband to do his 
best for the king, whose minister he was, even though the king 
was a wicked tyrant. She encourages him by bidding him 
remember that his parents (or as others say. King W6n, the father 
of his country) were looking on and applauding his efforts, and 
bids him persevere, though he has to toil and strain like a bream 
working its painful way up a shallow and swift stream, and tear- 
ing its tail as it does so. Granting that this is the meaning of 
the stanza, I find it utterly out of place here. Surely a wife who 
has just got her husband back, and is rejoicing over his return, 
would scarcely be the person to give vent to such sentiments. 

My own theory is that the verse in question is a fragment from 
some other poem that has been interpolated here somehow. I 
take it that the piece, out of which it has dropped, was one com- 
plaining of oppression and cruelty on the part of the Govern- 
ment. We shall find many such poems in this work later on. 
The bream with its torn and bleeding tail is either a symbol of 
the bad times or an omen of evil, and the writer warns someone 
that so harsh are the ruling powers that even if he escapes, yet 
his parents are close at hand, and will be punished for their son's 
offences. Mao Chi Ling, who however does not separate the 
third stanza from the other two, interprets it very much as I do. 


No. II. 


Poets say there lives a creature 
Of so gentle kind a nature, 
On no living thing 'twill tread, 
No, not e'en the grass in spring ; 
And the horn which crowns its head 
Never injures mortal thing. 
Such the creature called a " Lin," 
Like it are the royal kin, 
Sons and grandsons, all the brood, 
Just as gentle, kind and good. 

No. II. 

I have thought a free paraphrase necessary here to bring out 
the full meaning of the ballad. 

The " Lin," which some translate the unicorn, is a fabulous 
animal of most gentle disposition. It has a single horn encased 
in a fleshy growth, and its body is covered with scales. Its 
appearance is regarded as indicative of the advent of good 
government, or the birth of virtuous rulers. I have often thought 
it possible that some faint memories or distorted accounts of the 
giraffe may have given rise to the idea of the " Lin." The 
giraffe, as a gentle harmless animal, corresponds to one conception 
of the " Lin." It has two horns certainly, instead of one, but 
these horns are covered with a fleshy growth, and are not used to 
butt with. Its spots may well have become confused with scales. 
If this theory is well founded, it would seem to offer some slight 
evidence in corroboration of the opinion that the Chinese races 
came originally from Bactria or Chaldseaj whither travellers from 
Africa, who had seen the giraffe, might very possibly have reached. 

The Royal family, which is compared to the Lin, is, of course, 
the family of King W^n. The commentators say that this ballad 
is the complement of the first one. In that we saw T'ai Ssu 
coming to her husband as a bride. In this we see her as the 
mother of a noble family of sons : there were ten of them. 

c 2 


Book II. 

Ballads collected in the State of Shao, and the 
country to the south of it. 

The State of Shao ^ lay to the westward of Chow, and 
was in fact " the Far West " of the States that made up 
the China of ancient times. It lay in the district where 
the Provinces of Ssu Ch'iian, Kansuh and Shensi now meet, 
though the greater part of it was in Shensi. Its ruler was 
|[|£ 01 Chi Shih, usually known as Shao Kung ^ ^, 
Duke of Shao. It is a matter of question whether he was 
the son of King Wen or not. He was at any rate a faithful 
follower of King W^n and his family. King W^n's son, 
King Wu, the first actual King of the Chow dynasty, 
invested him with the district of Yen ^B, in which Peking 
lies ; but the Duke remained at the Court, and was the 
trusted Minister of King Wu and his successor King 
Ch'^ng. (See Dr. Legge's notes and Mayers's " Chinese 
Reader's Manual," Article No. 593.) 


No I. 


No. I. 

The dove, that weak and timid bird, 
Scant wit hath she her nest to build ; 
Unlike the pie, whose house well lined 
Within, and strong with labour skilled. 
Might seem a palace. Yet the dove 
Will to herself appropriate 
The magpie's nest, and snug therein 
Dwell in contentment with her mate. 


My sweet, thou art the tender dove ! 
Hath fate's decree then nought more fair 
For thee than in these barren fields 
A peasant's hut and life to share ? 
My lands are wide, my halls are highj 
And steeds and cars obey my call ; 
My dove, within my magpie nest. 
Thou shalt be mistress of them all. 

No. I. 

I have made a very free paraphrase in translating this ballad, 
but I believe that I have hit on its meaning. Most Chinese 
commentators say that the poet's object was to laud the virtues of 
the lady, among which was her stupidity, which is typified by the 
clumsiness of the dove, which is unable to build itself a decent 
nest. Mao Chi Ling asserts that the dove can and does drive 
the magpie out of its nest in order to occupy it itself. [" O, what 
a dem'd savage lamb," says Mr. Mantalini]. But why need we 
trouble ourselves with such absurdities ? Surely the motive of 
the piece is the same as that of " King Cophetua and the Beggar 
Maid," "The Lord of Burieigh," and a dozen other pieces. The 
prince is the magpie, the strong, handsome, skilful bird. The 
peasant girl is the dove, who does not forcibly rob the magpie 


No 2. 


Through the fields the lady goes, 
Seeking where wild celery grows ; 
On the islets in the river, 
On the bankS; beneath which quiver 
Waters of some wind-swept pond, 
Through the vales which lie beyond, 
Where the mountain torrents fall. 
Then within the Prince's hall. 
Ere the signs of dawn are seen, 
With head erect and solemn mien, 
For the Prince's sake she lays 
In the shrine whereat he prays 
All her spoils before the altar. 
Next, with steps that never falter, 
Reverently she leaves, as one 
Who her duty well hath done. 

of his nest, but by her softness and gentleness persuades him to 
allow her to occupy it. 

Sir John Davis's translation of this ballad, as given in his 
" Essay on the Poetry of the Chinese," and quoted in full in 
Dr. Legge's " Chinese Classics," vol. i, p. 21, is very pretty, 
but does not, in my opinion, in any way express the meaning of 
the original. 

No. 2. 

Following Dr. Williams, I translate the word ^ Fan as ' wild 
celery.' Dr. Legge has ' southernwood,' and Pfere Zottoli ' arte- 
misia,' the Latin translation of the same. 

"With head erect and reverent mien." The commentators 
translate the four Chinese characters, which are the equivalent of 
this phrase, "Her headdress (or perhaps the method of doing 
the hair) is reverently lofty." I understand that her hair was 
carefully arranged, and that she moved slowly with her head 
erect, in order that her locks might not become dishevelled. 
The piece evidently refers to the manner in which some great 


No 3. 

Cicadas chirp the livelong day, 

I see the locusts leap ; 
But while my lord is far away 

What can I do but weep ? 
Let me but see him once again, 

Oh, let us meet once more ! 
My bosom would be free from pain, 

My heart no longer sore. 

I climb the lofty southern hill 

The shoots of fern to find. 
But mournful thoughts my memory fill. 

Oppressing heart and mind. 
But if my absent lord were here, 

That we might never part, 
What blissful rapturous thoughts would cheer 

My aching weary heart. 

lady offered sacrifices in her husband's ancestral temple. Zottoli 
translates the poem in the plural, " They go to gather the 
artemisia," &c. — they being the ladies of the palace ; but 1 think 
that the subject is more likely to be singular. 

One interpretation of the ballad is that the wild celery was 
collected as food for silkworms ; but, as Liu Yiian very pertinently 
remarks, " If this be so, what particular need of reverent gestures 
and adornment would there be ? " 

No. 3. 

Two kinds of fern are mentioned, the Chueh M and the 
Wei HJ . One is said to be the "turtle-foot fern," and the other 
the "spinous fern." The shoots of both of them appear to 
be edible. Pfere Zottoli says that the first is the "Osmunda 
Regalis," still a very common fern in many parts of China, and 



I climb the rocky southern height, 

Where ferns and herbs I cull. 
My lord is banished from my sight, 

My heart with pain is dull. 
Oh, how I'd welcome the relief 

His presence would afford ! 
And I'd forget my woe and grief 

As I embraced my lord. 

No. 4. 

She runs along beside the rill. 
To pluck the cresses growing ; 

Or where the summer rain floods fill 
The pools to overflowing. 

the second the " Blechnum Japonicum." Liu Yiian says that the 
fern shoots would have to be gathered at daybreak. This shows 
that the lady of the piece must have been too anxious to sleep. 

I do not think that we need seek for any other meaning in the 
ballad than the lament of a wife for her husband's absence, and 
the anticipation of her joy at his return. Most of the commen- 
tators, however, insist that the lady who is the subject of the 
poem had been taken on approval, according to the custom of 
those days. She is supposed to be in a state of dire suspense, 
not being sure whether her husband will keep her as his wife, or 
will send her back to her parents. Her anxiety is that she may 
not have done anything to make her husband angry with her. 

No. 4. 

Stanza i. The "cresses " are of two kinds : ^ Fin, Lemna 
Trisulca (Legge), or Marsilia Quadrifolia (Zottoli) ; and Ts'ao ^ 
Ruppia Rostellata (Legge), or Aratophyllum (Zottoli). 


With green leaves which the maid has got 

She has her baskets piled, 
And placed in the most holy spot 

In vessels undefiled. 


She boils them with the reverent care 

For which such duties call, 
Then lays them as an offering fair 

Within the ancestral hall. 


I would be told the lady's name, 

So wise is she, so sage. 
'Tis no one but this little dame 

Of some ten years of age. 

Stanza 2. The most holy spot is a recess under the west 
window, or the south-west corner of the ancestral hall. 

I am inclined to disagree with Dr. Legge, who makes the 
subject of the ballad the wife of an officer. The character ^ 
Chi, ' young,' would scarcely be applied to a wife. Moreover, it 
signifies "the fourth of a series," the other three being M^ng ^ , 
She 5^ , and Chung ^ . Taking MengSLS the senior lady or ladies 
sacrificing, we make Chi the youngest of the family, who never- 
theless was old enough to collect and prepare the cresses for the 
sacrifice. Hence I infer that she was a little girl of about ten 
years old. Some of the commentators say that the young lady 
in question was being taught by her mother how she ought to 
offer sacrifice after her marriage. This may very well be the 
case. Anyhow, I feel convinced that the subject of the piece is 
a daughter, not a wife. 


No. 5. 


" Sneer. — ' Mr. Puff, have'nt I heard something very like that 
before ? ' " 

The pear-tree, woodman spare, 
Touch not a single bough ; 
Shao's chief once rested there, 
Leave it uninjured now. 

No. 6. 

They led the maiden forth, and bade her tell 
The Duke her reasons for this insolence. 

" Oh, Sir," she cried, " suppose that I were decked 
In clean white robes about to walk abroad 
In woodland paths ere yet the sun was high, 
Would'st thou not say, ' The dews will smirch thy dress ? ' 
Then shall I hold my maiden fame less dear. 
Nor strive to guard it from all stain or spot .' 
This man, who now parades his innocence, 
And vows this trial is no fault of his. 
Is like the sparrow which I lately caught 
Boring a hole, and spoiling all my thatch. 

No. 5- 
Shao's chief is, of course, Duke Shao. Some say that he, like 
the prophetess Deborah, sat beneath the pear-tree to hear cases 
and judge the people ; but the accepted theory is that the pear- 
tree grew at some place where he rested on one of his ofiScial 

No. 6. 

Commentators, Chinese and European, agree that this piece 
represents what took place at a trial before Duke Shao — a theory 


Could it have spoken, doubtless 'twould have pled, 
' I am nothing but a little harmless bird ; 
No horn have I to bore through solid roofs/ 
It may be so, but yet my thatch is spoilt. 
Or like the rat, which in like manner pleads 
' What teeth have I to gnaw through solid walls ? ' 
It may be so, but yet my walls are pierced. 
But though he forces me to bear this shame, 
And hales me forth before your Grace's Court, 
To his proposals I will ne'er consent : 
A marriage to this man contents me not. 
I will not yield myself to his desire." 

which I have no wish to controvert. A man wishes to marry a 
maiden. She rejects him, and so he brings the case before the 
Duke's tribunal. She pleads that she is not to blame, and refuses 
to have anything to do with the man. Most Chinese say that 
her reason for rejecting her suitor was that the betrothal cere- 
monies were insufficient, and that until these were completed she 
would not marry him. They praise her for her adherence to rule 
and order, and go on to say that this admirable state of things 
was due to the good government of Duke Shao and King Wen. 
For my own part, I think that the suitor was endeavouring to 
seduce her by means of a sham marriage ; that the ceremonies 
gone through were not only insufficient to satisfy custom and 
etiquette, but were not enough to constitute a valid marriage ; 
that she had the wit to detect this plot, and was determined to 
preserve her maiden fame unstained. Hence, she says, that she 
will not allow her dress to be spoilt by the morning dew^ a meta- 
phorical way of declaring that her character shall not be lost 
through her own carelessness. The argument from the sparrow 
and the rat is a little obscure in the original, but I think that I 
have caught the meaning. 

The two first lines of my version do not appear in the original. 


No. 7. 

The Grandees from the Court I chanced to meet, 

Serene they seemed, and grave, and self-possessed, 
As each retired his morning meal to eat. 

In plain white lambskins or white sheepskins dressed. 

No. 8. 


My noble husband has gone away 

To fight for his king, and the country's weal. 
No moment he snatches to rest or stay. 

No toil nor danger can quench his zeal. 

No. 7. 

It is said that the special virtue of the above-named Grandees, 
the officers of Duke Shao's Court, was their absence of pretence. 
Sheepskins and lambskins are inexpensive furs. 

I should mention, before going further, that this ballad, like 
"The Pear-Tree " and many others, consists in the original of 
three stanzas. Each stanza conveys the same idea, with the 
slightest possible alteration of expression or arrangement. The 
celebrated hymn of the parish clerk. 

Why hop ye so, ye little hills ? 

Ye hills why do ye hop ? 
Is it because you're glad to see 

His Grace the Lord Bishop? 
Why skip ye so, ye little hills ? 

Ye hills, why do ye skip ? 
Is it because you're glad to see 

His Grace the Lord Biship ? 

is really a closer parallel to the structure of such pieces as this 
than any more seriously written poem can be ; but I should think 
myself unwise if I were to follow the clerk's example while 
making these translations. 


2. - 

I list to the distant thunder's roar 

To the south of the mountains across the plain ; 
And wish that my husband may come once more 

To gladden his home and his wife again. 

Ng. 9. 
The plums are ripening quickly ; 

Nay, some are falling too ; 
'Tis surely time for suitors 
To come to me and woo. 

See more and more are falling 

From off the parent tree. 
Why don't the men come forward 

To win a maid like me? 


At length upon the plum-tree 

No fruit can be espied, 
Yet no one comes to court me, 

Or bid me be his bride. 

No. 8. 

It is supposed that this ballad refers to a soldier, who was 
absent on one of the expeditions undertaken at the close of the 
Shang dynasty against the barbarous tribes of the west. 

No. 9. 
This arch little song is far too simple for the Chinese com- 
mentators to accept as it stands. They all declare that it cele- 
brates the desire of a young lady to be married at the proper time 
and in the proper way, and without being subjected to any attempt 


No. 10. 


Some may love, not fearing shame, 
But my lot is scarce the same. 
I must go when stars are brightly 
Twinkling in the Eastern sky, 
Tripping swiftly, treading lightly, 
To escape each envious eye. 
Save the Pleiades above, 
And Orion throned on high. 
None may see or know our love. 
'Neath the covering I supply 
Pass the hours in dalliance sweet ; 
But ere morning comes I fly. 
Lest by an ill chance I meet 
Some reproachful enemy. 
For my love must rest concealed, 
To no mortal eye revealed. 

to marry her against her wil* as happened to the young lady 
of " The Trial." Liu Yiian admits however that some scholars 
shake their heads over this far-fetched theory. There is a good 
suggestion by one of the Imperial editors that Chou Hsin had 
treated his subjects with such cruelty that most respectable young 
men were in exile or in hiding. Hence maidens were left longing 
with no one to marry them. 

No. 10. 

There is nothing in the poem itself to show that the meeting 
therein described was anything but an ordinary unlawful assigna- 
tion, and as such I have treated it. The Chinese commentators 
however take a very different view of it. They make the subject 
plural, and say that the persons meant are the concubines of the 
Prince, who were only allowed to visit their master for an hour 
or so during the night, and had to retire before daylight. On 
these occasions they had to bring with them their own blankets 
and bed clothes. It was only the Princess, the wife, as distin- 


No. II. 

" Friends once parted 
Grown single-hearted." — Shelley. 

The mighty Yangtze with resistless force 
Takes through the kingdom its majestic course ; 
Thence slips aside some smaller stream, as fain 
To find its own way downwards to the main. 
But while the rebellious river blindly dreams, 
Some islet, which above dispersed the streams. 
Comes to an end ; the pair, apart before, 
Unite again, to sunder never more. 

So with this lady. Once it chanced that she 
Longed from old friends and friendships to be free ; 
She would not see our faces, nor allow 
Our presence near her ; but her folly now 
And jealousy have yielded. Mirth and song 
Replace the envious thoughts she cherished long. 

guished from the concubines, who might remain with her husband 
all night. 'jt 

Each of the two stanzas in the original finish with four Chinese 
characters meaning " Our lot is not the same," which the commen- 
tators, followed implicitly by Dr. Legge, amplify into " Our lot is 
not the same as that of our mistress the Princess, and we acknow- 
ledge it with thankful submission.'' This is of course followed by 
the praise of King W^n, who brought about so desirable a state 
of things. Now, granting that the speaker is a concubine, I feel 
convinced that if she said " My lot is not the same," she said it to 
express her sorrow at her hard fate. I look on the Chinese ex- 
planation as unnatural nonsense. 

No. II. 
fg, Ssu is apparently a smaller channel of the Yangtze, which 
branches off from the main stream and afterwards rejoins it. 
There are many such now, and when they are shorter than the 
main branch they are known, in the language of pilotage, as " Cut 
offs." fg T'o is a " cut off" of sufficient size and importance to 
have a distinguishing name of its own. The Classic of History 


No. 12. 



This youthful maiden, fair and bright, 
To muse on Spring and its delight 

Is wandering through the trees ; 
When lo, amid a forest glade, 
Concealed beneath the dwarf oak's shade, 

A huntsman bold she sees. 

mentions two T''os, one near the Tung Ting lake, and the other 
lower down the river. 

The subject of the ballad is evidently a lady of rank, but who 
the person or persons are with whom she quarrelled, and to 
whom she was afterwards reconciled, is not quite so clear. The 
commentators declare that they were the nine ladies of the same 
surname (Dr. Legge calls them cousins), who had to accompany 
the bride to her new home, and act as secondary consorts to the 
bridegroom. If this was really the case we moderns can scarcely 
be surprised at a lady objecting to this unpleasant custom. Our 
only wonder is that she ever relented. Some of the commentators 
say that, though there was no doubt of the fact that the lady 
would bring nine of her poor relations with her, yet it is 
quite possible that they were only to be her attendants, with whom 
the bridegroom had no concern. Their theory, they say, is con- 
firmed by the fact that of these nine ladies some were a genera- 
tion older than the others. The elder ones would be nurses, 
duennas and matrons, the younger waiting-maids and attendants. 
At the same time we have proof positive of the possibility of some 
at least of these ladies being secondary consorts, from the fact 
that Tai Kuei ^ ^, who accompanied Chuang Chiang ^ ||, 
bore a son to the latter's husband, (See notes on the first ballad 
in the next book.) 

In the lady's repentance there is of course — so the Chinese say — 
an allusion to the virtues of King W^n and his wife, who influenced 
her for good. 

No. 12. 

The commentators, followed by Dr. Legge, see in this poem the 
description of a virtuous young lady resisting the attempts of a 



He brings a newly slaughtered deer, 
The victim of his bow and spear, 

Upon his shoulder bound 
With fibres of the meadow grass, 
And lovingly he tries to pass 

His arm her waist around. 

But, half in earnest half in play. 
From his embrace she shrinks away 

With gestures coy and chaste ; 
And laughing merrily she cries, 
" My dog will bite the man who tries 

To clasp me round the waist." 

No. 13. 


The flowers of the cherry are gleaming white. 
Like peach and plum blossoms fair to see. 

The King's own daughter shall go this night 
The bride of a noble's son to be. 

seducer. There is no need for them to be so severe. It is only 
the picture of a rustic courtship, with which the civilizing influences 
of King Wen had nothing to do. 

No. 13. 

We now go at a bound from the loves of a poor hunter and his 
lass to those of a princess and a marquis. The marquis in question 
was probably "f S' IS ^'"^ ^^"-S CKi, a member of the ChH 
^ family, for the character CKi in this instance means, I think, 
. the name of a noble family, and not the epithet ' reverent ' as 
Dr. Legge translates it. Similarly, I think that P'ing 2Js is the 



For a princess her retinue is but mean, 

Though a subject would deem it both grand and great, 
To show that a wife, though by birth a queen, 

Must shame not her lord by her pomp and state. 

When husband and wife in their lives combine. 

And each only lives for the other's sake, 
They are two silk threads, which a man may twine 

Into one strong cord that no force can break. 

No. 14. 

How shall we call him a hunter, 

Who rouses five boars from the jungles. 

But only can shoot off one arrow. 

He so fumbles and boggles and bungles 1 

name of the King, and does not mean ' tranquillizing.' Dr. Legge 
notes the improbability of a poem dated 400 or more years after 
the time of Duke Shao being inserted here ; but it is said by some 
Chinese commentators that the main reason why this poem is 
included in this collection is that it shows that King Wen's virtues 
did not die with him, but were reproduced in his descendant 
many generations later. 

My version of the poem is a very free paraphrase. The phrase 
in the original — which literally translated is "Are they not reverent 
and harmonious, the carriages of the King's daughter ? " — has, I 
have no doubt, the meaning which I try to convey in my second 

No. 14. 

When a man goes out to shoot and comes back with little or 
no game, and his friends applaud his humanity, we usually infer 
that they mean to make fun of him. I do not see why we should 

D 2 


Wellj if for his skill in pig shooting 
We scarcely can flatter his vanity, 

We will hail him as "Tsou Yu" and praise him 
For showing such tender humanity. 

view this poem in any other light, though of course the commen- 
tators will not back me up here. They would be horrified at my 
flippancy. The usual interpretation is that there were four royal 
hunting expeditions each year, one at each season. These were 
undertaken as a training for the soldiers in warlike exercises. 
The hunting camps, with their regular staff of officers (see Mayers's 
" Chinese Empire," Arts. 436, 437), were in existence at the begin- 
ning of the present dynasty, for . the Emperors of China have 
always been of the opinion of the immortal Jorrocks, who used to 
say that " 'Unting is the sport of Kings, the image of war without 
its guilt, and only five-and-twenty per cent, of its danger." This 
ballad, according to the commentators, has reference to the Spring 
Hunting Expedition, at which time, owing to the wild beasts 
having just littered, game would be plentiful, and easily slaughtered. 
The person whose praise is celebrated was so humane that he 
would only shoot at one wild boar in five. His followers therefore 
dub him with the title of Tsou Yil ^ ^, which, like the Lin, is 
a mythical beast. It is described as a white tiger with black 
spots, which does not feed on any living thing, and only appears 
in times of good Government. 

One interpretation is that the hunter of the ballad was so 
powerful that he could drive one arrow through five wild boars j 
but, as a commentator observes, this does not agree with the idea 
of a Tsou Yii. He goes on to say that the Son of Heaven, /. e. 
the Emperor, should remember that it is better to be a man of 
humanity than a good shot. 

'The jungles' is the equivalent of Wl Chia, Phragmites 
Roxburghii, a sort of reed ; and ^ Fing, an Artemisia. I sup- 
pose that the one represents a wet covert, the other a dry. 


Book III. 

Ballads and other Poems collected in the land 

When the Shang Dynasty was broken up, in B.C. 1122, 
the domain of its Kings was divided into three portions. 
The northern portion was P'ei \\^, the southern Yung, 
and the eastern Wei. But before the time of Confucius, 
B.C. 55 1-479) P'^i a-nd Yung-werQ swallowed up in Wei, 
and their names were heard no longer. The country of 
Wei, as it existed after absorbing the other two, was the 
district round the present K'aiFingfu. It took in a little ■ 
of each of the three provinces, Chih It, Shan tung and 
Honan. We conclude from this that P^ei is the most 
southernly portion of Chih li. 

The two last books showed us, on the whole, a happy 
condition of things, and a country rapidly improving 
under the wise rule of King W6n, his adherents and 
descendants. This book, on the contrary, depicts the 
state of China three and four hundred years later, when 
misgovernment and anarchy, with their baneful effects, 
were only too prevalent. The Chinese speak of the 
subjects described in the two first books as Cheng Feng, 
iE Jl, ' correct manners ; ' but of the subjects of this and 
the following books, as ^ J§, Pien Feng, 'degenerate 


No. 1. 


Like some small shallop floating on the tide, 
Drifted now here, now there, with none to guide, 
My lot in life appears ; for night and morn 
As by a hidden wound my heart is torn. 
All sleep is banished from my aching eyes 
By my distress. Oh, whence doth it arise } 
They feast me with the dantiest food and wine. 
And leave to wander where I will is mine. 
But not one friend will help me. If I lay 
My plaint before my brothers, they will say 
" Thy grief is idle. Hast thou not at hand 
All that a wife in reason may demand } 
Art thou not granted perfect liberty ? 
Thy tears are not from love, but jealousy." 

I have not failed in duty to my lord. 
Yet basely he deserts me, and this horde 

No. I. 

There are practically three explanations of the meaning of this 
piece. Mao Cb'i Ling, and Liu Yiian, with Dr. Leggej believe 
that the ballad describes an officer of worth bewailing the con- 
tempt and neglect with which he was treated. Two commenta- 
tors named Han Ying and Liu Hsiang (see Dr. Legge's notes on 
this poem) say that the subject of the piece was Hsiian Chiang 
^ H . She was left the widow of the Marquis of Wei. Her 
brother-in-law, — backed by her own brothers, members of the 
Ch'i ^ family,— wanted to marry her, and supported his suit by 
the curious argument that the state of Wei was too small to be 
able to bear the expense of two ruling families, but to this base 
proposal she would not consent. She gives vent to her feelings 
in this poem. The allusion to the brothers would seem to confirm 
this theory, but Chu Hsi, whom I follow on this occasion, conr 
tends that the subject of this and the four following ballads was 
Chuang Chiang ^ ^, the wife of Duke Chuang ^, a lady of 
the Ch'i family by birth. She had no family, but Tai Kuei ^ Jg, 
one of the cousins (see No. 1 1 of the last book), who accompanied 


Of girls about the palace mock and jeer, 
Insulting me at will with laugh and sneer. 

Have I then no more feeling than a stone, 
To be thus spurned, despised, and left alone. 
As though I were his mat, and only meet 
For him to trample underneath his feet ? 

My mind is not a mirror, on whose face 
Impressions seen remain a second's space. 
Ah, no, they sink within, and there remain, 
Tormenting me with anguish, grief and pain. 

Day after day goes by. The moon and sun 
In order due their course appointed run. 
But bring me no remission from my pain. 
If robes are left uncleansed, each spot and stain 
Grows darker still and darker. Grief and woe 
Become each day more hard to undergo. 
By night I wake, and, starting, beat my heart, 
Longing to flee away and be at rest. 

her to the harem of her husband, bore the Duke a son, who was 
adopted by Chuang Chiang and declared the heir. Unfortunately 
the Duke's affections strayed towards an inferior member of the 
harem, the mother of Chou Yii >[|] pp, who afterwards murdered 
his half-brother, the rightful heir. I think that this ballad and 
Nos. 2, 4 and 5 of this book refer to the sorrow which his un- 
faithfulness caused her. The complaints seem to be those of a 
woman rather than of a man. Her admission that she has dainties 
to feast on, wine to drink, and license to roam where she pleases 
would surely never be spoken by a man. The mean creatures 
who insult her are the members of the harem. 

I think that a needless difficulty has been introduced as to the 
meaning of the first eight characters in the Chinese version of the 
fifth stanza. I construe them, " Oh sun, oh moon, why do you ' 
alternate and wane? " in other words, " Oh sun and moon, you 
run your appointed course." Dr. Legge understands that the 
inferior moon had taken the place of the superior sun, a metaphor 
for unworthy men supplanting the worthy. 

I should guess that this poem contains the earliest mention of 
a mirror on record. 


No. 2. 


'Tis said that yellow is a hue 

For monarchs fit, while sickly green 
Is but a colour vile and mean, 

A yellow tainted deep with blue. 


The yellow robe he throws aside, 
Or hides it 'neath the green above. 
My lord allows a worthless love 

To oust me, once his faithful bride. 


How quickly his affection strays : 
'Tis like a dress, for summer heat 
Sufficient wear, but quite unmeet 

To shield me in these wintry days. 

Yet hard as is my lot in life, 

I'll think upon the queens of yore, 

Who patiently all insults bore. 
And prove, as they, a constant wife. 

No. 2. 

This ballad, no doubt, describes the grief of Chuang Chiang 
(see the last piece), when the marquis, her husband, forsook her 
■ for the mother of Chou Yii. 

Yellow, now the imperial colour in China, is one of the 
' correct,' which word apparently means here primary, colours. 
Green, as one of the secondary or incorrect colours, is inferior. 


No 3. 


She, who for many years has been my friend, 

A gentle one and kind, and most sincere, 
Departs for her own country, and an end 

Has come to all I once considered dear. 
Decorous was her person ; though one love 

We shared, no jealous doubt nor angry hate 
Could e'er disturb her ; nay she rather strove 

My zeal and care for him to stimulate. 
Far did I journey southwards, ere ' good byes ' 

Were uttered. Then she left me, and in vaift 
I gazed at her departing, for my eyes 

Were blinded by the tears that fell like rain. 
I watched the swallows in their flickering flight ; 

They too go southwards when the summer's o'er. 
They will return when spring is warm and bright ; 

But my beloved friend comes back no more. 

No. 3. 

I have mentioned in my notes on the first piece in this book 
that Chuang Chiang herself was childless, but that her cousin 
Tai Kuei ^^ bore her husband a son, who was made heir to 
the Dukedom of Wei. He succeeded his father, and was known as 
Duke Huan (;g J^). In e.g. 718 he was murdered by his half- 
brother, Chou Yii ^i|>| Pf , who apparently retained Chuang 
Chiang as Dowager Duchess, but sent Tai Kuei home to her 
native state. The above poem describes the parting between 
the two friends. 

This curious state of affairs — the chief wife of a Prince living 
in perfect amity with another wife who is the mother of the heir- 
apparent — has been repeated of late years in China. The 
Empress, the chief wife of the Emperor Hsien Feng, a.d. 185 i- 
1861, had no family, but one of the inferior consorts bore a son, 
who was the Emperor Tung Chih, 1862-1874. If reports are 
to be believed, these two ladies (both of whom bore the title of 


No. 4. 



Oh golden sun, oh silver moon, 
Our rulers in the world above, 

From you I humbly crave a boon, 
Restore to me my husband's love. 

My parents dear, ye little thought, 

- When first you gave me to his care. 
Your well-loved daughter would be brought 
Such cold neglect and scorn to bear. 

It is not that with words unkind 

He makes me curse my wretched lot ; 
But, from his wavering fickle mind, 

I'm cast away and clean forgot. 

Empress, the motherless one being the eastern, and the mother 
the western, Empress) lived together on the best of terms, until the 
death of the eastern Empress in 1881. 

No. 4. 

All agree that this ballad refers to Chuang Chiang, and to her 
treatment by her husband, but some of the commentators go out 
of their way to try to make out that it was written after Duke 
Chuang's death, and that Chuang Chiang's lament is retrospective. 
" Oh, that my husband had not been so fickle ! " I suppose that 
their reason for bringing forward this theory is that this poem 
follows the ballad descriptive of Chuang Chiangs parting with 
Tai Kuei. 

The commentators applaud the lady's appeal to the sun and 
moon. Appealing to them, they say, is a more respectful pro- 
ceeding on her part than abusing her husband to his face. 


No. 5. 


To what shall I liken my husband's mind ? 
It changes and veers like a fickle wind ; 
Like an evil wind, which, whene'er it blows. 
Bears nought on its wings but unnumbered woes. 

At first he smiles, and I think surcease 
Of sorrow is coming, and joy and peace ; 
Till I find that his smile is a sneer unkind, 
And I shrink as if chilled by a nipping wind. 

Then he utters perchance a half-loving word, 
And my heart as by zephyrs of spring is stirred ; 
But it is not the zephyr's delightful gustj 
'Tis the dread north-west wind with clouds of dust. 

Despairing, away to my couch I creep. 
But the thoughts of his cruelty banish sleep, 
Like the south wind forcing each pulse to beat, 
As we gasp and pant 'mid its sulphurous heat. 

No. 5- 

Here, again, the subject of the ballad is undoubtedly Chuang 
Chiang ; and the commentators, for the most part, admit that 
Duke Chuang, her husband, is the person against whom she 
brings her complaint, though some say that Chou Yii is the 
person. Chu Hsi says, very justly, that the conduct complained 
of is the insolence of an elder or superior, rather than the 
impertinence of an inferior or junior. 

Residents in China, especially in Central China, will appreciate 
these allusions to the wind. A north-west wind in winter, or in 


No. 6. 

I heard the drums, as through the camp 
The soldiers moved with martial tramp. 
The easier duties on them fall. 
They dig the trench, they raise the wall ; 
They are not forced, as I, to roam 
Far from their wives, their friends, their home. 


When first the King did war declare. 
Did I not come his toil to share .' 
I fondly hoped when this was o'er 
To see my loving wife once more. 
In vain ; again he bade me go 
To face in hopeless mood the foe. 

the early spring, when the dust is blowing, is infinitely worse 
than a north-easter in England. A south or south-westerly wind 
at night in July or August, say at Hankow, will certainly banish 
all sleep and leave one gasping and panting. Crede Experto. 

No. 6. 

I think that this poem is made much more dramatic by trans- 
lating the subject of it in the singular rather than in the plural, 
as Dr. Legge does. 

It is stated that in B.C. 718, the Government of Wei (which of 
course included P'ei) having made an alliance with the states of 
Simg ^ Chen ^ and Ts'ai ^ , attacked the state of Ch'ing g|^ . 
It is believed that Chou Yic instigated these wars to divert the 
attention of his subjects from his crimes and misgovernment. 
The first expedition only lasted five days. The second was an 
incursion in the autumn, in order to carry off the fruits of the 
harvest. It was attended or followed by a mutiny, which 
Chou Yu put down with a strong hand. This poem is evidently 
indicative of the disaffection of the troops, nor is it impossible 


Defeated, weak, and sore distrest, 
I fain would snatch one moment's rest. 
Here in this forest wild my steed 
Has failed me at my utmost need, 
My only hope of safety gone, 
I die forsaken and alone. 

Think not, dear wife, I prove untrue, 
Or break the oath once made to you. 
When, your hands laid in mine, I swore 
To love you fondly evermore. 
Though death be near, still let me be 
True to my vow, and true to thee. 


Though seven stalwart sons are we. 
To one dear mother born ; 

Her heart from pain we cannot free. 
Left in this world forlorn 

And widowed, finding no relief, 

She cannot chase away her grief. 

that it may have been used to stir them up to mutiny. Were it 
not for the first stanza, I should be inclined to look on the 
soldier, who is the subject of the piece, as a deserter pure and 

In order to avoid the use of Chinese words in my translation 
as much as possible, I say, " They dig the trench, they raise the 
wall." Chinese scholars will note that the wall in question was 
that of Ts'ao "^ , a city of Wei., and at one time its capital. The 
Chinese version further mentions that the general in command 
of the troops was Sun Tzu Chung ^ ■^ fi^ • Nothing notice- 
able seems known about him. 


The balmy breezes of the spring 

Make green each tender spray. 
And through the woods the orioles sing, 

As on the boughs they play. 
No consolation they impart 
To our dear mother's suffering heart. 

Oh ! would we were a springing pool, 

That she from us might take 
Refreshing waters, clear and cool. 

Her burning thirst to slake. 
But no, though she is wise and good, 
Her sons are but a useless brood. 

No. 7. 

This quaint and curious ballad has, so far as is known, no 
direct reference to any particular mother, or to any family of 
sons. The commentators therefore fall back on generalities, and 
say that the principality of P'ei or Wei was so badly ruled that 
even a mother blessed with seven sons was unhappy. They do 
not say for certain what the poor lady was distressed about, but 
they are inclined to discard the natural and easy interpretation 
that she could not get over the loss of her husband, and that the 
sons admit with sorrow that their existence is not sufficient to 
compensate her for her loss. They introduce the utterly 
unfounded theory that the widow's distress was her desire to 
marry again, from which intention her sons would fain dissuade 

Liu Yiian scouts the usually accepted notion that the sons long 
to be like the waters of some cool and wholesomely refreshing 
pool, and declares that the sons liken themselves to a certain 
piece of water whose coldness was so intense that it was dan- 
gerous to drink of it, or even to water the crops with it. This 
spring was near the city of Tsun ^ , in what is now the depart- 
ment of Ts'ao Chou \1^ Jij^ . 


No. 8. 


It flies with an easy untroubled flight. 

This fearless pheasant. I watch and say, 
" With its martial crest and its plumage bright 

'Tis the type of my husband now far away." 


I think, as my eyes with the tears are wet. 
Ere my noble husband returns again. 

That many a sun must arise and set, 
And many a moon must wax and wane. 

But ye know, ye princes, who rule the state, 

There is never a man as pure as he, 
With a soul so clear of all malice and hate, 

From greedy desire of gold so free. 

No. 8. 

The commentators assign this piece to the time of Duke 
Hsiian ^ , who succeeded Chou Yii as ruler of Wei, and reigned 
from B.C. 718 to 699. His reign was a troublous one, but there 
is nothing in the ballad itself to show when it was written. 

I sometimes think that if it is decided to place a Chinese 
inscription on the pedestal of the statue erected to General 
Gordon, no fitter one could be found than the last stanza of this 
poem. Translated literally it is, " Ye princes of the kingdom, 
know ye not his virtuous conduct ! He hates not, he covets 
not. What is there that he has been called on to do that is not 


No. 9. 

" In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to 
thoughts of love." 

He speaks — 
Now the winter's gone and over, and the waters which divide 
Us true lovers, are now running with a high and swollen tide. 
The gourds are still too heavy to support a swimmer's 

Yet I'll dare the angry river, and defy both death and fate. 
If I find the crossing shallow I will doff my clothes and 

wade ; 
And to swim, if it be deeper, shall a lover be afraid ? 
I will say, to soothe my darling, if my danger makes her fret. 
That the axle of my carriage at the ford was scarcely wet. 
Did you hear the pheasant calling .' It was for her mate 

she cried ; 
So my love would call her lover to cross over to her side. 

No one would guess, after reading the above ballad, that it was 
directed against the licentious manners of Wei, in the time of 
Duke Hsuan, but this is what the commentators and Dr. Legge 
assert. Liu Yiian has a wonderful theory that the whole piece is 
a metaphorical allusion to a man of rank, who is called on to 
take office, which he does not wish to do. But this interpreta- 
tion is altogether too strained to be worthy of consideration. 

The division of the ballad into two parts, making the first two 
stanzas (of the original) the words of the lover, and the remainder 
of the poem those of the young lady, is my own idea. I think 
that this device solves most of the " difficulties of the piece, 
though the first two stanzas are decidedly obscure. The two 
first lines are, " The gourd has [still] bitter leaves, but the cross- 
ing at the ford is deep." I am content to take the meaning to 
be what I have expressed in my verses. The description of the 
ford is terribly confused. One line says that it is full to over- 
flowing, and the next but one that it will not wet the axle of the 
carriage. The lover says that if it is deep he will get across. 


She speaks — 

Long before the ice was melted and the frost had passed 

I received the appointed token at the earliest dawn of day 
Now the ferryman is waiting, and he beckons with his hand 
To his passengers to hasten. Tliey may hasten, here I stand. 
It is right for them to hurry, but I bide in patience here, 
For I will not stir a footstep till I see my love appear. 

No. lo. 


The spring wind blowing brings up clouds and rain. 
To glad the thirsty fields and quench their drought. 
Alas that harmony should disappear. 
And angry feeling in its stead prevail. 

clothes and all, which I suppose means that he will swim across 
in his clothes, and that if it is shallow he will hold up his gar- 
ments and wade. The general conclusion to be drawn from this 
mixed state of affairs is doubtless that he intends to get across by 
hook or by crook. His statement that his carriage axle shall not 
get wet may either mean that he will be independent of such a 
vehicle, or what I have put in the translation. 

The " appointed token," mentioned by the lady, was a live 
wild goose, with its harmonious notes. Tastes differ as to the 
musical powers of the goose. At Amoy I was appealed to, in my 
official capacity, by a Parsee gentleman to abate the nuisance 
occasioned by " the yells and howHng of the geese " next door, 
which, as he described it, " deprived him of rest by day, and 
rendered his bed comfortless at night.'' 

No. 10. 
The " mustard plant " and radish are, I think, pretty accurate 
translations of ^ Feng and |p Fei. 

" \, his wife, 
Am but a thistle, she a dainty herb. 
Nay, verily, I am as sweet as she." 
A literal translation would be, " Who says that the thistle is 



Nought have I done to soil his honoured name, 
Or lose my right to live with him till death, 
Yet he rejects me as a useless weed. 
A weed-like shoot may yet prove wholesome food, 
Such as the radish and the mustard plant. 

Though once he swore that we the paths of life 
Should tread together, at the door he turned, 
And left me to pursue the road alone ; 
And slowly, wearily, I tread the way. 
Another love he takes, with her he feasts 
As though she were his brother. I, his wife, 
Am but a thistle, she a dainty herb. 
Nay, verily, I am as sweet as she. 

Thus have I seen a clear and limpid stream 
Made thick and turbid, when another comes 
To mingle muddy waters with its flow. 
Yet where the isles are gladdened by its waves, 
The mud drops down, the stream is clear once more. 
She shall not share in any household toil. 
Though little do I care, since he rejects 
The person of his once respected wife. 

bitter ? It is as sweet as the ' shepherd's purse ' " [the seeds of 
of which are supposed to be sweet]. 

The lines about the rivers are very obscure. A literal transla- 
tion would, in my opinion, be, " The Ching is muddied by 
the Wei, (botli rivers are affluents of the Yellow River. To 
distinguish the Ching from the Wei is a phrase often used in 
despatch language to mean, ' To distinguish right from wrong, or 
truth from falsehood,') but is rendered clear by the islands." 
This, I take it, is a metaphorical way of saying, " Which of us is 
the better, the new love or the old, will be shown as soon as 
anything happens to interrupt the usual course of life." 

" She shall not share in any household toil," may be amplified, 
if the reader prefers it, into, 

" Let her not touch my fish weirs, move my creels." 

The crossing of rivers, and so on, is no doubt only to be taken 

One might have expected that the Chinese commentators 


Was I e'er thwarted by an obstacle ? 
Wide rivers have I crossed by boat or raft, 
And swam or dived across the swollen streams. 
Which of his interests did I e'er neglect ? 
Nay, more ; to make my husband loved by all. 
If there was sorrow in a neighbour's house 
I crept at once to comfort and to help. 

My care and toil to him are nothing worth, — 
A pedlar's wretched wares, which do not sell. 
Perchance he hates me all the more for them. 

Once we were poor, and then I shared with you 
The stings of poverty and hunger's pangs. 
But now, when wealth and plenteousness abound. 
You look on me as poison in your cup. 
And all the gear I gathered with such pains 
You waste in feasting with your newer love ; 
While I, forgotten, spurned, and cast aside. 
Meet nought but scorn and angry insolence. 

No. II. 



Exiles we for your sake, oh sire, 

Shelterless in the dew and rain. 
Nought for a couch, but the mud and mire. 

Take us back to our homes again. 

would have assigned this poem to some lady of distinction, and 
I am rather surprised that they have not done so. Perhaps the 
want of submission, humility and reticence, on the part of the 
lady induces them to believe, that she was no example of female 
virtue. They content themselves with saying that a low state of 
morality was prevalent in the State of Wei and its dependencies. 

No. II. 
The prince addressed in this fragment is said by the commen- 

E 2 


No. 12. 


When first we arrived, those creepers, 

Whose joints are now large and strong, 
Were but little shoots on the hill side ; 

We have waited for help so long. 


Ye said when we came as exiles. 
Ye would aid us to fight our fray, 

Are ye weak by yourselves, or is there 
Some cause for this great delay .■" 

Though our robes may be worn and ragged, 

We swear, when the fight is o'er, 
We will send you with all due honour 

To your home in the East once more. 

tators to be the Marquis of Li ^ , a State to the westward of 
Wei. His domain had been overrun by the Ti ^ , Kansuh 
aborigines, until he and his people were driven to retreat into 
the Wei country, where they were allowed to inhabit two towns, 
Mao ^ and Chuan ^ . Some say that pfi ^ Chung Lie, 
" in the dew," and ^ t^ Ni Chung, " in the mire," are the 
names of towns. Such an interpretation would not have much 
meaning in the ballad. 

No. 12. 
" Those creepers " are once more the dolichos creepers. 
" We will send you with all due honour 
To your home in the East once more," 
is an amplification of four Chinese characters meaning, " Shall 
not your chariots go eastward," for I think that the verb should 
be understood in the future tense, not in the past, as it is usually 
translated. (See Dr. Legge's note here.) 

This piece, no doubt, refers to the same circumstances as those 


But ye treat us as men defeated, 

O'ercome, dispersed by the foe. 
Ye are deaf in your wealth and splendour 

To our sorrow and bitter woe. 

No. 13. 

They set me to dance with an easy grace 

At noon in the palace court. 
I brandish a feather before my face, 

Or else with a fan I sport. 


Though my thews are so strong that the wildest steed, 

When I hold his reins, will stand, 
I must dance, and when flushed in the dance my meed 

Is a draught from the duke's own hand. 

alluded to in the last poem, viz., the inhabitants oi Li taking 
refuge from the barbarian invaders in the country of Wei. They 
were anxious to get back to their own land, but the natives of 
Wei did not seem inclined to help them to accomplish this. 

No. 13. 

This poem seems to need little explanation, but the commen- 
tators have, according to their wont, gone out of- their way to 
introduce needless difficulties.. They agree that the subject of it 
is an officer of Wei during the time of its misgovernment, who 
was set to dance, instead of being employed as his talents 
deserved. The men of the West, for whom he pines, are said to 
be the rulers of the house of Chou, who lived 300 and 400 years 
back. Surely it is more natural and likely that the man who 
gives vent to his complaint was a man who had come from the 
West, probably from the Li country, to the land of Wei, and found 
himself driven to this degrading occupation. 


The hill-grown hazels I long to see, 

And the flowers, which the streamlets lave, 
In the West, where a warrior bold like me 

Is a warrior, not a slave. 

No. 14. 
" Its hame, hame, hame : its hame I fain wad be.' 

Ye happy waters, up-springing clear. 

Ye flow to the land of Wei. 
Ye traverse my native country dear. 
Which, banished from home for many a year, 

I long for by night and day. 

My cousins shall aid me, they came with me 

As my mates. Ah I little knew 
When the cup of parting we drank at Ni, 
When we said farewells as we entered Chi, 
'Twas my parents' last adieu. 

A sapient Chinese "writer," or "moonsKee," remarked to me, 
when we came to the passage concerning the dancer getting 
flushed in the dance, " Ah, he could not have been as strong as 
he thought himself, or the exertion would not have made him 
red in the face." 

No. 14. 

This little piece depicts the feeling of a lady of the State of 
Wei, probably a member of the Ducal family, who was married 
in another State, and is home-sick for a sight of her old home, 
where her parents have died. My version is a very free para- 
phrase of the original. 


Though they have gone from the light of day, 

Some loving ones still remain. 
Oh blame me not if I fain would stray 
To the Fei Ch'uan's banks in the land of Wei, 

And visit them once again. 

A goblet we'd drain, as we left these lands, 

We would laugh at our grief and woe. 
The axles I'd oil with my own white hands. 
And I'd tie the pin with its leathern bands, 

That our horses might quickly go. 

The commentators make the most important phrase of the 
poem the ,one which I have translated, " Oh, blame me not," 
but which is usually taken to mean, " Would not this be wrong ? " 
They say it is all very well for a lady to return home to visit her 
parents when they are still alive, but when they are dead she 
must not renew familiar intercourse with her brothers, nor eat at 
the same table with them. She knows this, and though she longs 
to go home again, she is too virtuous to carry her wishes into 
action. I need not say that this is scarcely my view of her 

ChH ^ , which, in the Chinese version, is the river to which 
the waters flow, and Fei Ch'uan ^ ^ are rivers of Wei, and 
CM ^ and Ni ||i towns in the same State. Four other towns 
•^ Kan, -g Yen, ^ Hsii, and j'lg' Ts'ao, are also mentioned 
in the original. I am more inclined to apologize for inserting 
Chi and Ni than omitting the others, for, if I could help it, I 
would introduce no Chinese names in my verses, but the Use of 
them cannot always be avoided . 


No. 15. 

A double load of trouble and care, 
As I journey northwards, I'm forced to bear. 
From duty the monarch ne'er sets me free. 
And the weight of his empire falls on me. 
Opposed and thwarted at every turn 
No profit, nor honour, nor wealth I earn. 
Ah what can I do, for it is not given 
To us to resist the decrees of heaven. 

But worse befalls, when I homeward fare,- 
No kindly welcome awaits me there. 
No comfort will one of my friends impart, 
To dispel my sorrow and cheer my heart. 
But even my brothers are prompt to blame ; 
Each strives to be first to inflict the shame. 
Ah what can I do, for it is not given 
To us to resist the decrees of heaven. 

No. 15. 

The subject of the poem is no doubt an officer of the State of 
Wei. Commentators find in his journey northwards, wherein he 
goes from the South, the region of light, to the North, the region 
of darkness, an allusion to the country going from bad to worse. 
They also assert that his family quarrel with him, because he is 
too high-minded to enrich them at the expense of the State. 


No. i6. 

Chilly blows the north wind ; 

Thickly falls the snow. 
Tried and trusty comrades 

Hand in hand we'll go. 

See the wily foxes, 
See the cunning crow. 

Beasts of better omen 
Left this long ago. 


Hard our care and urgent ; 

Why should we delay } 
Let us mount our chariots, 

Friends, and haste away. 

No. i6. 

The commentators insist that this is a poem setting forth the 
misgovernment of Wei, and that the mention of the north wind and 
snow must be taken in a metaphorical sense. For my own part 
I am inclined to think that the men of Zi are again the subject 
of the poem. They are the only persons who would naturally 
express a wish to depart without hinting what their destination 
was to be. 


No. 17. 

She is lovely and modest and shy, 
My darling. She promised to wait 

'Neath the wall till I came. Tell me why 
She should tease me by coming so late. 


She gave me a reed rosy red. 

Though its colour I highly admire, 
Let her give me herself in her stead, 

For 'tis she whom I love and desire. 


A ribbon grass cluster to me 
She gave. It was delicate, rare ; 

But no grace in the gift can I see 

With the giver's own grace to compare. 

No. 17. 

The red reed and the cluster of ribbon grass are, in my opinion, 
nothing more than love-tokens, such as a girl might give her 
sweetheart with the intention of provoking just the sort of loving 
and complimentary remarks which the young man makes in the 
ballad. This view is, of course, too simple for our friends the com- 
mentators. Chu Hsi says that the poem describes an improper 
assignation, an example of the depraved manners of the period. 
Mao Ch'i ling indulges in a series of allegorical flights, endeavour- 
ing to prove that the piece shows what the Prince's wife ought to 
be, but was not. (See Dr. Legge's exhaustive notes.) Liu Yiian 
is inclined to follow Mao, declaring that the whole poem is a 
lament that good young ladies were so scarce. He, too, launches 
out into a few extravagances. The lover is the Duke. The lady, 
his bride, was to meet him at the corner of the wall, i.e. in the 
most secluded spot in the harem, but she is too delightfully modest 


No. 18. 


A crafty fisherman a snare may set, 
And catch a goose entangled in the net. 
This hunchback thus contrived a trap to lay, 
Another's bride he seized and bore away. 
Beside the stream that lofty tower he built 
Where he might safely perpetrate his guilt. 
No pleasant mate the lady found. Alas, 
She gained instead this viciou.s bloated mass. 

even to go there without keeping him waiting. The red reed is 
_a pencil which indicates that she was a lady of learning ; the 
white grass a species of ' everlasting,' or ' immortelle,' presented 
in token of her fidelity, and so on ; the whole gist being that 
the Duke ought to take example from the virtues of his wife. 

The expression ' red reed ' is sometimes used in complimentary 
notes as a euphuistic phrase for the wife of the person addressed. 

No. 18. 

The events alluded to in this piece scarcely admit of question. 
Duke Hsiian § (b.c. 718-699), before he succeeded to the 
Dukedom, incestuously married his father's concubine ^ ^ 
Yi Chiang, by whom he had a son named Chi j^ (otherwise 
written ^). This son, in course of time, was betrothed to a lady 
of the State of Ch'i ^, whose name was Hsiian Chiang ^ ^, 
but the Duke, influenced by the reports of the lady's beauty, had 
a tower built on the banks of the Yellow River, where he might 
keep her captive. He seized her on her arrival within his domains, 
and carried her off to this tower. By her he became the father of 
twin sons, whose adventures will be recorded in the next ballad. 

One can imagine this doggerel lampoon passing from one man 
to another, or being placarded on walls, if the art of writing was in 
existence then. 


No. 19. 

The two, youths journeyed down the stream ; 

I noted as they left the shore, 
Their shadows on the waters gleam, 

Ah ! shall we ever see them more > 


I saw their two skiffs disappear ; 

I watch for them in vain, and say, 
As they return not, " Much I fear, 

Some danger met them on the way." 

No. 19. 

I mentioned in my notes on the last ballad that Duke Hsiian 
was the father of twin sons by Hsiian Chiang, the betrothed of 
his son Chi. The name of one twin was Shou *, of the other 
So ^. Shou was devotedly attached to his half-brother Chi, 
but his mother and So had long plotted to put Chi out of the way, 
in order that So might be the heir-apparent. Duke Hsiian con- 
nived at the plot, and arranged to send Chi on a mission to the 
state of CKi, and to have him waylaid and murdered on the road. 
Shou, getting wind of this design, vainly urged his half-brother to 
save himself, and failing in this, stole his credentials, started in 
his stead and was killed. Chi finding him gone, followed him to 
save his life, but was too late, and only shared his fate. Hence 
this ballad. 


Book IV. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the country of 


I have mentioned in my Prefatory Note on Book III. 
that the two States of P^ei and Yung ^ were swallowed 
up in Wei. Yung was the southern portion of Wei, and 
lay where is now the north-eastern portion of Honan. 

It will be found that the persons who are the subjects of 
the pieces in this book, as far as' they can be identified, 
are those who are mentioned in the last. 


No. I. 


When my love and I were betrothed, we were but a youth- 
ful pair. 

He was nothing more than a boy, with his two soft tufts 
of hair. 

But ere we were wed death took him. Away from our 
midst he passed ; 

No other mate will I marry, — I swear it, — while life shall 

Oh, mother ! why do you tempt me ? I am left as a boat 

on the tide, 
To be borne about on the current, and drifted from side 

to side. 
Trust me and help me, mother. 'Tis an ill deed you bid 

me do, 
To forget my betrothed in his grave, and be to my oath 


No. I. 

The 'two soft tufts of hair' prove that the man, whose loss 
was bewailed by the lady, was a mere lad. I have therefore 
taken him to be her betrothed and not her husband. The hair 
of a youth was dressed in two tufts, which, when he came of age 
were plaited into one large knot. Chinese children of the present 
day have their hair treated in the same way, until sufficient growth 
has come to make a queue. The ancients, it is said, shaved oft 
the left tuft if the boy's father died, and the right, if he lost his 

There is nothing to show that the ballad refers to anyone in 
particular, and my own opinion is that the subject of it was only 
a young woman of the people. " The Little Preface," however, 
&?,%\g\\^\'i.\.o Kung Chiang ^ ||, the widow of .^««^ /'c? Jt /a' 


No, 2. 


Each stone upon the palace wall is starred 

With fibres of the burr weed long and trailing. 

To crush this pest, whereby our work is marred, 
All skill is unavailing. 

Nor shall the guilt, and that polluting crime 

That stains the harem — not to be related — 
By any art, until the end of time, 

Be ever expiated. 

who was the son of Marquis Hsi U ■^ (b.c. 854-813). The 
great objection — in my mind an unsurmountable one — to this theory 
is that Kung Fo's younger brother was 40, when Kung Po himself 
died, which would make the latter older still, and anything but a 
lad with two soft tufts of hair, although Mao Ch'i ling does attempt 
to solve the difficulty by saying that the two tufts denote that 
Kung Po had not yet succeeded to his inheritance. 

No. 2. 

I have translated ^ Tzii as ' burr weed,' which I hope is near 
enough for the English reader. Tribulus is Dr. Legge's translation. 

We have seen already how Duke Hsiian first committed incest 
with his father's consort, and afterwards ravished Hsiian Chiang, 
the betrothed of his own son. As if these horrors were insufficient, 
it is said that Hsiian Chiang, in her turn, formed an incestuous 
connection with her stepson j^ Huan. The commentators say 
that it was this last crime which gave rise to these ominous 


No. 3. 


The cloud-like masses of her own black hair 
Across her white brow, and her temples fall. 

Soft as stream waters is this goddess fair, 
Though like a mountain tall. 


Above her limpid eyes six jewels shine. 

And golden hair-pins deck her hair in rows ; 

And broidered well in rich and rare design 
Her sweeping garment flows. 

With finest linen are her limbs bedight. 

And well this splendid gear does she beseem, 
As by her head the jade-stone earrings bright 

And ivory comb-pins gleam. 


But surely 'tis a crime to be abhorred. 

E'en in a princess, fairest of the fair. 
To cast aside all memory of her lord. 

Such glittering gauds to wear. 

No. 3. 
Although Hsiian Chiang is not mentioned by name in the 
poem, there is little doubt that it refers to her when her husband 
was dead, and she was carrying on an incestuous intrigue with 
her stepson. Her gorgeous apparel, described in the verses, 
denotes that she was engaged in conducting the sacrificial rites 
in the ancestral temple. Liu Yiian states that the first of the three 
stanzas of the Chinese version (I have mixed up the contents of 
the various stanzas in my very loose translation) shows that Hsiian 
Chiang failed in her duty to her husband, and the other two that 


No. 4. 

In Mei are beauteous maidens three, 

Each eldest of her line ; 
The first one is a Chiang of Ch'i, 
The next a Yung, the third a Yi, 
And all are mates of mine. 

she failed in her duty to heaven, though I am at a loss to under- 
stand how the latter is proved. 

For fuller details and explanations of the lady's adornments 
I must again refer the reader to Dr. Legge's valuable notes. 

No. 4. 

The two Chinese words which I make into the one English 
word " herbs " are the Tang ^ Dodder, and the Eeng ^ Mustard 

I have found myself quite unable to steer clear of Chinese names 
on this occasion. ,The three surnames are those of noble or 
ruling families of the time. The places mentioned are all places 
in the State of Wei. 

All the Chinese commentators are full of apologies for Con- 
fucius, who allowed a piece of such abominable sentiments to be 
included in his collection. Dr. Legge follows them, and does not 
contradict Chu Hsi, who speaks of the hero of the ballad as " the 
adulterer." Dr. Legge eventually draws the conclusion that the 
object of the piece was "to deride the licentiousness which pre- 
vailed in the State of Wei." Why should we go beyond the 
simple meaning of the words ? To begin with, in those early days 
Chinese women were given much more liberty than they possess 
now. To go no further than this Classic, we have ample proof 
that a lad might meet a lass in the field without incurring blame or 
suspicion. The zenana all over Asia is an invention of post pri- 
maeval times. 

" In those far off primseval days 
Fair India's daughters were not pent 
In closed zenanas." 

Savitri, by ToRU Dutt. 


To pluck the herbs or wheat I stray, 

And laugh in mirthful glee. 
For all my thoughts are far away ; 

I think upon the three. 
Each damsel promised in Shang-chung 
That she would meet me in Shang-kung, 

With me to cross the Ch'i. 

Let us modernise this ballad and see how it will read. 

Three beauteous maids in town I see, 

Each eldest of her line. 
A Howard this, a Talbot she, 
A Vere de Vere completes the three; 

And all are loves of mine. 

As through the Regent's Park I stray, 

I laugh in merry glee. 
But all my thoughts are far away ; 

I think upon the three. 
Each maiden promised in the " Zoo '' 
That she would meet me down at Kew, 

And cross the Thames with me. 

Is this so very shocking ? Is it calculated to raise a blush on 
the most modest cheek ? I think not. But if the young man's 
conduct was really too reprehensible. for Confucius to record it, 
there is no reason why we should not take the subject of each of 
the three original stanzas as a separate individual, and make the 
poem a " Corydon and Meliboeus " piece. Thus A says, " My 
love is a Miss Chiang, and I have won her favour." B says the 
same of Miss Yi, and C of Miss Yung. 


No. 5. 


The quail, to guard his mate when danger 's near, 
Will boldly face the foe and show no fear ; 
The magpie, too, will fight, and do her best 
To save her young ones and protect her pest. 

If man or woman be all dissolute, 
Let me prefer to them the bird or brute ; 
I will not call them brothers, when they fail 
To show the virtue owned by pie or quail. 

No. S. 

The man who speaks in this poem is said to be Prince So 
(see the notes on No. 19 of the last book) of all persons in the 

The latter half of each of two stanzas of which the Chinese 
version is composed, translated literally is, "When anyone is not 
virtuous I will not call him (stanza i) brother or (stanza 2) 
ruler." Dr. Legge boldly translates ^S- Chun, which, as we shall 
see as we go on, has many meanings, ' Marchioness.' The 
commentators say that the ' brother ' in this place means Huan, 
SSs half-brother (see the notes on No. 2 of this book), and the 
' Ruler ' Hsiian Chiang. Surely the fact that So was a fratricide 
and a villain of the worst dye himself is sufficient proof that he is 
not the moralist of the poem. I think that the ballad is just a 
moral lesson drawn from natural history, and I have so trans- 
lated it. 


No. 6. 


When the autumn harvest was over, and the harvesting 

tools laid by, 
And the stars of Pegasus shone at eve in the southern sky, 
By Wen, our faithful ruler, was the palace building begun. 
He laid out a noble mansion to face the noontide sun ; 
He climbed the old city walls, and ascended each lofty 

To find for his future palace the most auspicious site. 
And hazel trees and chestnuts he set for his people's need, 
And boxwood to furnish music, and mulberries silken 


No. 6. 
This poem is of historical value as indicating the fortunes of the 
State of Wei. The last ruler mentioned in this book was So. 
He died in e.g. 668, and was succeeded by his son ^ Ch'ih, 
who reigned as Duke / 1^. 7^. He died in battle against the 
barbarous tribes in B.C. 659, and after his death the State of Wei 
was almost exterminated. The people chose the late duke's 
uncle as their ruler. He was Duke Tai ^, but he died in less 
than a year, and was succeeded by his brother Wei ;^, who ruled 
as Duke W^n '^, and is the hero of this ballad. He established 
his capital, as described in the poem, at Ts'u ^, in the modern 
district of |^ g^ , Ch'tng Wu in Shantung. I have drawn exten- 
sively on Dr. Legge's notes again. 

" The boxwood to furnish music," covers the names of four 
trees which are given in the original. So far as I can arrive at 
their names by the aid of Pfere Zottoli and Dr. Legge, I judge 
them to be the ' Catalpa Ksempferi,' the ' Euphorbia or Paulounia,' 
the ' Bignonia,' and the "Varnish tree or ' Rhus Vernicifera,' all of 
which were used in the manufacture of lutes. "Considerations of 
metre have driven me to leave them out of my verses. Dr. Legge 
boldly meets the difficulty which I shirk by giving them the 
Chinese names. 

" He planted many a tree. 

Hazels and Chestnuts, Tung and Tsze and E. 

And Varnish trees," — 


Then a solemn divination he made with the mystic shell, 
And the issue declared that the Duke had chosen wisely 

and well. 
When refreshing rain had fallen, our prince, no lover of ease. 
Would rise ere the stars had faded to visit his growing 

trees ; 
And there amid the fields he had planted, he took his stand 
To view three thousand steeds that were grazing about his 

Nor was wealth his only guerdon. There was many a man 

to dare 
To try to copy his lord in his zeal and his loving care. 

but the worst of this method is that the words convey no meaning 
to the English reader. 

The word in the original for ' steeds ' is said to mean a horse 
seven feet high and upwards. As the Chinese foot is fourteen 
English inches, this would make the horses over twenty-four hands 
high. I asked a Chinese writer how the riders managed to mount 
them. He replied that men too were taller then. 

The Chinese of the last couplet is rather obscure. Dr. Legge 
translates it, " But not only thus did he show that he was 
maintaining in his heart a profound devotion to his duties." 
Zottoli, " Nee tantum hominibus servat animum sincerum et 
profundum." I prefer to make it, " Nor was he the only man 
who did his duty with his whole heart." 

The following passage from the Odyssey (xix. 107) should be 
compared with this ballad : 

"flcrre Tci; ^ /Jao'iX'^os d/Au^uovos octe ^covSijs 
"AvSpacriv iv TroXXoicn Koi l(f>6ifj,0Lmv dvacrtrwi' 
'EvStKias avixqcri, (jteptja-i 8e yuia /xiXaiva 
Ilvpovs Koi KpiOas, PpWr)cn h\ SevSpea Kapiru), 
TtKTei 8' efiTTtBa jii-^Xa, 6a.\a(j(Ta Sk ix6v^ 
'E^ evrjye<TLrji, apiruicn Se kaoL vtt avrov. 

" As of some prince 
Who in the likeness of a god doth rule 
Our subjects, stout of heart and strong of hand ; 
And men speak greatly of him, and his land 


No. 7. 
Let no one point the hand to show 
The rainbow in the eastern sky ; 
For powers of evil, as we know, 
At such an hour are always nigh. 

Be not in haste, ye maids, to wed ; 

Your parent's wishes ne'er despise, 
Lest from. you, too, we turn the head. 

And pass you with averted eyes. 

Ere long the clouds will clear away. 

The bow will fade from out the sky ; 
But when a daughter goes astray, 

She leaves her home and friends for aye. 

Bears wheat and rye. His orchards bend with fruit, 
His flocks breed surely, the sea yields her fish. 
Because he guides his folk with wisdom. And they grow 
In grace and manly virtue." 

Translation by J. A. Froude. 

No. 7. 

Whh one exception the commentators are content to take this 
poem as didactic, showing that Duke Wen's good example made 
his people have a proper respect for the marriage tie. Liu Yiian 
alone refers the piece to ^ .^ Nan Tzu, the wife of Duke 
Ling ^ 5^ of Wei, a woman who committed incest with her 
brother Chao of Sung ^ fg (see Confucian Analects, vi. 14, 26 
and xiv. 20). The fact that I>u\e Ling ruled in the time of 
Confucius, B.C. 533 — 492, seems to me to upset this theory 

Students of olk-lore will no doubt take note of the superstition 
that it is unlucky to point at a rainbow, which the Chinese 


The virgin who is truly good, 

Should be reluctant, shy, sedate. 
The maid is false to maidenhood. 

Who shows such eagerness to mate. 

No. 8. 


Nature has made the rat the worst of vermin ; 

Limbs, teeth and skin she gave unto the brute. 
Let it use them as nature's laws determine ; 

No blame unto the rat we dare impute. 


But higher gifts she gave to man to cherish, — 
Dignity, self-command, and love of right; — 

And better were it that a man should perish 

Than scorn these god-like gifts, or hold them light. 

regard as the result of an improper connection between the male 
and female principles of nature. Moslems, I am told, look on 
the rainbow not as the symbol of the forgiveness of the Almighty, 
but as a proof of His wrath. The Siamese work, " Thai Chang," 
says, " The expression San Kouang (three brilliant things) desig- 
nate the sun, moon, and stars. These illuminate the world by 
the command of the Lord of the Heavens, and disseminate their 
beneficent rays into all parts of the universe. To point the 
finger suddenly at them is a grave breach of respect, and merits 
grievous punishment." 

No. 8. 

This is another didactic poem. There is no allusion to any 
one in it. Some commentators say that the first essential for a 
state of civilization is the proper regulation of the marriage tie 
and of the intercourse between the sexes. Next to this come 


No. 9. 


With banners bright and streamers fair, 
And pennons floating on the air ; 
With many a steed and many a car, 
Nobles are journeying from afar. 
Nearer they come, and still more near. 
Till 'neath the walls they all appear. 
'Tis their desire our sage to greet. 
And honour him with reverence meet, 
That he may teach them in return 
The lessons, which they fain would learn. 

dignity and propriety. Hence this piece follows the last in 
proper sequence. 

What a curious language Chinese is ! Each stanza in the 
original of this little piece begins, 'Look at the rat,' ^ J| 
Hsiang Shu. There are Chinese who make Hsiang the name of 
a place, and translate the two characters " The Hsiang Rat." 
They say that this rat is addicted to sitting up on his hind 
quarters and making a Chinese salutation with his two fore paws 
when he sees anyone. — Credat Judceus Apella. 

No. 9. 

A question arises whether the officers of Wei, riding in 
chariots with banners flying above them, &c., were going to meet 
a distinguished and learned visitor, or whether nobles from 
another State were coming to visit some sage resident in Wei. 
Dr. Legge prefers the first theory, and heads the piece, " The zeal 
of the officers of Wei to welcome men of worth." I prefer the 
second, simply because in the first Chinese stanza the chariots 
are in the remote suburbs, in the second, in the nearer suburbs, 
in the third, at the wall. Now if the chariots were chariots of 
Wei going out to meet a visitor this order would be reversed. Is 
not Duke Wen in all probability the sage in question ? 


No. lo. 


I had started, I urged my horses. I drove at their top- 
most speed, 

My brother to comfort and soothe in his trouble and 
bitter need. 

But a noble was sent to pursue me. He followed fast on 
my track. 

He crossed the rivers and hills, till he caught me and 
turned me back. 


My purpose was thwarted because ye presumed that a 
woman's wit 

Must be foolish and rash, for such things as statecraft 
and rule unfit. 

But 'tis ye, who are rash and foolish, too stupid to under- 

That none of your schemes can equal devices which I had 

No. lo. 

Lady Mu |^ was the daughter of Hsiian Chiang (see the 
notes on No. i8 of Book III.), who, after the death of Duke 
Hsiian, was married to her stepson, Chao Po 0g \^, and bore 
him a family. Mu was the sister of Dukes Tai and Wen, both 
of whom were in turn rulers of Wei. She was married to the 
ruler of Hsil |^ . Another sister married the Duke of CKi ^ , 
the most powerful of the feudal States at this period. When 
news was brought to her of the overthrow of her native State of 
Wei, her impulse was to hurry to her brother (in-law), the Duke 
of CKi (to call him king, as I do in my verses, is poetic license), 
to urge him to rescue her brother. This, however, she was not 
allowed to do, and so she gives vent to her feelings in this poem. 

Most of the Chinese commentators, followed by Dr. Legge, 


I meant to cross the wheat fields, and appeal to my 

brother the king ; 
If he only knew my trouble^ assistance he'd surely bring. 
I will gather nepenthe lilies, oblivion from them I'd borrow. 
Or climb to the mountain summit alone, and forget my 


say that she wished to go to CMi, but was restrained from 
actually doing so by her sense of propriety, and that the noble 
who " crossed the rivers and hills " was not an officer of Hsil 
who was sent to bring the lady back, but a messenger from Wei, 
who brought news of the disaster. Chu Hsi dissents from this 
viewj and I follow him. In the first place the actual attempt of 
the lady to run away makes the poem far more dramatic than the 
simple expression of her desire to go could do. Secondly, the 
language of the lady is anything but submissive. On the con- 
trary, she evidently rebels with her whole soul, and only yields 
io force majeure. 

The word which I translate " Nepenthe lilies " is ^ Mang, 
Fritillaria Thunbergia. The regulation remedy for a lady in 
distress seems either to go up a mountain, or to eat some plant 
to benumb her senses. 


Book V. 

Ballads and other Poems collected in the country 

of Wei. 

I have little to add to what I have said in my introduc- 
tory remarks at the beginning of Books III. and IV. The 
State of Wei %j, as I mentioned before, lay where now the 
three Provinces of Chihli, Shantung and Honan meet. It 
remained the State of Wei until B C. 208, when it was 
absorbed into the Empire, being the last of the Feudal 
States to be extinguished. 


No. I. 


Throughout the kingdom there grows no tree 
To match with the green bamboos, which sway 

On the curving bank of the river Ch'i ; 
So luxuriant, dense, and strong are they. 


Throughout the kingdom no man is seen. 
With our noble Prince Duke Wei to vie ; 

For all acknowledge his lordly mien. 
His accomplished manners, his dignity. 

The fairest gem, when it leaves the soil, 

. Must be ground and polished by file and knife. 
Our prince has acquired by ceaseless toil 
The graceful arts which adorn his life. 

He sits in his chariot, a glorious sight, 

While star-like jewels his brow unfold. 
But we love him more than his jewels bright. 

Than crystal sceptres or virgin gold. 

Great prince, as he is, he delights to joke. 

And to have his spirits with laughter stirred ; 
But never a churlish jest he spoke. 

Or said a coarse or insulting word. 

No I. 
Although • Duke Wu ^ is not mentioned by name, all the 
commentators agree in assigning this piece to him. He was 
ruler of Wei from e.g. 8ii to 757. It seems a little curious that 


No. 2. 

Within this still sequestered spot, — 
On either side a sheltering hill — 

He comes to rear his humble cot, 
Which overlooks the murmuring rill. 

And here he means to live and brood 

Upon the joys of solitude. 

No novice in the world is he ; 

Composed and stately is his air ; 
Here may he stay, for ever free 

From worldly chatter, worldly care. 
To live in quiet day and night. 
Is, so he swears, his sole delight. 

he should be spoken of in such eulogistic terms, for he attained 
the dukedom by driving his elder brother to suicide. He appears 
all the same to have been an able and energetic ruler, and to 
have rendered his suzerain, King P'ing 2^ ^, great services in 
his wars with the Jung tribes. This poem is said to have been 
written while the duke was at the king's court. 

No. 2. 

No one seems to know who this recluse was. The " Little Pre- 
face," followed by Mao and others, say that the piece is directed 
against Duke Chuang ^ (b.c. 756-734), Duke Wu's successor, 
whose misgovernment drove able men into retirement ; but there 
is nothipg in the poem itself to show this. 

Recluses who retire, either to enjoy a period of meditation (as 
Chu Hsi was wont to do), or from political reasons, have always 
earned a certain amount of sympathy in China. 


No. 3. 


A stately maiden is this fair princess, 

This daughter of the Royal House of Ch'i, 

Who comes — a long embroidered robe her dress — 
The bride and lady of our Chief to be. 


She comes from where a mighty river flows 

Northwards, wherein large shoals of sturgeon swim. 

With plashing sound his net the fisher throws 
Amid the stream from off its rush-grown brim. 

The whiteness of her skin can aught surpass ? 

With teeth, with throat, with brow can aught compete ? 
Her fingers taper like the young white grass ; 

And see her dimples and those eyes so sweet. 

No. 3. 

We now revert once more to the virtuous but ill-fated Chuang 
Chiang, whose misfortunes were related in several of the ballads 
of the third Book, g. v. This poem celebrates her marriage. 
Liu Yuan says that it is a satire directed against her husband, 
Duke Chuang. What business had he, when he had such a 
beautiful and high-born wife, to be false to her ? 

I must plead guilty to having deliberately shirked two diffi- 
culties, which Dr. Legge in his metrical version has struggled 
with, not without success. The first is the relationship of the 
lady, which the Chinese version gives in detail. She was 

" The sister of the heir-apparent (of Ch'i), 
The sister-in-law of the Marquis of Hsing, 
And Duke T'an was also her brother-in-law." 

These lines I have omitted as superfluous, and uninteresting to 
the English reader. 


And note the chariot, too, wherein she sits, 

The pheasant feather screens, the noble steeds 
With rich red ornaments about their bits ; 

As to the palace gates the pomp proceeds. 

Her maidens wait on her in garments gay, 

And stalwart henchmen clad in armour bright. 
Nobles and gentles, let us now away. 

Leave bride and bridegroom to their own delight. 

Secondly, when I say in my verses, 

"The whiteness of her skin can aught surpass ? 
With teeth, with throat, with brow, can aught compete ? " 

I leave out the Chinese similes for each beauty, for the simple 
reason that these similes convey to us no idea of loveliness, and 
are grotesque rather than poetic. They are as follows : — 

"Her skin was like congealed oiatmentj 
Her neck was like a tree grub. 
Her teeth were like melon seeds ; 
She had a cicada forehead and silkworm eyebrows." 

Of these " the silkworm eyebrows " seem the only pretty feature. 
The phrase means, no doubt, that the eyebrows were like the 
curving well-defined antennae of the silkworm moth ; — a graceful 
image, in my opinion, but not so the others. 

The description of this lady rather reminds me of Olwen in 
the Mabinogion : — " More yellow v/as her head than the flower 
of the broom, and her skin was whiter than the foam of the wave, 
and fairer were her hands and her fingers than the blossoms of 
the wood anemone amidst the spray of the meadow fountain." 

"The mighty river" is the Yellow River. 


No 4. 


A simple and innocent youth you seemed 

To my unsuspecting eye ; 
Your only wish was to sell your cloth, 

Or our new spun silk to buy. 


But thoughts of the barter of cloth or silk 

Had but little place in your mind. 
To win me and bear me away with you 

Was the purpose which you designed. 

As I walked with you part of your homeward road, 
" I will not be coy," I cried. 
" In the autumn, when rites have been duly done, 
I promise to be your bride." 

When the autumn came, how I watched for you ; 

And my tears would fall like the rain, 
As I watched from the old city walls, but found 

That my watching was all in vain. 

At last you came, and I laughed with joy. 

The omens you said were fair. 
So I weakly yielded and fled with you 

Your house and your lot to share. 

No. 4. 
This touching ballad is, says the " Little Preface," followed by 
most of the commentators, directed against the manners and 
customs prevalent in the time of Duke Hsiian. 


In summer the leaves of the mulberry tree 

Are glossy and bright to view. 
They hide sweet fruit, but the dove that eats 

Has bitterly cause to rue. 

And the maiden's love for the youth is sweet, 

Though the sweetness will pass away ; 
And a bitter end is reserved in store 

For the maiden who goes astray. 


A man by his gallant or useful deeds 

His folly may expiate. 
But how can a woman, who sins, atone ? 

As I find to my cost, too late. 

For now the leaves lie yellow and sere 

Beneath the mulberry tree. 
Three wretched years have passed since we crossed 

The flooded fords of the Ch'i. 


For many a day I was faithful and fond, 

I shared all his toil and pain. 
But his thoughts are fickle, his heart is false, 

And he drives me back home again. 

The Chinese text presents but few difiSculties. The phrase, 
which I translate, 

"Three wretched years have passed since we crossed 
The flooded fords of the Ch'i," 

Dr. Legge understands to indicate that the woman, who is the 
subject of the ballad, is crossing the Ch'i to go home again. I 




I weep when I think how I slaved for him 

To midnight from early morn. 
My reward is to suffer my brothers' wrath, 

Their reproaches and angry scorn. 


The years bring trouble, old age and change. 

And what can we hope for more .-' 
Though the marsh pools gleamed where they gleamed 
of old, 

And the river flows as of yore. 

I was but a girl, with my hair unbound. 

When you plighted to me your troth. 
We chatted together, we talked and laughed, 

But now you forget your oath. 


We would live together till both grew old. 

And nothing our lives should sever. 
Oh, I little dreamed you would prove untrue. 

And cast me aside for ever. 

think my own interpretation the more probable. Again, I make 
her mention of the river Ch'i and the marshes a passing lament 
that they remain unaltered, while old age and change have crept 
over her. The Chinese commentators of course go deeper, 
saying that " the Ch'i had its banks and the marsh its boundaries 
and people knew where to find them, but it was not so with the 
man who acknowledged no rules nor bounds in his conduct." 


No. 5. 


Dear is my parents' home to me ; 

When forced to part I went away 
And married. Now I long to see 

That home, where once I used to play. 
The gems upon my girdle glanced 
And tinkled, as I laughed and danced. 

I seem to see those streams once more ; 

The little shallops built of pine, 
The angler sitting on the shore. 

With bamboo rod and taper line. 
To view my native place again 
Would dissipate all care and pain. 

No. 6. 


He is only a feeble lad, as weak as an iris flower ; 

But look at the belt which he wears ; at the end of it, 
see, there dangle 
An archer's ivory thimble, the proof of his martial power. 
And the statesman's spike which says, " All knots I can 

No. 5. 

This piece simply describes a lady, originally a native of Wei, 
who had been married to a gentleman of another State and feels 
a longing for her own home. The Chinese commentators do not 
give the lady a name. 

My translation is a very free paraphrase. 

G 2 


He proudly struts along with an easy conceited grace, 

Regarding his fellow-men as creatures common and low, 
But we hardly consider him a being of higher race, 

Or think that he knows more than we humbler mortals 

No. 7. 

So deep is the river and wide, they say, 

I may not cross to the other shore. 
My adopted land is so far away 

I must never hope to behold it more. 

No. 6. 

The subject of this piece is said by some to be So ^, who 
succeeded to the Dukedom of Wei after murdering his brothers 
(see Book III., No. 19), but the satire is scarcely the sort of 
satire that is aimed at a ruler. The object of it may have been 
one of the Duke's creatures. Liu Yiian says that Confucius 
inserted the poem in his collection merely as a warning to young 
men to avoid conceit and swagger. 

The "Archer's thimble " was a thimble worn on the thumb of 
the right hand to assist in drawing the bow. The " Statesman's 
spike " was an ivory instrument used for loosening knots, and was 
supposed to indicate that -the wearer was ready to solve any diffi- 
culty. " Iris flower " is the equivalent of Huan Ian '^ ^, which 
Dr. Legge calls a " Sparrow gourd." 

No. 7. 

The subject of this piece is said to be a daughter of Hsuan 
Chiang (see No, 18 of Book III.), who was married to Huan 
:g, the Duke of Sung JjJ. He divorced her without just cause, 
and she returned to the State of Wei. After a while her 
husband died, and her son Hsiang "M succeeded to the Dukedom. 


They lie; for the stream is so small indeed 

That the tiniest skiff has no room to ride. 
I could lay across it a single reed 

And boldly step to the further side. 

Though they vow it is many leagues from me, — 

That well-loved country, — it lies so nigh 
That standing on tiptoe once more I see 

The home I could reach ere the sun was high. 

No. 8. 


I seem to trace your form and face. 

My valiant husband. In your car, 
Swinging aloft a mighty mace, 

You lead the royal hosts to war. 

She wished to join him, but was not allowed to do so. She utters 
her complaint in this poem, in which I can find nothing to justify 
the Chinese idea that she would like to return to Wei, were she 
not deterred by a sense of propriety. Liu Yiian points out that 
the moral lesson to be learnt from this ballad is the virtuous and 
admirable conduct of the young Duke. He was aware that his 
father had acted wrongly in divorcing his mother, but he knew 
that if she was allowed to come back, attention would be directed 
to his father's sin, and so he magnanimously refused permission. 

No. 8. 

This poem is assigned to the year B.C. 706, when Wei and 
some other States assisted the suzerain. King Huan |g 3i) to make 
war on the State of Ck'ing ^. 

The mace, or halberd, was a weapon some twelve or fourteen 


I scarcely care to deck my hair, 

But let my locks dishevelled stray. 
For whom should I be neat or fair, 

When my loved lord is far away ? 

I long for rain, but long in vain ; 

The sun shines bright to mock my grief. 
My weary heart is worn with pain ; 

My aching head knows no relief. 

Could I but find, to dull my mind, 

That kindly sense-benumbing flower, 
I'd set it in the yard behind. 

And plant it in my private bower. 

feet longi Ijut used for striking, not thrusting, purposes, and was, I 
should think, extremely unwieldy. 

The practice of having the hair dishevelled as a sign of grief 
seems to have been universal all over the East. 

" Ten years Runjeet lay in Lahore. 
Wah, a hero's heart is brass ; 
Ten years never did Chunda Kore, 
Braid her hair at the tiring glass." 

"A Ballad of the Five Rivers," by Edwin Arnold. 

A Chinese version on this occasion is far more graphic than my 
translation. The lady says, " My head is like the flying pappus of 
the Artemisia" (Legge's translation), which at once suggests the 
notion that it would be hard work to get a comb through her hair. 

The lady desires rain, probably because it would put a stop to 
the fighting. I do not agree with Dr. Legge that the wish is 
merely metaphorical. 

The " kindly sense-benumbing flower" is rather hard to 
identify. The Chinese name for it is Hsiian Ts'ao, ^ ]S, 
Zott oli makes it the Hemerocallis ft/lva. Liu Yiian has a far- 


No. 9. 

" This cool retreat his Musidora sought, 
And robed in loose array, she came to bathe 
Her fervent limbs in the refreshing stream. 

How durst thou risk the soul distracting view, 
As from her naked limbs of glowing white, 
Harmonious swelled by nature's fairest hand, 
In folds loose floating fell the fainter lawn ? 
And fair exposed she stood shrunk from herself, 
With fancy blushing at the doubtful breeze 
Alarmed and starting like the fearful fawn. 


I grieve because my heart's delight 
Has vanished from her lover's sight. 
She seeks the rippling ford, to lave 
Her beauties in the cooling wave ; 
Where crouching, as a fox might hide. 
She scarcely dares to lay aside 
Her robes, lest some too curious eye 
Intrusive might her beauties spy. 
First she lets fall her flow^ing gown. 
Then gently slides her girdle down. 
Until at length she stands revealed, 
Her loveliness all unconcealed. 

fetched theory that the lady wishes to plant it in the yard at the 
back of the house, because then her mother-ip-law would have 
the benefit of it as well as herself. " This shows," says he, " that 
she wasnot only a good wife, but a filial daughter-in-law as well." 

No. 9. 

It is scarcely necessary to remark that none of the commentators 
take my view of this little poem. It was an anonymous writer in 
one of the Shanghai papers (to whom I hereby tender my thanks) 
who first suggested the idea which has guided me in this translation. 
The usually accepted theory is that a woman is the speaker, and 


No. lO. 

A quince, a peach, and a plum, were the gifts which to me 
you made, 

And I gave you an emerald back, with a ruby and piece of 

Do I measure the value of gifts which pass between me 
and you ? 

No! friendship is greater than gifts, when. friends are faith- 
ful and true. 

that it is a man of whom she speaks. He gradually loses his 
clothes. He does not simply take them off. From this the com- 
mentators go on to infer that she is deeply sorry for his sad case, 
and for the evil times in which they live, and that she would be 
glad to comfort him by marrying him. The poem, translated in 
this sense, begins, " There is a fox, solitary and suspicious." The 
mention of this animal introduces a difficulty. Some say that its 
presence indicated cold weather, which would aggravate a naked 
man's sufferings. Others say that the appearance of the fox denotes 
that the woman's thoughts were impure, as a fox, in Chinese folk- 
lore, is a symbol of lewdness on the part of a woman. (See 
Mayers's "Chinese Reader's Manual," Art. 183.) 

No. 10. 

Some say that this piece represents the gratitude of the people 
of Wei to Duke Huan of Ch'i, who came to fight for them against 
the barbarous tribes of the Ti. The fact that they received larger 
favours than they could return, militates with this theory. Chu 
Hsi makes it the interchange of courtesies between a lover and 
his mistress. I think that the piece is one of general application. 

My renderings of the gems are not perhaps pedantically correct, 
and the exigencies of metre have made me place the emerald before 
the ruby. |g Chu is rather the cairngorm or the garnet, than the 
ruby into which I have magnified it. Jg Yao is an emerald. JJj 
Chiu, which I make jade, should rather be smoky crystal. The com- 
mentators make the value of gifts received to be in inverse ratio 
to those given, A quince is better than a peach, a peach than a 
plum. On the other hand, a Chu stone is worth less than a Yao, 
and a Yao than a Chiu. I doubt this theory holding water, and 
have not adopted it. 


Book VI. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the country 
known as " The Royal Domains!' 

When the Choic dynasty was established, King Wu 
moved the capital from his father's seat of government, 
which was called F^ng ^, to Hao ^, the modern Hsi An 
fu, the capital city of the Shensi Province. King Ch'eng 
J^ I) B.C. 1115, built another Royal City at Lo }^,.now 
Lo Yang, in the Honan Province ; and durbars were held 
there periodically until the accession of King P'ing 2ji J 
B.C. 770, who removed his seat of government to it, 
and let Hao go to ruin. 

The ballads contained in this book were collected in the 
country round about Lo, when it was under the direct 
government of the king, and not under the rule of any of 
the feudal nobles. 


No. I. 

" Jam seges est ubi Troia fuit." 
" Waste lye the walls, which were so good, 
And corn now grows where Troy town stood." 

Queen Dido. 


With slow and faltering steps, and head bent down, 

I stray, where once there stood a stately town. 

But now its very site has disappeared ; 

And in its place the millet has upreared 

Its growing shoots, or heads of drooping grain. 

Of palace, house, or hut^ no signs remain. 


My friends would cheer my heart ; they kindly try 

To soothe me by their love and sympathy. 

Nay, even strangers, seeing me o'er-weighed 

With heavy grief, will proffer me their aid. 

Oh, heaven above, wilt thou reveal the name 

Of him who wrought this wrong, this deed of shame ? 

No. I. 

This ballad is said to describe the visit of an officer of the time 
of King P'ing, or later, to the old capital at Hao, where he finds 
the palace and ancestral temples in ruin, and corn growing where 
once houses stood. 

How history repeats itself ! A few years ago this description 
might have been perfectly applied to Nanking before its recovery 
from the desolation created by the Taiping rebels. 

My first stanza is a decided amplification of the Chinese original. 


No. 2. 


To serve the state my husband goes away. 

With anxious thoughts my faithful heart must burn, 
Because long months or years he may delay. 

Where is he now ? ah, when will he return ? 

'Tis night-time ; at the setting of the sun 

I see the fowls to perch and roost retire. 
The goats and cows, their grazing being done, 

Descend the hill to couch within the byre. 

Even the beasts a couching place have found, 

Even the birds have roosts whereon to rest. 
Ah, may my lord be sleeping safe and sound, 

With cruel thirst and hunger undistrest. 

No. 2. 
This ballad is referred to the time of King P'ing. Dr. Legge's 
metrical version of this in the Scottish dialect — a dialect marvel- 
lously well-fitted for the translation of these old world rhymes — is 
so excellent that I venture to reproduce it. 

The gudeman's awa, for to fecht with the stranger, 

An' when he'll be back, oh ! my heart canna tell. 
The hens gae to reist, an' the beests to their manger, 
As hameward they wend frae their park on the hill. 
But hoo can I, thus left alane. 
Help thinking o' my man that's gane ? 


The gudeman's awa, for to fecht with the stranger, 

And long will it be ere he see his fireside. 
The hens gae to reist, and the beests to their manger. 
As the slanting sunbeams throu the forest trees glide. 
Heaven kens the lanesome things I think. 
Heaven sen' my man his meat and drink ! 


No. 3. 

My man comes home again. 

With music's sweetest strain 
I will welcome him. He beckons me to come to his em- 

In my gladness I will try 

To dance, to please his eye. 
Oh, see the joy and rapture that are shining in his face ! 

No. 4. 

The osiers by the brookside growing, 
Fixed in their homes securely stay. 

The fretted waters past them flowing. 
Just kiss their leaves, then haste away. 

No. 3. 

This ballad is probably the sequel of the one before it. Dr. 

Legge has given a Scotch version of this piece as well. It is very 

good, although No. 2 is my favourite. He also gives a Latin 

version by Mr. Mercer, formerly Colonial Secretary at Hongkong. 

No. 4. 
This piece, like the previous ones of this book, is assigned to the 
time of King P'ing. The King's mother was a member of the 
princely family of Sh^n ^. Her State, and the federated States of 
P'u "^ and Hsii |^, were assailed by the people of Tsu ^, assisted 
by the " dog " Jung tribes. -^ 3^. (These barbarous tribes are 
referred to more than once in this classic. I cannot find out for 
certain why the name of "dog" was attached to them. I have 
tried to discover whether it is an instance of "Totemism," or 



We know not if the streamlet's waters 
Can think of those they leave behind. 

But we, — our wives, our sons, our daughters. 
Are never absent from our mind. 

Far, far from them, the State defending, 

We wait until the morn shall rise, 
When all our labours have an ending. 

And home once more shall glad our eyes. 

whether these savages dressed in dog-skin, or were accompanied 
by the large and fierce dogs of Central Asia, or were supposed to 
be dog-faced, but all without avail. I can only conclude that it 
was a nickname. At the same time it is worth noting that Ti ^, 
the name of another tribe often mentioned, means Stags. Again, 
a tribe of the Huns was known as Hsien Yung'^ ^j* Mastiffs, 
and another tribe as CkSn P'ei ^^ J^i Foxes, or Fox cubs.) 
King P'ing sent his troops to protect his feudatory States, but the 
service was unpopular, probably because the soldiers felt that their 
country had no interest in the matter. Liu Yiian adds that King 
P'ing's father, King Yu ^ ]J, had been murdered by the Marquis 
of Shen, a fact which would make the soldiers still more averse to 
fight on behalf of his State. 

The first two lines of each stanza in the original Chinese present 
a difficulty. .They are, " The fretted waters (or "a dash of water," 
Williams) will not float a .bundle of {a) firewood, {b) thorns, 
{c) osiers." This phrase is capable of a variety of interpretations. 
Dr. Legge's notes will supply them. My own notion is, that as 
the brook leaves behind it the shrubs and herbage on the bank, 
so we must leave behind us the members of our families, and in 
my metrical translation I have amplified this idea accordingly. 


No. 5. 


First on the slope, next in the vale, 
Beneath hot suns and cloudless sky, 

Stalks, flowers and blades are parched and pale; 
The ranker herbs turn white and dry. 

And even lush wet grasses die. 

Husband and wife must separate ; 

For how can he her wants supply ? 
He can but leave her desolate, 

To grieve in vain, to weep, to sigh ; 
They cannot fight with destiny. 

No. 6. 


The pheasant, of all danger unaware, 
Flies boldly on and plumps into the snare. 
The wily hare, so timid and so shy. 
Suspects the trap, and hops uninjured by. 

Thus honest men, though frank and free from guile, 
Are foiled and cheated by some rascal's wile. 

No. 5. 

The herbage referred to is the ^ Tui, Leonurus Sibiricus 
(Legge), or Leonurus Cardiaca (Zottoli). Dr. Legge translates it 

I do not find any historical mention of this drought, which Liu 
Yiian says should not be taken literally, but as an allegory of King 
P'ing's misgovernment. There was a great drought in the time of 
King Hsiian. See III. iii.. No. 4. 

No. 6. 
The commentators refer this piece to the time of King Huan, 
E.Ci 718-696. 


But wary villains, thougii tliey rob and lie, 
Walk proudly on, and hold their heads on high. 

Would fortune had decreed my lot in life 
In byegone times, ere ills like these were rife ; 
While quiet days and nights did yet remain, 
Nor wickedness brought sorrow in her train. 
When I recall that noble time of yore, 
I long to sleep, and waken never more. 

No. 7. 



I watch the waters flowing 
Beneath the curving bank. 

Whereon the creepers growing 
Run wild and thick, and rank. 

The four lines beginning "Thus honest men," are interpolated 
by myself in order to explain the simile with which the piece 
begins. They have no place in the Chinese version. It is 
curious- to note that the Chinese take the hare or rabbit as the 
incarnation of cunning. " Brer Rabbit," as Mr. Joel Chandler 
Harris's tales show us, holds the same position among the negroes. 

No. 7. 

"The creepers" are again the doliches creepers, and "the 
waters," those of the Yellow River. 

This piece is said to have been written in the time of King 
P'ing, B.C. 770 — 719, though there is nothing in the lines themselves 
to show this. Liu Yiian, and others, make the allusion to the 
creepers a simile, and not, as I do, merely descriptive of the 
scenery. He says that the creepers are held fast by their roots, 
and though the river flows by them, they are not displaced. The 
speaker in the poem, unlike them, is uprooted and carried away 
from his native place. 


As father, or as brother, 

I greet each man I see ; 
Each matron as a mother ; 

But none will welcome me. 

An exile and a rover. 

My weary way I wend ; 
But nowhere can discover 

Some man to be my friend. 

No. 8. 


I see him wandering amid the flowers, 

I watch him pluck the hempen grass. 
When he has gone away, the hours — 

Ah me ! — how heavily they pass. 


With him far off, a single day 

To me as slowly drawn appears 
As three months ; nay, July to May, 

Or longer still, three weary years. 

No. 8. 
The " flowers " and " hempen grass " are the equivalents of the 
inevitable dolichos, the ^ Hsiao, Artemisia Capillaris or Oxtail 
Southernwood, and the Ai ^ Artemisia Sinensis or mugwort. 
See Dr. Legge's notes for the interpretation of this ballad 
according to the older commentators. 


No. 9. 


You blame me and think me cold and shy, 
But I swear by the Sun I am fond and true ; 

Though I dread the tyrant, and do not fly 
To be clasped in a close embrace by you. 


I am watching his mighty chariot pass : 

It thunders along majestic and slow. 
His green robes glitter like young sedge grass ; 

His red robes shine with the ruby's glow. 

No. 9. 

This poem, say the commentators of the school of Chu Hsi, 
shows the influence of a severe and virtuous magistrate in repress- 
ing licentiousness. I can scarcely wonder at their taking this 
morbidly prurient view, but I am surprised at Dr. Legge's following 
them. No one could express her love more simply and honestly 
than the poor girl in this ballad ; but even her tender avowal that 
she will be true to her love till death, and after death, is not 
sufficient to free her from the charge of licentiousness. Heaven 
save the mark! Tennyson has a poem beginning : — 

" Ellen Adair, she loved me well. 

Against her father's and mother's will. 
To-day I wept for an hour alone, 
By Ellen's grave on the windy hill." 

I would as soon label it, " The influence of virtuous parents in 
repressing the licentiousness of their daughter," as head this ballad 
as Chu Hsi and Dr. Legge have done. 

The older commentators go a step farther, and say that the 
poem expresses a wish that the kingdom had, as of yore, officials 
who would enforce righteousness and propriety. 

Liu Yiian has a theory of his own, for which there is a good 
deal to be said. He makes the poem the address of a great 



If cruel fate while this world shall last 

Contrives our two loving hearts to sever, 
One grave shall hide us when life has past, 

And nothing shall part us then for ever. 

No. lO. 



Where is Tzu Chai, that jaunty lad } 
With some one else to flirt and play 
Amid the hemp the livelong day 

Is his delight. — It is too bad. 

officer, forced to leave home on duty, to his wife. Accordingly the 
poem, literally translated, would begin : " My great carriage 
thunders along. My state robes are like young sedge,'' &c.; but 
I prefer the other interpretation, for unless we translate -^ Tzu 
as the King, for which we have no warrant, we cannot say who it 
is that he fears. 

J^ Man, which I have translated ruby, is more properly pink 

No. 10. 
The freedom of this young lady naturally drives the commen- 
tators into sundry extraordinary interpretations. Chu Hsi's view 
is the one which I follow, as it seems to me the only correct one. 
Mao Ch'i ling declares that a family named Liu -^ (the head of 
which was Tzu Kuo, who had a son named Tzu Chai), was 
banished to a stony barren tract of country, on which the members 
of it made hemp, wheat, and plum-trees grow. The poem then is 
an expression of a wish, on behalf of the people in the Royal 
domain, that these men would return. Others refer the piece to 
the time of King Chuang |^, B.C. 696-682, whose misgovernment 


Tzu Kuo too, though he vowed to eat 
With me, has found another love ; 
With her, instead, he likes to rove, 

And romp together in the wheat. 


They wander where the plum-trees grow. 
'Tis little use, alas, to fret. 
For scanty chance have I to get 

The gifts they promised long ago. 

drove away virtuous men, whose return is prayed for in this poem. 
Liu Yiian follows this notion, but he makes the wheat and hemp 
and plum-trees, and not human beings, detain the virtuous man 
for whom the people pray. He would return, but the tangled 
hemp, the high wheat, and the forest of plum-trees delay his 
footsteps. These things are to be taken allegorically, of course. 
So are the gifts (of girdle gems, in the original), which mean the 
Sage's words of wisdom. 

H 2 


Book VII. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the country of 

The country of Ch'ing fI5 is the district to the south- 
wards of the modern K'ai F^ng fu, the capital of the 
Honan Province. King Hsuan, B.C. 826 — 781, gave a 
fief named Ch'eng to Duke Huan ;g 2J. This Ch'ing 
was in Shensi, far to the westward. Duke Huan's son, 
Duke Wu Ji^ S, for his services to King P'ing, was in- 
vested with the Dukedom of the aforesaid district in 
Honan, to which he gave the name of [new] Ch'ing, and 
it was in this district that these ballads were collected. 
Confucius calls them licentious — (§|5 ^ J'^ Ch'ing Hsiang 
Yin, "The music of Ch'dng is licentious," Analects xv. 
10), — but the reader need not be alarmed. As I translate 
them, there is nothing that will raise a blush on his, or 
even on her, cheek. 


No. I. 


His form the worn but seemly black robes grace : 
Let gifts of newer cloth the old replace. 
Let us with homage at his court attend, 
And to our well-loved noble dainties send. 

No. ,2. 


I do not grudge the mulberries, 
The sandal and the willow trees^ 

Which clumsily you break 
In leaping o'er my garden-wall ; 
But ills far heavier may befall. 

Refrain then for my sake. 

No. I. 
I accept the usually adopted theory that this poem is addressed 
to the Duke Wu, mentioned in the prefaratory note to this book. 
It is not supposed to be sung by the people of Ch'gng itself, but 
by the members of the King's Court, who had a great admiration 
for Duke Wu, and when he came thither as Minister of Instruction 
(rI '^ Ssii T'u), were anxious to show him every attention. 
The Court which they proposed to attend was that in which Duke 
Wu performed his duties. 

No. 2. 
If my translation is as near the original as I trust it is, the poem 
calls for little explanation. It is addressed to a certain Chung 
fijj, whose name I have omitted in my verses. I should point out 
that the " Little Preface," and most of the commentators, deduce 
an interpretation from the mention of this gentleman's name, which 


I love you, but can I assuage 

My parents' wrath, my brothers' rage. 

Who lecture me and say 
That you by coming here provoke 
The talk and scandal of the folk ? 

So prithee keep away. 

No. 3.. 

When our Shu Tuan for the chase has left, 

In the forest his game to find, 
The town is of glory and life bereft ; 

He leaves not his peer behind, 
To feast like him, or to run his steeds. 

'Twere folly for us to try ; 
For in courage, goodness, and martial deeds 

What mortal with him may vie 1 

differs toto calo from that of Chu Hsi's, which I have adopted. 
Duke Wu, of the last poem, was succeeded, in e.g. 742, by Duke 
Chuang ^ (tk, whose younger brother, Shu Tuan ^ |^, was his 
mother's favourite. She played Rachel to this Jacob, and en- 
deavoured to get him to supplant Chuang. A certain Chung, of 
Chai ^ f^, begged the Duke to crush this plot in the bud. The 
Duke is supposed to have replied in this poem, which, interpreted 
in this sense, runs " Oh, Chung, do not meddle with my affairs. 
I am attached to you, but I do not wish to distress my mother, 
my brothers, or my people." History goes on to say that he had 
afterwards 'to adopt the summary measures, from which he' then 

No. 3. 

See the notes on the last poem. As this piece is in honour of 
Shu Tuan, it was no doubt written by one of his adherents. 


No. 4. 


With a team of four bay horses 
Shu is going to the chase. 

Note his skill in charioteering ; 
Mark his coursers' even pace. 

With his hands upon their bridles 
You may see his steeds advance, 

Step by step in even cadence, 
Like the dancers in the dance. 

From its place no courser swerving — 

So the wild geese in the sky 
Never mar the shapely wedges 

Of their phalanx, as they fly. 

Now the hunters reach the reed beds, 

And apply the torch and flame, 
That the fire up blazing fiercely 

May affright and start the game. 

Most of the Chinese commentators say that it was directed 
against the Duke, his elder brother, who ought not to have 
allowed Shu Tuan to win popularity at his expense. 

No. 4. 

This poem is a continuation or amplification of the last. The 
writer, says Liu Yiian, insinuates that the Duke was no match 
for his younger brother, forgetful, as another commentator adds, 
that physical strength is not so high an attribute as wisdom. 

The position of Shu Tuan's horses is rather puzzling. Three 
similes are used : (a) The two outside horses of the team are 


Little chance has any creature 

To escape the mighty Shu, 
With such skill to shoot his arrows, 

With such horses to pursue. 

See there rushes forth a tiger, — 

Gleaming teeth, eyes flaming red. — 
With bared arms Shu gripes the monster, 

Lays it down before us dead. 

Though this forms our ruler's trophy, 

.Never try such sport again ; 
Lest you perish in your rashness. 

From such dangerous feats refrain. 

Now Shu lays down his quiver, 
And unstrings his trusty bow ; 

For the hunt is o'er, and homewards 
Pace his steeds with motion slow. 

like dancers. This, I infer, means that they keep step. (5) The 
two outside horses go like wild geese. This I think means that 
they keep their places without swerving, (c) The inside horses 
have their heads in line, and the outsiders are as hands or arms. 
I have given no English equivalent for the third simile.^ All 
pictures of the chariots of those times show the chariot drawn by 
four horses side by side, two inside the shafts and two outside, 
but none in advance of the others. Dr. Legge makes the outside 
horses follow the inside ones, but a moment's consideration shows 
the impossibility of such a method of traction. 


No. 5. 

Our soldiers go abroad to fight the foe ; 

Their mail-clad chariots should impress us greatly. 
Their tufted spears and hooks in row on row- 
Look strong and stately. 

To left, and then to right, the chargers wheel. 

The leader smiles, all pleased and self-reliant. 
The spearsman brandishes his trusty steel. 
And glares defiant. 

Thus they manoeuvre on the river's banks ; 

But every soldier brave and gallant vaunter, 
Rather than rush upon the foeman's ranks. 
Prefers to saunter. 

No. S. 

This piece no doubt describes an expedition of the troops of 
Ch'Sng to the frontier, in order to repel the Ti barbarians. This 
expedition took place in b.c. 659. Kao K'o ^ "^ was the 
General in command. The troops manoeuvred about the districts 
Peng ^ , Hsiao \^ and Chou ^ , all places near the Yellow 
River within the state of Ch'^ng, but made no attempt to follow 
up the foCj and eventually, tired of their own inaction, dispersed 
and returned home, while General Kao K'o fled to another State. 
See Dr. Legge's notes. 


No. 6. 


His lambskin robe of glossy white 

Befits his martial air. 
His pard-fur cuffs, his pendants bright, 

Are such as warriors wear. 

From truth and right we know that he 

Will never swerve aside. 
So calm, so strong, such men must be 

Their country's hope and pride. 

No. 7. 


Remember how we used to stray. 

When first our mutual love was new. 
Hand clasped in hand we trod the way, 
So fond and true. 

No. 6. 

Strange to say no name is assigned to this gentleman, the subject 
of the poem. The " Little Preface " makes the piece descriptive of 
the men of old, who have not left their like behind. 

Mao Ch'i ling takes the word Ying ^ , which I translate 
' pendants,' and Dr. Legge ' ornaments,' as a metaphor for this 
officer's virtues. 

No. 7. 

My interpretation of this little piece is nearly that of Chu Hsi, 
except that I make the piece more retrospective than he or 
Dr. Legge does. Most commentators of course take the view 



Now bitter words alone are spoken, 

You only scorn me and deride. 
Old love is lost, old ties are broken, 
And cast aside. 

No. 8. 


" Hark !"saith the good wife; "hark! the cock doth crow."- 
"Nay," saith the goodman; "nay, as yet 'tis night." — 
" No, sir ; arise, 'tis time for you to go ; 

The morning star is shining clear and bright. 
Bearing your bow and arrows^ take your way, 
Where you the wild geese and the ducks may slay." 

" Your quarry shot and pouched, then homeward fare, 
And I will dress the game with care and skill. 

All your old friends shall come the feast to share, 
For them and you the goblets I will fill. 

And ready to your hand your lute I'll lay. 

And surely thus will pass a pleasant day." 

that the piece has no reference to loversj but to statesmen, whom 
Duke Chuang had cast off. The way which these persons trod 
is, according to Liu Yiian, no high road, but 'the path of 

No. 8. 

This pleasing little ballad calls for no explanation. 

I am not qmte sure of the correctness of my translation of 
J^ ■? f§ ^ yw Tzu Chich Lao, which I make " All your old 
friends." Dr. Legge's translation is, "I will hope to grow old 


" My husband's friends are not his friends alone, 
But by his wife is their affection felt. 

Thy comrades dear I'll cherish as my own ; 
To them I'll give the jewels of my belt. 

That these may form a gift, wherewith I may 

Their cordial kindness and their love repay." 

No. 9. 


The chariot speeds along the way : 
With face as fair as flowers in May, 

She sits her lord beside. 
As on the coursers swiftly dash, 
Her pendants ring, her jewels flash. — 

A sweet and lovely bride. 
So good, so perfect she^ our lays 
Shall ne'er be wanting in her praise. 

with you," a sentiment which seems to me out of place here, 
though Pfere Zottoli gives a similar rendering of the words. 

In his metrical edition, Dr. Legge again gives us a Scotch 
version of this ballad — the work, this time, of one of his nephews, 
and a charming translation it is. 

The Marquis D'Hervey St. Denys in his "Etude sur I'Art 
Poetique en Chine," remarks of this piece, " Quoi deplus simple, 
par exemple, et de mieux fait pour nous reporter aux premiers 
sifecles de I'histoire que cat ode.'' I for one certainly agree with 

No. 9. 

The " flowers in May," to which the lady's face is compared, 
are those of the ^ ^, Shun Hua, the hibiscus, or, as Dr. Legge 
says, " the ephemeral hedge tree." The name of the lady in the 
Chinese version is the eldest Chiang ^ ^, M^ng Chiang. 
The introduction of her name at once involves us in confusion. 
Duke Chuang's eldest son, Hu jg, afterwards Duke Chao 03 


No. lO. 



(The mulberry-tree on the mountain grows.) 

No beautiful youth like Tzu Tu I see. 
(And down in the marshes the lotus blows.) 

But this young madcap makes love to me. 


(On the mountain are springing the lofty pines.) 
No sensible man like Tzu Ch'ung I greet. 

(And down in the marshes the lily shines.j 
But this artful fellow alone I meet. 

(B.C. 700-694), did the Marquis of CKi good service, and the • 
latter, out of gratitude, offered him his eldest daughter, jj^ ^ 
Win Chiang, in marriage. The natural conclusion, therefore, is 
that this poem is an epithalamium in their honour, but there is an 
insuperable objection to this. Hu declined the proffered honour. 
Moreover, the lady was anything but good and perfect. I am 
inclined to think then that the lady's name has been interpolated, 
and, in my translation, I designedly leave it out. The "Little 
Preface " and most commentators will have it that the piece, by 
describing the happiness of bride and bridegroom, makes fun of 
Hu for not marrying Win Chiang. If this is so, I can only say 
that Chinese poets can conceal their humour pretty effectually. 
James or Horace Smith would have found it necessary to add a 
few such explanatory couplets as this : — 

I mean the beauteous lady would be seated by his side, sir, 
But a little thing, prevented it, — she never was his bride, sir. 

Bow, wow, wow, &c. 

No. 10. 

Tzu Tu ^ ^ \% mentioned by Mencius as the type of an 

Adonis, but I can find no record either of him or of Tzu Ch'ung 

-p ^ elsewhere. It is scarcely necessary to say that there is 

another interpretation of this song, namely, that it is a satire 


No. II. 
The withered leaves, the withered leaves 

Are tost by storm winds blowing strong. 
If you will only give the key, 
You'll find me join you in the song. 


The withered leaves, the withered leaves ; 

The wind is blowing them away. 
Give me the key-note of the tune, 

And I will then complete the lay. 

No. 12. 


You artful lacE?^- r- -..^^ 
Because you don't address me wheifM'^ ^meer. 

Shall I be sad, 
Or fret for you until I cannot eat } 

directed against Duke Chao, who gave his confidence to persons 
unworthy of it. The allusion to the trees on the mountains and 
the flowers in the marsh are only the burden of the song. I refuse 
to see in them a hint that the mountains and marshes had their 
proper possessions, while the young lady had not what was due to 

No. II. 
I follow Chu Hsi's explanation. Dr. Legge on this occasion 
takes the loftier view, that it is an appeal from the inferior officers 
of Ch'ing to their superiors, begging them to reform the misgovern- 
ment of the country. It should be noted that the person or persons 
addressed are called " uncle "or " uncles." 



When you refuse, 
You silly boy, a meal with me to take, 

Don't think I choose 
For love of you all day to lie awake. 

No. 13. 


" Braw, braw lads of Galla Water, 
Oh braw lads of Galla Water ! 
I'll kilt my coats above my knee, 
And follow my love through the water." 



If your affection still continues true. 
And you still love me, as you say you do ; 
Then kilt your coats above your knee, 
And wade across the streams to me. 

; if you're silly, ^"d vnura.o^^J3^:a^5^^*i!Wr^ed 

attractive maid ; 
Iream that I am quite bereft, 
many other lovers left. 

-^ <!^ No. 12. 

Let those who believe in such things find out an allusion in this 
to Duke Chao. I am content to leave the meaning of the piece 
as I find it, and as I have given it in my verses. \ 

No. 13. ^—^ 

Here again let us leave Duke Chao and his rebellious younger 
brother Tu ^ alone, and content ourselves with the simple 
meaning of the words of the song. I prefer to make the person 
who is to cross the streams the gentleman, and not the lady and 
to put the verb in the imperative mood, rather than make the 
lady say, " I will cross the streams." The rivers mentioned are 
the Chin \^ and Wei ^, tributaries of the Yellow River. 


No. 14. 


My handsome sweetheart would remain 
On watch to catch me in the lane, 
I loved him well, but I was shy, 
And did not dare to meet his eye. 

They let him come within the gate, 
But still I used to make him wait. 
I'm sorry now I was so rude ; 
I left him there in solitude. 

But yet I am his bride at last ; 
My wedding veil is o'er me cast. 
So, husband, yoke the horses to. 
And bear me to your home with you. 

No. 14. 

Liu Yiian will have it that this piece relates, metaphorically, 
how the State of CKhig declined an alliance with Chin § in 
favour of one with Tsu ^, but afterwards threw over Tsu in favour 
of Chin. 

Dr. Legge states that there is nothing to show that there was a 
contract of marriage between the speaker in this ballad and the 
person to whom she alludes. I have Liu Yiian's authority for 
saying that the clothes, which she put on — embroidered garments 
with a plain mantle over them — are wedding clothes, and not, 
as Dr. Legge has it, travelling clothes. If we once allow this,' 
the language of the lady is as modest, and, at the same time, as 
loving as that of any bride's should be. 


No. 15. 


Pass the eastern gate, and gain 
'Neath the wall the level plain. 
Note the bank that runs around, 
Where the madder- plant is found. 
Chestnut trees o'er shade the road ; 
There you 'II find my love's abode. 

Close it is to us, and near, 
But the man, who should be here, 
Has departed far away. 
Longing for him night and day 
I am ne'er from sorrow free, 
For he cometh not to me. 

No. 16. 


'Tis dark and dreary out of doors, 

The wind blows cold, a thick rain pours. 

And shrill the cock is crowing. 
Little I care for wind or rain, 
I have my husband home again. 

With joy my heart is glowing. 

No. 15. 
The other interpretation of this ballad is, that though there were 
plenty of men of worth in Ch'^ng, they would not take office. 

No. 16. 

Many commentators make Chun Tzu ^ -^ mean here not 
" a husband," but a superior man. If this is so then the ballad 
is an expression of joy that such a man has at last been found. 
Perhaps this ballad ought to be taken as the sequel of the last. 


No. 17. 


You wear blue belt and collar 

As full grown man and scholar, 
And at your will have liberty to go abroad or roam ; 

While I, a woman only, 

Though desolate and lonely, 
Must never dare to leave the house, but have to stay at 


You never come to meet me, 

Or even send to greet me. 
In haunts of dissipation with your fickle mates you play. 

But though I fear and doubt you, 

A single day without you 
As slowly and as wearily as three months drags away. 

See the note on it. See also Dr. Legge's notes on this piece. 
The mention of the cock contains a subtle allusion to men who 
do their duty in the hardest times, as cocks crow on the darkest 
and stormiest nights. 

No. 17. 

The "Little Preface" and some of the commentators, make 
this ballad the address of a sage to an idle young pupil, who would 
rather play truant than stick to his studies. " Remember," says 
the sage, "that one day without a sight of your books causes 
you to lose the result of three months' labour.'' 

The phrase, " haunts of dissipation," only means the city wall 
and towers on it, which from this and other poems, we learn was 
a favourite promenade for the youths of the period when these 
pieces were written. 

I 2 


No. 1 8. 


Of our friends are left but few ; 
Scarcely more than I and you. 
Do not trust what others say, 
They'll deceive you if they may. 
I alone continue true. 

No. 19. 


I wandered forth in pensive sort, 
And watched the merry maidens sport 

With frolic, mirth, and fun. 
In garments red and purple drest. 
They seemed to me as clouds which i^est 

About the setting sun. 

No. 18. 

The first line of the two Stanzas of which the Chinese version 
consists, are identical with the two first lines of stanzas i of No. 6 
of the last book. " The fretted waters do not carry a bundle of 
(a) thorns, and (*) firewood." I persuaded myself, in translating 
that poem, that I could see some meaning in the allusion, but in 
this I find none. I conclude, therefore, that the two lines in each 
stanza of this are superfluous, and my version leaves them out 

Some of the commentators argue that the- speaker is Duke 
Chao, who is addressing his brother T'u, 

No. 19. 
The " keep " and ^' flanking walls" are the tower over the city 
gate, and the enceinte in front of it, which one still sees in every 


Yet not the fairest could compare 
With one I know, whose shining hair 
Doth nothing but a kerchief bear, 
A plain white robe her only wear, 
Yet none excel her, none. 


I wandered- by the lofty keep 

And flanking walls that round it sweep. 

Again the maidens throng. 
With lissom forms, with eyes like jet. 
They seemed to me as flowerets set 

The marish fields among. 
But none could tempt my heart to stray 
From her I love, now far away, 
In kirtle white and kerchief gray, — . 

The maid for whom I long. 

No, 20. 

The grasses on the moorland 
Were thick and wet with dew. 

By chance I met my love there, 
So handsome, fond and true. 

Chinese city. No. 1 7 of this book has already shown us that the 
wall of the city used to be the fashionable promenade. 

Dr. Legge makes the lady the wife, I think that it is more 
natural to make her a sweetheart. 

No. 20. 

Liu Yiian says that the piece is metaphorical. The writer 
wishes that as the moorland was wet with dew, so the country 
might be refreshed with the results of good government, and that 


His brow is broad and noble, 
His eyes are bright and clear ; 

I ne'er shall cease to love him, 
My own, my life, my dear. 

No. 21. 


Gloomy winter's gone and past. 

Streams that lately lay asleep, 
In their ice-chains fettered fast. 

Now are running clear and deep. 

Large and level plains of grass 
On the further side outspread, — 

Haunt of many a lad and lass 
Plucking flowerets white and red. 

he might meet with a man of worth. Others, of csurse, say that 
the piece was written to indicate the state of disorder which then 
existed. These infer that the lady and gentleman were met for 
no good purpose. 

No. 21. 

The rivers mentioned in the Chinese version are the Chin and 
the Wei of No. 13. The flowers carried are Valerian (Eupatorium 
Zottoli) and Peonies. 

This little ballad, as harmless as — 

" Come lasses and lads 
Get leave of .your dads, 
And away to the maypole hie," 

naturally arouses the prurient indignation of Chinese scholars, 
who talk of the lewd manners of the people of Ch'Sng. I am sorry 


" Have you been across ? " says she. 

" Yes," he says, " indeed I've been." 
^' Come again, and come with me : 

Let us both enjoy the scene." 

Every man and every maiden 

Sport together hour by hour. 
With a load of blossoms laden 

Each to each presents a flower. 

that Dr. Legge follows them. He heads his version of the piece, 
" A festivity of Ch'Sng, and advantage taken of it for licentious 
assignations," I do not see why one should be completely blind 
to the innocent freedom of those early days, 


Book VIII. 

Ballads, Songs, and other pieces collected in the 
country of Ch'i. 

Gh'i ^ was one of the great fiefs of China during the Chou 
Dynasty, and was evidently a State of power, influence and 
importance. It lay in the bight of the Gulf of Pechili, in 
the northern portion of the present Shantung Province. 
Its capital was Ying Ch'iu ^ ^. The family name of its 
ruler was Chiang ^. A " Chiang of Ch'i," as we have seen 
in No 4 of Book IV. is the equivalent of a Howard or a 


No. I. 

" Do you hear that sound ? 'Tis the cock a crowing. 

Do you see the light ? 'Tis the dawn a glowing. 

In the Audience Hall Ministers of State 

Flock in crowds to greet you. Do not make them wait." 
Husband. — 
" Nay 'tis not the cock ; 'tis the night flies humming. 

Nay 'tis not the dawn, nor the morning coming. 

Day is not at hand. " This is but the light 

Of the morning star shining clear and bright." 
" Though it would be sweet at your side to He, 

Dreaming pleasant dreams till the sun was high ; 

If they only find a bare and vacant hall, 

They will go. On us will their anger fall." 

No. 2. 



Oh, those merry days of hunting, 
When we meet beneath the hill. 

Hot for sportj yet friendly rivals, 
Praising each the other's skill. 

No. I. 
I make this piece a conversation between the Duke and his 
wife, and not a narrative. The Duke in question is said to be 
Duke Ai '^, B.C. 934-894, who was uncharitably called licentious 
and indolent. 

No. 2. 
" The Hill " in this song is j^ Nao, a mountain not far from 
Ying Ch'iu, the Capital. " Wild boar '' covers two Chinese words, 


Savage wolf nor cunning wild boar 

Could escape our dexterous aim. 
On our prey we rushed together, 

Neither first to kill the game. 

No. 3. 

The bridegroom stood to wait for me between the door 

and screen, 
And entered next the courtyard and the hall to find his 

The, ribbons stretched above his brow were yellow, white, 

and green. 
Whence strings of precious jewels hung tinkling at his side. 

One is Mou ^, " a male," and the other Chien ^ , " a beast of 
three years," but the commentators agree that these were both 
wild boars. 

This song is said to . be directed against the inordinate love of 
hunting in Ch'i. If it is, the song " We'll all go a-hunting to-day," 
has a similar application. Dr. Legge, following the Chinese com- 
mentators, heads his translation : " Frivolous and vainglorious 
compliments exchanged by the hunters of Ch'i." 

No. 3. 
To satisfy the commentators, even this little piece must be held 
to allude to the evils of the time. This meaning can be extorted 
by two devices. One is to say that it alludes to a better state of 
things in days gone by, when the bridegroom came in person to 
fetch his bride, instead of sending his best man for her. The 
other is to accuse the bridegroom of being too free and easy. 
The " Etiquette of Marriage " (-gi f|| Hun Li) says that " the 
bridegroom after presenting the goose (see Notes on No. 9 of the 
3rd book), should drive three times round "the house, and wait 
outside until the lady came." He had no business to come within 
the doors. Liu Yiian, who propounds this sapient theory, gives 


No. 4. 

A maiden fair and bright 

Comes to find me, when the night 
Has departed, and the eastern sky is red ; 

But lest some curious eye 

Should presume to play the spy, 
Soft and lightly on my footpath will she tread. 

Delights fade all too soon. 

Comes the evening, and the moon 
Rises full and round. My darling dares not stay. 

But softly will she pass 

O'er my pathway through the grass, 
Lest her footprints should our meeting place betray. 

a further proof of his wisdom by asserting that the bride de- 
liberately calls attention to her husband's bad manners. Rather 
a rash thing for a bride to do. 

The jewels worn by the bridegroom are ^ Hila, ^ Yung 
and ^ Ying stones — crystals of some kind, I believe. 

No. 4. 
Three courses are open to the Chinese commentators here. 
One is to transmute the phrase which I translate " A maiden fair 
and bright " into " A man of worth," when the piece becomes 
didactic rather than erotic. Another is to make it a figurative 
expression of the relations existing between Ruler and Ministers 
in the State of Ch'i. The third is to take it as showing " the 
licentious intercourse of the people of Ch'i." (Legge). My trans- 
lation approaches the last interpretation, though I see no need of 
laying too much stress on the impropriety involved. The meeting 
took place by day. Honi soit qui mal y pense. Lord Macaulay 
has a similar ballad, much warmer than this, but I could not call 
it licentious. I mean the poem beginning — 


No. 5. 


You're a clever sort of usher for us Ministers of State, 
For when you're not too early, you are sure to be too late. 
You^r& a man who'd fence a garden with a single willow 

And suppose that you could thereby keep the rogues and 

thieves away. 


You lately came to call me in the middle of the night : 
Not a sign of day appearing, not a single streak of light. 
I hustled on my garments upside down, wrong side before, 
And to find myself too early at the Court, away I tore. 

Oh, fly, Madonna fly, 

Lest day and envy spy 
What only love and night may safely know. 

Fly and tread softly dear, 

Lest those who hate us hear 
The sound of thy light footsteps as they go. 

No. 5. 

The commentators, followed by Dr. Legge, believe that this 
piece is directed generally against the irregularity of the Court of 
Ch'i. I prefer to make it a lampoon on the Usher, or Chamberlain, 
of the Court. 

" Fencing the garden with a willow spray," is usually supposed 
to have been effective. " A feeble fence seemed to mark the 
distinction between forbidden and other ground, and the most 
reckless paid regard to it. In the Court of Ch'i, however, the 
evident distinction of morning and night was disregarded, and 
times and seasons confounded."— (Dr. Legge.) But surely the 
phrase is ironical. It is only another way of putting Sydney 
Smith's saying, " A man who would bolt a door with a boiled 


No. 6. 

The fox enraged and mad with fierce desires 
Alone to hills and deep ravines retires. 
Must you, a human being, waste your life 
Longing for her, who is another's wife 1 
The road by which she went is straight and plain, 
But never dream that she returns again. 

Remember how in life things run in twos, 
From jewelled cap strings down to hempen shoes. 
Between a wife and husband, who will dare 
To thrust himself, and thus destroy the pair ? 

When hemp is planted, if the farmer knows 
The proper method, plants are set in rows. 
When maids are wed, the parents must be told, 
Lest they object, and their consent withhold. 
But they were told. Consent they freely gave, 
So like a man, and gentleman behave. 

In splitting logs, an axe is what we use. 
In wedding wives, the custom is to choose 
Some trusty friend, who undertakes to do 
All that is needed to unite the two. 
Those rites were duly done ; 'tis melancholy 
To see you thus a prey to your own folly. 

No. 6. 

From the mention in the Chinese version of this piece of " the 
daughter of CKi, and the way to Lu ^," we see that it is directed 
against Hsiang ^, the Duke of CKi, circa b.c. 700. He had an 
incestuous intrigue with his sister. Wen Chiang "% |g (mentioned 
in the notes to No. 9 of the 7th book), who was married to Duke 
Huan g, the Head of the State of Lu. The Chinese version of 
the poem is far milder and more lenient than we should expect, 
when such a horrible crime is to be rebuked. In fact, it reads 
like a reproof addressed to a disappointed suitor still longing for 
the lady of his affections, who has jilted him and married another. 


No. 7. 

The field, which I attempt to till 
Has overtasked my strength and skill. 
Most carefully I sowed the seeds, 
Only to reap this crop of weeds. 

No thought, no longing, will restore 
My absent love to me once more. 
My only guerdon is the smart 
And aching of my anxious heart. 

There is nothing in it to express a shrinking even from naming 
such an abomination as incest, such as we found in No. 2 of 
Book IV. One of the officers of the Court is said to have written 
this poem. This may well be the case, but the author, whoever 
he was, was evidently afraid to speak out. The Chinese version 
strikes me as being just as doggrel as my own. 

Dr. Legge says that the two first stanzas of the original are 
directed against Duke Hsiang, the two latter against Duke Huan, 
who connived at his wife's crime. His reason for this inter- 
pretation is that the last line of one stanza is -^ 31 ft jh ^^ 
Yu Chu Chih, which he translates, " Why do you still indulge 
her desires ? " and the last line of the other -^ 5C t^ Jh -^^ Y" 
CKi Chih, "Why do you still allow her to go to this extreme?" 
But I see no reason why these two lines should not be translated, 
" Why do you still indulge j'(7«;- desires ? " and " Why doj/^K go to 
this extreme ? " Any other interpretation spoils the unity of the 

No. 7. 

I guess this piece to be corrupt; that is to say, I think that "it 
would be more perfect without the last stanza, which I have 
paraphrased very freely.- Translated literally, this stanza runs: — 
" Young and tender is the child with his hair in tufts. All of a 
sudden he wears a cap (sign of a grown man)." The commen- 



But sorrow shall be cured at last 
By time, which hurries by so fast, 
That ere one thinks a year has flown 
The baby is a man full grown, 

No. 8. 


The couples and the collars, which are hung on every hound. 

Have a merry jingling sound. 
And a pleasant man their master is, who leads them to the 
With his jolly bearded face. 

tators refer to Duke Hsiang, who entertained ambitious projects 
which he was unable to carry out. The absent friends, whom he 
sought in vain to win, were the rulers of other States. Dr. Legge 
heads his translation, " The folly of pursuing objects beyond one's 

No, 8. 

This song is akin to No. 2 of this book. I follow Chu Hsi 
in translating ^ Ch'iian and \^ Ssu, "bearded," rather than 
"good" and "able," as Dr, Legge does. 


No. 9. 


Below the dam a trap was laid 

To stop the finny prey ; 
But now 'tis ragged, old and frayed, 

Worn out, and rent away. 
So mighty sturgeon, tench and bream 
Swim unmolested up the stream. 

And surely woman's modesty 

Was likewise rent and torn, 
Ere she would dare thus shamelessly 

To brave our hate and scorn. — 
This lady, who returns again. 
With crowds of followers in her train. 

No. 9. 
This poem brings us back to Win Chiangs crime. She is 
represented as returning to CKi from Lu, in order to carry on her 
incestuous intrigue with her brother. The commentators say that 
the broken and worn out fish-trap is a metaphor for Duke Huaris 
influence and authority over his wife, which ought to have re- 
strained her, but did not do so. I prefer to understand it as a 
metaphor for her womanly feeling and modesty, which had been 

The fish mentioned in the Chinese version are the jgjj Fang, 
bream, the ^j^ Hsu, tench (Williams and Legge), or perch 
(Zottoli), and the jffl^ Kuan. No one seems to know what this 
fish was, but all agree that it was a large fish, so I have called it 
a sturgeon. Zottoli calls it a whale, scarcely a fresh-water fish. 
Dr. Williams describes it as follows : " A huge fish found in the 
Yellow River, and reputed to be large enough to fill a cart ; the 
story is that it cannot close its eyes and never sleeps, whence 
the name is applied to a widower, or an old man who has 
never married, because they cannot sleep soundly without a bed- 
fellow" (sic). 



No. lo. 

The road she travelled that evening was broad and easily 

And she shrank not from human eyes, nor desired not to 

be seen. 
Her gorgeous royal car rushed on at its topmost speed; 
So fast it rattled and ran, it seemed from the earth to bound . 
It had scarlet leather sides, and a chequered bamboo screen, 
And a tangle of bridles hung on the neck of each sable steed. 
And neither the rushing stream, nor the crowds on the 

way, which eyed 
The lady with horror and shame, could stop her, or turn 

her aside. 

No. II. 
We remember him and sigh ; 

Not a man could match him here. 
Stature tall, a forehead high. 

Eyeballs gleaming bright and clear. 

No. lo. 

This refers to the same events as the last. Wen Chiang appears 
on three separate occasions to have made an assignation with her 
brother, but there is nothing to show to which of these the piece 
refers. The stream which she crossed was the W^n fjf, which 
divided the State of CKiixom. Lu. 

My version is a free paraphrase of the original. 

No. II. 

I see nothing in this piece to indicate that it is anything but an 

expression of regret for some prince, dead or departed, whose 

handsome person and accomplishments had won the affection of 

his subjects. All the commentators, however, refer it to Chuang 


No one in the dance was seen 

With such nimble twinkling feet ; 
With such stately noble mien, 

Princely manners so complete. 

He could shoot from morn till dark 

With so strong an aim and true, 
Every arrow hit the mark. 

Pierced the target through and through. 

Claiming undisputed sway 

As his right, he governed well. 
Who would dare to disobey .'' 

Who would venture to rebel ? 

^, the Duke, not of CKi, but of Lu, the son of Duke Huan 
and Wdn Chiang. Duke Hsiang oi CKi not only committed 
incest with his own sister, Chuang's mother, but murdered Chuang's 
father. Chuang, therefore, according to Chinese ideas, ought 
not to have lived under the same heavens as the slayer of his 
father; but he failed to take any steps to avenge his father's 
murder, nor did he even prevent his mother continuing her 
criminal career. The ballad laments that so handsome and ac- 
complished a prince should so neglect his duty. We are to infer 
all this from the two first Chinese characters of the poem signify- 
ing "alas." Surely one little word never carried so much before. 
Lord Burghley's nod was nothing to it. 

" Indeed our nephew," is the literal translation of the concluding 
line of the second stanza in the Chinese version. Dr. Legge 
understands it to mean the nephew of our ruler, which Wen 
Chiang's son would certainly be, but I think that it only indicates 
that the subject of the poem was a man of noble race who had a 
right to rule. 

In the " Classic of Poetry " there is mention of rustics dancing, 
and of sacrificial dancing, and of dancing as an amusement, but 
this is the only instance of dancing as the admirable accomplish- 
ment of a man of rank. 

K 2 


Book IX. 

Ballads, poems, and songs collected in the country 

of Wei. 

Wei 1^ was a small feudal State lying in the Great 
Bend of the Yellow River, which consequently bounded it 
to south and west. Its inhabitants had the name of 
being parsimonious and thrifty, but if the two first pieces 
in the book are a criterion, their parsimony was rather 
of the type of Lady Susan Scraper's than after the fashion 
of that of the canny Peebles body, whose ' saxpence went 
bang.' I infer that Wezwas a sort of Chinese Grand Duchy 
of Pumpernickel, and that the swagger and pretension of its 
people exposed them to the ridicule of their neighbours. 
A commentator suggests that the pieces in this book, 
which will all be found to be either satirical or descriptive 
of bad government, were written by the natives of neigh- 
bouring States. The same idea had already struck me. 


No. I. 


He stands on one side and politely makes way ; — 

He does it as only a gentleman can. — 
With such ease and address, each observer will say, 

" Ah, he is indeed a superior man." 


He is decently clothed in an excellent dress ; 

From his girdle a pendant hangs down to the ground. 
With his wealth and his manners, would any one guess 

That this fellow is only a mean stingy hound ? 

He won't afford leather. In cold winter weather 

Hemp shoes must suffice, notwithstanding his riches. 
And his bride, so they say, worked the whole wedding day 

With her delicate hands on his collars and breeches. 

No. I. 

Hemp shoes are open-work shoes made of the fibre of the 
dolichos. I do not think that Dr. Legge has got the real meaning 
of the sentence about the shoes. Following the Chinese com- 
mentators, he explains it thus : " Dolichos shoes were for summer 
wear, yet necessity might require and justify the use of them in 
winter." This blunts the edge of the satire. 

During the first three months of wifehood the bride was not 
supposed to be called on to do any work, but the hero of this 
ballad, who reminds me much of Mr. Cheviot Hill, in Gilbert's 
Comedy, " Engaged," had no scruple in setting her to work at 
once. He was " the sort of man who would bury his wife from 
the Army and Navy Stores." 


No. 2. 

Dressed in their gorgeous robes, which gleam like gems or 

like flowers, 
The Chamberlains, Marshals and Equerries spend all their 

leisure hours 
In going to the banks of the river or marshes, and there 

they stoop. 
To gather mulberry leaves, with purslane and sorrel, for soup. 
To act in this skinflint way, to be stingy and pinch and save 
Is scarcely the proper way for the Lords of the Court to 


No. 2. 

The ^ Mu is no doubt the sorrel, rumex acetosa. The ^ Su 
is the plantago {Alisma Plantago, Zottoli), Dr. Legge calls it ox- 
lips, and Williams, purslane. 

The " Chamberlains, Marshals and Equerries," are the 7^ ^ 
Kung Lu, Superintendent of the Chariots (Rector Ciirruum, 
Zottoli), the 'Qi fj Kung Hang, Marshaller of the Chariots 
{Essedorum Ordinator), and ^ ]^ Kung Tsu, Clan Superin- 
tendent (Regim Fatnilice Prxses). 

Dr. Legge, in my opinion, introduces a needless refinement 
when he says, " We are not to suppose that the officer or officers 
actually did "gather the sorrel," &c., but only that they did things 
which parties performing such tasks might have done. 

I have made the stinginess of the officials the fault lampooned, 
but it is only just to their memory to point out that the author of 
the lines may have only wished to ridicule the pretensions of the 
State. Quasi dicat. " What an absurd thing it is that a miserable 
little State like that of Wei, whose greatest men were so poor that 
they had to pluck sorrel and purslane to keep body and soul 
together, should have such officials as marshals, equerries, and 
chamberlains. These are not the sort of Court officials we are 
used to." 


No. 3. 


Were it wise for me to try 
The delights of solitude ? 
Peaches, plums my trees supply; 
These shall be my only food. 
To myself I'll play and sing ; 
Solace this will surely bring. 

Stop though. There 's the foolish crowd, 
Dense and dull, who do not know 
Why I grieve. They call me proud. 
Are they just in saying so ? 
With a little thought they 'd guess 
Whence arises my distress. 

Shall I rather leave my home, 
Travel all the country over } 
Every one who sees me roam 
Calls me idle reckless rover, 
Caring not to ascertain 
Any reason for my pain. 

No. 3. 
The mention of peaches and plums (N. B., jujube plums) 
is supposed by Dr. Legge, who follows some of the Chinese 
commentators, to contain an allusion to the misgovernment of the 
country. "The peach is but a poor fruit, but while there are 
p caches in the garden, their fruit can be used as food ! The people 
of Wei are few, but if they were rightly used, good government 
would ensue." I do not know what the Chinese think about 
jujube plums, but the peach to them is, and always has been, the 
king of fruits. I feel pretty sure that the speaker only mentions 
fruits as food which would supply his simple wants. 


No. 4. 


The ridgy fir-clad hill I clomb 
To gaze towards my father's home. 

Methought I heard him say 
" My son has gone to serve abroad, 
Nor morn nor eve will rest afford ; 

Poor lad, I fondly pray 
That he may take a little care. 
Nor die, and stay for ever there." 

I turned my eyes towards the spot, 
Where stands my mother's humble pot ; 

Methought I heard her voice. 
She said, " Alas stern duties keep 
My darling child from needful sleep. 

Twould make my heart rejoice. 
If I were sure that I should see 
My son restored alive to me." 

Two lines, which occur twice over in the Chinese version — 
" Those men are right (or That man is right) : what do you say ?" — 
are, to say the least, obscure, and are probably corrupt. I trans- 
late them : " Are they just in saying so ? " 

No. 4. 
This pleasing little ballad leads the Marquis D'Hervey Saint 
Denys into a dissertation on the unwarlike character of the Chinese. 
Dr. Legge, on the other hand, remarks that the sentiment con- 
tained in it is " one of lamentation over the poor and weak Wei, 
whose men were torn from it to fight the battles of its oppressors." 
What necessity is there for seeing in the poem anything more 
than a passing longing for home, which the bravest and loyalest 
soldier may feel without incurring the charge of cowardice or 
want of patriotism ? Max Piccolomini is not supposed to be any- 


Again I gazed across the lands 
To where my brother's hamlet stands ; 

Methought I heard him cry, 
" His work and worries never cease ; 
No quiet, solitude or peace 

For him, ah would that I 
Could bring him back with us to dwell 
Unharmed and safe, alive and well." 

thing but a brave soldier, because Schiller puts in his mouth some 
beautiful speeches regarding the joys of peace, such as the one 
beginning : — 

"O schoner Tag wenn endlich der Soldat 
Ins leben heimkehrt, in die Menschlichkeit." 

and ending — 

" O gliicklich, wenn dann auch sich eine Thiir 
Sich zarte Arme sanst umschlingend offnen." 


O day thrice lovely when at length the soldier 
Returns home into life ; when he becomes 
A fellow-man among his fellow-men. 

^ TT TP Tl* 

Oh, happy man, oh, fortunate, for whom 

The well-known door, the faithful arms are open ; 

The faithful tender arms with mute embracing. 

Coleridge's Translation. 


No. 5. 



Through the fields the livelong day 
Mulberry pickers idly stray. 
There is nothing here to do, 
Let me go away with you. 

No. 6. 


The stalwart wheelwright hews the maples tall, 
Which ring and eqho as his axe-blows fall. 
Upon the bank his ordered wood heaps lie, 
The clear, yet rippling, river eddies by. 


No. S. 
This scrap refers, no doubt, to some time of distress or scarcity. 
There are two generally accepted explanations. One is that the 
State of Wei lost so much territory that the farms of 100 inou, or 
Chinese acres, were reduced to ten. (See Dr. Legge's notes for 
a definition of the measurements.) The farmers, therefore, could 
not make a living. The other meaning is arrived at by making 
the planters a metaphor for the Ministers of State, who found no 
work in Wei worthy of their powers, and therefore wished to go 
into retirement. 

No. 6. 

The trees, which the wheelwright hews down, are T^an U trees, 
which term appears to be applied to several kinds of hard wood 
timber. Dr, Legge makes them Sandal-trees, which, I fear, do 
not grow in Central China. I hope Maples is not a very bad 

I have my doubts whether this poem is not a mixture of two 
separate pieces. I do not think that the whieelwright cutting down 


Although you sow no seed, nor reap the field, 

Three hundred farms to you their harvest yield. 

On others falls the toil. They reap and sow. 

Yet sheaves and stacks your barns and bins o'erflow. 

You never dare the dangers of the chase, 

But spoils of birds and beasts your courtyard grace. 

Mark. Every truly worthy man is loth 

To eat the bread of idleness and sloth. 

No. 7. 


Rats, rats, rats, 
From our millet refrain. 
Oh rats, rats, rats. 
Spoil not our standing crops. 
Leave uninjured our grain. 

trees is held up as an example to the rich personage, whose wealth 
comes to him without an effort on his part, because there is nothing 
to show that such a comparison is intended, except that the 
mention of the wheelwright occurs in the stanzas describing the 
unearned wealth of some idler. Otherwise, the comparison is not 
worked to_ a conclusion or elaborated in any way. To call the 
wheelwright a Chun Tzu ;g: ■^, or superior person, too, seems to 
me unnatural. Still, I may well be mistaken. Those who believe 
that I am will please, for the last couplet in my translation, 
substitute — 

Men like that sturdy wheelwright would be loth 

To eat the bread of idleness and sloth. 

No. 7. 
A commentator observes that this poem is the last in the book 
to show that shortly after the date when it was written, the State 
of Wei was absorbed by Chin §. Another commentator remarks 


Three weary years ; 
Never a kindly deed 
These three weary years, 
Never a wish to spare 
Us in our bitter need. 

So let us depart 
Where sorrow shall cease, 
There in a happy land, 
Happy land, happy land, happy land. 
Home of comfort and peace. 

that in that part of the country there actually were large field rats 
who did great mischief, so that the metaphor of rats applied to 
bad rulers, would at once appeal to the imagination of the 

The repetitions in this poem are found in the original version. 


Book X. 

Ballads and other poems collected in the land 
of T'ang. 

T'ang J§ is the country of the Great Yao ^, the 
mythical, or semi-mythical, Emperor, who is said to have 
ascended the throne of China B.C. 2357. In B.C. 11 06 
King Ch'eng ^ 2 of the Chou Dynasty invested his 
brother Sku Yu ^ ^ with the government of this State. 
Shu Yu's son changed its name to CAin § from the name 
of a river within its southern boundaries. It absorbed the 
neighbouring fief of Wei and became one of the most 
important feudal States in the kingdom. It is accurate 
enough for all practical purposes to say that CMn is con- 
terminous with the modern Province of Shansi. This book 
retains the names of poems collected in T'ang, probably, as 
Dr. Legge suggests, because of the Chinese fondness for 
ancient legends and traditions, but it must be remembered 
that the poems of T'ang include the poems of Chin. 


No. I. 


Our work is finished for the year ; 

Our carts may idle stand. 
The cricket on the hearth we hear, 

For winter is at hand. 
Now is the time for sportive fun, 

For frolic and enjoyments, 
Before the days and months bring on 

Fresh labours and employments. 


Though mirth and merriment bear sway. 

We feast as wise men should. 
Lest in the wine cups of to-day 

We drown to-morrow's good. 
'Tis right, as evils may arise. 

To be serene and quiet, 
For men of sense and worth despise 

All mad excess and riot. 

No. I. 

This poem, it is said, was written with the design of encouraging 
the people to keep up the good old simple customs, which had 
come down from the time of Yao. Of course the commentators 
are not satisfied with anything so simple. It was written, accord- 
ing to the Preface, out of pity for the Marquis Hsi <g ^ 
(B.C. 839-822), who was too stingy to enjoy himself properly. 


No. 2. 


Mountains are yours, within whose forests grow 

The elm, the ailanthus, and the varnish tree. 
And in your marshlands lying wet and low 

Wild cherries, white elms, chestnut shrubs we see. 

Great store you have of trailing robes and long, 

Which lie and moulder useless and unworn. 
Your cars are handsome, and your coursers strong, 

And yet along the streets you ne'er are borne. 

Courtyards adorn the mansion where you dwell, 

And halls, where no one comes the dust to sweep, 
With many a drum and sweetly ringing bell, 

Which ever mute and voiceless lie asleep. 

Why stint and spare .'' — for surely it were best 

With wine and dainties to prolong the day ; 
To cheer the hours and give to mirth a zest ; 

So take your lute and sing a merry lay. 

No. 2. 

There are six trees mentioned in this piece, viz. : ||f CMu, 
"thornyelm;" ifff Yii, "white elm;" ^"^ K'ao, "ailanthus" {euscaphis 
sticphyloides, Zottoli), |3: ^^^> " ^"^^ cherry " {ligustrum sinense, 
Zottoli), ^ Ch'i, " varnish tree " (r/^z^j vernidflud), and ^ Li, 
" chestnut tree." 

Each stanza in the original begins with two lines containing 
the mention of these trees growing on the mountains and in the 
marshes. I rather incline to the belief that the lines are only 
"a burden" conveying little or no meaning, though I have 




Think — all destroying death comes creeping near, 
When ourmost cherished goods, our hoarded stores. 

Shall be the stranger's, who shall take our gear, 
Shall spend our riches, and shall tread our floors. 

No. 3. 


As o'er the fretted waters of the stream 
Some tall white rock above the waves may gleam ; 

So mid the crowd of faithful followers here 
We see your majesty and splendour beam. 

Take this silk robe, by monarchs only worn, 
Which collar and embroideries red adorn ; 

Thus we invest you. Be our lord and king, 
And let us be your loyal subjects sworn. 

translated them as describing the possessions of the person to - 
whom the poem is addressed. It is not known who the person 
in question was. Liu YiJan observes that Confucius places this 
poem next the one immediately before it, in order to point out 
the happy mean. It is right and wise to be moderate in enjoy- 
ment, but it is wrong and foolish to abstain altogether from 

No. 3. 
This poem no doubt refers to the rebellion of Huan Shu |g j^ 
against his nephew, the Marquis CMao gg, b.c. 744-738. Shortly 
after his accession to the position of Feudal Prince, the Marquis 
- invested his uncle with the government of the city of CKu Yu 
^ \^, where the latter grew to be more powerful and influential 
than his nephew, whose yoke he endeavoured to throw off. A 
civil war, which lasted sixty-seven years, ensued, at the end of 


What care we now ? We fear no grief nor woe ; 
Lead us, we follow. We would face the foe, 

Prompt to obey the lightest order given, 
Nor think that others shall our secrets know. 

No, 4. 


" He shall be like the tree that groweth 
Fast by the river side, 
Which bringeth forth most pleasant fruit. 

In her due time and tide ; 
Whose leaf shall never fade nor fall. 

But flourish and stand. 
Even so all things shall prosper well 
That this man takes in hand." 

Sternhold's version of Psalm J. 

which time Huan Shu's grandson had succeeded in having his 
right to the Marquisate acknowledged. 

Dr. Legge makes the speakers in the poem the conspirators, 
but the person to whom they speak is only Huan Shu^s messenger, 
not Huan Shu himself. The inspiring sight of their leader is put 
in the conditional future — " When we shall have seen our princely 
lord, shall we not rejoice?" and not as I prefer to do, and as the 
Chinese structure admits — " Since we have seen our princely 
lord we do rejoice, &c." He goes on to say that this piece was 
written with the intention of warning the Marquis CKao of the 
machinations against him. It seems to me that such an inter- 
pretation robs the piece of all its dramatic appropriateness. 

" We follow," is in the original "we will follow to Yu (i.e. CKu 
Yu) and ^ Kao" a town or city in the district of CNu Yu. 

No. 4. 

Huan Shu, of the last piece, is said to be the hero of this. 

I have strained a translator's license rather severely in my 
version of this piece, for the " noble spreading tree " is nothing 
but a pepper plant or pepper vine^ whose clusters would fill a 

L 2 


'Tis a noble spreading tree ; 
Far and wide extend its shoots, 
Covered thick with clustered fruits. 

■ Such is he ; 
He, the man we celebrate, 
Peerless, generous, and great. 

No. 5. 


Cut down the grass and thorns, and tie 

The bundles with a hempen band. 
Orion climbs the southern sky. 

To tell us winter is at hand. 

pint measure, or both hands. I have the authority of one Chinese 
book, the Chi Yiin ^ §|, for saying that there is such a thing 
as a pepper tree, but I fear that it must be classed with the tea 
tree of Baber's inimitable vers.e : — 

" In Yuen Ming Yuen all gaily arrayed 

In malachite slippers and kirtle of jade,, 

'Neath the wide-spreading tea tree fair damsels are seen. 

All singing to Joss on the soft candareen." 
Most of the commentators take this piece as a warning ad- 
dressed to the Marquis CKao, who is cautioned that rebellion 
will grow as rapidly as a pepper vine. A note to the Erh Ya 
|g ^H or "Literary Expositor," remarks that the upper pods on 
a pepper vine have a knack of turning downwards, while the 
under ones turn upwards. Hence, the pepper vine becomes a 
good simile for a country in a state of internecine warfare. 

Dr. Legge is no doubt correct in treating this little piece as a 
song, but I think the refrain, with which he concludes his metrical 
version, has overstepped the sublime. It runs : — 

" And its hey for the far-shooting pepper plant still." 

No. s- 
I translate the three stars of the Chinese version (" The hree 



On winter evenings lovers meet. 
"A noble suitor, mine,'' she cries. 
" Where will you find a girl so sweet. 
So fair as you are 1 " he replies. 

No. 6. 


The pear-tree's leaves are thick and strong. 
Beneath its shade I pass along 
Unnoticed by the busy throng. 

Ye travellers, to you I cry 
For kindly aid and sympathy. 
Unheeding still ye pass me by. 

In vain. Your help I may not claim. 
Strangers ye are, and not the same 
As those who bear my father's name. 

stars appear in the sky ") as Orion, as I believe that the three stars 
indicate Orion's Belt, which is seen in the south-east shortly after 
sunset during the autumn, when the nights begin to grow cold, 
and sensible country folk collect stores of fuel. Dr. Legge makes 
them part of Scorpio, but their appearance on the eastern, or 
south-eastern horizon, does not synchronize with autumn. 

I do not think that we need trouble ourselves to hunt for the 
usual allusions to the disorder of the time, and to the misgovern- 
ment of Ch'n, which the commentators find in this piece, but Dr. 
Legge's notes on this poem should be carefully read. 

No. 6. 
This poem is said to picture the desolation of Marquis Ck'ao, 
when his friends and followers deserted him to join Huan Shu. 
It is said that the pear tree is mentioned, that its condition. 


No. 7. 

Oh mighty prince, with robe of fur and leopard cuffs be- 

Why treat your humble vassals with unkindness and 
neglect ? 

Can we find no other master ? Yes, but 'tis a bitter thing 

To break old ties, forget old loves, and serve another king. 

covered thick with leaves, may be contrasted with the distress of 
the wanderer^ who had not a friend near him. 

No. 7. 

We are still harping on the civil war in Chin. I cannot help , 
believing that the piece, which is probably only a fragment, is 
corrupt. The meaning of Chic Chii ^ jg in the first Chinese 
stanza, and of ^ *j^ Chiu Chiu in the second, is the difficulty, 
Mao Ch'i Lin, and others, make the characters mean unkindly, 
though I doubt whether there is another example in Chinese 
literature of their having such a signification. If this is really 
their correct meaning, the piece is a warning, addressed to the 
descendant of Marquis Ch'ao, that, unless he treats his people 
better, they will go over to the Huan Shu faction. Liu Yiian, 
on the other hand, makes the piece a profession of loyalty, by 
taking the doubtful sentences to mean, " You have us collected 
round you," an interpretation for which there is a great deal to 
be said. 

The " robe of fur '' is lamb's fur, typical of the Prince's be- 
nignity, while the leopard cuffs denote his martial power. 


No. 8. 


Listen, in the grove I hear 

Sounds of many a rustling wing. 

'Tis the wild geese, who appear 
As the harbingers of spring. 


Warmer weather is at hand. 

By their coming here they warn 
Husbandmen to sow their land ; 

Plant their millet, rice and corn. 

I may neither plant nor sow, 

Nor prepare the year's supply. 
And for all that I can do, 

Those at home may starve and die. 

For the men who serve the king, 

By their weight of work opprest, 
May not cease from labouring, 

Must not snatch a moment's rest. 

No. 8. 

Here we have again our old friend, the home-sick soldier, who, 
this time, is serving in the civil wars in Chin. 

It appears open to question whether the Pao ^1 is a bustard, 
as Zottoli says, or a wild goose, but my experience at Newchwang 
leads me to guess that it is the latter. Newchwang is frozen up 
from the rest of the world during four months of the year. The 
first sign of the advent of spring, and of the melting of the ice in 
the river and bay, is the flight of the wild geese, who come .from 
the south, and are anxiously watched for in March by the Chinese 
inhabitants and the European residents. Bustardsy on the other 


Powers of the azure heights, may we, 

Blest by you, return again 
To our hearths and homes, to be 

Men among our fellow-men. 

No. 9. 

I have no clothes at all, you declare ! 
You are wrong ; I have plenty, you see. 
They may not be so rich or so rare 
As your own, but they 're excellent wear, 
And warm, and do nicely for me. 

hand, are found there all the winter. The Chinese version de- 
scribes the birds, whatever they are, settling on the trees. I do 
not think that either bustards or wild geese perch. 

" Men among our fellow-men " (a plagiarism from Coleridge), 
is the equivalent of Chinese words, meaning, "When shall we be 
in our places, and get back to the ordinary lot of men again ? " 

No. 9. 
This is again a corrupt fragment, consisting in the Chinese 
version of two short stanzas which, literally translated, run as 
follows : Stanza i, " How do you say there are no clothes (or 
robes) ? There are seven. Not equal to yours but quiet and 
auspicious." Stanza 2, " How do you say there are no clothes 
(or robes) ? There are six. Not equal to. yours, but quiet and 
durable wear." It will be seen from this that the translator is 
in a dilemma. If he translates the piece as I have done, he is 
forced to change or omit the epithets ' quiet ' and ' auspicious,' 
which are nonsensical when applied to a man's clothes. (Tailors 
do apply the epithet quiet to the pattern, by the way. But we 
must not be flippant.) On the other hand, j^ Yii means stout, 
warm, durable, an epithet to be used in reference- to a suit of 
corduroy, but not when state robes are spoken of. Still, all the 
commentators translate ^ Yi as robes, and explain the piece as 


No. 10. 

" 'Tis poverty parts good company." 

Old Saw. 
On the left-hand side of the pathway 
A pear-tree stands all alone. 
Where the road forms a sudden angle, 
Is the shade of its branches thrown. 

Would he come to me there, the sweetheart 

I love to my heart's mid core. 
We would travel the road together. 

And never be parted more. 

follows : The civil war in Chin was finished B.C. 678 by the 
success of CMng JSS, Huan Shu's grandson, known as Duke Wu 
^ JV . He appealed to King ffsi fj IE to confirm him in his 
position, to which request the king, influenced, it is said, by 
bribery, consented, and appointed him Marquis of Chin. The 
poem, therefore, is the appeal of Cheng's followers that their 
master should be supported by the king's authority, and is 
supposed to be addressed to the royal envoy. Put into verse 
in this sense, it would run thus : — 

Say you, he does not possess 

Symbols of authority, 

Robes of State ? I tell you, yes, 

Seven Robes of State has he. 

But should our great king bestow 

Such gifts on him at your hand, 

All the realm would see and know 

And obey his high command. 

Thus good government and peace 

Would prevail, and discord cease. 

No. 10. 
It is almost needless to point out that I get little support for 
my theory that this ballad represents a woman complaining that 
she is too poor to retain the affection of her sweetheart. The 


But, alas ! I am poor and friendless ; 

No coin in the world have I. 
And my larder is bare and empty. 

And my cellar has quite run dry. 

No. II. 


The trailing creepers shroud the thorns in gloom, 
The wild vines spreading o'er the wasted plains 
But mock my sorrow, for they hide the tomb, 
Which holds my lord's remains. 

commentators will have it that it is a man regretting that he 
cannot retain as his companions men of worth and excellence. 
The Preface makes Duke Wu the subject of the poem, but if 
he is meant, his poverty must be taken in a highly metaphorical 
sense. Surely the phrase, " I love him to my heart's core," 
which is a literal translation of the Chinese characters, indicates 
that the speaker is speaking of one of the opposite sex. 

To take the solitariness of the pear tree as an image of the 
condition of the speaker, seems to me rather far-fetched. 

No. II. 

The "creepers " are the dolichos, and the ^ Lien, convolvulus 
ipomoea pentadactylis (Legge) ; cissus (Zottoli). 

This piece is assigned to the time of Duke Hsien J^, B.C. 675- 
650, during which period there was frequent war. The dead 
man was no doubt a soldier who left a young widow to mourn 
his loss. I make the allusion to the pillow and the splendid 
broidered coverlet, merely a tender reminiscence of the marriage. 
Pfere Zottoli translates the verse in the present tense : " How 
splendid is the broidered coverlet ;" and deduces from this that 



My husband. Oh, the night when first we met, 

My head lay on the pillow at his side. 
They threw the splendid broidered coverlet . 

O'er bridegroom and his bride. 

By me must now long days of summer heat, 

Long winter nights, in loneliness be past. 
But though I live a hundred years, we'll meet 

Within the grave at last. 

No. 12. 

Should some one bid you climb and seek 
On Shou Yang's topmost peak 

For liquorice shoots, and say, " Below 
You'll find the mustard grow." 

You'd laugh and tell him you despise 
Such foolish childish lies. 

the husband was called away to the war immediately after his 
marriage, so that the coverlet is still new and bright. "Torus est 
novus, et ego jam sola." 

Liu YiJan, on the other hand, makes the sapient remark that 
unless her parents were still alive and dependent on her, or unless 
she had young children to bring up, so virtuous and loving a wife 
would have committed sati at her husband's tomb. 

No 12. 
Shou Yang "^ p^ is a mountain in Shansi, on which no sane 
person would expect to find the Ling ^, hquorice plant, ^ Kv, 


To every story which you hear 
Give no assenting ear. 

Nor list to each malicious lie, 
But coldly pass it by. 

Thus every cruel slanderous tale 
Will prove of no avail. 

sow-thistle (Sonchus Ohraceus, Zottoli), or S Fing, mustard, all 
of which are marsh plants. My verse omits the middle one. 

Duke Hsien is supposed to be the person warned not to listen 
to slander. I know no reason why this should be, or should not 
be, the fact. 


Book XI. 

Ballads, Songs, and other pieces collected in the 

rnwn.tvv nf C^h'm. 

country of Chin. 

Ch'in ^ may be said to have been a State lying where 
now is the modern Province of Kansu. The first feudal 
chief of the country was Fei Tzu ^ J-, who was invested 
by King Hsiao i^ 2, B.C. 909 — 894. His descendant, 
Duke Hsiarig ^, was, in B.C. 769, made one of the Great 
Feudal Princes. He held the office of what we may call 
" Warden of the Marches." CA'zn was no doubt a State 
of great importance to the kingdom of China, as on it fell 
the duty of protecting the realm from the incursions of 
the Jung, and other wild tribes of the West. The rulers 
of Ch'in gradually moved their capital more and more to 
the East. Eventually, Ch'in became the dominant power 
in China, and one of the Ch'in reigning line was he who 
abolished feudalism throughout the realm, and changed 
China from a Kingdom to an Empire. I mean, of course, 
Prince Cheng, better known as the first Emperor Shih 
Huang ti, who burned " the Books," had the scholars 
executed, and built the Great Wall of China. 


No. I. 


His carriage sheds hold many heavy cars 

And steeds, upon whose foreheads shine white stars. 

And ushers stand to guard the Prince's gate ; 

Such things beseem the ruler of the State. 

Nor would the Prince his subjects' needs forget, 

But for their use upon the hills he set 

The varnish trees and mulberry trees, which grow ~) 

Upon the heights, and, where the ground is low, \ 

The chestnut trees and willows, in a row. J 

When we attend his Court no haughty pride 
Repels us, nay, he seats us at his side. 
He bids the lutes strike up, the organs play ; 
In mirth and merriment we pass the day. 
Death and old age too quickly conquer man. 
He would be happy therefore while he can. 

No. I. 

The reader will remark the various qualities in a ruler which 
command the admiration of the Chinese. Not only must he 
show beneficence to his people by planting trees for their use, 
and condescension and urbanity to his visitors, but he must be a 
man like Dogberry, with two gowns, and everything handsome 
about him, and servants and attendants in plenty. The " ushers 
at the Prince's gate" are eunuchs, who are found only in 

The piece is referred to CKin Chung ^ {pja, the Duke of 
CHin, who was promoted to honour by King Hsuan Jg J in 
B.C. 826. 


No. 2. 

You see them straining at the rein, 

My steeds of iron grey. 
The driver mounts his seat again. 

Friends, to the hunt away ! 


The jingling bits, the merry sounds 

Of small bells sweet and clear . 
Announce the carts, which bear the hounds^ 

And follow in our rear. 

To northward lies our hunting park, 

All forest beasts are there. 
The finest stags shall be our mark ; 

So drive them from their lair. 

A stag is roused. " To left/' we cry, 

All eager for the game. 
And as the chariot wheels, let fly. 

And never miss our aim. 

No. 2. 

The subject of this song is said to be Duke Hsiang, mentioned 
in the introductory note to this book. 

" The hounds " are of two kinds, long muzzled dogs and short 
muzzled dogs. I daresay that this means dogs that ran by sight, 
as greyhounds, and dogs that depend on scent. 

My translation is rather a free paraphrase. 


No. 3. 


By night and day with longing heart I yearn ; 

When will my husband safe to me return ? 

He leaves his country at the king's behest, 

To quell the unruly rebels in the West. 

I seem to see him sitting in his car, 

'Tis short but strong, and furnished well for war 

With dragon-figured shields, whose ordered rows 

Protect the front, with cases for his bows 

Of tiger skin with metal studs bedight. 

And heavy trident spears with gilding bright. 

Upon the mat he sits, and by him stands 
The charioteer, — the reins are in his hands. 

No. 3. 
It would indeed be a tour de force to put this Chinese poem 
into English verse without omissions. Dr. Legge has attempted 
it, but the result is not very musical. Homer's Greek is the only 
language which could possibly reproduce it in anything but the 
baldest prose. The first stanza begins : " A small war-chariot 
with shallow boards, A five-spUced pole and pole-end, Running 
ring and side- straps, Masked traces and gilt fasteningSj Striped 
mat and long nave." The second and third stanzas are almost 
as tough as the first. The one treats of the team of horses, the 
other of the armament of the chariot. I will venture on no long 
description of the chariot and its appendages, but will refer the 
reader to Dr. Legge's books, and to the engraving in Zottoli's 
" Cursus Literaturae Sinicse," vol. iii. The picturcj taken from a 
Chinese source, shows the dragon-figured shields, the bow-case 
for the pair of bows, the tridents,- and the reins passing through 
the running ring, which evidently hung loose, and was not 
attached to the backs of the horses. How the horses were 
attached, and what is the meaning of the traces being masked or 
concealed, is a mystery to me, unless it is that the traces passed 
underneath the coats of horse-mail, with which the horses were 


With even pace his four great stallions run, 
Outside, to right a black, to left a dun ; 
And next the pole a bay horse and a pied, 
With running rings and bands and buckles tied. 

A rebel's plank-built hovel, rude and mean. 
Must be his Court, but tranquil and serene 
He'll sit and rule the people. Ah, may fame, 
Throughout all ages, celebrate his name. 
And may I live that happy hour to see 
Which brings my well-loved lord again to me. 

No. 4. 


The rushes and reeds on the river side 
Are touched by the frost to a deeper hue, 

And silver rime in the morning tide 

Is seen in the place of the diamond dew. 

The poem evidently depicts some ofBcer of state going to 
restore order and establish good government among the wild 
western tribes. Duke Hsiang is again said to be the person 
referred to. " Tranquil and serene," covers several epithets in 
the original. One of these is " Bland and soft as a piece of 
jade" (Dr. Legge's translation). Jade is one of the hardest 
things in creation. 

No. 4. 
To make the speaker in this ballad differ in sex from the 
person spoken of is my own idea. The poem may possibly 
apply to a friend seeking for his comrade, but I think that the 
language is almost too warm for this. The usual Chinese inter- 
pretation is that it is an allegorical description of Duke Hsiang's 
search for superior men, who had become scarce. Even when 




They tell me the maiden of whom I dream, 
Of whom I am thinking by day and night, 

Will be found on the bank of this rapid stream 
I go to find her, my heart's delight. 

The way up stream is so hard to tread. 

So steep, so long, that my feet move slow. 
I am forced to return, and to try instead. 

The path which follows the waters' flow. 

She is there on that islet. Ah, cruel fate, 

For the swollen wintry waves divide 
The shore where I stand from the little ait, 

And I may not cross to my darling's side. 

No. 5. 

On Chung Nan Hill the poplar trees 
Embrace the mountain's rocky knees. 
In every valley, every glade, 
The plum trees cast a grateful shade. 

he finds the desired man he can make no use of him, for the 
gulf between the two cannot be passed. The " Little Preface " 
calls the piece a. satire directed against Duke Hsiang, who could 
not find the men of ability to strengthen his State. 

No. S. 
This piece is likewise referred to Duke Hsiang. It is supposed 
to celebrate the fact of his being made a Prince of the kingdom. 
Chung Nan f| ^ was a hill in Hsi An Fu ■§" ^ ^, the district 


Our prince, to all the nation dear, 
Is coming. Give him welcome here. 
Ah, see his ruddy healthy face ! 
Bright tinkling gems his girdle grace. 
He wears fur robes of glossiest white, 
And coats with royal badge bedight. 
Long life be his. He is indeed 
The prince, the ruler whom we need. 
And our affection shall proclaim 
For ever his undying name. 

No. 6. 


'Tis spring. Through the groves the orioles dart 

In their rapid and restless flight. 
Their yellow wings flash, as upon the sprays 

Of the mulberries they alight. 

of the provincial capital of Shensi. On it grew plums and f^ 
Tiao^ which, following Zottoli, I translate " poplars." Legge has 
" white firs," and Williams " pomelo trees." 

The "Royal badge" was a a symbol of this shape gS em- 
broidered on the skirt of the state robes of feudal Princes. 

No. 6. 
This ballad is to me one of the most suggestive and interesting 
pieces in the whole classic. With the exception of that part of 
the Mahabharata which describes the sacrifice of Madrt, the best 
beloved wife of Pandu, at her husband's tomb, this is probably 
the earliest mention of sati, or suttee. In what part of the world 
did this custom first arise ? The writer who gives us the fullest 
details regarding the practice is Herodotus^ who describes sati 
among the Thracians and Scythians. He says : "E^ci yvrai/cas 

M 2 



Who followed the Duke to the other world, 
Through the gloomy gates of the grave ? 

'Twas the warriors three of the Tzu Chii clan, 
Yen Hsi and his brethren brave. 

■ iKa,(no<i iroAAas, emav (ov ns avrw/ aTToOavrj, Kplafi yiverai ft-fyuXtj 
Tiav yvvaiKlav Kat (jiiXmv, (TirovSal ia-)(Vpal ircpi ToBSe ^tis airiwv 
e^iXeeTO /ioXicTTa viro Tov avSpoi- ^ 8'av KpiOrj KaiTip,r]6y iyKwfiiaa-deicra 
wo re avSputv Kat yvvaiKwv, (KJid^erai h tov rd<j)ov vTrb tov oiKrji.oTa.70v 
ToS iurrjTrji a-(jia)^6ti<Ta 8k a-w6dirTeTai t<3 avSpi, k. t. \, 

Herodotus. — Book v. chap. v. 

" Each man (Crestonean) has several wives. When, therefore, 
any of them dies, a great contest arises among the wives, and 
violent disputes among their friends, which of them was most 
loved by the husband. She who is adjudged to have been so, . 
and is so honoured, having been extolled both by men and women, 
is slain on the tomb by her nearest relative, and when slain is 
buried with her husband." — Cary's translation. 

Again, in speaking of the Scythians, Herodotus says : " When 
their King dies he is buried in the country of the Gerrhi.". .." In 
the remaining space of the grave they bury one of the King's 
concubines, having strangled her, and his cup-bearer, a cook, a 
groom, a page, a courier, and horses and firstlings of everything." 
. . . "^A year afterwards fifty of the King's horses, and fifty of his 
servants, are strangled and stuffed with chaff and stuck round the 
King's monument." 

"Ev Se T'^ Xotirij f.vpvxmpiri ttji 6riKrj<s tGi/ iroXXaKcW re /mmv diro- 
TTviiavTK Ba-KTOVtri, Kat tov otvoxoov Kat jxayupov kol hriroKopLOV koX 
tiriKovov KoX ayyiKi-qi^opov kol ittttovs Koi rSr aXXiof dvdvTiav dirapvas. 
. . . 'EvtauToi; Bk Trf.pi<^ipop.ivov aSris TroUvai ToiovSe. , . . TOVTOiV 
u>v tS>v SirjKovwv emav aTronvi^wcn TrevTi^Kovra koi ittttous tovs KaX- 
Xio-TOJOVTas irevT^KOVTa e^c'Xovres avrSiv Trjv KoiXirp/ Kat KaBrfpavm 
ifiTTL'TrXaarL ay(ypav Kat (jvppdTTTOvai, k. t. X. 

See also Ibn Batuta's account of the burial of the Khan of 

We have then sati recorded in the ancient annals of India, 


As they passed to the tomb, each face grew pale, 

And a terror wrung every breast. 
We felt that heaven, grown deaf to our prayers. 

Was slaying our noblest and best. 

Thracia, Scythia, and Tartary, as well as in China. I, for one, 
am inclined to think that the practice did not start spontaneously 
in each country, merely because, as Tennyson has it, 

" Those that in barbarian burials killed the slave and slew 
the wife, 
Felt within themselves the sacred passion of the second life." 

I infer that the custom must have been traditional, and that it 
had its origin in the cradle of all these races in Central Asia. In 
India, where, as Max Miiller says, " The love of a higher and 
purer life degenerated sometimes into reckless self-sacrifice," sati 
lasted longest. It had become almost obligatory, until our laws 
forbade a widow actually burning herself alive on her husband's 
funeral pyre. In China the form of sati which forces the wife, 
or servant of the dead, to follow the master to the other world, 
never took deep root. This very ballad condemns the practice. 
The Chinese, with their usual love of symbolism, not to say of 
shams, contented themselves with placing stone images of men 
and animals round the graves of their great ones. At the same 
time a voluntary sati on the part of a wife is still held in great 
honour. A widow who will kill herself for grief at the loss of her 
husband is sure of an obituary notice in the " Peking Gazette "; 
and a commemorative arch, or pai lou, will be erected to her 
memory. One of the concubines of His Majesty Hsien Feng, 
the last Emperor but one, who died in 1862, committed suicide 
at her husband's death. The Empress, the chief wife of T'ung 
Chih, the last Emperor, is also reported to have died of sorrow 
for her husband's death. 

Duke Mu ^%, who is mentioned in this ballad, died b.c. 620. 
At his death 170 persons, among whom were the three men of 
valour of the poem, were sacrificed. A similar slaughter had 
taken place on the death of his father, when, it is said, this 
revolting custom was first introduced into China. Chinese 
writers will have it that the inhabitants of CKin borrowed the 



Each one of the three, in the time of war, 

Was a match for a hundred meti. 
And a hundred lives we would gladly give 

For one of them back again. 

practice from the barbarous tribes among whom they dwelt. 
Dr. Legge asks, " Have 'we not in this practice a sufficient proof 
that the chiefs of Ch'in were themselves sprung from those 
tribes?" The tribes in question were no doubt Hun, or Scythian, 
in their origin. They, too, had come from the west, in invasions 
into China, which took place before the Li Min, " the black- 
haired race," had found their home there. I take it that there is 
nothing to show whether sait was first introduced into Chinese 
territory by these wild tribes, or by what we may call the real 
Chinese. Still, the fact remains that the practice was more 
conspicuous in CA'm than in any of the other feudal States. 
The only other mention of it, which I can find, is a record of 
the sacrifice of two men in Ch'i— the scene of the ballads of 
Book Vni.— at the grave of T'ien Heng Q |f . He was the 
last feudal Prince of CA'i. He resisted the power of the 
Emperors of the Ch'in dynasty, and was killed on an island off 
the coast of China. 

The reason for mentioning the orioles in the ballad is not 
quite evident. I believe that they are spoken of simply to show 
that it viras spring when these three warriors were done to death, 
and I have made my translation accordingly. The commentators 
find other allusions, with which we need not trouble ourselves. 

I know nothing more of Yen Hsi ^ ,g,, and his brothers 
Chung Hang ftfi ^ and Ch'ien Hu |g J^, than what I find in 
this poem. 

Dr. Legge thinks it more natural to make the warriors tremble 
and grow pale. I prefer to make the spectators the subject of 
the verb. No doubt the boldest would be terrified on such an 
occasion, but their fears would scarcely be recorded in a ballad 
which speaks of them as the bravest of the brave. 


No. 7. 


Swift and fast the kestrel flies, 
Speeding to the northern wood, 

Where the bushy oak trees rise, 
There to find her mate and brood, 

On the hills, or down below. 

Where the elms and pear trees grow. 

I must stay. He left me here; 

Here to weep, alone, apart. 
No delights, no joy to cheer 

Or relieve my burdened heart. 
Can it be .' Oh, can it be ? 
Has he quite forgotten me ? 

No. 7. 

The interpretation of this ode turns on the words Chun-Tzu 
^ ^. Chu Hsi, whom I follow, makes it "husband." Liu Yuan, 
" superior men," who were scarce in the time of Duke K'ang J^ 
(B.C. 619-608). 

The trees mentioned in the ballad are said to be useless as 
food or timber, and are, therefore, typical of the state of the 
country, which produced no men of talent or ability. The trees in 
question are <:|^ Li, " scrub oak," !^ Fo, " elm " (celtis(?) Zottoli), 
1^ Li, " wild cherry," and ^ Sui, " wild pear tree." The word Fo, 
elsewhere, means a beast, not a tree at all. It is here qualified 
with the adjective six, an epithet which no one can make head 
or tail of. The text is doubtless corrupt. The ^ ^ Shen Eing 
is, I think, the kestrel. The ballad in the original version only 
speaks of it as flying to the wood. That she does so, to seek her 
mate and brood, is an interpolation of my own. 


No. 8. 


Armour you have none to wear ; 
Then my own with you I'll share. 
Don it quickly, for the king 
All his host is marshalling. 

Clad in mail, with lance and spear, 
Sword, and all our warlike gear, 
Side by side, as comrades true, 
March we onwards, I and you. 

No. 9. 


With my cousin I journeyed forth 
To the Wei, and thence to the north. 
When he went as a Prince to reign. 
And recover his own again. 

No. 8. 

This is one of the few songs in the whole Classic, to which 
genuine martial ardour gives the key-note. Attention is called 
to the fact that it is the King who is calling out the forces, not 
the feudal Princes, nor the Duke of CKin. 

The war was probably an expedition against the wild tribes of 
the west, undertaken by King Ping ^ J (e.g. 770-719), to 
avenge the death of his father. King Yu ^ J. 

No. 9. 
Duke K'ang J^ ^.. (b.c. 619-608) is the speaker here. His 
mother was the daughter of Duke Hsien jDj of Chin ^. Her 
two nephews were banished from their native State. One of them 



As we parted I bade him take 
Four steeds, to keep for my sake ; 
A jasper, and gems for his belt, 
To show the affection I felt. 

No. 10. 

The house wherein we dwelt was large and stately, 
At every meal too plenteous was our meat. 

That did not last long. Times are altered greatly. 
And now we never get enough to eat. 

was Chung Erh ^ ]|jl, who took refuge in Chin, but, after a stay 
of 19 years, returned to his own State, and recovered his old 
dominion, taking the title of Duke WSn ^JJ ^. K'ang, son of 
Duke Mu, mentioned in No. 6 of this book, who was then heir- 
apparent, escbrted his cousin on this enterprise. Hence these 

No. 10. 
This epigram is attributed to one of Duke Mu's old servants. 
When Duke K'ang succeeded Diike Mu, he was unwilling to 
treat his ' father's followers with the old liberality, or, as some 
say, he had spent all his money in extravagance and wastefulness, 
and was unable to do so. 


Book XII. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the country 

Ch'en ^ was one of the smaller feudal States, situated 
on the eastern borders of Honan, adjoining An Huei. 
The Prefecture of Ch'^n Choufu ^ >}\\ /j^, in Honan, still 
indicates the name of the old State. Its capital was in 
the district of Huai Ning '{^ ^, in the above-named 


No. I. 


Through winter's cold, and summer weather, 
This youth, so volatile and gay, 
Must rush to town, and pass the day 

In brandishing his egret feather. 


And while his footsteps beat the ground 

In cadence, as his fan he swings, 

With music all the precinct rings. 
And drums and tambourines resound. 


A kindly lad ! Yet something higher 
Than spirits light and merry mind, 
His friends in him would gladly find, 

Something to look to and admire. 

No. I. 

This piece is referred to Duke Yu ^ ^, e.g. 850-834. Chu 
Fu tzii, followed by Dr. Legge, objects that the piece is too fami- 
liar for it to be applied to a prince. They assert that it satirizes 
the dissipation of the officers of Ch'en. It seems to me, however, 
far more natural that such an appeal should be addressed to some 
"wild Prince Hal," than to a number of high officials, and I have 
translated the piece accordingly. 

The " tower " is Yiian ChHu ^ £ , a mound either in or 
adjoining the capital. It was apparently like Rosherville Gardens, 
" the place to spend a happy day." No. 13 of Book III. has 
already shown us that brandishing a feather or a feather-fan, was 
an essential part of a Chinese dance. " Tambourine " is perhaps 
an unjustifiably free translation of ^ Fou, "an earthen jar," used 
as a musical instrument. I really know no English equivalent. 
Occarina will hardly do. 


No. 2. 

'Tis fair and lovely weather, 
We will to town together ; 
So let your hemp and spinning-wheel to-day untouched 
For we are going straightway. 
To near the eastern gateway, 
Where the white elms and the oak trees cast their shadow 
on the plain. 


See youths and maids advancing 

To meet each other ; dancing 
With motions quick and graceful, they nimbly turn and 

He says, " You are as fair, love, 

As the blossom which you bear, love ; 
Give me a flower in token that you feel for what I feel." 

No. 2. 

My translation is a very free paraphrase. The Chinese com- 
mentators, and Dr. Legge, will have it that the piece represents 
the wanton associations of the young people of Ch'6n. It seems 
to me much more natural to make it the description of an 
innocent merry-making, which took place when the manners and 
habits of the Chinese were simpler and purer than they are now. 
It should be noted that the first stanza in the Chinese shows 
that " the daughter of Tzu Chung, " a lady of rank, took part in 
the dance, while the second stanza describes a girl leaving her 
spinning-wheel to do the same. I infer, therefore, that high and 
low all took part in the fun. 

The two last lines of the original run : " I look on you as a 
mallow-flower, "^ Chiao, (sunflower, Williams) ; give me a spray 
of your pepper-flower, ||j Chiao." 


No. 3. 


Contented with my lot, 
Within my humble cot 

I can rest, 

Caring not what may befal me. 
Fears of hunger ne'er appal me, 

For the rippling font 
Satisfies my every want. 

When I eat a fish, 
Need I wish 

Carp or bream 
From out some famous stream ? 
A wife rd woo, — 
No princess. 
Some one less, — 
Some lowlier maid will surely do. 

There is another theory, viz., that this ballad represents a 
Witches' Sabbath, as the State of Ch'en had a bad reputation 
for magic and witchcraft. 

No. 3. 

It would, of course, be impossible for the Chinese commen- 
tators to leave the meaning of this little poem alone. According 
to them, it is meant to convey advice to Duke Hsi, fa ^^ 
(B.C. 830-795), and to point out to him that though CKin was a 
small state, it was big enough for him. 

The " Princesses " whom the speaker can do without are the 
Chiang of CKi (see No. 4 of Book IV.) and the Tzu of Sung. 
The latter were members of the ducal family of Sung. The fish 
are carp and bream from the Yellow River, the Chinese equiva- 
lents of Severn salmon and Test trout. 


No. 4. 


Near the east moat wide and deep, 
Where hemp and rush are set to steep, 
Lives a modest beauteous maiden. 
With such store of learning laden, 

That it is in vain to try 
Or by speech or song to task her. 
For to anything you ask her 

Prompt and quick comes her reply. 

No. 5. 


By the east gate the willows are growing ; 

Their leaves are so thick and green 
That a man may stand 'neath their branches, 

And scarcely fear to be seen. 


So I said, " I will go in the gloaming 

To meet there a lovely maid. 
With never an eye to spy us 

Concealed in the dusky shade." 

No. 4. 
Some commentators say that this poem expresses a wish that 
the ruler of the State could find such a wife. 

" Hemp and rush " represent Jft Ma, "hemp," i^ Chou, "the 
boehmeria" (Sida, Zottoli), or netde from which grass-cloth is 
made, and ^ Kuan, a sort of fibrous rush. ("Magna graminea 
funibus apta," Zottoli.) 

No. S. 
This piece needs no explanation. The Preface declares that it 


■ 3. 
She never came, though I waited 

And watched for her all the night, 
'Till the sky turned gray in the dawning. 

And the day-star was shining bright. 

No. 6. 

Before the tombs the thorns grow rank and foul, 

No man may pass unless he hews a road. 
And on the plum trees growing near the owl 
Has chosen her abode. 

To evil courses is he ever prone, 

Alike our prayers and our derision scorning. 
When vengeance falls, and he is overthrown, 

He '11 think upon our warning. 

describes an evil state of affairs, when, though the bridegroom 
went to meet the bride, she would not come to meet him ; but 
the words of the poem will scarcely bear this meaning. 

No. 6. 

The warning is supposed to be adressed to f£ J'V, the brother 
of Duke Huan (b.c. 743-706). T^o was a sort of King John or 
Richard III., who, on the death of his brother, killed his nephew, 
the rightful heir, and got possession of his State. 

The poem is obscure and presumably corrupt. It is supposed 
that the mention of the tombs contains a dark allusion to To's 
murderous propensities. The thorny (jujube) trees in front of 
the tombs indicate his evil propensities, which should be extirpated, 
though it takes cold steel to do it. Plum trees, on the other 
hand, are beautiful and useful, but these are defiled by owls — 
birds of evil omen. This shows how even his good qualities were 


No. 7. 

'Tis spring. The flowers and blossoms now 

With brightest robes the hills invest. 
The magpies flit from bough to bough 
To build their nest. 

Where coloured tiles the path inlay, 

The merry sunbeams glance and shine. 
And all men's hearts are blithe and gay ; 
All, all but mine. 

By base deceit a maiden fair 

Has from my loving arms been torn ; 
And I am left in blank despair 
To pine forlorn. 

defiled and ruined by his vices. The obsequious loyalty of the 
Chinese shrinks from employing plain language to a ruler, and 
therefore most of the commentators say that this piece is not so 
much aimed at J'V, as against those who did not teach him to 
behave better. 

No. 7. 

Dr. Legge makes the speaker a lady lamenting the loss of her 
lover. I reverse the sexes, and make it a lover lamenting the loss 
of his lady. The Preface refers the piece to the slanders against 
good men, which were prevalent in the time of Duke Hsuan ^ ^ 
(B.C. 691-647). 

This piece, like the last, is very obscure, and my version of it 
an unusually free paraphrase. The flowers that grow on the hills 
are the h T'iao, which Dr. Legge translates pear, and Pfere 
Zottoli " tecoma grandiflora," and the ^,| Yi, which really means 
a bird, a species of tragopan, but is supposed in this passage to be 
a plant. Dr. Legge- translates it " medallion plant," and Pere 



No. 8. 


The moon's clear lamp is shining bright. 
Her beams illuminate the night. 

My words are feeble to express 
Your beauty, charms, or sprightliness. 
Have mercy. Tranquillize my heart, 
Remove love's fetters, heal love's smart. 

No. 9. 


Why speeds he away to Chu Lin in haste ? 
Is he longing the pleasures of town to taste ? 
Nay, nought for the town and its joys cares he, 
'Tis the Prince of Chu, whom he goes to see. 

Zottoli "spiranthes Australis." I take no notice of the various 
allusions which the poem is supposed to suggest, prefering to 
believe that the lines merely describe the scene. 

No. 8. 
The only thing to be remarked is that Liu Yiian will have it 
that this song, which to me suggests a valentine, or the verses 
inside a cracker, is an expression of the desire for virtuous men 
to illuminate the country, as the moon illuminates the night. 

No. 9. 
Chu Lin j^ ^ was the city of the Hsia J family. The 
Lord of Chu, or Chu Lin, was Hsia Nan g ^, the son of Hsia 
Chi ^ ]^, who, at the time of this poem, was a widow. The sub- 
ject of this piece is admittedly Duke Ling H JV (e.g. 612-598), 
who not only carried on an intrigue with her, but shared her 
favours with two officers of his Court. In this lampoon, as 


He says, " Yoke quickly my horses to ; 
I will camp to-night in the wilds near Chu, 
And will break my fast in that open plain, 
Ere I drive my chariot home again." 

No. 10. 


The iris, lotus, orchis, light 
With shining flowers the marshy lea. 
A maiden stately, tall and bright, 
I love, though she is cold to me. 

My tears stream down ; I rage, I burn, 
I long for her, but long in vain. 
All night I wake, and toss and turn. 
But sleep is banished from my brain. 

Dr. Legge says, the people intimated, with bated breath, the 
intrigue of their ruler, not daring to mention the lady's name. For 
particulars of this unpleasant story, see paragraph 13 of Book VII. 
of the " Spring and Autumn Annals," and the notes thereon. 
Le'gge's " Classics," vol. v., pages 304, 305. 

No. 10. 

Liu Yiian's comment on this poem is curious. He says that 
it was the work of some loyal subject, who sighed to think that 
though there were many flowers by the marshes, yet there was 
only one good man in the State, viz., fjft or j^ ^ Hsieh Yi, 
who was killed for his plain speaking to Duke Ling, the evil 
ruler, the subject of the last poem. 

The flowers mentioned are the fH Pu, rush, ^ Ho, lotus, 
^ Han, valerian or eupatorium, and the Ho Han •fpf ^, lotus- 
flower (Legge), or Cyperi gemma (Zottoli). 

N 2 


Book XIII. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the State of 

Kuei 1^ was a petty State situated near where K'ai 
Feng fu ^ ^ /ij, the capital of the Honan Province, 
now stands. It was apparently misgoverned and 
weak, and was eventually absorbed into the State of 
Ch'eng g|5 (see Book VII.) j in the time of Duke Wu 
% a, B-C. 770— 743- 


No. I. 

You move about with easy careless mien, 
Or hold your state receptions in your halls, 

In fur robes clad, whose white and glossy sheen 
Gleams bright and brilliant as the sunlight falls. 

Do I forget you ? Nay, the inmost core 

Of my sad heart, remembering you, is sore. 

No I. 

There are just two sentiments in this ballad, which, in the 
original version, contains three stanzas. The sentiments are 
{a) " You saunter about in your Court elegantly dressed in furs," and 
(V) " I think of you with grief and pain." From this I deduce the 
simple interpretation that a lady thinks of her lover, a man of 
princely rank, in all his glory, and sighs when she remembers 
that she is not with him. The Chinese commentators and 
Dr. Legge insist that the piece represents the lament of some 
officer of Kuei over the frivolous disposition of his ruler, who 
cared more to display his fine fur robes than to govern his country 
properly. The critics enter into all sorts of minutiae. A jacket 
of lamb's fur, for instance, may be used in giving audience to 
ministers, and a robe of fox fur at the Court of the Suzerain, but 
both were out of place in private life. From this want of decorum 
on the Prince's part they infer a general misgovernment of the 
State, a refusal of "superior men " to take office, and all the 
rest of it. 


No. 2. 

If I could only see 
A man in mourning cap and skirts of white, 
In whose worn looks and earnest tear-stained face 
The signs of pious feeling one might trace, 
How eagerly that man I would invite 

To be a mate to me. 
Alas ! these evil times, when all neglect 
The symbols of affection and respect. 

No. 3. 


The cherry stands where the fields lie low. 

How lovely, how glossy, each tender shoot ! 
The delicate blossoms are white as snow. 
And soft and pliant the young sprays grow, 

And luscious and sweet is the ripened fruit. 

No. 2. 

The mourning dress, for which the writer of this piece longs, 
consisted of a white cap, white skirts, and white knee-caps. Ac- 
cording to Chinese custom this mourning costume should be 
assumed at the end of two years from the death of a parent. 
Therefore this piece is taken to mean that in Kuei a man who 
lost father or mother was satisfied with a mourning of two years, 
or less, instead of mourning, as he ought, for three. Confucius, 
in Chap. 21 of Book XVII. of the " Analects " points out the wicked- 
ness of such neglect. As for a man feeling the loss of parents 
sincerely, and yet wearing ordinary dress and doing his work 
honestly, such an idea would strike the Chinese mind as a 
ludicrous impossibility, 

^ No. 3. 

^ ^ Ch'ang Ts'i/, I translate " cherry " on Medhursl's autho- 



Oh, cherry tree, how I envy thee. 

As thou growest in bright unconscious beauty ! 
Oh, cherry tree, how I long to be 
From petty worries and troubles free, 

No longer a slave to tyrannous duty. 

No. 4. 

rity. Dr. Legge, in his prose translation, makes it the averrhoa 
carambola (which he versifies by the Chinese term of " goat peach"). 
Zottoli, the trochostigma repandum. 

The piece is supposed to indicate some one's disgust at the 
misrule prevalent in Kuei. 

No. 4. 
I can make neither head nor tail of this poem. It consists of 
three stanzas. The two first vary very little. Literally translated 
they run, " It is not that the wind is violent. It is not that a 
chariot rushes along. I look towards the road to Chou. To 
the centre of my heart I suffer pain. It is not that there is a 
whirlwind. It is not that a chariot moves with an irregular motion. 
I look towards the road to Chou. I am sad to the centre of my 
heart." The Chinese explain this to mean that some one expresses 
his sorrow for the decay of the power of the Chou dynasty. 
Possibly the verses may be a way of saying, "the country is 
devastated with storms and war, but I should not care for that if 
only the Government were just and strong, as once it used to be 
in the good old days of Kings Wen and Wu." But now comes 
the third stanza, to make confusion worse confounded : " Who 
can cook fish? I will wash his boilers. Who is willing to go 
west? I will comfort him with good words." Can this mean, 
" So anxious am I to get away westward from this miserable little 
State of Kuei that I would cheerfully serve as scullion, and loyally 


cheer any one who would enable me to do so ? " It would not be 
difficult to make a metrical translation on these lines, but this 
interpretation is so far-fetched, and doubtful, that I prefer to 
believe that the piece is hopelessly corrupt, and I give the puzzle 
up as a bad job. 

The Chinese commentators have a good opportunity here of 
giving the rein to their imaginations, and they do not fail to 
make use of it. One of them says, " When people are troubled, 
they are, as it were, tossed by the wind, or swept away in a chariot." 
Another goes on to remark, " A whirlwind is a wind that has no 
control over itself. A chariot that moves with an irregular motion 
is one in which the charioteer has lost all control. Such is now 
the state of our country," A third observes, " Fish is good food, 
therefore (why ' therefore ' ?), cooking fish refers to good govern- 
ment." The reader is reminded of our saying, " A pretty kettle 
of fish." 

I should mention that there are two explanations of ^ J^ 
Chou Tao. It may mean, literally, "The road to Chou," or, 
metaphorically, " The ways of Chou." 


Book XIV. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the cotmtry 
of Ts'ao. 

Ts'ao ^ was a small State situated in the present 
district of Ting Tao % Hi, in the Province of Shantung, 
southward of the State of Lu. 


No. I. 


In your snow-white garments you pass me by ; 
You glitter and shine like a dragon-fly. 
Would you free my heart from sorrow and pain "i 
Then come to me, never to part again. 

No. I. 

This little piece consists of two sentiments, {a) " His robes 
glitter like the wings of an insect." ib) " Would he were with me." 
Out of this I make a love song. Not so the Chinese commentators, 
nor Dr. Legge. They place the subject in the plural, and amplify 
the poem thus, " The wings of the insect, though bright and 
splendid, last but for a day. The glories of the rulers of this 
State are like these in their transience. Would that these officers 
would come to me, I would teach them to be wiser." The Preface 
goes on to say that the piece was directed against Duke Ch'ao 
BH a (B.C. 660-652). Chu Hsi makes the vice satirized, frivohty. 
Liu Yiian makes, it extravagance. There is no epithet applied to 
the insect to point out its short life. I therefore abide by my own 
view of the piece 

1^ Sj^ Eou Yii is an ephemeral insect. Dr. Williams calls it 
a " dung chaffer " [sic\ ; Medhurst, a " tumble dung." To call it 
a dragon-fly, as I have done, is, I fear, rather a stretch of poetic 
license, but a dung-fly is not an ornament to verse. 


No. 2. 

* * * 

No. 2. 
Here, again, I confess myself beaten. The commentators say 
that the piece is a lament over the favour shown to worthless 
officers, and the neglect of good men by Duke Kung g (b.c. 
651-617). Let us see how they arrive at this. Here is a literal 
translation of the poem : " Those officers of escort carry (' have 
their carriers of,' Legge) lances and halberts. Those people 
have 300 red knee-caps. The pelican is on the dam, not wetting 
his wings. Those people do not match their dress. The pelican 
is on the dam, not wetting his beak. Those people do not 
respond to their advantages. Growing thick and luxuriant is 
the grass. The southern mountains have the morning mists. 
Tender and lovely, the maiden suffers hunger." No doubt the 
fault aimed at is, as Dr. Legge points out in the concluding 
note to the book, the needless multiplication of useless and 
unprincipled officers, a malpractice which is to this day the curse 
of Chinese government. But what connection the mountains, 
the mists, and the maiden can have with this, is beyond me. 

I subjoin Dr. Legge's metrical translation, to show how much 
must be evolved from one's own imagination to make any mean- 
ing out of the poem, and even then the result is unsatisfactory : — 

" Each warder of the gate appears. 
With lances and with halberdiers, 

As well befits the place ; 
But these three hundred men, who shine 
Grand in their red knee-covers fine, 
Only the Court disgrace. 

" Like pelicans, upon the dam. 
Which stand and there their pouches cram, 

Unwet the while their wings. 
Are those who their rich dress display. 
But no befitting service pay. 
Intent on meaner things. 


No. 3. 


A prince to his loyal folk should be 
As the dove to her callow brood. 

She tenderly leads them from tree to tree, 
For shelter and rest and food. 

'Tis a noble prince, he who rules us now, 

Of princes the first and best. 
A cap of deerskin adorns his brow. 

And a girdle of gilk his breast. 

" Like pelicans, which eager watch. 
Upon the dam, their prey to catch. 

And spare to wet the beak, 
Are those who richest favours share, 
But take no part in toil or care. 
Nor the State's welfare seek. 

" Like grass luxuriant on its side. 
While morning mists the south hill hide, 

Those creatures seem to grow : 
But men of worth, like virtuous maid, 
Lovely but poor, denied wealth's aid, 
No recognition know." 

No. 3. 
The commentators — who have jumped to the conclusion that 
when this poem was written the state of Ts'ao was suffering from 
misgovernment— will have it that it refers to some worthy of 
former days ("gf j^ Ts'ao Shu, of the time of Kings Wu and 
Ch^ng, is suggested by a commentator), whose goodness puts 
to shame the evil deeds of his successor. There is nothing in 
the piece to show this. 


A foe to all that is rude or wrong, 

Not careless, nor incorrect. 
But dignified, stately, grave, and strong 

In calmness and self-respect. 

We thrive when a ruler like him appears. 

We flourish beneath his sway. 
May his glory last for ten thousand years, 

And his good name never decay. 

No. 4. 


Down from the spring upon the hill 
Descend the waters cold and chill 
To flood the grassy plain. 

The proceedings of the dove in the ballad open a road to 
sundry fanciful conjectures. She is represented as being in a 
mulberry-tree, while her seven young ones are in the plum, jujube 
and hazel-tree. This shows her stable mind, and the volatile dis- 
position of her young ones. Let those who believe this insert this 
verse in my rendering : — 

" The mother dove on the mulberry-tree 
Is content to remain at home ; , 
Her fledglings, loving to wander free, 
From orchard to orchard roam." 
But the funniest notion is that the dove, in the morning, feeds 
her seven young ones from right to left, and in the evening from 
left to right, so that every one is treated fairly. This typifies the 
fairness and justness of a good ruler, and is not, as one would 
expect, a lesson to waiters, teaching them how to distribute the 
entries at a table d'hote dinner. 

No dove has a brood of more than two, but that is a trifle. 
" Seven," in Chinese CKi ^, rhymes to " one," Yi — , and as this 
rhyme is needed here, sense is sacrified to sound. 


I lie awake at night and sigh 
For days now gone for ever by, 

Nor will they come again. 
Days when a monarch ruled the State, 
Whose capital was grand and great ; 

Generous and just his reign. 
His Viceroy then bestowed rewards 
On all his true and loyal lords. 

Who had not toiled in vain. 
Then undisturbed by flood, each field. 
Enriched by kindly showers, would yield 

Abundant sheaves of grain. 

No. 4. 

I have taken the " flood " literally. The Chinese commentators 
say that the inundation is a metaphor for the incursions of th| 
neighbouring states of Chin -^ and Sung ^ , who were for some 
time bribed to keep away by an annual payment, after the fashion 
of our " Danegelt." 

In my paraphrase of this poem, " the grassy plain " is the equi- 
valent of the grasses growing on it, viz.: i, the Lang ^, wolf's- 
tail grass (Legge), darnel (Williams), or avena (Zottoli) ; 2, the 
artemisia or southernwood, and the Shih '^, " achillea sibirica " 
(Zottoli), a plant the stalks of which are used in divination. 

The " Viceroy " was the Prince of Ifsiin ^|5 , a State in the 
present Province of Shansi. The first prince was a son of King 
W6n, who was apparently entrusted by his father with the duty 
of bestowing the rewards due to the feudal lords who paid 
homage to the King. 


Book XV. 

Ballads and other pieces collected in the country 
of Pin. 

The reader must note that when Confucius compiled 
this Classic there was no feudal State of Pin, nor had 
there been one for years. This book takes us westward 
to the country where the ballads of the first book were 
collected, and back to the time of the early kings of 
the Chou dynasty. The authorship of the pieces in 
this book is assigned to the Duke of Chou, King W^n's 
son. Pin ^, now written ^jj, was where the modern 
district of Pin Chou ^5 il'I'l 's now, in the Shensi Province. 
It was here where Kung Liu ^ gij , of the reigning family 
of Chou, settled in B.C. 1796, As I explained in my 
introductory note to the first book of this part, the tribe 
of Chou remained in Pin from B.C. 1796 to 1325. 


No. I. 

If you 'd learn how our ancestors passed their years 

In the good simple times of old, 
Then list to this record of country life 

By an ancient yeoman told. 


In the chill first month when the wind bites hard, 

The wild cat and fox we chase. 
And badgers, whose skins will provide thick furs 

For each prince of the royal race, 

In the bitter cold days of the second month, 

The ice floes are hard as rocks ; 
The axes ring with a merry clang. 

As we hew out the ice in blocks. 

And to keep our courage and skill well tried. 

We hunt the boar and his brood. 
The tusker shall stand on the prince's board ; 

The younglings shall be our food. 

No. I. 

The Chinese say that this interesting ballad was the work of 
Chou Kung j^ S', or Duke of Chou, the younger brother of Wu 
Wang. He was, as Mayers expresses it, " the guardian and pre- 
siding genius of the newly-created line" (the Chou dynasty). 
When King Cheng gj^ J succeeded to the throne, e.g. 1175, 
as a youth, his uncle, Chou Kung, was his adviser, and as such 
he jyrote these verses to show his nephew what a well-ordered 
State should be like. He depicts the condition of things in Pin, 


The third month comes. Ere the thaw begins, 

The ice in a cave we store ; 
Then our ploughs make ready to till the land, 

For spring is at hand once more. 

When the fourth month comes we are hard at work 

With our ploughs, and the grass grows green. 
The officers sent to survey our farms, 

Smile glad at the pleasant scene. 

When the hot days come, we must ope the cave 

Wherein we have stored our ice ; 
But first to the gods, at the dawn of day, 

A lamb we must sacrifice. 

On wives and children the duty falls 

To carry out drink and meat 
To the hinds, who toil on the southern slopes. 

Exposed to the sun's fierce heat. 

'Tis spring, with warmer and longer days. 

We list to the oriole's song. 
Plucking mulberry shoots and celery leaves. 

On the pathways the maidens throng, 

when Kung Liu (see introductory note) ruled there more than 
600 years before. 

In the original Chinese version, each of the eight long stanzas, 
of which the poem is composed, describes the progress of certain 
operations necessary in a well-governed State. The first stanza, 
for instance, treats of clothes and food, the second of the care 
of silkworms, and so on The constant repetition of the number 
of the month, however, becomes iso wearisome, that , I have 

o 2 



With their pretty baskets to hold their spoils. 

There is one maid who feels forlorn. 
She is going to wed a prince, but, alas ! 

From her fellows she must be torn. 

From the mulberry saplings we strip the leaves, 

And lop down the boughs on high, 
In the fifth month, the time when the locust creeps, 

And we hear the cicada's cry. 


The grasshopper plies his wings in flight 

As soon as the sixth month comes. 
The month that is rich with the ripened fruits, 

When we feast on our grapes and plums. 

'Tis the seventh month, when the fire-star sinks 

From its zenith ; and in the plain 
The grasshoppers leap. We may cook our beans, 

And our melons are ripe again. 

The shrike is heard ; but the eighth month comes, 

When the sedges and reeds are dry. 
Let the maids begin now to spin the stuffs 

Of yellow and scarlet dye, 

thought it best to recast the ballad, and show consecutively what 
took place during each month. The first verse in the translation 
is merely introductory, and has no place in the Chinese version. 

Stanza 7. " The gods " to whom sacrifice was made, stand for 
r1 jl Ssu Han, the " Ruler of the Cold," to whom a lamb and 
(trimmings of) leeks were offered. 

Stanza 10. The Chinese commentators will have it that the 
girl's grief was at leaving her parents, not her maiden com- 
panions. This shows, they say, that filial piety prevailed -in the 
land of Pin. 


Which the Princes wear; while the men may reap 

The grain and collect the sheaves, 
Or cut the gourds, or shake down the dates, 

While the cricket chirps 'neath the eaves. 

The ninth month comes, there is ice and frost. 

We take skin coats from the chest ; 
We should perish with cold, ere the year was done, 

Were we not in our fur clothes drest. 

The cricket is heard indoors. The ground 

We prepare to receive our stacks. 
We gather the hemp seed, and lest we starve. 

Chop faggots and wood with the axe. 

The falling leaves and the cricket's voice, 

Who chirps 'neath the bed, have told 
That the tenth month comes, and we must prepare 

To fight with the winter's cold. 

Let all come within the house and stop 

The chinks to keep out the storm. 
Let us plaster the doors, smoke out the rats, 

And keep the house snug and warm. 

Stanza 13. '■' The fire-star " is in the constellation of Scorpio. 
Astronomers say that the assertion made in this verse is an error, 
as the star in question would not, at the date recorded, pass the 
meridian at nightfall. They ascribe this error to Chou Kung's 
ignorance of astronomy. He is not alone in his ignorance of 
.the retrocession of the equinoxes, I am sure. 

Stanza 1 7, The wood used for faggots of fuel is the wood of 
the CKu \^ " fetid tree " (Legge), or " ailanthns " (Zottoli), 


From the rice we have reaped we distil the wine, 

That our grey beards may have good cheer ; 
And then let us pile up our crops in stacks, 

As the final task of the year. 


Let us gather the straw by day, and twist 

The grass into ropes by night. 
Then mount with speed to the top of our roofs 

To fasten the thatching tight. 

Let us see that our harvest is safely stored. 

The hemp and all kinds of grain. 
The millet, the wheat, and the pulse, until 

We must sow all our fields again. 

When the floors are swept, and the wine is drunk, 

And the victims slain, let us press 
To our Prince's hall, there to drink his health. 

Long life and all happiness. 

Stanza 19. " Let all come within the house." It is supposed 
that during the warmer part of the year the people were out in 
the fields, camping in huts at night. The family house might be 
some distance away in the town or village. 

Stanza 20. The Chinese equivalent for " grey beards " is (those 
with) " the eyebrows of longevity," or thick bushy eyebrows. 

The reader will note that there is no mention of the nth and 
1 2th months. There are two explanations of this. One is that 
during the intense cold of winter there was no work to be done, 
and the people simply hibernated. The other, and the more 
probable one, is that the Chinese year, like that of the Albans 
and their descendants, the Romans, contained ten months only. 
See Smith's " Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities," Art. 


No. 2, 


Oh, owl ! ohj owl ! in vain I moan. 

The brood with which I once was blest, 
And nursed so lovingly is gone. 

Destroyed by you, but spare my nest. 

Ere yet the skies were black with rain, 

The mulberries' fibrous roots I tore ; 
I bound them round and round again. 

To fence my dwelling's tiny door. 

I pulled the reeds with all my strength, 

Wounding my beak and claws and feet, 
That none should scorn my work. At length 

My house was finished and complete. 

No. 2. 

What can this ballad be but a complaint of the tyranical op- 
pression of some great lord, or of some strong and cruel enemy ? 
Every Chinese commentator, however, takes the view, which 
Dr. Legge follows, that in it the Duke of Chcu (the author of the 
last poem) vindicates the decisive course which he had taken 
with rebellion. Duke Chou, it must be remembered, was the 
brother of King Wu. King Wu, during his lifetime invested two 
of his and the Duke's brothers with the charge of certain territory 
which they were to rule jointly with Wu K&ng "^ ^, the son 
of the last king of the Shang dynasty, whom King Wu had 
dethroned. On the death of King Wu, King Cheng, a minor, 
succeeded, when Wu Keng and the two brothers, taking advantage 
of his youth and inexperience, raised a rebellion. Duke Chou, 
however, remained loyal, and after quelling the rebellion put Wu 
Keng and one of his own brothers to death, and punished the 
other brother. He then wrote this poem " to show how he had 


My nest is wrecked, my feathers torn. 
Of wind and rain the sport am I. 

Thus ruined, desolate, forlorn, 
I can but cry this bitter cry. 

No. 3. 


Oh, many a weary night we spent. 

And many a dreary day. 
On those eastern hills, with no roof o'erhead. 

Save the carts under which we lay. 


When the rains began, then the word was passed 
That our service at length was o'er ; 

We might doff our armour and wear the clothes. 
Which our wives had prepared, once more. 

Yet a haunting fear would disturb my heart, 
This thought would flash to my brain, 
" We have been long gone, shall I find all changed 
When I visit my home again .? " 

loved his brothers, notwithstanding he had punished them, and 
that his conduct was in consequence of his solicitude for the 
consolidation of the dynasty of his family." " Stuff and nonsense)," 
as the Bishop said of Gulliver's Travels, " I don't believe half 
of it." (See Part IV., Book I. b., No. 4). 

No. 3. 

This ballad is said to have been composed on the occasion of 
Duke Chou's expedition to suppress the rebellion mentioned in 
the notes to the last piece. 


" Perchance the creepers and trailing weeds 
Have choked up my unused doors, 
And the wood-louse creeps, and the spider weaves 
His net on my empty floors. 

" The deer graze careless about the fields, 
Where I pastured our sheep and kine, 
And around the desolate garden plots 
The lamps of the glow-worm shine." 

We marched along through the drizzling rain. 

We noted the signs of spring. 
On the mulberry leaves the silkworms fed, 

And we heard the oriole sing. 

Its yellow plumage was gleaming bright. 

As it flashed in a moment by. 
And we heard the cranes, as they caught their prey 

On the ant hillocks, scream and cry. 

Ere I knew it, there was my house in view. 
Since I such a sight had seen 
- Three years had passed, yet the j-ooms were swept, 
And my cottage was warm and clean. 

And gourds were hanging for me to eat 

On the boughs of the chestnut tree. 
No moment, though I was far away, 

My wife had forgotten me. 

The " creepers and trailing weeds " are equivalent to the ^ ^ 
Km Lo, " heavenly gourds" (Legge), or " Tricosanthis Anguina" 
(Williams). It seems to have been a wild gourd of some sort. 



Though a wealthy maid may have teams of steeds. 

Silk sashes, and garments gay, 
And we think earth has not a happier lot, 

Than a bride's on her wedding day ; 

Yet what are glories when youth and maid 

Are wed, and their troth is plighted. 
Compared to the joy when two loving hearts 

Once parted are re-united. 

No. 4. 


Eastward we fared. The Duke was there to lead us. 

Hard was the road and rough. We had to hew 
A pathway 'mid the brakes that would impede us, 

Before the force could pass in safety through. 
We cut and hacked ; —so hard and strong each stroke 
That axe and hatchet, clubs and wedges broke. 

Yet cheerfully we wrought ; for each man knew 

The Duke's sole object was to bind and tie 
The nations in one -union fast and true ; 

To establish right, and peace, and harmony. 
For surely all admire his earnest zeal. 
His fond affection for his country's weal. 

" Our service at length was o'er " stands for " Serving no more 
in the ranks with the gags " (|j^ Met). This curious expression 
is said to mean, " Being no longer obliged to keep silence in the 
ranks." I am inclined to think that the sentence is corrupt. 

No. 4. 
This ballad no doubt refers to the suppression of the rebellion 
by Duke Chou. (See the notes on No. 2 of this book). 


No. s. 


" I have got to make a handle, but there is not any 
In beginning, for I have not got an axe to hew the 

Like a fellow who would marry, but his chance of wed- 
lock's shady, 
For he does not know a person to present him to the 

" Go to work, and shape the handle ; don't make any 
lame excuse. 
The pattern you 've to copy is laid ready for your use. 
Like a baffled suitor, say you ; nay, you're rather like a lord 
With his bride beside him, and a feast set out upon the 

No. 5- 
This ballad has indeed proved a puzzle for the commentators, 
European and Chinese. They all treat it as didactic. To make 
it a conversation between two carpenters is my own idea. Be- 
lieving that the desire to discover some hidden meaning usually 
only misleads the reader, I have kept as closely as possible to 
the simple rendering of the Chinese characters, and have thus 
arrived at the above result. According to the critics, the piece is in 
praise of the Duke of Chou. Praise is indicated in one of two ways. 
The first is this : King Ch^ng and his ministers ought to find a way 
of bringing Duke Chou back to Court. There is a way of hewing 
axe handles and of finding wives, so there is a way of fetching 
the Duke back. The second is : The people of the country 
where the Duke quelled the rebellion, intimate in the ' first stanza 
their desire to see him, and in the second their delight at his 
presence. Liu Yiian adopts this interpretation and goes a stage 
further. It was Duke Chou's duty to. pacify the realm by force 
of arms. Hence the allusion to axes. It was his duty afterwards 
to see that the State had a settled government. Hence ,the 
allusion to a marriage agent. The meaning of stanza 2, according 


No. 6. 

What luck awaits us ? Shall our nets appear 

With all their pockets crammed with rudd and bream ? 
A better chance is ours. The prince is here. 
Right well his 'broidered robes his form beseem. 


The wild geese settle on the plain, 
Or on the islets, nor remain 
Long time, but rise in flight again. 

Like them the Duke could not delay 
For long with us. He could but stay- 
Two nights, then once more took his way. 

Still in each heart his memories rest. 
Stay not for ever in the west. 
Leaving us lonely and distrest. 

to him, is more descriptive than allusive. "The axe handle 
has been hewed ; " i.e. the country has been pacified and war is 
at an end. " He is our pattern here. We see him (not the lady). 
We give a feast in his honour." 

No. 6. 

This piece is evidently corrupt. The original version, like my 
translation, consists of a quatrain — no doubt an interpolatioji — 
and three triplets. I have translated the whole of the ballad, but 
the triplets alone have any value. The first verse is, moreover, 
highly obscure. I follow Liu Yiian's interpretation, but with 
considerable doubt. 

The Ts'un ]|^ is a rudd, according to Dr. Leggej a bleak, 
according to Pfere Zottoli. 

The "broidered robes " would be a robe with a single dragon 
on it, the symbol of a Grand Duke. (See Dr. Legge's notes). 


No. 7. 


"What you say," said Mr. Barlow to Tommy, " reminds me of 
the story of Duke Chou and the superannuated wolf, which, as 
you have not heard it, I will proceed to relate." 

The Duke, so gentle, yet so nobly great. 
Would sit adorned with his red shoes of state, 
Defying hate, or ill report, or shame. 
To find a flaw in all his virtuous fame. 

Such foes are like old wolves, who still desire 
To feast on blood, although their forces tire. 
So clumsy are they now, so overgrown. 
Their heavy tails and dewlaps weigh them down. 
Or trip their footsteps, and their purposed prey 
Scorn them, and go uninjured on their way. 

No. 7. 
This piece is evidently hopelessly corrupt and imperfect. I 
have by means of a very free paraphrase endeavoured to express 
what I believe to be its meaning. Liu Yiian is the only com- 
mentator, however, who takes my view that the " old wolves " 
represent the slanderers of Duke Chou, The rest insist that the 
writer of the ballad describes the agony of an old wolf caught in 
a pitfall, who frantically struggles to get out, but is too heavy and 
clumsy to succeed. Such, they say, is what we might have ex- 
pected the position of Duke Chou to be, when he was assailed by 
calumnies, but he was too calm and self-possessed to be moved 
by them. 





Part IL rejoices in the title of The Lesser Ya, Part III. 
being The Greater Ya. This word Ya ^ is not easily 
translated. By itself it is an adjective signifying " elegant," 
" choice," " correct." The commentators say that these 
Ya pieces were sung at Court — the Lesser Ya on small 
occasions, such as festal entertainments, the Greater 
Ya at the gatherings of the feudal Princes, and similar 
important functions. Von Strauss translates the term 
Ya as " Festliede," " Songs of the Festivals," the title 
which I have adopted. Mayers translates the term 
" Eulogies," but this will not always hold good. Dr. 
Legge shirks the difificulty, and contents himself with 
calling them " Minor Odes." Lacharme makes the title 
of Part IL Parvum Rectum, adding "Quia in hac parte 
mores describuntur, recti illi quidem, qui tamen non nihil 
a recto deflectunt." This, however, is an invention of his 
own. P^re Zottoli has a similar title, " Humile Decorum." 
So far as the choice of a subject goes, or the treatment 
of it, there is often little difference between the Lesser and 
the Greater Ya, but there is undoubtedly this distinction, — 
the pieces in the former are, as a rule, shorter than those 
in the latter. Moreover, many of the poems in the 



Greater Ya have a dignity of tone which is not reached 
by those of the Lesser Ya. All the Ya pieces, it should be 
noted, are supposed to have been collected in the royal 
domain, not in the feudal States. Hence, Dr. Legge 
calls them " The Minor Odes and the Greater Odes 
of the Kingdom." 

As the dynasty and the kingdom gradually fell into 
decay, these Ya songs were used at the feudal Courts, and 
even by the ministers of those Courts in their private 
houses. It should be remembered that, in China, anything 
approaching usurpation of royal or imperial rights and 
ceremonies is looked on with a horror that strikes us as 
almost ludicrous. Such assumption was regarded as 
typical of everything disorderly, and ominous of revolu- 
tion and ruin. Witness the gentleman who had "eigjit 
rows of pantomimes in his area." Confucius says of him, 
" If he can bear to do this, what may he not bear to do ? " 
(See "Confucian Analects," Book III. Chap. i). 

Part II. is divided into books, by Dr. Legge called 
decades. Each of these decades contains ten pieces, and 
takes its name from the first piece in it. 


No. I. 


As we sit down to feast, from the meadow hard by, 
Hark ! the stags as they browse, call a musical cry. 
We have music as well. Let no organ be mute ; 
Let us gladden our hearts with "the sound of the lute. 

Now hand round the dainties to each honoured guest ; 
The friends who love me, and the friends I love best. 
They are models and patterns to all, for they show 
The respect we should feel for the humble and low. 

Bid the music begin, and the lutes great and small 
Be struck till their sweet notes resound through the hall. 
And pour out the wine, — it is plentiful here. 
Thus all the day long we'll enjoy the good cheer. 

No. I. 

This song is supposed to be appropriate to an entertainment 
given by the King to his ministers. It is interesting to remark 
that at the dinners given to the successful candidates at the 
Provincial Examinations by the Governor of the Province, this 
song is still sung in honour of the guests. I believe that it is also 
sung at the Imperial banquets given at the palace to those who 
have taken the " Hanlin " or highest degree. 

The word Kuang ^, literally a flat basket, may either have 
contained dainties, according to my interpretation, or presents 
of silk and other things. 

Dr. Legge translates one line : " They show the people not to 
be mean." I prefer Dr. Williams's version : " They look on the 
people without despising them ; " and have amplified itaccordingly. 

The stags (which, by the way, are supposed to have been 
induced to descend from the mountains into the meadows by the 
peaceful state of things prevailing) were browsing on ^ -P'lfig, 

p 2 


No. 2. 

My white steeds gallop along the way. 

Small leisure have I to stop or rest. 
My coursers pant ; there is no delay 

For him who speeds on the king's behest. 


The dove may flutter from tree to tree, 

Or 'light on the boughs and refuse to roam. 

Ah, happy bird ! you are unlike me, 

Whom duty has driven away from home. 

Oh, home of my father and mother dear, 

Would I might there for their wants provide. 
Let me sing to myself my heart to cheer. 

For I sorrow and long to be by their side. 

" wild celery, southernwood," and ;^ Ling, " Salsola " (Legge), or 
" Panicum Sanguinale " (Zottoli). 

No. 2. 

How this can be a song for a festival is rather a puzzle. The 
commentators, however, say that it was sung at a complimentary 
dinner given by the King on the return of an officer who had 
been sent on such an expedition as is mentioned in the ballad. 

Dr. Legge says that the piece celebrates the union in the 
officer of loyal duty and filial feeling. One cannot help noticing 
that his filial feeling was a good deal stronger than his devotion 
to duty. He evidently only went on service because he was 
obliged to do so, and grumbled a good deal at having to go, as 
seems to have been the custom of the soldier of the period. 


No. 3. 


Brilliant and bright the blossoms glow 

On the level heights and the marshlands low. 

The Royal Messenger am I. 

At the King's command I can swiftly fly. 

Equipped with all that a man may need, ' 
Alert, determined to succeed. 

Three teams of horses, young and strong, 
I have, to whirl my car along. 

My steeds are white, or grey, or pied ; 
Well skilled am 1 each team to guide. 

We gallop till the sweat-flakes stain 
With large wet spots each glossy rein. 

Each man I meet without delay 
Must tell me all he has to say. 

The realm I traverse till I bring 
The counsel sought for by the King. 

No. 3. 

This piece is akin to the last. Its place among the songs of 
the festival is, say the Chinese, because it would be sung at a 
royal banquet given to a messenger about to start on such an 
expedition. What his mission was is not clearly stated. The 
commentators for the mo?t part assert that he was going in 
search of " methods of good government." Perhaps this is only 
the same as saying that the King's messenger was a commissioner 
sent to see how the feudal States were faring, and whether they 
had any grievances calling for redress. 

The allusion to the flowers is explained in two ways. Either 
the envoy was to the kingdom what the flowers were to the 
heights and marshes — an explanation too fanciful for my taste ; — 
or, however bright the flowers were, a royal messenger must waste 
no time over them. For my own part, I think the allusion is only 
inserted to show that the envoy was starting in summer time. 


No. 4. 


The masses of cherry blossom 

Are gleaming — a gorgeous show. 
And the wagtail upon the hillside 

Is hurrying to and fro. 

There are no men equal to brothers. 

When troubles and cares invade. 
Friends sigh to show their compassion, 

But offer no further aid. 


In the dreaded moments of mourning 
Your brothers will share your pain ; 

Should you fly from your home an outcast, 
Will bring you back safe again. 

The flowers are only mentioned to add to the reality of the 
picture v.-hich the ballad is meant to present to our imagination. 

Students of " despatch-Chinese " should note that the subject 
of the ballad is always spoken of in the commentaries as a Shih 
Ch'Sn ^ g. Chinese officials frequently employed this term 
when writing or speaking of ministers and envoys plenipotentiary, 
until the use of it was forbidden by the Board of Foreign Affairs 
as derogatory. Certainly the rank of this Shih CKtn would be 
inferior to that which an envoy from a power of equal standing 
could claim. 

No. 4. 

This piece is assigned to Duke Chou, who is said to have 
composed it after he had executed " Roman " justice on his own 
rebellious brothers. (See the notes on the ballads of 5ook XV. 
of Part L) 

The reasons for the mention of the cherry tree "^ ^ Chang 
Ti (Prunus Japonica, Zottoli) and the wagtail are obscure. The 
commentators of course have fanciful explanations. The flowers 


Though quarrels within the household 

Arise to disturb our peace ; 
Let insult from outside threaten, 

We unite, and all discords cease. 

In the days of rest and enjoyment, — 

With disorder and death at end, — 
(Though fools deny it) a brother 

Surpasses the dearest friend. 


Your board may be spread with dainties, 

Your goblets with wine be crowned. 
Yet 'tis only with brothers present 

That lasting delight is found. 

The union of wife and children 

Is music made by. the lute. 
15e the concord of brothers added, 

This music shall ne'er be mute. 

of the cherry, they say, typify the union of brothers, the younger 
serving the elder, the elder overshadowing the younger. The 
wagtail is supposed to move its head and tail in concert. Brothers 
ought to act in concert also. Zottoli adds that as no flower excels 
the cherry blossom in beauty, so no one excels a brother in 
affection. The wagtail, on the other hand, is a type of anxiety, 
a state of mind for which fraternal affection is the best remedy. 

The Chinese equivalent of the last half of stanza 3 in my 
version is doubtful. Literally translated it is, "When ...... 

are collected on the heights, and in the marshes, brothers seek 
them out." Some say, with Dr. Legge and myself, that the subject 
of the verb is "outcasts," but Chu Hsi, and most of the com- 
mentators, believe " corpses and bones " to be meant. The phrase 


Rejoice in your well ruled household, 

Your wife and your children too ; 
But neglect not the counsel proffered : 

You will find that my words are true. 

No. 5. 


The woodmen on the hill 

Hew down the pine trees tall. 
Hark ! how their blows resound and ring, 

As axe and hatchet fall. 

A bird comes from the vale ; 

To some high tree she flies, 
And perched upon the top she calls 

Her mate with loving cries. 


She sings to call her mate, 

This bird upon the tree. 
'Twere shame if I, a man, should fail 

To call my friends to me. 

then would run : " If men perish in war, and their corpses and 
bones are left exposed, brothers will seek for them to give them 
decent burial." 

No. S. 
This is indeed a song of the festival. The feast is supposed to 
be given by the King (evidently a monarch of the King Cole 
description) to his loving ministers. I confess my inability to 
detect anything descriptive of royal state in the original version 
of this poem, which is, I fear, more rollicking than my translation 


The gods in heaven above, 

They say, will hear his prayers. 
And grant him harmony and peace, 

Who never stints or spares. 

My wine is strained and clear ; 

My fatted lambs are slain ; 
My yard is swept, my table set 

With viands, meat, and grain. 

That something should detain 

Friends whom the host invites, 
Were better than that they should feel 

Themselves exposed to slights, 

When victuals hard and coarse 

Are set before a guest, 
Bad feeling is aroused. This blame 

On me shall never rest. 

My friends are here ; the board 

Is spread. If cups run dry. 
And all my casks are drained, why then 

I'll buy a fresh supply. 

of it. A king who looks-to the sweeping of his courtyard, and 
hints at the possibility of running short of wine and having to buy 
more, seems to want a little the dignity of a monarch. 

I fail to see the appropriateness of the introduction of the wood- 
cutters. The commentators find all sorts of reasons for the 
allusion, but we need not trouble ourselves with them. 

The guests are mentioned as paternal and maternal uncles. It 
is said that the appellation "paternal uncles" means nobles of the 


Nor let the liost despise 

The dance nor music's strain. 
While leisure hours are granted us 

The sparkling wine we'll drain. 

No. 6. 

May the powers above still keep thee in virtue, and joy 

and peace, 
And safe from the fear of ill, and glad in thy land's increase. 
Then each act thou doest is well, for thou hast the 

blessing of heaven. 
And the days are too short for thee to enjoy all the 

favours given; 
As long as the mountain masses, whose bases are planted 

Shall lift their summits skyward, so long shall thy fame 

The stream grows wider and deeper, the further it has to flow, 
And wider and deeper each day shall thy prosperity grow. 
Auspicious and pure are the dues, which thy 

filial love would pay. 
Each season, to dukes of yore and kings of a former day. 

same surname as the king, and that of maternal uncles, those of 
a different surname. I prefer to understand the terms as simply 
a friendly or affectionate style of address to the guests. 

No. 6. 

This poem no doubt represents a song sung by the guests at a 
royal feast to express their gratitude, and their loyal devotion to 


Their spirits appear and say, " When myriads of years 

have past, 
Thy descendants shall never fail, but the royal line 

shall last. 
Thy simple and honest folk shall not want for plenty 

to eat, 
And thankfully day by day shall enjoy their diink and 

their meat. 
As far as the black-haired race shall scatter its clans 

through the earth, 
So far shall they learn thy deeds, and copy thy virtue 

and worth." 
May the fame of the royal house shine out to the world 

as bright 
As the moon when she waxes full, as the sun when he 

climbs the height ; 
Be as fixed as the southern hillsj as green as the cypress 

And the fir, which fade not in winter. Such, such may 

thy glory be. 

their King. I wish that I could be sure that I have reproduced 
the dignity of the original version. 

" Each season." In the Chinese version the sacrifices offered 
to the spirits of the royal dead in the ancestral temple at each of 
the four seasons are named by their distinguishing names. Such 
rites are constantly mentioned and referred to in the poems of this 
and of the following parts of the Classic. (For a full description 
of them, see No. 5 of the sixth book of Part II., and Legge's 
Prolegomena in his " Chinese Classics," vol. iv., page 135.) 


No. 7. 



'Tis spring ; the fern shoots now appear, 

For us to pluck them on the lea. 
'Twill be the last month of the year 

Ere we may hope our home to see. 
Husband and wife apart must weep 

Until the course of war has -run. 
No time is given for rest or sleep 

To those who have to fight the Hun. 

'Tis summer time ; the ferns we cull 

Are soft and tender — stalk and leaf — 
But, ah ! each heart is sorrowful 

With home-sick longings, pain and grief. 
Soldiers who watch the foe, must bear 

The pangs of thirst and hunger's sting, 
Nor know they how their loved ones fare, 

For none may go the news to bring. 

'Tis autumn ; and the stalks of fern 

Are grown too hard and dry to eat ; 
The year must end ere we return 

Our families and homes to greet. 
We dare not snatch one moment's rest. 

The sole reward for all our pain 
And labour at the king's behest 

Is ne'er to see our homes again. 

No. 7. 
To call this a " Song of the festival " seems to me to misname 
it, unless indeed we are to take it for granted that at the royal 
banquets patriotic songs were sung, as they are at our city 


When we from home were forced to go, 

The willow boughs were fresh and green. 
When we return, the flakes of snow 

In blinding drifts will hide the scene. 
Tedious and weary is our road ; 

Hunger and thirst our souls depress. 
Alas 1 we bear a heavy load, 

Yet no man cares for our distress. 

B.- 5- 

Cheer up ; the flowers are gleaming white, — 

The blossoms on the cherry spray. 
And see a yet more glorious sight, 

Our leader's car upon its way, 
Drawn by four steeds, a stalwart span. 

Dare we remain inactive, slow 1 
In one month, if we play the man, 

Three times shall we defeat the foe. 

His eager steeds pass swiftly by ; 

Like birds upon the wing they speed. 
Let us then on our chief rely ; 

He will not fail in time of need. 
'Tis his to hold the ivory bow, 

The seal-skin sheath which leaders bear. 
And ours to watch the restless foe, 

For fear they take us unaware. 

feasts. See Thackeray's inimitable description of the dinner of 
the Bellows Menders' Co., and the song sung thereat, after the 
health of the Army and Navy had been proposed. 

Dr. Legge says that the language in this poem must be taken 
throughout as that of anticipation. I do not adopt his theory 
myself. In the Chinese version there are six stanzas, which I 
have translated stanza by stanza. I have, however, moved the 
last one from its place, and have made it No. 4. These first 


No. 8. 



A soldier speaks — 

The king, the mighty son of heaven, 
Has to our chief the order given 
To march with flags and banners flying 
To regions on the frontiers lying, 
Where dwells the unruly Hun. 
To build a wall and fortress there. 
That these marauders may not dare 
Our realm to overrun. 


Nan Chung, our noble chieftain, bade 
His henchmen come. " The king has laid 
A heavy task on us," said he, 
" But you must share the toil with me. 

four I have made the speech of a soldier, whose only thought 
seems to be the misery of his position. In stanzas 5 and 6 he is 
answered by a cheerful comrade, who bids him keep up his 
spirits and do his duty like a man. I have, however, no authority 
but my own for this treatment of the poem. 

The Huns are the Hsien Yun g ^^, the wild tribes of the 
north. As these gave a good deal of trouble in the reign 
of King I ^ I , B.C. 934-910, this piece is by some referred 
to his time ; but most say that it, together wiih the two next 
pieces, is the composition of Duke Chou to celebrate the deeds 
of King W^n during the Shang dynasty. I treat this question 
more fully in my notes on the following poem. 

No. 8. 

Although I have on this occasion made no attempt to make 
my own verses follow the construction of the original poem, yet 
I separate the two last stanzas of the Chinese version from the 


See how the royal tablets stand 
Engraven with the king's command. 
Use all despatch, prepare each car 
With what is needed for the war." 


In countless hordes we gained the ground 
Beyond the city's furthest bound. 
The falcon banner shone on high ; 
'Twas grand to see it flap and fly. 
And flags, which snake and tortoise bear 
Upon their silk, were floating there. 
With dragon pennons gleaming bright. 
And staves with yak tail streamers dight, 
In sooth it was a splendid sight. 
With such an awe-inspiring chief 

To lead us to the fray, 
The foe's resistance must be brief 

Ere they are swept away. 

four preceding ones, and make them the speech of the soldiers' 
wives. Dr. Legge extracts six lines only, and places them in the 
mouths of the women, making the remainder the speech of the 
soldiers. The Chinese commentators, for the most part, do the 
same, though they make the speaker the General's wife, not the 
soldiers' wives. There is something to be said in favour of Liu 
Yiian's theory that we need not change the speakers in the 
poem at all. According to him the person whose arrival is 
longed for is not " the husbands " (see stanza 5), but King W^n, 
" the superior man" ;g" •^, Chun Tzu, to conduct the campaign. 
The soldiers, not the wives, are the persons who long for him. 

As I mentioned in the notes on the last poem, this piece, 
together with Nos. 7 and 9, is conjectured to be the work of 
Duke Chou, and to have been written in honour of his father's 
exploits against the barbarians. One would have thought that 
the mention of General Nan Chung would have set the point at 
rest. Unfortunately, no one seems to know who Nan Chung 
was, nor when he lived, as this is the only record of him. The 


The millet flowers were blooming bright, 
When first we started to the fight. 
The blinding flakes are falling now, 
And hard it is our way to plough 
Across the heavy, miry plain. 
Which leads us to our homes again. 
We longed through many a weary day 

For time to sleep and rest. 
But who would dare to disobey 

Or slight the king's behest. 

The soldiers' wives say — 

The days are growing warm and long ; 
We hear the oriole's plaintive song. 
The foliage now is green and thick ; 
The wild white celery we pick. 
The grasshopper goes leaping by ; 
Cicadas chirp their shrill, sharp cry. 
Such pleasing sights and sounds of spring 

Should give our hearts relief. 
But till our husbands come, they bring 

No solace to our grief. 

objection to these poems being referred to the time of King WSn, 
when he was known as Hsi Peh only, is that he never fought 
with the Huns or Hsien Yun tribes. This difficulty is explained 
away by the fact that he did wage war with the Ti and Jung 
tribes, and that the name Hsien Yun tribes might easily be used 
when Ti or Jung was meant. It is not a bad argument. Most 
Englishmen are a little vague about such names as Karens, 
Chins, Kachyens, Shans and Singphos, the frontier tribes of 
Burmah, for instance. Moreover, the main object of King Wen's 
wars with the barbarians was to prevent the Ti and Jung 
tribes making an alliance together to the danger of the kingdom. 
The wall mentioned in the poem would, say the commentators, 
keep them apart. I prefer, myself, to take this wall as the pre- 


Where Nanchung and his soldiers smite 
The western rebels must they fight. 
Soon by this mighty chief the brood 
Of Huns shall be o'ercome, subdued,' 
Then will our men return again, 
With crowds of captives in their train, 
And rebel chiefs, who have to bear 

The tortures stern, which lie 
In wait for wicked men, who dare 

Their rulers to defy. 


No. 9. 


The russet p ear-tree stands, its boughs borne down 

With pears that grow amid its foliage thick. 
We climb the hills to northward of the town 
The medlar fruit to pick. 

cursor of "the Great Wall of China," which was also designed 
to keep barbarian enemies out. The late Mr. T. T. Ferguson, 
of Chefoo, has written an interesting brochure to show the con- 
nection of the Great Wall of China with the walls of Babylon, 
arguing that the construction of the former offers a satisfactory 
proof that the Chinese came originally from Babylonia. 

A line close to the end of the poem is difficult to translate. 
It is Uterally " (They) catch the questioned, and seize the 
crowds." Not having anything of my own to propose, I follow 
the explanation of the commentators in my version. 

No. 9. 
This piece, as I have said already, is no doubt the sequel of 
the two preceding poems. 



'Tis the tenth month, the month that ends the year. 

Sadly and slowly day succeeds to-day. 
And yet my husband may not join me here ; 
He must remain away. 

The king's command has passed, a word which none 

May dare to slight, although oppressed with woe 
Women may weep, and for an absent son 
A parent's tears may flow. 

Surely by this his horses must be worn 

And lamed and starved in journeying so far. 
The planks of sandal-wood are broke and torn, — 
The boards which framed his car. 

From the divining jar the reeds I choose ; 

And next the tortoise-shell with fire I brand. 
Oh, joy ! Both omens bring the happy news, 
My husband is at hand. 

The first verse in my translation is made up of the couplets 
by which the three first stanzas of the original begin. The com- 
mentators, and Dr. Legge, make each couplet represent a fresh 
season. The first shows the pear in fruit. This would be the 
autumn. The next shows the pear-tree covered with luxuriant 
foliage. This indicates the following spring. The third shows 
the medlar or barberry (Zottoli) in fruit, to denote that it was 
summer. I have not troubled myself to follow out this idea, for 
I think the poem more dramatic without it, 

Chinese to this day will try to prognosticate their future by 
shaking slips of wood out of a receptacle made of the joint of a 
bamboo,kept in Buddhist temples, and elsewhere, for the purpose of 
fortune-telling. The slips are numbered, and the inquirer (paying, 


No. 10. 

* * * 

of courscj the usual fee) gels a piece of paper with a prophecy written 
on it, to correspond with the number written on the slip. The 
marks which appear on a tortoise-shell when it is exposed to heat, 
are supposed to foretell good or bad luck, as the case may be. 

No. 10. 

The text of this is missing. (See the notes on No. 2 of the 
next book.) 

Q 2 


Book II. 

No. I. 


* * * 

No. 2. 

* * * 

No. I. 

The text of this is also missing. 

No. 2. 

The text is again wanting. 

The Preface gives the subjects of these three missing poems as 
follows : In " The Southern Terrace," filial sons admonish one 
another on the duty of nourishing parents. " The White and 
Beautiful" speaks of the spotless purity of filial sons. "The 
Splendid Millet" describes harmonious seasons and abundant 
years, favourable to the millet crops. 

How the text came to be lost is a mystery, but I think that the 
simple explanation that it was destroyed at the burning of the 
Classics in the time of Shih Huang ti is the correct one. The 
other accepted theory is that these were Liede ohne worte, " Songs 
without Words," or tunes to which no words were set. The 
objection to this is that the meaning of the missing poems is set 
down in the Preface just as that of all the other pieces are. 
Besides, as one commentator remarks : " Words precede tunes. 
To have tunes, you must first make the words." That poets can 
write words to suit old tunes, as Burns and Moore have done, 
does not seem to have struck him. Dr. Legge has an exhaustive 
note on these songs, which have lost their words. 


No. 3. 

The weir in the stream 

Provides plenty of fishes ; 

The tench, carp, and cat-fish, 

The gurnard and flatfish. 

And succulent bream, 

To furnish our dishes. 

The wine of our host 

Is abundant and good. 

And, so he may boast, 

Is his excellent food. 
His wine and his viands from land and from sea 
Are nice, and in season, and good as can be. 

No. 3. 

This little piece is a song suitable enough for a festival, though 
this festival would seem to be a fish dinner at Greenwich rather 
than a banquet in the palace, but the Chinese will have it that 
the object of the song is to show the prosperity of the country. 
When six different kinds of fish, large and small, can be caught 
in so simple a contrivance as a bamboo weir, good government 
must prevail. I do not know why a bamboo weir or stake net 
should be despised. Fish traps of that kind are usually rather 
deadly engines. 

We have six fish mentioned here. Two of these, the (KJ Fang) 
bream, and (|| Li) carp, are old friends. The others are, ist 
the 1^ Chang, translated by Zottoli as the bleak, by Dr. Legge, 
who follows the Chinese description of it, as a large, strong fish 
with yellow jaws, and by Dr. Williams as the gurnard. (I hope 
there is such a thing as a fresh-water gurnard, though I doubt it.) 
2nd, the Sha'i^ sand-fish or sand-blower, Legge; "eleotis," 
Zottoli. The same character is used for the shark, but this of 
course will not do here. 3rd, the Z« jf|| tench, Legge; "ophio- 
cephalus," Zottoli. Liu Yiian has a wondrous description of this 
creature : " It has seven stars on its forehead, hence it is called 
'The Northern Bushel Fish.' ('The Northern Bushel' is the 


No. 4. 

No. 5. 

In the south a river rolls. 

Set the wicker nets, for there 
Barbel may be caught in shoals 
'Neath the trap and basket snare. 

In the south are banyan groves ; 

To their boughs the melon clings, 
Where the flocks of turtle-doves 

'Light or rise on airy wings. 

Chinese name for the constellation of The Great Bear.) It spends 
its nights gazing on the stars from which it takes its name. It 
understands the rules of politeness^ as the composition of its name 
(Fish and Politeness) shows. It is of the same essence as the 
snake." 4th, the Yen J(6g mudfish, or catfish, Silurus. 

No. 4. 
Another missing text. The subject apparently was "All things 
produced according to their nature.'' Perhaps it ran something 
like these verses from the "Anti Jacobin : " 

" The humble lettuce springs from lettuce seed. 
'Taters to 'taters, leeks to leeks succeed." 

No. S- 
This piece is referred to King Cheng ^ J, but I do not 
know why, nor is any explanation of the mention of " the south " 


In the south there dwells a lord, 

Ah ! he loves to pass the wine. 
As we feast around his board, 

See each face with rapture shine. 

No. 6. 


* * * 

No. 7. 

On the mountains to the southward and the northward 

we may see 
Forests rise in thick luxuriance of bush, and shrub 

and tree. 

given by any of the commentators. These sapient gentlemen say 
that as barbel may be lifted out of the water in a wicker net, so 
the ruler raised men out of obscurity. 

Chia Yu ^ '^^, literally "fine fish," is supposed to be the 
barbel, but the epithet strikes me as rather an inappropriate one 
to apply to such a coarse flavoured and bony fish. 

No. 6. 

Another missing text. The Preface says that its subject was 
" How all things attained their greatest height and size." 

No. 7. 
In this poem the king sings the praises of his ministers by 
comparing them to trees and herbs, which are in various ways 
valuable and useful to man. In the first stanza of the original 


There are herbs for men to gather, there are fruit trees 

bearing fruits. 
Trees umbrageous and majestic in the rocks have struck 

their roots. 
Since the hour their first shoots budded many years 

have passed away, 
Yet their trunks are firm and solid, and they reck not of 
Oh, fathers of our people, our country's stay and light 
With all its choicest blessings may heaven your worth 

Though your brows be seamed with wrinkles, and your 

hair and eyebrows grey. 
May you live for many years yet, strong and healthy 

still, we pray. 
May the fame of all your virtues to succeeding ages shine, 
And your sons, and grandsons' grandsons still perpetuate 
your line. 

are mentioned the Vai ^, a kind of grass, and the Lai ^ , an 
edible thistle, the flower of which furnishes rain coats and the 
latter food. The second and third stanzas introduce mulberries, 
willows, medlars and plum-trees, all useful in their way. The 
fourth stanza has the ^^ K''ao, ailanthus, or, according to 
Zottoli, the "euscaphis staphyleoides/' and the Niu ijj, wild 
cherry, or syringa.' The fifth has the j^ Kou, and the ^^ Yu, 
the aspen or hovenia and the ash(?). What are the particular 
admirable qualities of these last four trees is not very clear. I 
am inclined to think that their beauty and vigorous old age are 
certainly included in these. I have hinted at this in my paraphrase 
of the poem, for my version on this occasion is almost too free 
to be called a translation. 

I follow the crowd in making this the song of the royal host 
in honour of his guests, but it should be noted that the com- 
plimentary term ^ ^ Wan Shou, is in modern China addressed 
to the Emperor alone. It is the equivalent of the Biblical, " Oh, 
King, live for ever." In this poem, if my translation is correct, 
the wish is applied to the ministers. 


No. 8. 

* * 

No. 9. 


I hear him coming. The dewdrops sprinkle 

The southernwood growing dense and high. 
Hark ! how the bells on his harness tinkle, 

A joyful sound, for my friend is nigh. 

My friend is a friend above all others. 

With bright, pure radiance his virtues shine. 
" To me thou art dear as a cherished brother, 

Long, happy days, be for ever thine." 

No. 8. 
This is the last of the missing poems. Its subject was "How 
all things were produced, each in the proper way." 

No. 9. 

It is a matter of doubt again whether the King is praising his 
guests, or the guests praising the King as their host. From the 
particularity of the laudatory epithets, I have decided that one 
person only is addressed, and the allusion to the arrival of his 
chariot makes me conclude that this person must be a guest, so I 
have translated the poem as an address to a welcome visitor, I 
am, however, alone in this, for the commentators all say that this 
was a festal ode, sung when the feudal princes came to Court. 

There is a doubtful line in the third stanza of the original 


Now, let us feast, and with talk and laughter 

Gladden the hours till the night be past. 
I know in the days that shall come hereafter, 

Forgotten never, thy fame shall last. 

No. 10. 

" It is our royal pleasure to be drunk." 

Fielding's ''Tom Thumb." 


My guests of to-night, with their stately mien, 
Are the noblest guests that were ever seen. 
So self-possessed and so cheerful too. 
With hearts so virtuous, kind and true. 


The dew on the herbage is sparkling bright, 
To bathe the grass till the morning's light. 
So heavy the vapour is falling now 
That with weight of moisture the fruit trees bow. 

version, viz. : Jft 31 S ^ ^2 Hsiung, Yi Ti. Dr. Legge trans- 
lates it, " May their relations with their brothers be right ; " and 
adds in a note that this suggests a warning to the princes to avoid 
the jealousies which so readily sprang up between them and 
their brothers. I prefer to understand the words to mean, "The 
connection between us is truly fraternal." 

No. 10. 

I make no attempt to follow the structure of the Chinese poem. 
It is curious that a nation so temperate as the Chinese should 


We will sit in the hall and the goblets drain, 
And quaff till the liquor beclouds each brain. 
Every drop of the dew by the morning's sun 
Shall be drunk ere our merry carouse is done. 

look on a drinking bout of this description as quite compatible 
with the dignity either of a king or of a philosopher. 

The ^ T'ung und the U Yt tree mentioned in this poem 
are described in the notes to No. 6 of the 4th book of Part I. 


Book III. 

No. I.. 


Around the hall in serried rows 

Are ranged the scarlet lacquered bows. 

Each in its case and frame complete ; 
For honoured guests an offering meet. 

To-day a guest is coming here, 
To me a trusted friend and dear ; 

On whom 'tis meet that I bestow 
With all my heart this lacquered bow. 

The drums shall beat, the bells shall ring, 
To give to him fit welcoming. 

We feast, the loving cup I drain 
To pledge him o'er and o'er again. 

The sun shall climb the noontide sky, 
Before we drain our goblets dry. 

No. I. 

A red lacquered bow with 100 red arrows was given by the 
King as a mark of favour for loyal service, just as the yellow riding- 
jacket is at the present day. It will be remembered that one of 
the latter was given to General Gordon. 

The commentators say that ^ Hsiang, the word used for the 
feast in this poem, means a feast attended with the highest forms 
of ceremony, and add that the presence of music shows that the 
banquet was held in the ancestral temple. 


No. 2. 


Upon a little isle I make my home : 
It rises high above the river's foam. 

On either side thick wormwood bushes stray. 
I saw him coming in his fragile skiff, 
Which sank and rose amid the waves, as if 

It could not o'er the waters make its way. 

But when at length I saw him safely find 
The shore — my friend so noble and so kind — 

Ah, was it not indeed a joyful sight ? 
To me, besides, a splendid gift he brings. 
Of cowrie shells one hundred gleaming strings. 

My heart is filled with rapture and delight. 

No. 2. 
I am once more alone in my interpretation of this poem. All 
the commentators have it that it is entirely metaphorical, and 
Dr. Legge heads it, " An Ode, celebrating the attention paid by 
the early kings of Chou to the education of talent." According 
to this view the poem must be translated, with an explanation 
added to each clause, as follows. Translation. — " Luxuriantly 
grows the wormwood on that mound, that islet, that height." 
Explanation. — " This suggests the abundance of men of talent 
only needing cultivation." Translation. — "We have seen our 
lord, and are glad of itj and he shows us every politeness." Ex- 
planation. — " The King is performing his duty as school-inspector, 
and we, the scholars, are delighted to see him." Translation. — 
"He gives us 100 sets of cowries." Explanation. — "The King 
gives us officers and salaries." Translation. — " The willow skiff 
floats about sinking and rising. We have seen our lord, and our 
hearts are at rest." Explanation. — " The talented youth of the 
kingdom had no means of culture, until they were cared for by 
the King!" Can anything be more forced and strained? My own 


No. 3. 


The Huns had come in countless bands. 
They seized and occupied our lands. 
But all in vain they strive and try 

Our land to overwhelm. 
Our monarch notes the urgency, 

And bids us save his realm. 

Then hurry, hurry, night and day, 
For we must to the field away. 
In spite of summer's blazing heat, 
Our force was speedily complete. 
Four steeds in war's manoeuvres trained 
To each well-balanced car were reined. 
And swift these horses, stout and strong, 
Could whirl our warlike hosts along. 
Our flags and banners flew o'erhead 

With birds emblazoned bright. 
And ten huge armoured chariots led 

Our vanguard to the fight. 

interpretation may be right or wrong, but as the characters are 
capable of bearing the meaning which I give to them, I feel 
justified in prefering it to the far-fetched rendering of the com- 

It is interesting to note the use of cowries as money in China, 
in the Chou dynasty. Five shells constituted a set or string. 

No. 3. 
A period of some 300 years is supposed to have intervened 
between the date of this poem, and that of the one before it. In 
other words, the first 22 " Songs of the Festivals " are assigned to 
the early kings of the Chou dynasty — say circa, b.c. iioo. This 
piece, and the thirteen which follow, belong to the time of King 


Each day our destined stage we go : 
We met, we fought, we smote the foe. 
We drove him backwards from our land. 
Past where the walls of T'ai Yuan stand. 
Our foemen little thought that they 
Would be thus worsted in the fray. 
Right thoroughly our task was done ; 
By every man was glory won. 
But mostly to our leader tried 

Be praise and honour due. 
In peace and war alike our pride, 

Our peerless Prince, Chi fu. 

And when the weary march was o'er, 
And we had reached our homes once more. 
What joy and happiness we had. 
The feast was set, our Prince was glad. 

Hsiian ^ J, when the dynasty had begun to go down hill, 
and disorder had become prevalent, though King Hsiian himself 
was a wise and good ruler, who did all in his power for his people's 
welfare. The Huns had taken advantage of the misgovernment 
and weakness of King Z« jg 2, e.g. 878-827, to invade and 
ravage his kingdom, which they penetrated as far as the capital, 
which was then in the south of Shansi. King Hsiian, on his 
accession to the throne in B.C. 826, lost no time in expelling 
them. This poem celebrates the exploits of his general, Yin Chi f 11 

I have shirked most of the Chinese names which appear in the 
original version. The Huns are said to have occupied Chiao ^ 
and Huo ^, and to have overrun Hao ^ and Fang ^, as far 
as the country north of the river Ching ^. Of these, Hao is the 
only place to be identified. It was the capital situated in what 
is now the department of P'ing Yang in Shansi. The other towns 
were in the same province, of which T'ai Yiian, mentioned in this 
poem, is the capital. 


His best and dearest friend was there 

Beside him at the board, 
His mirth and merriment to share, 
Partaking of the dainties rare 

That land and sea afford. 

No 4. 




We were gathering the crops of millet, which grew on the 

virgin land 
Round each village, when Fang Shu came to collect us 

and take command. 
His car, with its chequered screen and its quivers, was 

lacquered red. 
And was drawn by four dappled steeds with an even 

and steady tread. 

In my verses I have also omitted to mention the names of the 
dainties which land and sea afforded to grace the feast. If 
gastronomers care to know, they were roast turtle and hashed carp. 

The General's " best and dearest friend " was Chang Chung 
5^ jiji, "the filial and brotherly," but no one seems to know who 
this gentleman was. I have read somewhere — a propos of "Uncle 
Remus's Tales of the Old Plantation," when the little boy asks 
who " Miss Meadows and the girls " were, and Uncle Remus 
replies " Dey was in de story, honey " — a remark that it is a pecu- 
liarity of ballad poetry in its most archaic shape, suddenly to 
introduce a person by name, without in any other way indicating 
his connection with the story. The introduction of Chang Chung 
seems an instance of this. 

No. 4. 
The events narrated in this poem are assigned to the year 
B.C. 825, the year after the one in which Yin Chi fu made the 


He wore the scarlet robes, the gifts bestowed by the King, 
The tinkling gems at the belt, and the red knee-covering. 
The yoke of his car was gilt, and its wheels were with 

leather bound, 
And the bells at his horses' bits rang out with a merry 

His banners flaunted o'erhead, and the thundering beat 

of the drum 
Was heard through the country side, to bid his warriors 

So we came with three thousand cars, and swore to be 

soldiers true. 
To follow to battle and death our faithful and good 

Fang Shu. 
Oh, mad were the barbarous hordes of the south, when 

they dared to defy 
The strength of our mighty realm, making light of our 

No stripling our leader was, but age had not dimmed 

his skill 
In the arts of war, but his strength was fresh and vigorous 


expedition celebrated in the last piece. This poem states that 
Fang Shu took with him 3000 chariots. One hundred men were 
the complement of each chariot (see Dr. Legge's notes), so that 
the whole force would be an army of 300,000 men. I do not 
suppose that we are meant to take this literally, or as anything 
more than an Oriental method of describing an unusually large 
army. We know nothing of Fang Shu. He is supposed to have 
been one of Yin Chi fu's subordinate Generals. The Chinese 
commentators praise him for two things, first his ability to com- 
mand, manage and manoeuvre so huge a force, and second, his 
humanity, in only overawing the wild tribes by his show of force, 
and in accepting their submission, instead of extirpating them. 

The tribes of the south were the " Man g tribes of Ching ^|j," 
or, as I am inclined to translate the phrase, " the Man, and the 
people of Ching." The Man is the generic name of the people 


So we fell on the savage tribes with the speed of the 

falcon's flight, 
When she stoops to the earth once more, after climbing 

the zenith's height. 
He captured the rebel hosts, and by chastisements stern 

he taught 
Their chieftains the peril by which all attempt to revolt 

is fraught. 
And the roar of his troops, as they rushed to the onset, 

sounded as loud 
As the crash of the levin bolt, when it darts from the 

angry cloud. 
Till warned by the fate of the Huns, no tribe of the south 

would try 
To withstand him, but laid down their arms, being awed 

by his majesty. 

living in South China. Ching, on the other hand, is only the 
name of a district now known as Ching Chou, the district in 
which the treaty port of Ichang stands. Three hundred thousand 
men would indeed be an extravagant army to take against a place 
of this kind, though a war with the Man, that is to say all the tribes 
of the south, would be a serious undertaking. I have no doubt in 
my own mind that after the Huns on the north and west had 
been subdued, an expedition to the south-west of the kingdom 
was undertaken, and that this is the expedition described in 
this poem. 

To revert to the word Man. — Marco Polo (Yule's edition, 1875) 
mentions in his 43rd chapter that he came to a province called 
Acbalec Manzi (the White City of the Manzi frontier), which, no 
doubt, was in the Han River valley, near the scene of Fang 
Shu's warfare. 

Dr. Legge translates Chic ^, in the 3rd stanza of the original, 
"addressed." I think that it is "made them take oath." 


No. 5. 


Strong were our cars ; each horse was sleek, 
Though stout and hardy was his frame. 

The eastern grassy plains we seek, 
Where we may find and kill the game. 

Dressed as for audience at the Court, 

With knee-caps and gold slippers fine, 
The princes come to join the sport. 

Their chariots form a lengthy line. 

The leaders who conduct the hunt 

Tell off their men with noise and shout. 
The flags and yak-tails stream in front, 

As to the chase we sally out. 

The archers fit their armlets on. 

And make their bows and arrows sure ; 
For they must shoot in unison. 

If piles of game they would secure. 

No. 5. 
It is said that King Hsiian was anxious to establish his capital 
at Lo, the present Lo Yangfu -^ ]J|f ^^ and to remove thence 
from the western capital, which stood where Hsi An fu (often 
written Singan fu) |f ^ Jj^ now stands. This removal, how- 
ever, was not effected until the reign of King P'ing 2[i J, but 
it was King Hsiian's custom to meet the feudal Princes at Lo, 
and, after they had been admitted to an audience, to entertain 
them with a grand hunt. The hunting park was in Ao ^j, the 
inodern district of Jung Yang ^ [I^ . It is curious to observe 


Straight and direct each chariot goes, — 

Let not your horses swerve or shy — 
As fall the axe or hammer blows, 

Straight and direct your shafts must fly. 

The horses neigh ; the line moves slow. 

We leave un roused no single lair, 
Else would the royal kitchen show 

Itself devoid of game, and bare. 

Thus did our expedition fare. 

Successful, famous, and complete. 
Such were the lords who came to share 

The praise and glory of the feat. 

that the Chinese rulers of those days employed the same method 
of amusing visitors of distinction as our sovereigns do now. 

I differ from Dr. Legge in his translation of the last part of the 
7th stanza of the original. He makes it, "The footmen and 
charioteers created no alarms. The great kitchen did not claim 
its complement." Surely this is only an example of a very common 
Chinese construction, in which the word "if" is understood from 
the position of the words, and the phrase accordingly must mean 
" If the footmen and charioteers do not frighten the game, the 
royal kitchen will not be properly supplied." At the same time 
I must admit that the commentators take Dr. Legge's view (or he 
theirs), and enter into details. The royal kitchen, say they, only 
accepted thirty of each kind of animal, and these had to be well 
killed, and good specimens, or else they were rejected. 

The second line of the last stanza is probably corrupt. Dr. 
Legge translates it, " Without any clamour in the noise of it." 
Is not this a contradiction in terms ? 


No. 6. 


Let us choose for our starting a fortunate day ; 
To the god of the horses make offerings and pray ; 
Then hey, to the hills and the mountains away ! 
For the King is now going a hunting. 


Our chariots are strong, and fast is each team. 
We speed to the plain, where the two rivers gleam, 
For many a stag will be found near the stream 
Where the monarch is going a hunting. 

See large game in herds in the plain there below ; 
They collect, then they scatter, then rush to and fro. 
As the beaters to rouse them and drive them forth go 
To make sport, when the King goes a hunting. 

Oh, straight from the bow-strings the sharp arrows flew ; 
A rhinoceros falls, and a boar is run through. 
Give the game to the guests, fill the wine goblets too, 
As is meet, when the King goes a hunting. 

No. 6. 

This hunt was evidently on a smaller scale, and was a less 
important function than the hunting expedition described in the 
last piece. The two rivers by which the hunt took place are 
the CKi j^ and the CKou j^g., both affluents of the Yellow 
River. Their courses were not far from the western capital. 

TJie "God of the Horses" was the "Dragon Horse of the Sky," 
certain stars in Scorpio. 

The fortunate day is my equivalent for the days Mou ^ and 
King Wu j^ ^, which were what was called 'hard 'days; days 
on which it was lucky to do business abroad. (See Dr. Legge's 


No. 7. 



Above our heads the wild geese fly ; 
Theirpinions rustle through the sky. 
Hard was our task ; with toil and pain 
We laboured in th' unsheltered plain, 
To house the wretched ones whom fate 
Had left forlorn and desolate. 

The wild geese settle from their flight, 
And on the marshlands they alight. 
So fast our village walls we rear. 
Five thousand feet at once appear. 
Though travail sore our hearth distrest. 
We reaped our due reward of rest. 


Again the wild geese rise and fly. 
And harsh and doleful is their cry. 
Men that are sensible and wise. 
Our pain, our toil, will recognise ; 
Though fools, and those devoid of sense, 
May call it pride and insolence. 

I am inclined to substitute " wild buffalo '' for rhinoceros in my 
version, but I have no authority for giving any meaning but 
rhinoceros to 3£ •S'^^. At the same time I very much doubt 
whether, in post-diluvian times, the rhinoceros was known as far 
north as the valley of the Yellow River. 

No. 7. 
This piece is very obscure, and is doubdess corrupt. I am 
content to accept the only explanation of it, viz., that it describes 
the way in which the ofHcers of King Hsiian provided for the 


No. 8. 


" Watchman, what of the night ? " 
" The torch in the courtyard set 
Is blazing with ruddy light, 
For it is not midnight yet." 

A noise seems to strike my ear, — 
The sound of some distant bells. 
A welcome sound, for it tells 

That my friend will be shortly here. 


" Watchman, again I hail." 
" The night has not past away, 
Though the torch in the yard grows pale 
And its fla'me has turned faint and grey." 

Clearer, and yet more clear. 
The sound of his bells I mark ; 
They ring in the misty dark. 
Surely my friend is near. 

safety of the people who had been driven out of house and home 
by the Huns and other barbarous tribes, and built walled villages 
for them. But even taking this interpretation, I find the poem 
difficult to understand. Nor do I find much reason for the 
mention of the wild geese. The last stanza of the poem is parti- 
cularly incomprehensible. 

No. 8. 
This piece, like so many others, turns on the meaning of the 
word Chun Tzu ;§: -^ . Dr. Legge, following the Chinese com- 
mentators, makes King Hsiian the speaker. He is awaking at 
intervals during, the night on account of his anxiety not to be late 
at the levde, which was to be attended by his " Princely men," 
i.e. the feudal chiefs. I do not think this idea sufficiently poetical, 
and prefer to understand the speaker — King Hsuan, if you will — 



" Watchman, what of the night ? " 
" 'Tis morn ; but a wreath of smoke 
Curls up from the torch. 'Tis light, 
And the day dawn at length has broke," 

What is the sight I see ? 
His banners and flags which fly 
And flaunt in the morning sky. 

'Tis my friend, who has come to me. 

No. 9. 


Though the river is swollen in flood, and fast must its 

waters flee. 
And huge are the angry waves, which it bears on its 

troubled breast ; 
Yet it carries them safely down to the court of the god of 

the sea, 

And there finds rest. 

anxious to hail some beloved friend, and I have translated the 
piece accordingly. 

The J^ )^ T'ing Liao, translated " torch," was rather a bonfire 
than a torch, as it consisted of billets of wood tied together. The 
King's bonfire consisted of 100 such billets, a Duke's had 50, 
and so on. 

No. 9. 
This piece again is a little obscure. I have paraphrased rather 
than translated it, in order the better to bring out its meaning. 
The original Chinese version merely states, for the first simile, 
that the swollen waters go to the court of the sea. It is curious 
to note the Chinese phrase, which is Chao Sung ^ ^ , the first 
character meaning, " to come to Court (as a feudal prince) in the 



Though the falcon is forced to ascend to the sky in her 

rapid flight, 
And to soar that she may provide some food for the 

young in her nest. 
When her wings are weary she knows a crag whereon to 


And there finds rest. 


Would I — like the river or falcon— might win some place 

of repose ; 
For to and fro am I driven with sorrow and grief opprest. 
When I think of these lawless men, I am crushed with a 

weight of woes. 

But find no rest. 

Oh, my countrymen, brethren, friends, are your parents 

nothing to you 
That ye suffer our realm to be by malice and spite 

distrest ? 
Keep vigilant watch^ and see that slanderous tongues 
be few. 

And give us rest. 

spring," and the latter "to come to Court in the autumn,'' and to 
compare it with Tennyson's : — 

"Flow down cold rivulet to the sea, 
Thy tribute wave deliver." 

I think that the feeling which the writer wishes to express is 
somewhat like that of Swinburne's, when he says : — 

" Even the weariest river 
Winds somewhere safe to sea." 

The second simile is that of the falcon, who, though it lives on 
the wing, has yet a resting place on the face of the cliff or crag, 
for this, I take it, is the meaning of the four characters ^ {^ 


No. 10. 


Pleasant is the garden ground, 
Where the sandal trees are found, 
With the paper mulberry. 
Underneath their branches lie 
Withered leaves, when summer's past, 
And the winter's come at last. 
In the stream that waters it 
You may note the fishes flit. 
Some upon the shallows sleep, 
Others hide within the deep. 
From the marsh pools on the plain. 
Hark ! The trumpet of the crane. 

4» ^ Shuai pi chung ling, " She keeps to the centre of the 
peak." Dr. I-egge's metrical version is — 

"And swiftly as the falcons go, 
The vault that copes the hill they show." 

The speaker in this poem is supposed to be King Hsiian, who, 
on his accession found that King Li, his predecessor, and J^ung 
Ho ^ fu , who had acted as regent, had allowed the kingdom 
to go to rack and ruin.- 

I should mention that the simile of the rivers going to court is 
taken from the " Tribute of Yu," part iii., book i., chap, vii., 
para. 47. (See Legge's " Chinese Classics," vol. iii., page 113). 

No. ID. 
I do not see why we should be called upon to look for a meta- 
phorical meaning in this little piece. The Chinese, however, 
find a lesson in every sentence of it, and make the whole poem 
an exhortation addressed by King Hsiian to men of worth, whom 
misgovernment had driven into retirement, to come forward and 
serve their country. The crane may hide itself in the marsh, but 
you can hear its cry at a great distance, so a wise man may live 


Listen to her sonorous cry 

Echoing to the distant sky. 

Purple hills are seen afar, 

Where the grindstone quarries are ; 

And the lapidary's stone, 

In these mountains found alone. 

You must all allow, I ween, 

'Tis a fair and pleasant scene. 

retired, but his reputation is widely known. The fishes lie con- 
cealed by the water, but we know their whereabouts. The garden 
grows the valuable and beautiful sandal or teak tree. Underneath 
are withered leaves and brushwood, to show that there is no un- 
mixed good in this imperfect world. Even the stones of the hills 
have their uses. 

g^ Ku, is the Broussonetia Papyrifera, or paper mulberry. 


Book IV. 

No. I. 

Oh, Captain of the Royal Guard ! 

Your fault it is our lot is hard. 

Was it not wrong of you to bring 
" The teeth and talons " of the King 

Beneath a weight of toil to groan, 

And die forsaken and alone. 
Leaving no man behind to feed 
Our parents in their want and need ? 

No. I. 

This piece, which is probably only fragmentary, is a lampoon 
directed against the commander of the Royal Guard, and through 
him, say the Chinese commentators, against the King. How it 
ever found its way into these Songs of the Festivals is indeed a 
mystery. The commentators do not agree who the King in 
question was. Some go back to King Li. Others refer the piece 
to King Hsiian. The latter say that King Hsuan, at the beginning 
of his reign, declined to enrol in his kingdom a tract of country 
called " The Thousand Acres," situated in the district of Chieh 
Hsiu ^ {tJc, rn Shensi. Thirty-nine years afterwards the northern 
barbarian tribes inflicted a severe defeat on him at this very place, 
and to revenge it he called out all his forces, including his own 
body-guard, "the teeth and claws of the King," who were supposed 
to be exempt from foreign service. The soldiers express their 
sense of grievance in these mutinous verses. 

The last line of the Chinese version is either corrupt, or else 
it is a striking example of bathos. It is, " Our mothers have to 
do all the labour of cooking." I cannot help feeling that this 
sentence connotes that the trouble was not so much in cooking, 
as in finding something to cook ; and I have translated the line 


No. 2. 


Your milk-white colt is safely bound 
By neck and foot. He cannot stray. 

The choicest herbs that can be found 
I'll let him crop the live-long day. 

That you, my love, from trouble free, 

May pass the morn at ease with me. 

Your milk-white colt unchecked may bite 
My sweetest shoots. I'll safely tether 

His neck and foot. A happy night, 
All undisturbed, we'll pass together. 

For I would fain detain you here 

A guest so honoured, loved, and dear. 

No. 2. 

Can this song be anything but an expression either of friendship 
or of affection. I look on it as expressive of affection, leaving it to 
be inferred that a lady is the speaker. The Chinese commentators 
will have it, either that the subject of the poem is some officer 
who declares in it his regret at the abandonment of public life 
by a friend whom he loved and admired — which is Dr. Legge's 
view — or that King Hsiian is the speaker, lamenting that men 
of talent will not come out of retirement to take office. If one 
is driven to either of these two conclusions. Dr. Legge's is the more 
comprehensible. If we adopt the latter theory, we are at once 
involved in a tangle of metaphors, for we can scarcely admit that 
the royal bean-shoots in the King's garden are to be taken literally. 
King Hsiian was not a monarch of the rank of the King of Brent- 
ford, or of King Artaxominous. 

A writer in the " North China Herald," who signs himself K. 
(it is not difficult to fill up the other letters of his name), adopts 


Then mount your milk-white colt, and be 

A brighter and more glorious sight 
Than duke or noble is to me, 

And share my rapture and delight. 
Care not to roam away or hide 
Yourself, but with your love abide. 

Within that sheltered vale there lies 

Fresh grass for your white colt to eat. 
Fairer than jewels in my eyes 

Are you. Then come those eyes to greet. 
But gems and gold are scarce we know, 
And seldom seen. Must you be so .-' 

the extraordinary theory that the " White Colt " in the poem means 
the Agvinau, the "Vedettes," or "Twin Horsemen," the stars y8. y. 
in Aries. This is his translation : — 

Shine on, ye glowing steeds of day, 
Our meadows wide with light suffuse. 

Halt in your course ; your progress stay ; 
This morning's dawn to close refuse. 

My cherished love, all care aside, 

May one long day with me abide. 

Shine on, ye glowing steeds of day. 

O'er our wide fields your radiance send ; 

Halt in your course ; your progress stay ; 
This night beyond all nights extend. 

My cherished love, oh ! happy bride. 

May one long day with me abide. 

Shine on, ye glowing steeds of morn, 
While burning thoughts my bosom fill. 

What though of noble lineage born. 
In modest ease for aye be still. 

For aye forget your aimless quest, 

Your anxious thoughts be lulled to rest. 


No. 3. 


Oriole, with the plumage bright, 
On these mulberries do not 'light ; 
From this rice and maize refrain ; 
Leave unpecked this millet grain ; 
Build no nest upon these oaks ; 
For these men are churlish folks. 
Little do they understand 
How to give a friendly hand, 
How to show a kindly heart. 
You and I had best depart. 
Where my friends and kinsmen be 
Is the only home for me. 

Shine on, ye glowing steeds of day. 
O'er yon wide valley stay your light. 

There in a patch with verdure gay 
My loved one lies, a jewel bright ; 

Nor covets gems or golden showers, 

While happy hearts beguile the hours. 

No. 3. 
The bearing of this ballad lies in the application of it, as 
Captain Bunsby would say. Mao Ch'i lin's idea that it is a 
wife complaining of ill-treatment at the hands of her husband 
and his relations is scouted by Dr. Legge as absurd. I confess 
that I see no more absurdity in this theory than in the one which 
Dr. Legge adopts, viz., that some officer who had withdrawn to 
another State, finding himself disappointed, proposes to return 


No. 4. 


The long, long wilds with tired feet 

I trod, where grows the ailanthus tree. 
I picked the bitter herbs to eat : 
No daintier food was given me. 
" But surely," to myself said I, 
" This toilsome journey at an end, 
My husband and his family 
Will hail me as their dearest friend." 

In vain I went this weary way ; 

'Twas but to find, to my distress, 
My husband's heart enticed astray 

By gold or simple fickleness. 
Another mate he holds as dear ; 

While I am less a friend than foe. 
They do not love to have me here, 

So back to home and kin I go. 

No. 4. 
Whatever the meaning of the last poem may be, I have no 
doubt that this is the lament of a wife, complaining that when 
she went to rejoin her husband, she found, him with another 
mate, and anything but inclined to welcome her. In order to 
avoid so simple a theme, and to introduce affairs of State into 
the ballad, the commentators will have it that the speaker is an 
_ officer, who went from the royal domain to live in a State where 
one of his family was married, but on arrival there found that 
his connections gave him the Cold shoulder. To bring out this 
meaning, -^ |;@ Hiien Yin must be translated " affinity " rather 
than " marriage." Moreover, the reproaches addressed to some- 
one for only thinking of pleasing his new mate, and for being 
fickle, have no force whatever, unless a woman is addressing her 
husband or lover. 



No. 5. 


Where curve the river banks with graceful sweep, 

And purple mountains to the southward lie ; 

As grow the bamboos in a solid heap, 

Or clumps of pine trees pointing to the sky ; — 

So stands the palace, large, and wide and high. 

Here kings may dwell, and brother feast with brother, 

Scheming no mad devices 'gainst each other. 


It was the King's by right, his father's land, 
Whereon he built his chambers row by row. 
The doors to eastward and to south he planned ; 
While walls, five thousand cubits, round it go. 
So grand, so noble doth the dwelling show, 
That 'tis in truth a place where kings may rest, 
And with their loyal subjects talk and jest. 

The lime to bind the walls in frames is set. 
And pounded hard with many a jocund cry. 
Impervious are the walls to wind and wet. 
And tooth of gnawing rat they will defy, 
And birds to find a hole in vain will try. 
It is a stately home that will befit 
The noble Prince who shall inhabit it. 

The lady is supposed to have sheltered herself beneath the 
JU Ch'u, the fetid tree (Legge), or "ailanthus glandulosa" 
(Zottoli). The " bitter herbs " are the 3^ Chu, the dock, or 
sheep's foot (Legge), " rumex" (Zottoli), and the Fu "^ poke- 
weed (Legge), "Phytolacca" (Zottoli). This last was probably 

No. 5. 
The royal palace was supposed to have been destroyed during 


As steps a lord before his sovereign's eyes, 
With reverent speed on tiptoe hastening ; 
As from the bow the whistling arrow flies ; 
As darts the pheasant on his rapid wing 
(His plumage just renewed in early spring); 
So will our king ascend his mansion fair, 
With eagerness to dwell in comfort there.* 

The courts are smooth and level, every one. 
And rows of lofty pillars stand around. 
Each room is gladdened by the morning sun, 
Though dark recesses in their depths are found — ■ 
A haunt for slumber undisturbed and sound. 
Here shall our noble king repose, and lie 
The while the watches of the night go by. 

As on my rush and bamboo mat I lay, 
I dreamt of serpents and the savage bear. 
I called the soothsayer in and bade him say 
Whether such dreams are lucky, and declare 
What fortune threatened, and how I should fare. 
" Bears promise birth of sons, and snakes a brood 
Of daughters," said he, " both are omens good." 

the reign of King Li, and to have been rebuilt by King Hsiian. 
This poem describes and celebrates its completion. 

I have in two respects adopted my own interpretation. The 
subject of the similes in Stanza 4, according to all the com- 
• mentators, is not the King, but the palace; though how a palace 
can be compared to a man on tip-toe, an arrow, or a pheasant, 
is a riddle which I am unable to solve. Secondly, I decline to 
make the concluding stanzas either prophetic or optative, and to 
translate them as Dr. Legge does, " Here may the King sleep and 
dream dreams,'' " The chief diviner will divine them,'' and so 
on. My own opinion is that these stanzas form a separate poem 

s 2 


" The fates decree to you shall sons be born ; 
Upon the gilded couches they shall sleep ; 
Rich robes of purple shall by them be worn ; 
For toys the royal sceptres shall they keep ; 
And masterful their cry is when they weep. 
Resplendent with red knee-caps shall they stand, 
The future kings and princes of the land. 

" 'Tis also fated daughters shall be born ; 
Upon the ground such infants we may lay ; 
Plain cotton wrappers shall by them be worn ; 
With broken tiles for toys the girls may play. 
Of knowing right from wrong small power have they. 
To furnish food and wine is woman's part, 
And cause no sorrow to their parents' heart." 

of their own, but if they are really part of the poem describing 
the palace, let them be taken to be a speech of the King's. 

Stanza 4. To take quick steps, with the arms held out in 
front, is still a mark of respect in China. Confucius, according 
to the "Analects," adopted the practice. Subjects admitted to an 
audience walk thus. 

Stanza 6. " Bears promise birth of sons, and snakes a brood 
of daughters." 

Bears, say the Chinese, are typical of strength and power. 
Snakes, on the other hand, are creatures which shrink from sight, 
and retire into their holes ; thus typifying woman's modesty. A 
similar idea is found in Indian worship : " It may indeed be pos- 
sible to trace out the association which connects the Linga with 
the Bull in Sivaism, as denoting more particularly the male 
power, while the serpent in Jainaism and Vishnavism is found 
with the female emblem, the Yoni." — Cox's " Mythology of the 
Aryan Nations," vol. ii., p. 129. 


No. 6. 


If any one says that your sheep are few, 

He lies, for your sheep we see. 
In flocks of three hundred all horned but tame 

They are grazing about the lea. 

And your cattle are ninety in every herd, 

Strong, black-lipped brutes. From the hills 
Come droves of thirty, flapping their ears, 

To drink at the pools and rills, 

As they lie on the meadows, or roam the fields. 

When the pasture is rich and fat. 
Your herdsmen watch them in rain-coats clad. 

Each wearing his bamboo hat. 

No. 6. 
This ballad is supposed to describe King Hsiian's prosperity. 
His prosperity infers his good government and his virtue. I 
have no wish to dispute the accuracy of this interpretation. 
The chief point of interest in the poem is this : it is the only 
piece in the whole collection which describes and sings the 
praise of pastoral life as opposed to agricultural. Now, the 
members of the Aryan race, before their dispersion — hunters 
and fishermen at first — became acquainted with pastoral pursuits 
before agricultural. Among them the Chief Shepherd was prac- 
tically King. (See Pictet's " Origines Indo-Europ^ennes.") The 
Chinese have always regarded the science of agriculture with 
respect, considering the care of flocks and herds a business only 
fit for nomad tribes, such as the Mongolians of the present day. 
In fact many persons believe the term ^ ^ Li Min to be " the 
agricultural people " rather than " the black-haired race," as it is 
usually translated. They say that ploughing and sowing form a 
far more distinct characteristic of the Chinese than the blackness 


They bear their rations upon their backs, 

The birds and the beasts they snare. 
They collect the faggots and twigs to roast 

The game, and a meal they share. 

Your sheep by infectious ills untouched, 

All vigorous^ strong, and bold. 
By a single wave of the shepherd's arm 

Are driven within the fold. 

Your herdsman shall dream at night of fish 

In countless shoals in the streams. 
Of pennons flying, and falcon flags. — 

Let the soothsayers solve their dreams. 

The shoals of the fish denote a time 

Of prosperity never ceasing ; 
And the flags that the folk of our monarch's realm 

Are flourishing and increasing. 

of the hair, for the aboriginal tribes in and around the Empire, 
and the natives of the nt-ighbouring countries, are all black- 
haired, but honour paid to agriculture is confined to pure Chinese 
alone. The gentleman who signs himself K. goes so far as to 
translate the term Li Min as " Aryan." I conclude, then, that 
this ballad either describes a state of things which existed long 
before the time of King Hsiian, or else that even in his time the 
care of flocks and herds was looked on as a matter not unworthy 
of a king's attention. Liu Yiian says as much, pointing out that 
in King Hsiiaa's days there were officials in charge of sheep, 
oxen, dogs and fowls. Swine alone were not cared for. 

The student of Chinese will find a good many rare characters 
and doubtful expressions in this ballad. ^J Shun is defined as 
" a yellow ox, seven cubits high, with black lips ;'' rather an 
awkward beast to meet in a narrow lane. )^ f^ Shih Shih is 
literally " damp." Here it is understood to mean " flapping the 


No. 7. 



The southern mountains by their craggy height 
Strike all beholders' eyes with awe and fright. 
Like them, Grand Master, thou art placed on high 
To awe the nation by thy majesty. 
But fires of vengeance scorch the angry breasts 
Of men who loathe to name thee, e'en in jests; 
To ruin and decay the kingdom flies, 
But little reck you of our miseries. 

ears ;" but one sapient commentator remarks that a cow's ears 
(like a dog's nose) are moist when the animal is in health. I 
have evaded the difficulty of translating the two last lines of 
the 2nd stanza in the original. I imagine their meaning to 
be, " Thirty make a drove, so that your sacrificial animals are 
all massed together." Dr. Legge, following the commentators, 
makes it, " Thirty of one colour make a set. For your (sacri- 
ficial) vicdms, then, you are plentifully provided." The word 
U sMiig in this Classic is exclusively applied to animals regarded 
as sacrificial victims; but I do not think that much stress need 
be laid on the word here, or that, in this instance, it is anything 
more than a synonym for oxen. At the same time it is only fair 
to note that some comraentators believe that the whole piece 
describes the care taken of the animals destined to be sacrificial 
victims. I have followed Dr. Legge in taking P 'eng ^ to infer 
disease. Others say that it means straying over precipices. Dr. 
Legge makes Wei ^ " dissolving into," — " multitudes dissolving 
into fishes," "tortoise and serpent flags dissolving into falcon 
banners." I accept the word in its ordinary meaning of " also," 
if it is anything more than what the Chinese call " an empty 
particle," and make '' multitudes, also fishes/' the equivalent of 
shoals of fish. 

No. 7. 
This is the first of a long and wearisome scries of poems, com- 


The southern mountains Hft their peaks to heaven, 
And richly on them hath the herbage thriven. 
To thee, Grand Master, no such gifts belong. 
Injustice is thy boast with fraud and wrong. 
Redoubled weights of evil on us lie ; 
Death and disorder grow and multiply. 
No words of gladness from the people flow. 
Yet care you nothing that this should be so. 

When thou wast made the master of the land, 
It was that thou should'st be the King's right hand ; 
That thou should'st hold the balance of the State, 
And keep each region prosperous and great ; 
That thou should'st be the monarch's aid and stay, 
Nor let his people wander far astray. 
Unpitying heaven, some pity to us show, 
Nor let him crush us 'neath this weight of woe. 

How can our folk have confidence in one 
Who cares no whit by whom his work is done. 
To untried novices a task he'll fling, 
Though such neglect defrauds and cheats his King. 
Master, be wise and stop, nor let us feel 
That your mean followers wreck the commonweal. 
You grant them honours, though their aim is pelf. 
And how each vile rogue may enrich himself. 

plaining of the miseries of the kingdom after the death of King 
Hsiian. This piece is assigned to the time of King Fm ^ U , 
King Hsuan's immediate successor, who reigned from B.C. 780 
to 770; 

The Grand Master was Yin ^, probably a son, or grandson, 
of Yin Chi fu, mentioned in No. 3 of the last book. He was 
one of the three supreme officials at the Court of King Yu, and, 


Great heaven above, we cannot call thee just, 
When we beneath such weight of grief are thrust ! 
Great heaven above, we cannot call thee kind, 
On every side such miseries we find ! 
If we could see some honest men again, 
How soon would all our hearts forget their pain. 
And did we know that justice was their guide, 
How soon our anger would be cast aside. 


Oh, great unpitying heaven ! to us grant peace, 
And let this trouble, this disorder cease. 
For month by month continually it grows. 
And none throughout the nation wins repose. 
My sorrow dulls and stupefies my mind ; 
No one to rule the kingdom can I find. 
And when no ruler for the land is found, 
Then toil and ruin, wrath and fear abound. 

Fain would I yoke my horses to my car, 
My four swift steeds, and flee with them afar. 
But north or south no resting place I see. 
Where I may hide ; no home remains for me. 
Here must the people suffer civil strife, 
For war with sword and wasting fire is rife. 
And there 'tis worse, those wretches feast and drain 
Their cups, conspiring to increase our pain. 

as Dr. Legge suggests, was probably the highest of the three. 
Grand Master is the translation of his title T'ai Shih -j^ ^jjj . 

Stanza 4 is a difficult one to translate. I make the fourth and 
fifth lines of it, " Do not deceive the King, but be just and stop." 
Dr. Legge translates them, " He should not deal deceitfully with 
superior men by dismissing them on the requirement of justice ;" 
a sentence which I confess I fail to understand. 

Stanza 7, representing two Chinese verses in the original, is 


This is the judgment passed on us by heaven, 
That to our King no respite shall be given. 
Yet is our master our entreating scorning. 
He will not change ; nay, he resents our warning. 
But could this happy change in him be wrought, 
Ah, with what blessings would the land be fraught. 
To show the mischief done the King, the wrong. 
The evil, I, Chia fu, have made this song. 

No. 8. 


Although 'tis early summer time. 
The fields are white with frozen rime. 
A portent dread, as if to show 
How calumnies and slanders grow. 
What weary loads of grief and care 
My wounded heart is forced to bear. 
On me, on me alone they lie. 
Sick to the soul of life am I. 

presumably corrupt, but I have given what I conjecture to be 
its meaning. My translation differs materially from Dr. Legge's. 
Nothing is known of Chiafu ^ ^, the writer of these verses. 
His name, literally translated, is " paterfamilias.'' 

No. 8. 

This long and dreary production is akin to the last poem, and 
indisputably refers to the time of King Yu, for in it is mentioned 
the name oi Eao Ssu, •^ ^, his favourite concubine, whose folly 
caused the death of her lord and herself at the hands of the bar- 
barian invaders of the kingdom. 

This poem has been compared by one of the Chinese critics 
to the celebrated Lt Sao, {||{| ,|g, or " Grief Dispelled ;" the work 


My parents dear, who gave me birth, 
Would it had only been my fate 
To live more early or more late ! 
Such ills might be unknown on earth. 
Yet why ? 'Twere wiser to despise 
Men's slanders and their cruel lies. 
Whether for good or ill designed 
Their words are nought but idle wind. 
And should they mark me sufifering pain. 
No pity, but contempt, I'd gain. 

Yet 'tis not for myself I moan ; 
I shall not perish all alone ; 
But helpless, harmless folks will be 
Reduced to slavery with me. 
Alas, for us in such a plight ! 
I shall be like some famished crow, 
Who finds no roof whereon to 'light, 
No shelter whereunto to go. 

The wanderer who has gone astray. 
And in the forest lost his way, 
By shrub and brushwood dazed and blind 
Strives all in vain the path to find. 
Our people groaning in their grief, 
Look up to heaven with vow and prayer, 
But heaven is wroth and will not spare. 
Nor grant them respite and relief 

of Ch'u Yiian ^ ^, B.c.314. (See Dr. Wylie's "Notes on Chinese 
Literature," p. 181 ; and Mayers' "Chinese Reader's Manual," 
art. 326.) 

My rendering of stanza 4 differs a good deal from the accepted 
versions. The first two lines of the original are, " Look into the 
middle of the forest. There are only brushwood and undergrowth." 


And why ? This fault is all their own, 

And due to man and man alone. 

A steadfast heart is all we need, 

To stay the strokes 'neath which we bleed ; 

And God above is kind and great. 

Lives there a man whom He would hate ? 

Say you that falsehoods, slanders, lies 
Are evils whose effects are small ? 
Behold those crags, whose summits rise 
In ridgy masses huge and tall. 
The wayfarer would find it hard 
Such obstacles to disregard. 
But mountains dangerous and high 
Must less be feared than calumny. 
What help is there 1 The aged men 
And soothsayers, who our dreams explained. 
Confess some things beyond their ken. 
Some lore their wisdom ne'er attained. 

Although the vault of heaven is high, 
In reverent fear I bow my head. 
The earth is firm, yet o'er it I 
Dare but to step with dainty tread. 
And sure my fears are not unfounded ; 
Alas, I find myself surrounded 
With cruel men, whose thoughts are all 
Compact of venom, hate, and gall. 

To this I add, " so that no path is visible." Dr. Legge follows 
the explanation of the commentators, who say that the forest 
ought to contain timber and large trees, but shrubs only fit for 
firewood are the sole growth left. This typifies the misgovern- 
ment of the country. The stanza goes on : " The people in their 
perils look up to heaven, which is dark (/. e. deaf to them) j but 
let their determination be fixed, there is no one whom they will 
not overcome." There is the Almighty. Does He hate anyone? 


E'en in that rough and stony plain 
Luxuriant grows the early grain, 
As if to show that heaven can be 
Benign to others, not to me. 
Its anger I must undergo, 
As I were heaven's presumptuous foe. 
Men came at first and humbly prayed 
That I would kindly grant my aid, 
And be their pattern and their pride ; 
But now I'm scorned and cast aside. 

My wretched heart is tied and bound 
With cords of grief which clasp me round. 
Oh, rulers of the present time 
Is not this cruelty your crime ? 
The fire, though fiercely burns its flame. 
May chance to be put out and die. 
But when a woman brings to shame 
The Court, the King, what hope have I ? 

I seem to see through heavy rain 
An overloaded waggon strain. 
I see the driver cast away 
The bars by which its wheels are stayed. 
His cart upsets, and he must pray 
To every passer-by for aid. 

In other words, " Let the people help themselves, and not try to 
throw the blame of their misfortune on heaven, which hates no 
one." It seems to me that we spoil the moral lesson to be con- 
veyed if we translate as Dr. Legge does, "Let the determination 
of heaven be fixed, and there is no one whom it cannot overcome." 
Cela va sans dire. 

In Stanza 5 the literal translation of the two first lines is, 
"■ If any one says of a hill that it is low, there are its ridges and 
peaks (to contradict him)." This painfully reminds us of the 


Ah, do not cast the bars aside, 
They '11 serve you well upon the road ; 
Your driver bid with caution guide 
His team, and duly watch the load. 
Then though the way be rough to wend, 
You '11 safely reach your journey's end. 


A fish in some translucent lake 

Must ever live to fear a prey. 

He cannot hide himself away 

From those who come the fish to take. 

I, too, may not escape the eyes 

Of those who cause these miseries. 

My sorrowing heart must grieve to know 

My country's deep distress and woe. 

1 1. 
In vain, in vain. They sit and laugh; 
With friends around they feast and quaff. 
Nor care they to correct the ways 
Which mates and kinsmen laud and praise. 
While I am left in loneliness 
A prey to sorrowful distress. 
Let them, this sordid abject clan. 
Boast of their riches, houses, land. 
Nor care how heaven's avenging hand 
Is crushing ever}' weaker man. 
Alas, the wealthy live secure, 
From ills the helpless must endure. 

Red Queen's remark, " I've seen hills compared to which you 
would call this a valley." Still, I think that my verse, though 
anything but a literal translation, conveys the meaning of the 
original. The wisdom to which the soothsayers had not attained 
was the ability to distinguish between a cock crow from a hen 
crow, which is not as easy as to tell " a hawk from a hernshaw." 
Stanza 6. "Tliougbts compact of venom,'' &c. This is my 


No. 9. 

'Twas the first day of the month, when the sun in eclipse 

^xQ'w pale 
An omen to all the folk of disaster and woe and bale. 
The moon was first eclipsed, nor kept her appointed path, 
Then the light of the sun was darkened, in token of 

heavenly wrath ; 
Because throughout the land there is no one bears rule or 

And the good men are neglected, and the wise men are 

sent away, 
Till the poor and the weak and the helpless shall find in 

distress there is none 
To shield them from ruin and ills, by which the whole 

realm is undone. 
That the light of the moon be eclipsed is a thing which 

may oft befall. 
But the sun to grow dark and dim is the direst portent 

of all. 

paraphrase for the expression ■' Why are the men of this time 
such cobras and lizards ?" 

Stanza 7. Liu Yiian explains the last four lines, " His Majesty's 
predecessors eagerly sought my service, but King Yu himself 
rejects me." 

Stanza 8 contains the mention of Pao Ssu's name {vide supra). 

The Fii If in Stanza 9 seem to have been " bars," or " levers " 
(" sustentacula," Zottoli), which could be passed under the spokes 
of the wheels to lift the cart out of a rut. The commentators 
will have it that the rain mentioned in this stanza is an apt 
metaphor for the miseries occasioned by women and inferior 

No. 9. 

The first day of the month is the first day of the loth month. 
This eclipse is verified by calculation as having occurred on 


All good, all quiet is vanished, and lost in the midst of 

night ; 
The thunder is roaring loud '; the lightning is flashing 

The streams are turbid with rain, and eddy and overflow; 
And an earthquake shakes the crags till they fall to the 

plain below. 
Where once was a valley, now we see a mountain arise, 
And where once a mountain stood, yawns a chasm before 

our eyes. 
Can no one be found to make these terrible evils cease ; 
To reform the ways of men, and give to the nations peace ? 
Huang fu and his followers vile are misruling the realm at 

And a beautiful wanton queen of the palace has taken 

Though we should assist Huang fu, yet he is unwilling 

to own 
He is wrong when he leaves us out to act for himself 


August 29th, B.C. 775, during the reign of King Yu. (See 
Dr. Legge's note on the subject.) The records of the time note 
that three rivers ran dry, and that earthquakes occurred then, in 
one of which Mount Ch'i lljj lU> a hill adjoining the Western 
Capital — several times mentioned in this classic — collapsed. 

" Huang fu and his followers vile" is the equivalent of nearly 
the whole of the 4th stanza in the Chinese. The Chinese 
version says that Huang fu, of whom we know nothing else, was 
" the President," as Dr. Legge translates his title, ^^P -^ Ching 
Shih. Liu Yiian explains it as, "Head of all the Six Boards, 
chief officer of the capital, and chief of all the officials in the 
kingdom." He was evidently a sort of Grand Vizier. Six other 
officials are also mentioned by name and title, but we need not 
here trouble ourselves with them. The student of Chinese is 
referred to Dr. Legge's notes, and Mayers' " Chinese Government" 
(Part II., Metropolitan Administration), for the proper rendering 
of their ranks and offices. It is curious to find the chief cook 


Our homes are all destroyed ; no roof, no wall will he 

And where once smiled well-tilled fields, lies a moorland 

or marshland bare. 
Yet he says, "I injure you not; you are foolish in 

blaming me. 
It is not I that am harsh ; I obey but the law's decree." 
Huang fu is a crafty man ; a city splendid and great 
He has built for himself, and has chosen to aid him to 

rule his State 
Our three most powerful chiefs ; and he leaves not one of 

the three 
To serve where his duty calls, the guard of his King to be. 
Nay, more, 'tis the wealthy folk with their horses and 

cars at hand, 
Who alone are allowed to dwell in the city which he has 

Hard, hard, have I wrought to discharge my service 

with toil and pain. 
Yet I do not extol my work, nor is it of this I complain. 
But it is that without offence,. or crime of my own, the 

Of slanderous mouths is uplifted against me in clamours 


mentioned among the high ofificials. He may, of course, have 
held a position like that of the President of the Banqueting 
Court [^ 1^ ^ ^- JE Kuang Lu Ssu Shu CMng, Mayers], 
but the thoughts of the English reader naturally revert to the 
stories of older and simpler times, when the king's cook, or the 
king's barber, was a great man. Even at King Arthur's Court, Sir 
Bedivere was the king's butler. 

The beautiful wanton queen was of course Pao Ssu of the last 

It appears that the removal of the Court from the western to 
the eastern capital was in contemplation at the time when this 
ballad was written. Huang fu was granted a concession of land 
in the neighbourhood of the latter. Being a man of foresight, he 
did all in his power to increase the value of his property ; and as 



These evils descend from the gods above, do you say ? 

Ah, no ; 
Backbiting and flattering words from men, and men only, 

I am here alone and distrest, and fain is my heart to 

As others do, to my home now hundreds of miles 

from me. 
Heaven's laws are hard to read ; my comrades are stealing 

away ; 
Yet I will not follow my friends, but here at my post 

I stay. 

No. lo. 


Great heaven bestows on us no more 
The blessings of the days of yore ; 
But famine, pestilence, and death 
Blast us with their destroying breath. 

our American friends would say, " he rigged the market and 
made a corner in real estate," a proceeding much resented by 
the author of the poem, whose sentiments, as expressed in these 
verses, strike me as by no means free from suspicion and oriental 
jealousy. Our readers may remember the story of the Shah of 
Persia's surprise that the Queen should permit the Duke of 
Sutherland to possess such splendid places as Stafford House and 
his other estates. This feeling, which we laugh at, would strike 
a Chinese as perfectly natural. 

No. lo. 
The Chinese title of this poem consists of three characters, 
meaning, " The rain not right," or, " An immoderate amount of 
rain." The Preface says, in explanation of this, that rain comes 


Dread heaven, I make to thee this prayer, 
The innocent absolve and spare. 
Their due reward the guilty reap ; 
But must the guiltless likewise weep ? 

Can we not stay the ills which 'whelm 
The King, the rulers of the realm. 
Beneath a weight of toil I groan, 
A weight which lies on me alone. 
For both at early morn, and late 
At eve, the Ministers of State 
Are absent. They avoid the King, 
Who will not turn from wrong and ill. 
Ah, no, to evils graver still 
We see him daily hastening. 

Our just rebukes he will not hear, 
'Tis sad to see a King appear 
Like some poor wanderer gone astray. 
Who knows not whither leads the way. 
But, oh, my friends and comrades dear. 
When you your duties would neglect, 
Let two thoughts stay you ; — one the fear 
Of heaven, the other self-respect. 

down from above, but that it is not right to govern by means of 
ordinance after ordinance as plentiful as the drops of rain in a 
shower. The three characters have no place in the poem, in 
which there is neither mention of rain nor allusion to it. Hence 
the only conclusion to be arrived at is that a heading, belonging 
to some poem which has periihed, was affixed to this by mistake. 
Liu Yiian remarks dispassionately that Confucius was doubtless 
aware of the error, but did not think it worth altering. 

Secondly, the date of the poem is very doubtful. Most of 
the Chinese commentators assign it to the time of King Yu, 
although the conclusion of it certainly seems to point to a time 


Grim war has done its work, yet he 
From evil courses will not flee. 
And famine, too, her task has done, 
Yet deeds of ill he will not shun. 
A humble servant I — in vain 
Is all my labour, all my pain. 
Oh, friends, if you would dare to tell 
Our King the truth, it might be well. 
But, no. Deceit or calumny 
May taint you, so away you fly. 

I wot it is a dangerous thing, 
To hold high office near the King, 
Where honest words may not be said, 
Or royal vengeance we must dread. 
While those who practise flattery, 
Whose artful words like water flow. 
Reap a reward, as well we know 
Of comfort and prosperity. 
Whene'er your counsel may be wise 
It must offend the Son of Heaven, 
Who heeds it not. Let bad be given, 
It will be pleasing in his eyes. 
And yet such bad advice offends, 
And rouses anger in your friends. 

I pray you to return, but all 
I cry to answer my request — 
" No houses in the capital 
Have we, no homes wherein to rest." 

when the Court had been recently removed to the eastern 
capital, which was in the reign of King P'ing 2[i ^ , King Yu's 


Like life-blood flowing from my eyes, 

My tears gush forth at such replies. 

Why hate me for the words I say ? 

Remember, when you went away, 

You owed it to my thoughtful care 

That house and home were found you there. 

But now you quite forget how I 

Once proved your friend, your firm ally. 

The " Son of Heaven " is of course a title of the King. 

" A humble servant I," is the equivalent of I a Hsich Yu 
^ ^P . which title Dr. Legge translates " a groom of the chambers, 
or personal attendant." I cannot iind the term in Mayers' 
" Chinese Government." 


Book V. 

No. I. 


Heaven, that was once compassionate. 

Is wrathful now. Its anger lowers 

Above this wicked world of ours. 
For oh, the King will not abate 
His purposes for ill designed. 

Why loves he crooked ways to choose. 

And better counsels to refuse .'' 
Distressed am I in heart, in mind. 

" His creatures cordially agree," 

You say. Nay, rather they defame 
Each other's good repute and name 
Behind his back ; ah, woe is me. 
The better course they all reject. 
Should you suggest some evil plan. 
They all approve it, every man. 
What good can acts like this effect .'' 

No. I. 
We are not yet free from the wearisome lamentations about the 
misgovernment of the country. The poem is assigned to the 
time of King Yu, and the author is supposed to be one of the 
officers of the Court. It should be noted that the motive of the 
piece is disgust at the King's readiness to listen to anyone, wise 
or foolish. When, in the course of time, it is proposed to intro- 
duce popular government into China, this piece will certainly be 
quoted as an argument against it. As I read it, I cannot help 
being reminded of some of the lines in " Locksley Hall : Sixty 


The omens now are mute and dead, 

Discerned once from the tortoise-shell. 

Counsellers many midst us dwell 
Yet nothing is accomplished. 
Upon the Court th^y pile a load 

Of speech, yet not a deed is done. 

A man may prate of going on, 
Nor take one step along the road. 

Oh, choose, ye rulei^s of the State, 

For patterns hien of yore, who thought 

All shallow trifles loss than nought, 
Whose principles were calm and great. 
You build a house beside the way, 

In vain to finish it you try, 

For all the travellers passing by 
Derange your plans by what they say. 

Although our people may be few. 

Our land disturbed, yet we may find 

Some men of grave, well-ordered mind ; 
And sages 'midst the foolish crew. 
But wise and foolish, one and all 

Shall be alike destroyed, undone. 

And fast as flowing waters run, 
To wrath and ruin must we fall. 

Years After." Rough as the Chinese verses, and my translation, 
of them are, there are thoughts in them akin to those expressed 
by Lord Tennyson. For instance, — 

Upon the Court they pile a load 
Of speech, but not a deed is done. 
Is not this the Chinese parallel of 

" Babble, babble ; our old England may go down in babble at 


Who ventures weaponless to meet 

A tiger, or without a boat 

Across a dangerous stream to float ? 
None dares the vain, foolhardy feat. 
E'en fools this piece of wisdom know, 

When passing near a precipice, 

Or crossing thin, fresh frozen ice, 
'Tis right with cautious steps to go. 

No 2. 


The dawn is breaking. From my watchful brain 

All sleep is banished by this aching pain. 

I see a little dove, whose cooing cry "j 

Is wafted to me from the azure sky. > 

Would I had wings like her's, away to fly ; J 

Or, rather, would that I were laid to rest, 

As are my parents, in earth's quiet breast. 

Yet listen to these warning words, nor spurn 

My lessons, which 'tis meet that you should learn. 

The simile of a man building his house by the side of a road, 
and stopping his work to listen to the advice of every passer by, 
is the Chinese equivalent of the fable of " The old man and his 
donkey." They have a proverb — " If you build a house by the 
roadside, you will be three years in finishing it." 

No. 2. 
This poem is rather obscure, and my rendering of it differs 
greatly from the accepted translations. It is supposed to be the 
advice of an elder brother, telling the younger ones how they 
should behave themselves now that their parents are no longer 
on earth to take care of them and times are troublous. Let us 
examine the poem, clause by clause. 


Be sober. Men of worth some cups may drain, 
And yet their sense and dignity remain. 
A fool will deeply drink and misbehave, 
Becoming more and more his goblet's slave. 
Preserve your self-respect, for gifts once given. 
If lost, are ne'er bestowed afresh by heaven. 

Be liberal. Leave some sheaves about the plain 
That hungry folk may come to glean the grain. 

Be neighbourly. E'en insects can do good 
And show some kindness to a neighbour's brood. 
Your sons by precept and example guide ; 
They, too, in paths of virtue will abide. 

Be cheerful. Cheerfulness will bring delight. 
We love the wagtail's note, its flickering flight. 
Waste not your time. The hours will never stay, 
Our days, months, years too swiftly pass away. 

The speaker begins by saying that a small cooing dove flies to 
heaven, and that the hour is daylight, and he cannot sleep for 
thinking of his dead parents. The commentators and Dr. Legge 
have it, that though the dove is small, it can fly to an immense 
height, an instance of what may be attained by effort. The 
couplet beginning " Yet listen " is an interpolation of my own. 

The next clause, inculcating sobriety, is plain sailing enough. 
Drunkenness is said to have been a vice common at the time of 
the poem. 

The Chinese version of the next couplet is simply, "There is 
grain on the plain and the common people gather it." I do not 
put much strain on the language when I translate 1^ " let there 
be " instead of " there is." The lines about the insects introduce 
an absurd story that the " carpenter wasp " carries away the grubs 
of insects on the mulberry trees and educates them as wasps. 

The next clause is also pretty simple, but it is followed by one 
in which it seems to me that the critics have greatly warped the 
meaning. The couplet, which I translate 

" 'Twould churlish be and hard 
To drive small finches from your stacks and yard," 
is my paraphrase of " Let the hawfinches come and go [' the 


Rise early, late retire. All languor shun, 
Thus shall your parents glory in their son. 

Be pitiful. 'T would churlish be and hard 
To drive small finches from your stacks and yard. 
Let your compassion be evoked no less 
For wretches pent in misery and distress, 
A little grain refused or given will show 
Whether a heart holds kindly thoughts or no. 

Be careful. He that climbs a pine-tree tall 
Must know that rashness may provoke a fall. 
And those who by some dread abysses go. 
Must plant their footsteps anxiously and slow. 
And when upon thin ice your way you take, 
Then tread with caution lest the film should break. 

greenbeaks come and go,' Dr. Legge], picking up grain about the 
stackyard." I take this as advice to be kind to the weak and 
helpless. The commentators, on the other hand, make the lines 
narrative, and amplify them thus, " The hawfinches, though they 
are birds so greedy of rich food that they are called grease thieves, 
are driven by the want occasioned by the misgovernment pre- 
vailing to content themselves with grain." Then what are we 
to make of the next two lines ? According to the critics' version 
they are disconnected and interjectional, and so are the two lines 
which in turn follow them. My version, on the other hand, 
carries on the sequence of ideas to the end of the clause, which 
finishes thus in the original, "A handful of grain divines whence 
it is possible to be good." I understand this to mean exactly 
what I have stated in my verse. Dr. Legge's prose tran-lation 
is, " With a handful of grain I go out and divine how I may be 
able to become good." His note on it is, "This refers to a 
custom on v-fhich we have not much information — that of spread- 
ing some finely-ground rice on the ground in connection with 
divination as an offering to the spirits^ The use of plain grain 
here may be an indication of the writer's poverty." I am aware 
that the character /'a [^, "to divine," is habitually employed in 
a literal sense, but a metaphorical use of it is surely not unknown. 

The last clause of the poem is plain enough. 

The greediness of hawfinches for fat will remind the reader of 


No. 3. 


The crows are flying to their nest 
In flocks, for all men are at rest, 
At peace, with evils undistrest. 

I only groan in misery. 
Although no crimes upon me lie. 
What shall I do ? I sadly cry. 

The level road I used to pass 

Is now o'ergrown with weed and grass. 

My heart is racked with pain, alas ! 

Until I lie with grief down borne, 
My brain with woe and sorrow torn. 
Feverish and sad, grown old and worn. 

Even each well-known homestead tree 
Is dear, then dearer far to me 
Father and mother mine must be. 

From him I spring. She gave me life. 
Ah, had it been when free from strife 
The land was, nor with evils rife. 

Luxuriantly the willows rise 

'Mid rush and reed. The cicad's cries 

Are heard. Beneath, a deep pool lies. 

Gilbert White's remark on the blue tit, which is, as he says, " a 
general devourer and vast admirer of suet." 

No. 3. 
This piece is assigned, doubtless with good reason, to Yi Ch'iu 
*|^ f3, the eldest son of King Yu. He was the rightful heir to 
the throne, but when the king became infatuated by Pao Ssu 
(see No. 8 of Book IV. of this part), the Prince and his mother, 
who came from the State of Shen, were banished to her home, 
and Yu Ch'iu was told that his birthright was taken from him to 


Like some small skiff upon the tide 
Am I, adrift, with none to guide. 
No resting place can be descried. 

The stags throughout the woodlands go ; 
They move with easy step and slow. 
I hear the amorous pheasant crow. 

Like some wrecked tree, its branches strewn 
And shattered, left to rot alone, 
I live, forsaken and unknown. 

The hare may our compassion crave. 
Her will a man protect and save. 
The unburied corpse may find a grave. 

Though men may be of kindly grain, 
The King will from no crime refrain ; 
My tears are falling down like rain. 

Slanders as quickly blind his eyes 
As round the board his wine-cup flies. 
Careless, unkind, he hearkens lies. 

The woodmen, ere they fell the tree 
Note shape and grain, unlike them he 
The guilty spares, condemning me. 

As fountains deep, as mountains high, 

So is the kingly majesty. 

Let royal words fall cautiously, 

be given to a son of Pao Ssu. He gives vent to his feelings in 
this incoherent lamentation, in which it is often very difficult to 
follow the sequence of ideas. The commentators, of course, find 
an allusion in every verse. The reader is referred to their works, 
and to Dr. Legge's notes, for them. The crows, they say, are hard 
parents, though the young ones are submissive and filially disposed. 
The trees about the homestead carry his thoughts back to his 
forefathers who planted them, and to the home which he has lost. 
The stag and the pheasant are true to their mates, not so the 
King, who divorces his rightful Queen. And so on. 

The last verse contains a quotation from "The Deserted Wife," 


Lest listeners hear from behind the wall. 
Leave me ; forsaken now by all, 
Why need I care what may befall ? 

No. 4. 


Oh, God, our Father above, Thou art distant, and vast, 

and large. 
Thou leavest the guiltless to groan oppressed by a cruel 

What fault did I e'er commit ? No crime is laid to my 

And yet I am forced to endure disaster so grim and greal. 


Disaster comes to the birth when the first untruth is 

The King will not stop his ears ; thus slanders increase 

and grow. 
Would he scorn their malicious tongues, their lies would 

not be believed ; 
Good men would then be his friends, but, alas ! he will 

not do so. 

No. 10 of Book III. of the ist Part, which considerations of metre 
have induced me to shirk. 

" Don't let her touch my fish weir, move my creels." 

No. 4. 

The Preface, for some reason or other, refers this piece back to 

the time of King Li ^ B.C. 878, though later commentators 

believe that it is the Court of King Yu that is satirised. The 

poem, especially towards the end, is rather obscure, so that my 



Nay more, with these wicked men the King has a friend- 
ship sworn ; 

For their words though false are sweet. They gain his 
leave to oppress, 

Till evil grows worse and worse, for the burdens these 
men should have borne 

Are neglected, and through the land stalk misery and 

But beware, ye knaves, and gaze on the royal ancestral 

It was raised by the King, whose sages devised and 

decreed his laws. 
I can trace your wiles ; ye are like some hare who 

struggles in vain 
To escape by her speed, but is caught in the hound's 

relentless jaws. 

The trees which the sages set are easily wrought, and soft ; 
As soft to the touch are rogues. Wild stories heard on 

the way 
Are not to be trusted as truth. Fair words may be 

uttered oft, 
When the cheek blushes not at the lie ? Such hardened 

liars are they. 

translation of the two last stanzas is little more than a shot at their 
meaning, and the obscurity of Dr. Legge's metrical version shows 
that he is in no better position than myself. He says that the 
remarks about the trees and about the travellers' tales are an 
appeal to the King. I have nothing better to suggest. 

The " men in malarious marshes " (stanza 6) is the equivalent 
of ^ fpf ;5^ ^ Chic Ho Chih Mi. The last of these characters 
is translated "deer of some kind "or a " swampy river bank." 
This line may therefore mean either " They dwell in the swamps of 
the river," or, " They are [as] river-dwelling deer," which is the 


To men in malarious marshes these weaklings we may 

Whose legs are swollen and sore, a puny and feeble crew. 
Though ye fain would fan the flame of discord, ye only 

To plan. Ye cannot achieve. They who trust you are 

scant and few. 

No. 5. 

What man is he .■' A man. 
Whose mind is full of many a crafty plan. 

He may advance to where 
My fish weir stands, but scarcely will he dare 

Within my gate to tread ; 
For he has found another love instead * 

Of me, and now of her 
He is the mate and constant follower. 

They twain together go. 
Which of the pair was it that wrought this woe ? 

translation I prefer, as I think that this passage is the sole authority 
for translating this word " swamp." The radical of it is ^ lu, " a 
deer." To give a man the nickname of " swamp deer " is not so 
very far from calling him a bog-trotter. 

No. 5. 
I have treated this poem throughout as the complaint of a 
jealous woman, whose lover has deserted her for another. The 
usual interpretation of it, however, is that the speaker is the Duke 
oiSu H^ ^ , who had been slandered by the Duke oi Pao ^ ^. 
Pao's name is mentioned in the poem, but the person who said 
to be in fault is not Pao himself but a follower of Pao. I have 
therefore determined to be guided more by the language of the 
whole poem than by one sentence in it, though it would not be 


When grief oppressed my soul, 
He might have come to comfort and condole, 

As once he would have done ; 
Not wishing then to avoid me, or to shun. 

My house he came so near — 
Inside my gate — that I his voice could hear. 

I heard, but woe is me. 
His well-beloved form I could not see. 

He ventures to defy 
Man's scornful gaze and heaven's indignant eye. 

An evil breeze comes forth, 
First from the southward blowing, then the north. 

So you, when you designed 
To approach me that you might perturb my mind. 

Were like this wind. None knew 
If it from southward or from northward blew. 

Slowly you tramp the way. 
Yet find no leisure moment here to stay. 

Swiftly your horses flee, 
Yet time you find to grease your axle-tree. 

Oh, come to me once only. 
Leave me not sick with longing, pining lonely. 

Come to me, let my heart 
Be spared the sorrow and this cruel smart. 

difficult to show the other meaning by making the following sub- 
stitution for lines 5, 6 and 7. 

For he has found another friend instead 

Of his own friend, when he 
But cares Pao's mate and follower to be. 

Liu Yiian translates the word Pao in its usual adjectival sense 
of cruel, and makes the whole poem a satire on the fickleness and 
cruelty then prevailing. The Chinese language would certainly 
satisfy that classical critic, who remarked, " There is no passage 
out of which you cannot make two totally different meanings." 

" In harmony as accord the flute and fife " is a paraphrase for 
" The elder of us blew the earthenware piccolo, the younger the 
bamboo fife," The piccolo (see Morison's Dictionary character 



To be from you debarred 
Is hard for me to bear, aye, bitter hard. 

For if you came to me 
Once only, you would soothe and set me free. 

Once we would pass our life 
In harmony, as accord the flute and fife. 

United, as we two 
Were beads upon one necklace, I and you. 

Should you demand an oath ; 
Victims are here, by them I'll plight my troth. 

You are not, as I deem, 
A sprite or insect hid beneath a stream. 

You are a man, whose face 
And eyes I read, and by their means I trace 

Your wiles ; and how I know 
Your shifts and tricks this song of mine shall show. 

No. 6. 


We only have need of a few simple lines 
To form gold embroidery's most dainty designs. 
And a few scattered stars sprinkled over the sky 
Form a grand constellation, which glitters on high. 

JJsiian iS), or occarina, was apparently " the first fiddle " in the 
orchestra, from which the flute took time and tune. The whole 
phrase then denotes not only harmony but a willingness to accept 
the lead given. 

An "insect hid beneath a stream" is the Yii $^, an insect accord- 
ing to Dr. Legge, a tortoise according to Zottoli, which Chinese 
superstition alleges is able to destroy a man by casting sand on 
his shadow. 

No. 6. 

The title of this piece is ^ fg Hsiangpo, Superintendent of 


From a few harmless actions these slanderers will plan 
A scheme deep and crafty to ruin a man. 
And the babble and gossip of fools will unite 
To aid their diffusion of malice and spite. 

But, be careful, though clever and subtle ye be. 
Distrust and aversion in time ye shall see, 
When the evil ye practice to catch in your toils 
Your victims, again on your own head recoils. 

The proud and the haughty are prosperous and thriving ; 
While vainly the poor with their troubles are striving. 
Oh, Heaven, let thy wrath on the haughty descend ! 
To the poor and the troubled thy pity extend. 

These slanderers to tigers and wolves I would cast. 
If these would not slay them, the chill, deadly blast 
Of the north should destroy. They escape from this too ! 
Then let Heaven itself wreak the vengeance that's due. 

the (Royal) Passages — shall we say Groom of the Chambers ? — an 
ofBce in the palace held by a eunuch. In the last stanza the 
speaker calls himself the Eunuch Ming Tzii, or Senior Eunuch, a 
phrase which I have softened to " a poor creature." The com- 
mentators have it that he had probably been mutilated as a 
punishment for some faults which he had never committed, but 
which had been laid to his charge by the slanderers whom he 
abuses in this piece. I think the explanation most improbable. 
Though castration was one of the five ancient punishments (see 
Mayers' "Chinese Manual," Part II., art. 128), it is not likely that 
the criminal who suffered it would be appointed to a place of 
trust in the palace. 

My first stanza translated from the first two lines of the two 
verses of the original expresses what I think to be the meaning 
of them, that a little putting of this and that together leads to 

u 2 


If the osier bed's ravaged, 'tis naught you may cry ; 
But think of the rich fertile corn slopes thereby. 
I am but a poor creature, but nobles beware 
Lest you in your turn be a prey to despair. 

No. 7. 


There blows a cool, refreshing wind, 

The sky with rain is overcast ; 
Yet danger may be close behind. 

The fierce typhoon may follow fast ; 
For on the crags the grasses die. 
And all our trees are parched and dry. 

great and unexpected results. The constellation in question is 
the Nan Ch'i ^ 3^ or Southern Sieve, a part of Sagittarius. 

The phrase which I have paraphrased as " The chill deadly 
blast of the north should destroy/' is literally, " I would cast them 
into the north." This sentence may mean what I have made it, 
but Liu Yiian explains that the north is the quarter of utter dark- 
ness, where only evil spirits dwell, so that " to cast a person into 
the north " means, " to throw him into hell." This interpretation 
certainly strengthens the verse, and introduces a powerful and 
striking climax: "I would throw those slanderers to the wild 
beasts ; if the wild beasts spared them I would cast them into hell ; 
and if hell refused to receive them, I would leave them to the 
vengeance of heaven, as the most terrible fate of all." 

The meaning of the last verse may be the one which I have 
given, or it may only be : "I am in a humble position, such as is 
typified by the osier-bed, while your position, nobles, may be 
compared to the corn slopes (' acred heights ' is Dr. Legge's too 
literal translation), still it may be worth your while to listen to 

No. 7. 

This little poem is more like the pieces in the first part than 


You clasped me to your loving breast 

In time of terror, fear, and dread. 
Now in the days of peace and rest, 

You scorn and throw me off instead. 
You brood o'er my small failings, yet 
My boundless kindness you forget. 

No. 8. 


Amidst the woods a plant is found ; 

Its shoots are succulent and sweet. 
But when it hardens in the ground, 

'Tis tough and coarse, unfit to eat. 
I, too, was harmless once and mild, 

Affectionate, with guilt unstained ; 
But when I ceased to be a child, 

My parents' kindness I disdained. 

the bulk of those in the second. It is simply the complaint of 
some one that his friend, or it may be her lover, has proved untrue; 
but there is nothing in the verses to show who are the parties 
meant, or what was the date when the poem was composed. 

The references to the wind and weather are a little obscure, 
not to say contradictory, and my translation is very possibly inac- 
curate. I understand them to mean that the gentle wind and rain 
typified a time of prosperity, when those who had been friends in 
adversity were forgotten ; but the person addressed is reminded that 
bad weather may return, and trouble may again be close at hand. 

No. 8. 
My translation of this is very free. The plant mentioned in the 
first stanza is the Nge ^, a species of edible artemisia. Liu 
Yijan declares that the same plant, when it grows up and has 



Why did I carelessly repay 

My father's toil, my mother's pain ? 
She bore me. Now they 're ta'en away, 

And I shall see them ne'er again. 
Shame on the cup that does not keep 

The jar with store of wine supplied. 
As orphan I must live and weep ; 

'Twere better far that I had died. 

My father gone ! There is no other 

To be so kind, so true a friend. 
Nor this alone, I lose my mother ; 

On whom like her can I depend ? 
I leave the house abroad to roam ; 

My sorrow still beclouds my mind. 
When wearied out I seek my home, 

I cannot leave my grief behind. 

Oh, father, you begat your son ; 

Mother, you bore him on your breast. 
Ye petted, fed the unthankful one ; 

Ye cared for him, ye took no rest. 
Within your arms I lay — a load — 

How can I hope to e'er requite 
The kindness you on me bestowed .' 

Like Heaven above, 'twas infinite. 

become hard and indigestible, is known as the Hao ^, The 
Chinese verse runs, " Long and large is the Nge. It is not the 
Nge, but the Hao." From which I deduce the meaning which I have 
expressed in my translation. The second Chinese stanza is like 
the first, except that we have the Wei j^ for the Hao. The Wei 
is yet another form of the artemisia, still more uneatable. 

No one understands what is meant by the allusion to the wine- 
jar and the pitcher or cup. The one stands for the parent, the 


Some respite from my pains I seek. 

I climb the rocky southern hill. 
The mountain side is bare and bleak, 

The blustering gales are fierce and chill. 
Would I were as my fellows, gay 

And free and happy, every one ; 
But I am to remorse a prey, 

Because my duties were not done. 

No. 9. 


I weep when I think of the time gone by 
When plenty reigned and prosperity. 
Each day, when the shadows of evening fell, 
The humblest tables were furnished well ; 
Where loaded dishes of millet stood. 
Flanked by the ladles of carved thorn wood. 
The straight road to Chou was trod hard as stone 
By the feet of the nobles that passed thereon. 
The folk stood watching to see them go. 
This is over and done, so my salt tears flow. 

other for the son, but which stands for which is quite an open 

The commentators say that the grief of the subject of this poem 
was occasioned by the fact that owing to the misgovernment of 
the kingdom, he was unable to perform the last offices of affection, 
and bury his parents with the proper rites. His morbid self- 
reproaches are perfectly characteristic of Chinese thought. 

No. 9. 
My translation is again a tolerably free one. 
"The road to Chou" is, of course, the road to the Royal 


The looms of the East are empty and bare ; 
There are no rich fabrics which once shone there. 
And thin grass slippers in winter time 
Expose our feet to the frost and rime. 
And few and scarce are the nobles taking 
The road to Chou, as they did of yore. 
With regret and sorrow my heart is aching, 
As I think of a day that is now no more. 

As a woodman labours with toil and sweat 
To collect some faggots to warm his hut, 
And finds the load which he painfully cut 
A spring out-bursting has soaked with wet. 
So we find our labours of no avail, 
And the fruits of all our exertion fail. 
Had we only secured them in time, then we 
Might have rested from trouble and hardship free. 

Oh, sons of the East, your lot is hard, 
To slave expectant of no reward. 
And see your rivals, who come from the West, 
In splendid and shining garments drest. 
For even their boatmen's sons may wear 
Fur mantles won from the savage bear. 

Their grass slippers are of course slippers made of dolichos 
fibre. (See Part I., Book IX., No. i.) 

I have ventured to translate ■^^ ■^^ T iao Tiao as "few and 
scarce," rather because they are the words wanted here than that 
the characters have this meaning. Their literal translation is 
"young or weak." Dr. Legge's prose interpretation is " slight and 
elegant;" his metrical, "cultured, but too thin and spare." I 
cannot accept this. If T'iao Tiao will not fit, we must substitute 
some other words that will. 


And the vilest churl and the basest hind 
As ruler or noble of state we find. 
So haughty are they that our gifts of wine 
They scorn as a muddy plebeian stuff ; 
And our girdle pendants with jewels fine, 
They say are not handsome nor long enough. 

To the stars in the heaven in vain I prayed. 
The Milky Way glitters, but grants no aid. 
The " Weaving Sisters " may cross the sky, 
But to us below comes no good thereby. 
Above our heads " the Draught Oxen " shine. 
But they move no waggon of mine or thine. 
Lucifer burns in the east ere dawn 
Arises, and soon as the sun is set 
Bright Hesperus glows in the west, and yet 
From them and the " Curving Rabbit Net," 
No profit for wretched man is drawn. 
In the south is " the Sieve," but it will not sift 
Our golden grain ; and no kindly gift 

Of wine will " the Ladle " pour. 
" The Sieve " lies twinkling there in the south. 
And seems to be idly opening its mouth. 
And to northward " the Ladle's " sole behest 
Is to raise its handle towards the west. 

Why trouble them any more ? 

My translation of stanza 3 differs materially from Dr. Legge's. 
He translates it : " Ye waters, do not soak the firewood I have 
cut. . . . The firewood has been cut ; would that it had been 
conveyed home." His note is, " After the toil of preparing the 
firewood, it would be a relief to have it conveyed home for them ; 
so the people would be glad to have some rest from their toils." 

The appeal to the stars for aid is unusual and interesting, as 
well as suggestive of the connection between China and Chaldea. 
I am not aware if that star-worship has now any recognized 
existence in China, but I speak with caution and under correction. 


No. 10. 


The genial heat of summer's prime, 

As weeks roll ox\, must fade away. 
Then comes the chilly autumn time, 

When herbage dies and flowers decay. 
Next, winter brings its ice and snow. 
And fierce the cruel storm gusts blow. 

The Imperial Board of Astronomy (|ji; ^C M ChHn Tien Chien), 
an institution which certainly mixes astrology with astronomy, still 
exists at Peking. I must refer the reader to Dr. Legge's notes, 
where he will find the various constellations fully identified. " The 
Ladle " is fancifully supposed to have its handle towards the west 
and the bowl towards the east, so that the west can take hold of 
the handle, and ladle out all the contents of the east. 

The poem is assigned to the time of King Yu. A noble of 
the State of T'an ^ (a small state absorbed by Ch'i ^), is said 
to be its author. I cannot help believing that it must have been 
composed shortly before the time of the removal of the Royal 
Capital into the East, and was designed to induce the King to 
take the claims of the Eastern States into consideration. The 
grievances complained of seem to me rather imaginary. 

No. 10. 

This is another of these pieces which the Chinese critics call 
allusive. They are always obscure, and usually, as in this 
instance, have to be recast before sense can be made of them. 
The commentators of course make the mention of the trees on 
the mountain a reference to the fact that they were thriving in 
their proper places, while men, who degenerate into thieves, held 



My ancestors would ne'er have borne 

To think such evil would betide. 
A land misruled, with mischief torn, 

No place for honest men to hide. 
Though I alone of all our folk 
Can feel and groan beneath the yoke. 

I see the ills I cannot cure^ 

When men to thieves degenerate. 
Each day misfortune I endure. 

May mine be called an envied fate. 
To be worn out with toil and pain. 
Vet no reward, no thanks to gain ? 


Upon the hills are forests growing, 
Where chestnut-trees and plum-trees stand. 

Adown their slopes the springs are flowing. 
To quench our thirst or feed the land. 

Where mighty Chiang and Han define 

Our country's southern frontier line. 

high office, and were therefore in the wrong place. The Yangtze's 
and the Han's services to the country are acknowledged, while 
the writer is neglected, and so on. I prefer to take all such 
allusions as descriptive of the scene only. The Chiang (the river) 
is a synonym for the Yangtze. 

The " hawk to soar aloft " is the equivalent of Tun ||j an 
eagle (N.B. This character is more usually read Shun, when it 
means a quail), and Yilan -^ a kite. The fishes mentioned as 
the Chan M, porpoise, and the fVeiB,^, snouted porpoise. 

The ferns are the Chiieh ^, and the Wei #, mentioned in 
No. 3 of Book II. of the ist Part, 9, v. Fruit is the equivalent 


No hawk to soar aloft am I, 

No fish to hide beneath the foam. 
Where ferns or fruit my food supply, 

There will I live and make my home, 
Singing to show that such a fate 
Is happier than to serve the State. 

of the Chi ^E, medlar, and the Yi ®, which Zottoli guesses to be 
the elm (Does any species of elm bear edible fruit ?), and Dr. 
Legge leaves doubtful. 


Book VI. 

No. I. 


From the hills where medlars grow, gazing on the plain 

I said, " Though I am vigorous and brave. 
Yet at home my parents grieve, for from early morn to eve 

With duties overladen I must slave." 

All beneath the azure sky to where ocean's borders lie 

Are the king's, and his obedient vassals we. 
But 'tis cruel and unfair that one man should have to bear 

All the labour which is wholly thrown on me. 

They say that there are few who are young and hardy, too ; 

So as long as youth with hardihood remains, 
I must do the king's behest, and my horses never rest, 

As I traverse all the kingdom where he reigns. 

No. I. 

This piece, as usual, is referred to the time of King Yu, though 
there are commentators who assign it to the time of King Yi 
% 3E, B.C. 934. 

I can find nothing in it but the complaint of the man, who 
either has all the work and none of the honour and glory, or 
who imagines that this is his fate. Men of both these categories 
are found in the employ of every Government^ nor is their existence 
extraordinary. Some of the Chinese commentators use this poem 
as a text, and enter into dissertations on the relative obligations of 
,>g, Chung, loyalty, and ^ Hsiao, filial piety. The subject of this 
poem is so loyal to the king, that he must neglect his own parents. 
Mencius well observes in reference to this, " How can parents be 


Some lay their lazy heads on the pillows of their beds, 

And loll undisturbed by any sound ; 
Whilst others have to go huny scurry to and fro, 

For to serve the king and country they are bound. 

By the wine cups sitting these enjoy their rest and ease, 

As they pass remarks and coldly criticise 
Those who pass unhappy days, fearing blame instead of 
Shall be their only recompense and prize. 

No. 2. 


Onwards a cart you thrust, 

Nought of the way you know. 
Eyes sore, mouth choked, you must 
Go where the cart may go, 
Blinded by dust. 

more highly honoured than nourishing them with the whole 
empire?" (Book V., Part II., Chap. 4). Or, in other words, 
" Loyal service to the country is the highest form of filial affection." 
It is strange that with this before them every ofificial, who loses a 
parent, must retire from office for three years. At the same time 
the Chinese seem tacitly to admit that this rule is not a hard and 
fast one, for if a man's services are really required by the throne, 
his mourning may by Imperial decree be cut down to 100 days, 
and even the nominal three years are really only twenty-seven 

No. 2. 
This may possibly be an answer to the speaker in the 
last poem. He complains of overwork, and a friend replies, 
"Take it easy; do not overstrain your strength, and do your 



If all your thoughts you bind 

Slaves to anxieties, 
You may distress your mind 
Fall ill, and yet your eyes 
Still remain blind. 

No. 3. 


Oh, heaven above, whose glorious light on high, 
Illumines and directs the world below ! 
Our homes we left, my followers and I, 
Forth to this dreary wilderness to go. 
The second month it was, when blossoms blow; 
And since that day both heat and cold have past;, 
Yet here our cruel lot continues cast. 

work in a sensible manner." This is, however, only my own 
theory. Dr. Legge follows Chu Hsi, and heads it, " Some 
ofRcerj overloaded in the king's service, thinks it better to dismiss 
his troubles from his mind." The explanation in the Preface is 
very curious : " A great officer expresses his regret at having 
advanced mean men to employment." 

No. 3. 
Here is another officer sent away on service, and grumbling 
over his hard work and absence from home. Liu Yiian's expla- 
nation of the piece is as follows : — King Li, ^ ^ , bc. 878-827, 
was, as we have seen all along, a cruel oppressor. Two of 
his ministers, Duke Chou JD and Chao ]g (descendants of the 
two dukes of the same name, who lived in the days when the 
Chou dynasty was first established), in order to relieve the people 
from his oppression, induced him to make an expedition into the 
country of Chiu ^l, or Chih ^, the modern Fen Hsi \^ "gj, in 



The sun and moon had then renewed the year ; 

But now the months their course have almost run. 

Yet must I stay within this desert drear, 

Until the duties laid on me are done ; 

Many they are to be performed by one. 

My heart is sad ; from toil I am not free, 

No respite, no repose is granted me. 

Some work at home, in comfort and in peace, 
Lonely I pine. My tears flow 'down like rain. 
When is my weary banishment to cease t 
To join my comrade^ there my heart is fain. 
But fears of royal wrath the wish restrain ; 
For wanton negligence is like a net, 
Which for unwary feet the powers have set. 

When we went forth the days were growing hot ; 
Now winter 's nigh, for harvest tide is o'er. 
Dreaming of home, I mourn my wretched lot. 
Each day my labours fret me more and more. 
E'en sleep has no relief for me in store. 
All night I wake, and wander to and fro. 
Longing to leave, and yet afraid to go. 

Shansi. The king remained there fourteen years. According 
to this explanation^ the subject of the poem would be one of the 
officers who accompanied him. The Preface assigns no time to 
the piece. It only says that a great officer expresses his regret that 
he had taken office in a time of disorder. My version again fails 
to follow the structure of the original. 

Stanza 4. — " Harvest tide is o'er" is the equivalent of "We 
gather the southernwood (for fuel?) and reap the beans." 

It should be noted that the. two last stanzas of the Chinese 
version, which I have included in one stanza, are of a different 



Dear friends, do not assume that quiet will 
Endure for ever. Duties laid on you 
With care and cautious loyalty fulfil. 
Let your associates be the good and true. 
Love them and treat them with the honour due. 
So shall the spirits hear your prayers, and bless 
Your lives with measures of bright happiness. 

No. 4. 


Oh, the days when my friend was dwelling 

Where the waves of this stream sweep by. 
How can my sorrowful heart forget him ? — 

Him with whose virtues none could vie. 

metre to the others in the same poem, while their meaning seems 
to have no connection whatever with the rest of the piece. There 
is either a hiatus before them, or else they have been altogether 
interpolated without authority. 

No. 4. 
Given a river with islands on it, the sound of music, a man in 
melancholy mood who cannot forget a Chun tzu ^ ^, which, as 
we have seen, may be translated anything from a sovereign to a 
respectable man, — what meaning are we to evolve from the 
congeries ? I make it the version of " Oh, the days of the Kerry 
dancing; oh, the ring of the piper's tune," &c. Most of the 
Chinese commentators say that the subject of the poem, hearing 
music in the time of King Yu, is reminded of better days and 
better music in the good old days when the King's ancestors 
reigned. Chun tzu in this case would mean " Kings," and " of 
old " must be added to bring out the meaning. I translate Chun 
tzii as " my admirable friend." 




Mute are the islets among the waters, 

Where his drums and his bells rang clear ; 

While pipes, triangles, and flutes were sounding, 
And sweet old ballads to glad the ear. 

No. 5. 




The ground was covered with bush and weed, 
Which our ancestors carefully cleared away, 

To sow in their places the millet seed 
For a plenteous harvest some future day. 

Dr. Legge, on this occasion only, has his own theory, which is 
that this piece is " supposed to refer to, and deplore, some ex- 
pedition of King Yu to the country of the Huai, where he 
abandoned himself to the delights of music." He admits that 
there is no account anywhere of such an expedition having taken 
place, but he does not allow so trifling a consideration as that to 
stand in his way. He compares this imaginary expedition to 
Caligula's incursion into Britain. 

The Huai '{^, which still retains its name, is in Northern 

I have ventured to give " pipes " and " triangles " as the 
equivalents of Sheng ^, organs, and Cliing ^, musical stones. 
Yo ^ means a flute. The use of this instrument is supposed to 
connote dancing, but I have taken no notice of this. " Sweet 
old ballads,'' is my rendering of " the Ya and Nan." These two 
words mean probably the names of certain tunes or ballads. I 
canno't think that in this conjuncture they can mean the ballads 
of the two first books of Part I. of this Classic and these " Songs 
of the Festivals." 

No. S- 
Thank goodnessj we have now a little respite from the weari- 


In luxuriant masses the millet grew, 
And the sacred grain as abundant too, 
Till our barns were full of the precious food, 
And in countless myriads corn-stacks stood. 
We prepared the viands and brewed the wine 

As a sacrificial offering meet 
For the shades of the dead ; and a son of their line 

We chose as their proxy. We prayed him eat 
Of the dainties before him, and drink of our best. 
That with glorious fortune we might be blest. 

Each man wears a solemn and reverent mien. 
The beasts to be killed must be pure and clean, 

When the annual rites we would celebrate. 
The victims are duly slain and flayed, 
And their meat on dishes is' ranged and laid, 

And the priest takes his stand by the temple gate. 
The offerings set form so bright a show 
As to tempt the Shades to our world below. 

In their awful majesty they descend 
To enjoy the dainties upon the board; 
And their duteous scion shall reap reward 

In bliss, and in life that knows no end. 

some complaints of misgovernment. This poem is, to my mind, 
one of the most interesting, suggestive, and graphic pieces in the 
whole Classic. Whether it was written at the time of the rise of 
the dynasty, or in the time of King Yu, as most of the com- 
mentators assert, is a matter of small importance. The Pre- 
face says that it is an expression of regret for the good old 
times of Wen and Wei, and is therefore intended as a hit at King 
Yu, but there is nothing to show this. Dr. Legge has an excel- 
lent suggestion that it was written by one of the guests in com- 
pliment to the sacrificer, who was probably the King. 

A question may be raised whether the sacrifice described in 
this piece is offered by the King himself, or only by one of the 
great nobles. Chu Hsi says, " That if the sacrifice had been a 
royal. one, this poem would have been placed among 'The 

X 2 


The furnace is tended with reverent care. 
For the roast and the boiled the men prepare 
The trays, which have to be broad and large. 
Of the smaller dishes our wives take charge. 
And these with portions they quietly fill. — 
At such functions all must be calm and still. 
The guests, who have come our feast to share, 

Pass round the wine cups from hand to hand. 
Not a misplaced smile, not a word is there, 

And each rite is done as the rules demand. 
The spirits come on their soft-winged flight, 
That our days may be many, all glad and bright, 
For our worship of them they will thus requite. 

When all the rites have been throughly done. 
And the worshippers weary, every one. 
The priest to the King proclaims, " Full well 
Was your duty done, and a fragrant smell 
Your offerings bore to the shades divine. 
Who have deigned to partake of your food and wine. 

Greater Songs,' and not among. ' The Lesser Songs ; ' " but it 
appears to me that the dignity and solemnity attending the 
sacrifice and the blessings promised are compatible with a royal 
ceremonial only. Such rites were surely the precursors of the 
sacrifices offered at the present day by the Emperor alone, at the 
Temple of Heaven and the Temple of Agriculture, at Peking. 
The idea that the spirits of the deceased could be tempted to 
descend from the regions of the blest, and occupy temporarily 
the body of a living being did not last beyond the Chou dynasty. 
(See Dr. Legge's Prolegomena to the " Shih Ching," p. 163). Dr. 
Legge does not agree with Mons. E. Biot that the personator of 
the deceased ancestors was a child. Liu Yiian states that he was 
a boy of fifteen. The Li Chi, or " Book of Rites," must be con- 
sulted on this point. I cannot find out who the priest was. He 
had to stand at the temple gate as though he were waiting to 
receive the spirits who were entering at the door. 


And this the reward that they grant to you. 

Each wish of your heart you shall surely gain. 
And your efforts to treat them with honour due 

Shall myriads of choicest gifts obtain." 

Then the bells are rung and the drums are beat 
As the King retires and takes his seat. 
Says the priest, " The spirits to heart's desire 
Have drunk, let their proxy now retire." 
The music plays as he passes by ; 
The spirits return to their home on high. 
Then the ladies and servants without delay 
Remove from the temple each dish and tray. 
For the King's relations must now repair 
To his private room in his feast to share. 

I think that my third stanza gives the meaning of the Chinese 
version tolerably accurately, but those who wish for further 
details are referred to Pfere Zottoli's exhaustive notes on this 
poem. The sacrifice, it must be observed, was offered in the 
ancestral temple ; and when the ceremony was at an end, a feast 
called " the second blessing " or " after-happiness " (^ jf^ Hou 
Lu) was given in the inner apartments of the palace. 

The chief point of interest in this poem is its lucid exposition 
of the Chinese ideas of intercourse to be held with the souls of 
the blest after death. These opinions have still as much weight 
as ever, and the whole religious system of China is based on 
them. Buddhism^ may be laughed at and Taoism derided, and 
even Confucius himself may be criticised, but woe to the man 
who does anything to injure or insult the spirits of the dead. 
The officer in James Payn's novel, " By Proxy," who was con- 
demned to the ling chih, or death by a slow and painful execution, 
for stealing a ruby from the forehead of an image of Buddha 
(there are not many such richly-endowed images in China, I fear), 
would in reality have found himself in greater peril if he 
had broken up an old coffin than he would have been in after 
stealing something from a josshouse. In 1873 a whole family of 
four generations were put to death because a member of it broke 



And with them the music goes to lend 
At " the second blessing " its soothing^aid. 
Upon the tables the feast is laid, 

And all are happy, host, guest and friend. 
TJiey drink to the full, to the full they eat. 
Then great and small, they bow and repeat: 
" Your food and wine may the spirits prize. 
To you long life may they grant, we pray, 
For we know that on each appointed day 
You fail not to offer a sacrifice. 
May your sons and grandsons ne'er forget 
The pious. example which you have set." 

open an Imperial coffin. (See article " Chinese Characteristics," 
in the " North China Herald," of May isth, 1890). Nor is it the 
shades of deceased monarchs alone who can influence the fate 
of their successors. The life of every man on earth is affected 
by the souls of his ancestors, and, what is still stranger, the com- 
fort and even the existence of these spirits depend on human 
agency. I was lately present at an inquest on two brothers 
who were found one morning lying with their throats cut. The 
relations of the deceased, after answering the magistrate's ques-' 
tions, earnestly besought his worship to carry proceedings no 
further, to which he consented with some hesitation. I asked. a 
bystander the reason for their anxiety, and was told that when a 
magistrate impresses his official stamp on a coffin, the occupant 
of it can have no part in the resurrection. The scholar, who 
really wishes to understand Chinese notions of the other world, 
and its intimate connection with this one, is referred to the Liao 
Chat Chih Yi, so ably translated by Mr. H. A. Giles, under the 
title of " Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio." 

At the time when this note is written there are accounts in 
the Japanese and Chinese newspapers of the Ceremonies and 
Festivities of His Majesty the Mikado of Japan, on the occasion 
of his granting a constitution to his Empire. His Majesty does 
not hesitate to attribute the prosperity of his country to the pro- 
tecting kindness of the spirits of his deceased ancestors, an 
avowal which has exposed him to a good deal of criticism. But 


No. 6. 

Great Yii laid out the swamp and marshy plain 
Around the Southern Hills. By trench and drain 
He made it fertile. I, too, of his line 
A late descendant, into fields define 
The lands, and make the smaller plots thereby. 
Some to the eastward, some to southward lie. 

The sky one arch of cloud o'er head is bending ; 
The snow from thence in countless flakes descending. 
To this, succeed the drizzling showers of spring, 
To give the soil the proper moistening, 
That having thus received the kindly rain, 
It may produce abundant stores of grain. 

With hedge and fence we guard each plot and field, 
And plenteous crops of grains the millets yield, 
So that our harvest everywhere is good. 
Next of the grain we make both wine and food. 
To feast the spirits and each loving guest. 
So shall we be through countless ages blest. 

if this is the belief of His Majesty of Japan, much more must it 
be that of the Emperor of China. 

No. 6. 
We have now before us three songs or pieces most appropriate 
to harvest thanksgivings, and not without interest as showing the 
simple manner of life in early days. It seerts that during the 
Chou dynasty a village community consisted of eight families, 
who lived on a portion of land shaped like a tit-tat-to board, 
a square made of nine smaller squares. This plot of land was 
called a Ching ^^ or well. The name may have been given to it 
because the existence of a well determined the position of a 


The peasants' huts lie 'mid these fields of mine. 
Along the hedge-rows gourds and melons twine. 
The fruit preserved is cut in many a slice 
To be presented at our sacrifice. 
So to ourselves shall length of life be given, 
■And numerous blessings be bestowed by heaven, 

We pour pure wine upon the appointed day, 
And, then, as victim, we a red bull slay. 
These to departed Shades an offering make. 
So let the priest the tinkling whittle take, 
Tp part the hair upon the creature's hide. 
And cut away the caul and fat inside. 

Oblations thus we piously present, 
Which all around diffuse a fragrant scent. 
Complete success will now our service crown. 
The spirits come majestically down, 
And their descendant they reward and bless. 
With many years of bliss and happiness. 

village, but one cannot help being struck with the resemblance 
of the character to the aforesaid tit-tat-to board. Each of the 
eight families had one of the small squares to cultivate as its 
. own, but the central square was the site of the village, and was 
common property. The crops grown there were apparently the 
property of the Government. Twenty mou were assigned to 
the sites of the dwelling-houses, and the remainder was cul- 
tivated for the benefit of the State. Mencius (Book V. Part II. 
Chap. II. 9 V.) remarks that each husbandman received loo 
mou, which would support from five to nine individuals. The 
ancient mou is said to have been loo square paces, so that loo 
mou would be very nearly the exact equivalent of two EngUsh acres. 
It is scarcely necessary to point out to the reader that " Great 
Yii " is the mythical Emperor, who is said to have drained away 
the great flood, not " by drinking all the water," but by opening 
the gorges through which the Yang Tze now runs. The date of 


No. 7. 


Oh, bright are my spreading fields of corn ; 

How they gleam with the ripened grain. 
Let us pay our tithe to the royal store, 

For see, in our barns remain 
Spoils of past harvest to feed my men ; 

For plenty many a year 
Has blessed us ; now on my southern slopes 

Like benisons will appear. 


I go to the fields where my hinds toil hard; 

The weeds from the soil some pick, 
Some pile the earth round the millet roots 

That the stalks may be dense and thick. 
And when the work of the day is o'er, 

And the labourers go to rest, 
I call them forward to cheer and praise 

The men who have done the best. 

this work is said to have been e.g. 2286 to 2278, whence some 
students, mostly missionaries, will have it that Yii is only another 
name for Noah. (See Mayers' " Chinese Manual," articles 931 
and 872). 

The speaker in the poem is presumably the head of a com- 
munity, perhaps a noble. Pfere Zottoli calls him a " toparcha." 
I do not agree with Dr. Legge that " a late descendant of Yii's 
line" would make the person spoken of the King. 

The " tinkling whittle " (Stanza 5) is my translation of *^ 7J 
Luan Tiio, a sacrificial knife, to the handle of which, for some 
reason or other, small bells were attached. 

No. 7, 
This piece is akin to the last, and is, I think, supposed to be 
spoken by a person of the same standing as the speaker in the 
last poem. 


With victims pure, and with bowls of grain, 

To the gods both of earth and heaven 
We kneel. My husbandmen all rejoice 

That right well has our tillage thriven. 
With the notes of lutes and the beat of drums, 

To the field-god we pray to lend 
Sweet rain, that a blessing may on the land. 

On my men and their wives descend. 

I go to the southern slopes when the wives 

And children are bearing food 
To the men. The surveyor is glad to find 

That the harvest throughout is good. 
To right and to left he tests the grain ; 

It is excellent everywhere. 
So I rejoice, and my men are rnoved 

To toil with redoubled care. 

We learn from this poem, firstly, that the State claimed a tithe 
of the produce as tax, and, secondly, that a surveyor was sent to 
see that the State was not cheated. This is the only place where 
a tax of a tenth is mentioned. Chu Hsi says that a tenth here 
means a ninth, i.e., the produce of the centre square (see the 
notes on the last poem), which went to the Government. 

My translation differs from that of Dr. Legge's in one or two 
important particulars. He translates f ji; -J^ f ji; jL ^ ^ It 
j; Yu Chieh Yu Chih CMng Wo Mao Shih " and in a spacious 
resting place I collect and encourage the men of greater promise." 
On this he has the following excursus: "The general rule was 
that the sons of husbandmen should continue husbandmen, but 
their superior might select those among them in whom he saw 
prom'ising abilities and facilitate their advancement to the higher 
grade of officers. We are not to suppose that he did so in the 
case mentioned in the text, but his easy condescension and 
familiar intercourse with them would keep ambition alive in the 
aspiring youth among them." My own reading is, "When there 
is a Hmit or a stop (/. e,, when we have got to the end of a field, 


As a thatch on a roof, as a tilt on a cart, 

So my harvest covers the lea ; 
And my stacks of corn from the corn-field rise. 

As islands rise from the sea. 
Oh, where shall I find the barns and carts 

For the millet, the rice, and maize. 
My hinds rejoice and invoke for me 

Great blessings and endless days. 

No. 8. 


Our fields are large ; and labours 

Of a varied kind we need. 
Some set the tools in order ; 

Some choose the proper seed. 
Then we take the sharpened ploughshares. 

And we plough the southern plain, 
Which, to glad our lord and master, 

Yields a large and healthy grain. 

or of the day's work) I encourage those who are superior." I do 
not find any other meaning in this than that the master would 
naturally say a good word or two to those who had worked well. 

Dr, Legge also makes the surveyor taste the food of the 
peasants to see whether it is good or not. I see no object in 
this. I understand that he tasted the grain by eating a little of it 
to see how the royal tithes were likely to turn out. 

The Field-god ( jfil Tien Tsu, Father of fields) is Shen 
Nung jpt^ ^, a mythical Emperor, and the inventor of agriculture, 
B.C. 2737. (Mayers' " Manual," art. 609). 

No. 8. 
This song is the last of the series of harvest songs. 
"Tares and darnels" are %% Lang, wolf-tail grass (Legge), or 


The ears, now soft and milky, 

Soon will firm and hardened grow, 
Let us pull the tares and darnels, 

And remove each insect foe ; 
That the shoots may not be injured. 

Nor the leaf destroyed thereby. 
May such pests be seized and burnt up 

By the god of husbandry, 

Form the clouds in heavy masses. 

Whence the soft and gentle showers, 
Glad the corn-lands of the nation, 

And each harvest-field of ours. 
On the ground let sheaves be scattered ; 

Grain in handfuls leave we there. 
Let the widow and the helpless 

In our plenty have a share. 

avena, wild (?) oats (Zottoli), and ^ Yu, darnel or setaria. 
The " insect foes " are the ^ Ming, Hessian-fly, the g^ T'eng, 
locust, and the ^ Mao and |^ Tsei, apparently two species of 
grubs. The Chinese commentators say that the first eats the 
heart of the grain, the second the leaf, the third the root, and the 
fourth the joints. The prayer that the god of husbandry may 
burn them is sometimes still used as a charm by peasants to 
frighten away insect pests. 

In stanza 3, I think that Dr. Legge lays too much stress on 
the loyalty of the husbandmen. He translates the third and 
fourth line, " May it rain first on our public fields, and then come 
to our private." The word "first " is an interpolation of his own, 
and the characters ^ J^ Sui Chi mean nothing more than 
" and with them/' so that ihe sentence runs " May it rain on the 
public fields and on our private fields too." The kindly custom 
of leaving sheaves ungathered for the poor to glean, as Moses 
also ordered (Deuteronomy xxiii. 19-22), is, I am sorry to say, 
no longer extant in China. I do not agree with Dr. Legge that 
"the ypung grain unreaped" was the part of the crop which had 



As the wives and children carry- 
To the tired labourers food, 

Come our lord and the surveyor, 
And they find the harvest good. 

So they offer bowls of millet, 
Slaying victims red and blkck, 

That the blessings of the spirits 
They and we may never lack. 

No. 9. 


Where Lo's waves, broad and deep, go sweeping by, 

Has come the King. In him may dignity 

And happiness concentrate and unite. 

Upon his scabbard gems are gleaming bright. 

failed to ripen," and was therefore left for the poor. Charity 
of that sort would savour too much of the benevolence of 
the bridge warden in the " Monastery," who, in obedience 
to Father Eustace, was to bestow a crust of bread and 
a cup of distilled waters on the next pale and fainting pilgrim, 
and bade his wife keep for that purpose " the grunds of the last 
grey beard, and the ill-baked bannoch which the bairns could 
na eat." 

The surveyor is, of course, the officer in charge of the royal 
tithes, as before. 

The spirits to whom "victims red and black" were offered are 
the spirits of the north and the south. Fire is the attribute of the 
south. A red bull was therefore sacrificed that the spirit of the 
south might destroy with fire all things hurtful to the harvest. 
Cold, frost, rain and darkness are the attributes of the north. A 
black bull was therefore the proper offering that the spirit of the 
north might destroy noxious things with its cold and frost. 

No. 9. 
" The Grand Hunting," No. 5 of the 3rd Book of this Part (see 


Red madder-coloured cloth his knees bedeck, 
To show six armies wait his call and beck. 
Oh, may our King a myriad years bear sway 
Of Court, of Clan, of State, the prop and stay. 

No. lo. 


The plain is now with blossoms bright. 

'Mid leaves and foliage green 
Deep yellow glows and brilliant white. 

In truth a splendid scene. 


But lo, a sight more glorious far; 

My princes cross the plains. 
White coursers draw each noble's car. 

Who holds six glossy reins. 

the notes on this), has already shown us that it was the custom of 
the King to meet his nobles at Lo Yang \^ }% before King P'ing 
established the royal capital there. This piece no doubt refers 
to such a meeting, which was presumably held by King Yu. 

The King's dress indicates that he was wearing a military 
uniform. Some of the commentators assert that this poem is 
placed directly after the " Songs of the Harvest " to warn the 
people that though they may practice the arts of peace, they must 
not forget the arts of war. 

" Though we thank him for the plough, 
We'll not forget the sword." 

, Mackay's " Tubal Cain:' 

No. lO. 
This piece, of course, represents the King singing the praises 
of the nobles who have come to his durbar, and was probably 


With joy my heart is beating high ; 

Such princes should enjoy 
All comfort, all prosperity ; 

And bliss without alloy. 

They form a line in serried rows ; 

To right to left they turn. 
Such skill, such martial prowess shows 

The pains they took to learn. 

composed in reply to his praises sung by the nobles in the last 
preceding poem. 

I have not followed the structure of the Chinese version, and 
have translated rather freely. The last stanza is a puzzler. 
Translated literally it is, " To the left, to the left, the princes are- 
in order. To the right, to the right, the princes have attained it. 
This attainment of theirs is what is likely." The commentators 
say that the skill of the princes is an outward and visible sign of 
an inward virtue. I prefer to understand it that their skill indi- 
cates the amount of training to which they have submitted, and 
that success rightly crowns their efforts. 


Book VII. 

No. I. 


On their bright pencilled wings see the hawfinches fly. 

Their fair gleaming necks 'mid the branches are seen. 
My heart leaps with joy when my princes are nigh ; 

Heaven bless them ! My State they protect like a screen. 


Yes, a screen and a buttress ; to others they show 
The pattern to follow. Old proverbs declare — 

" If you ask me whence safety and happiness flow, 
'Tis from strict self-restraint and from diligent care." 

So restrained and so careful these princes of mine, 

That e'en when the cup at our feasting I fill. 
They will only most reverently sip of my wine, 

So Heaven's choicest blessings shall follow them still. 

No. I. 

The hawfinches are the ^ ^ Sang Hu. (See No. 2 of Book V. 
of this Part.) 

My translation again does not follow the structure of the 
Chinese version. In this poem, too, the last stanza is the diffi- 
cult one of the piece. Here is a literal translation of it : " The 
curve of the rhinoceros -horn cup. The good wine is soft. When 
presented, there is no pride. Ten thousand blessings come to 
seek them ." The rhinoceros-horn cup was the loving cup passed 
round by the King^ The only meaning which I can deduce from 
the stanza is the one given in my metrical version. The Chinese 
commentators, of course, find all sorts of allegories in this little 



No. 2. 


'Tis a time of good omen, when everywhere 
We may catch the mallards in net and snare. 
They carelessly roost on the dams, where they 
Fall to hand-net and spread-net an easy prey. 


The omen is true, for on every side 
There are signs of plenty to be descried. 
And our harvest stores are enough to feed 
With grain and forage each sturdy steed. 


To whom is this plenty and comfort due ? 

Oh, noble monarch, to you, to you. 

May your life to ten thousand years extend. 

And your wealth and your happiness know no end. 

piece. The pencilled wings and gleaming necks of the iinches 
typify the elegance and accomplishments of the nobles. The 
strength of the rhinoceros-horn with the generous wine in it 
shows the martial bodies of the nobles with the generous hearts 
inside them ! 

No. 2. 

This piece is supposed to be the answer of the " Fang Po " 
"jj fj^, or chief of the feudal nobles, to the compliments of the 
King conveyed in the preceding poem. 

The mallard is the Yuan Yang ^ ^, or Mandarin duck. 
(See the notes on Part I., Book L, No. i.) The idea that this bird 
being found in numbers, and being easily captured, indicated a 
time of plenty and good omen, is my own. The mention of 
them has evidently puzzled most of the Chinese commentators. 
Dr. Legge says that this piece is a remarkable instance of the 
allusive element in which there is no admixture of the meta- 


No. 3. 

Around thy board in leather caps we sit 

To share thy dainties and thy luscious wine. 
Who are we .' Are we strangers ? Not a whit ! 

But cousins, kinsfolk, brethren dear of thine. 


We cling to thee, as cling the mistletoe 

And moss to pine boughs and the cypress tree. 

Thou art away — each heart is moved with woe. 
Thou art at hand — we laugh in merry glee. 

The clouds may form for snow and bitter weather, 

And death some day will conquer every man. 
But let us feast this night in mirth together. 

And all enjoy the banquet while we can. 

" Carelessly roost on the dams " is my paraphrase for a sentence, 
meaning " on the dams, folding up their left wings." This, 1 
think, means with their heads tucked under their left wings. 
Chu Hsi says that it means " with their left wings gathered up, 
for when birds sit together they face in opposite directions, and 
lean against each other, left wing to left wing, while the right 
wings outside are free to strike" a blow should some danger 
approach from either side." Liu Yiian does succeed in forcing 
an intelligible, though far-fetched, simile out of this mention of 
the mallards. " The nobles," he says, " may stand shoulder to 
shoulder like the ducks, but the King's authority over them is as 
a net, which holds them at his mercy." I prefer my own 

No. 3. 

Here is another piece, the meaning of which varies according 
to the interpretation, which we give to the word Chun Tzfl ;§" •^. 
Dr. Legge makes it " the King." I follow Liu Yiian in making it 
" the host," for a good part of the poem seems to me language 

Y 2 


No. 4. 

Though a mighty mountain may frown o'erhead, 

My rapid haste it shall not delay. 
The road may be weary and long to tread, 

But my steeds shall run without stop or stay. 

We gallop ; I urge them with might and main. 

(Cling, clang, how the ends of my axle ring !) 
So fast we go that they stretch the rein 

As tense as a lute player draws each string. 

But why this hurry, this frantic speed ? 

Am I plagued with thirst or with hunger's smart ? 
No food, no wine, but my bride I need 

To love me, to teach me, to cheer my heart. 

which could not have been appropriately addressed to a monarch. 
The last verse, especially, which calls on the host to make the 
best of the present moment (compare Part I., Book X., No. 2) 
differs materially from the wish so often expressed when a King 
is addressed, " May you live for ten thousand years," — the " Oh, 
King, live for ever," of the Bible. 

The " leather caps " were probably deer-skin caps worn at 

The mistletoe and moss are the ]^ Miao, mistletoe (Loanthus 
Sinensis, Zottoli), and the ^ ^ Nu Lo, Dodder (Cuscuta, 
Zottoli). Some say that these two plants are the cypress vine 
and the wistaria. 

No. 4. 

In this piece again I have utterly failed to follow the structure 
of the Chinese version. My first stanza is, in fact, the equivalent 
of the greater part of the last Chinese stanza. 

This poem rather sticks in the throat of the Chinese commen- 
tators, who try to explain away its innocent freedom. They are. 


I know she is virtuous, tall and fair. 

My praise, my affection, shall never cease. 
Though no friends are near in our mirth to share, 

Let us feast together in joy and peace. 

My food and wine are but coarse, you'll find, 

And no learned scholar, no sage am I. 
Yet we eat and drink with contented mind. 

And sing and trip it right merrily. 

Our cottage stands on the plain below, 

'Mid trees on whose branches the pheasants sit. 
And up the mountains each day I go, 

Where the oaks I hew, and their boughs I split. 

of course, blind to the fact that the ballad only shows a simple 
and healthy state of things when a lad could express his love for 
his lass, and his admiration of her cleverness and virtue, as well 
as of her beauty, without any fear of being blamed for neglecting 
the proper ceremonies, or of being thought a fool for giving vent 
to his feelings. Some of them say that the ballad is a moral 
lesson addressed by a noble to his lady. The latter is told to 
learn from the virtues of the woodman's bride what a wife should 
be. There is also a theory, which strikes me as still farther 
fetched, that the piece was designed to teach King Yu what sort 
of a bride he should have chosen instead of Pao Ssii. The 
reader should consult "The Little Preface" and Dr. Legge's 
notes on this poem. 

There are one or two more small points to be noted. I am 
not sure that I am right in making the tenseness of the reins the 
reason of their being compared to lute strings. The Chinese 
text is simply, " The six reins are like lute strings." Dr. Legge 
says that they made music like lute strings. I daresay that the 
phrase is only meant to picture the six reins of the team looking 
like the strings of a lute. The pheasants are the Chiao ]g| 
(Phasianus Veneratus, Zottoli), possibly the Reeves Pheasant. 
The commentations find metaphors and allusions all through the 


As oft as your matchless form I see, 

My heart's sole comfort, I glow with pride 
To think that a hewer of wood like me 

Should gain so radiant, so rare a bride. 

No. 5. 


The blue flies float on the summer air, 
They are humming and buzzing everywhere. 
They pollute each fence, and our trees infest, 
Till no spot is clear of this noisome pest. 


Some men I know like these loathsome flies. 
Who infest the realm with their slanderous lies. 
Their hatred and spite they will not restrain. 
So confusion, malice, and mischief reign. 


Ah, be not careless, dear lord, be wise. 
And crush these men, as we crush the flies ; 
Lest the friendship between old friends should fail, 
And contentious strife in its stead prevail. 

piece. The height of the mountain and the length of the road 
refer to the superlative qualities of the lady. The pheasants and 
the wife are both in their proper place. Cutting wood and 
winning a bride are both difficult jobs successfully accomplished. 
Finally, the oak is specially mentioned for this reason — a ten- 
year old oak affords timber big enough for rafters, a twenty-year old 
oak will make a beam. This typifies a virtuous wife, who becomes 
more precious to her household as she grows older. 

No. S. 
This little piece calls for few remarks. My translation of it is 

ere, > 

harp ^ 


No. 6. 


At feasts with order and decorum graced, 
Around the mats, whereon the food is placed, 
In sequence right and left each guest must go 
To take his seat. The trenchers row by row 
Upon the table sauce and dainties bear ; 
Nor is pure wine in goblets wanting there. 
Which all the guests most reverently share. 
Then drums and bells are properly set by ; 
A second cup is taken gracefully. 
The target is brought forth, and arrows laid 
And bows for shooting. Many a match is made ; 
And he whose arrow fails the mark to hit 
Is given a cup and prayed to empty it. 

Or else, while drums are beat and organs play. 
And flute players all their limbs in cadence sway. 
Our solemn rites are duly perfected 
To please the spirits of the saintly dead. 
No single ceremony do we miss, 
To be observed upon a day like this. 
So shall great blessings to ourselves be given 
And sons and grandsons share the gifts of heaven. 

a free one. King Yu is the person supposed to be addressed, 
though the last line ^ ^ — A Kou Wo Erh Jtn, "They 
set us two at variance," seems to be the address of a man to his 

No. 6. 

The commentators are all agreed in saying that this piece was 
composed by Duke Wu i^ & of Wei @ , the hero of No. r 
of Book V. of the ist Part. He lived in the reign of King Yu, 
the dissolute manners of whose Court are satirized and reproved 
in this poem. 

I do not agree with Dr. Legge that the ceremony described 
in the first part of this poem was " The Great Archery Festival," 


Thus all are happy, for we know and feel 
Care has been taken for our common weal. 
The chamberlain then enters with a cup, 
Which for the other guests some friend fills up, — 
" The cup of rest." This surely is the way 
To spend a sensible yet festive day. 

But some there are, who, when a feast is made. 
At first are friendly, reverent and staid ; 
But when the fumes of wine becloud their brain. 
No longer sense and decency remain. 
Up from the places where they sit, they spring. 
And round and round the room go capering. 
A man when sober may be wise and grave, . 
Nor know when drunk the way he should behave. 
So these, who drown their moral sense in drink. 
To wild disorder and mad riot sink. 

In manner rude and coarse they brawl and shout. 
And push the dishes and the plates about. 
They dance in foolish and fantastic guise ; — 
Their caps pushed sideways, slipping o'er their eyes. 
Would they but quit, their going might assuage 
Their own remorse, their host's just wrath and rage. 
But no, they are persistent in their shame, 
Despising virtue and their own good name. 
Drinking may be a custom wise and right, 
But moderation should be kept in sight. 

when nobles and others were invited to Court to show their skill, 
and a cup or two of wine were given as light refreshment. It 
seems to me that the feast, and not the archery, was the main 
feature of the entertainment, the latter being only the after-dinner 
amusement. I am confirmed in this idea by the description of a 
similar merry-making in No. 2 of Book II. Part III. of this 
Classic, quod vide. Archery, as an after-dinner recreation, still 
exists in Japan, and I am by no means sure that it is extinct in 

The second feast described in the poem is, of course, a feast 
on the occasion of seasonal sacrifices to ancestors. 


Nay, some vile drunkards venture to condemn 
The sober guests who will not copy them. 
And men are set to notice and record 
Those whose decorum shames the revellers' board. 
But dared these wiser men their thoughts express, 
Their fellows might avoid such mad excess. 
This would they say, " From drunken words refrain ; 
Within your drunken lips your tongues restrain ; 
Or, helpless as a ram without a horn, 
We'll thrust you forth, to suffer scoffs and scorn. 
Three cups of wine will cloud your memory o'er; 
How dare you go on drinking more and more ? " 

No. 7. 


Around the weeds and rushy beds, 

Secure from every foe. 
With wagging tails and lifted heads, 

The jolly fishes go. 

The appropriate punishment suggested for drunkenness, ac- 
cording to Dr. Legge and the Chinese commentators, is to make 
the offender "produce a ram without horns," a thing that (accord- 
ing to them) is not in nature. It is supposed that the requiring 
" the drunkards to produce this which they could not do, would 
frighten them." The Chinese text is -(^ fi} Pi Ch'u, which 
may mean either "make, produce, or make go." I adopt the latter 
translation, for it seems to me a natural and appropriate punish- 
ment to " chuck out " the drunkards in a helpless and yet quarrel- 
some condition, in which they would be sure to come to grief. 

I may mention that Liu Yiian declares that hornless rams are 
found in the Kansu and Shensi Provinces. 

No. 7. 
The word " here," which concludes the poem, is in the original 
"here in Hao ^ ." Hao was the western capital. As this city 


As jolly as these fish, the king, 
With wine and merry cheer, 

Shall spend the day in revelling, 
And feast in safety here. 

No. 8. 


Gather beans in many a heap. 

Fill your baskets square and round. 

Where the pure spring waters leap. 
Gushing with a tinkling sound, 

Pluck the cress ; for fear the least 

Herb be wanting at our feast. 

was chosen to be the capital by King Wu, the first king of the 
Chou dynasty, the Chinese commentators refer this piece to him. 
The Preface, of course, draws an unfavourable comparison between 
King Wu, who lived happily, and King Yu, who, having a bad 
conscience, was wretched. The commentators further find an 
allusion to the head of the State in the mention of the fishes' 
heads, and to the ministers of State in the mention of their tails ! 

The Princes are supposed to sing this song when present at 
some royal banquet. 

No. 8. 

As the King is evidently the speaker in this, the commentators, 
followed by Dr. Legge, say that it is responsive to the last poem. 
For my part, I doubt it. 

I have, according to my custom, recast the piece, which 
presents several difficulties. It is called " allusive and narra- 
tive." Four out of the five Chinese stanzas, of which the poem 
consists, begin with lines which are supposed to contain allusions. 
They run as follows : — {a) " They gather the beans into square 


Princes come their king to greet ; 

See their dragon flags are swaying. 
Hark ! that sound so clear, so sweet ; 

Bells upon the breeze are playing. 
Lo ! their steeds, their cars appear : 
Proof to me my lords are here. 

Grave and dignified they stand ; 

On their legs red buskins shine. 
These are guardians of my land ; 

Warders of this realm of mine. 
What the gifts that should be given 
Princes by " The Son of Heaven } " 

Are there no gifts worth bestowing ? 

Carriages and steeds have I, 
Rich state robes, their fabrics glowing 

With the royal 'broidery. 
May their hearts be pleased thereby 
And enhanced their dignity. 

and round baskets." This typifies the prosperity of the princes, 
and their numbers, (f) " The water bubbles up from the spring, 
where they gather the cress." This is a figure for the ap- 
propriate appearance of the Princes at Court, (c) "On the 
branches of the oaks there is an abundance of leaves." This, no 
doubt, is a simile, and needs no explanation, {d) " The willow 
boat floats about moored by its painter." This is said to repre- 
sent the tie of loyalty which binds the princes to their sovereign 
lord. For my own part, I have discarded the idea of.(«) and {b) 
being similes or allusions, and have put the verb in the impera- 
tive. The first poem in this work and others will show that the 
Chinese did not disdain herbs and cresses even on their most 
festal occasions, {e) is adopted by me, but (d) is altogether 
beyond me, and I have made no attempt to translate it. I 


Fresh as leaves upon the oak 

May they Hve and flourish long, 
Blest by all the humbler folk, 

Girt by henchmen wise and strong. 
Ever joyful shall I be 
When my chieftains come to me. 

No. 9. 


When you use a bow well-fashioned, one made strong 

and stiff with horn, 
Grasp it tightly, lest, recoiling, from your fingers it be torn. 

So, in dealing with your kinsfolk, with a loving, generous 

Bind them to you, let no coldness drive them to abide 


shelter myself behind Liu Yuan, who says that he cannot under- 
stand the allusion. 

"Rich State robes, their fabrics glowing with the royal 
broidery," is my equivalent for ^ ^ Hsuan Shang, dark 
dragon-broidered robes, the insignia of a duke, and Fu |||', 
the robes of a baron embroidered with the symbol of a hatchet. 
(See Dr. Legge's notes.) 

No. 9. 
Liu Yiian will have it that there is no reference to a prince or 
ruler in this piece, and that it is only the lament of some one 
that the ties of relationship and affinity were not more binding. 
It seems to me, however, that the language is distinctly that of 
an inferior to a superior. The piece presents several difficulties, 
but il am not sure that they are not intentional, for an oriental 
advising or rebuking a superior acts wisely in allowing his 
language a few Gladstonian loopholes. 


If you hold them at a distance, you will find that as you do, 
So will others. You are mighty, and the people copy you. 

Note the concord and the kindness found 'mid brethren 

wise and good, 
And the discord and unkindness in a wicked, rancorous 


Envious, obstinate and haughty, full of pomp and pride 

of place 
Are the wicked, till o'ertaken by misfortune and disgrace. 

Nor forget that age creeps on you. Though the aged 

courser says 
" I am still a colt," he cannot bear the weights of former 


When the cups are crowned with liquor, and the board 

with dainties spread, 
Be not lavish, be not wasteful, let discretion rule instead. 

The simile of the bow, according to Chu Fu tzu, is derived 
from the fact that "when a bow is drawn, all its parts are 
brought near to the archer ; when he lets the arrow go, it returns 
to its former state, and is far from him " (Dr. Legge's transla- 
tion). I think that the sentence means only " Hold a bow tight, 
or the recoil will jerk it out of your fingers." The backs of 
Chinese bows are still stiffened with horn. 

Stanza 5 of the original is obscure. Literally translated, it 
is ; " An old horse, on the contrary, makes himself a colt, not 
thinking what is before him, as for instance, eating to excess and 
drinking too much." Dr. Legge's explanation is that the 
haughty Jacks-in-ofifice of the preceding stanza are like an old 
horse, who thinks himself still up to work, and wants more food 
and drink than he has a right to expect. Liu Yuan makes it the 
lament of the speaker, who says, " Shall not an old horse like me 
think of the future of the young colts, who give way to excess ! " 
I have split the stanza into two distiches, as the easiest way of 
solving the difficulty. 

In stanza 6, "To oppress and crush," &c., is the paraphrase 
of " It is like adding mud to a man in the mud," the Chinese 


Teach no man the task he's skilled in. Would yoa teach 

an ape to climb ? 
To oppress and crush the fallen and defenceless is a crime. 

Oh, remember this, dear master, while you walk in 

wisdom's way, 
In its path your loyal subjects will remain and never stray. 

Though the snow lies thick and heavy, it dissolves beneath 

the sun : 
So will wrongs beneath your glances melt and vanish 

one by one. 

Yet 'tis wise on pride and arrogance to lay a heavy hand, 
Or .presumption growing bolder will most surely vex 
your land. 

So beware of fierce intriguers, lest we view with sorrowing 

Men as base as wild barbarians held in honour, set on 


equivalent of " Don't hit a man when he's down" I do not like 
Dr. Legge's explanation, " A monkey does not need to be taught 
to climb trees ; a man in the mire needs no mire put on him. 
But the King, encouraging and honouring base calumniators, made 
them worse than they otherwise would be." Why is there 

Liu Yiian's notion of the snow mentioned in stanzas 7 and 8 of 
the original is that it is comparable to the affection which ought 
to exist for brothers and kindred, but which is apt to melt and 
disappear, leaving the members of the family as great strangers as 
are the barbarians. The barbarians in question are the Man ^ 
and the Mao ^ , wild tribes of the south and west. 


No. 10. 


Luxuriantly the willows grow ; 
The shadows that their branches throw, 

So cool a bower have made ; 
What tired traveller would not stay 
To rest and pass an hour away 

'Neath their refreshing shade ? 


'Twere pleasant, but I bid you 'ware 
Lest there be danger lurking there. 

The gods are harsh and stern. 
Hard labour comes before repose, 
And toil must be endured by those 

Who rest and peace would earn. 

No. 10. 

This poem, like so many others termed metaphorical and 
allusive, has puzzled the critics. Most of them interpret it thus : 
" The King should be as a willow, offering shade and protection to 
his subjects, but he (spoken of here as _[^ ^ , Shang Ti, God) 
is very oppressive. Do not be familiar with him, for if you try to 
order his affairs (^ Ching), his demands will afterwards be 
extreme." Liu Yiian makes the willow an allusion to one of the 
King's ministers, but otherwise his explanation is much the same. 
The willow, he says, may give shade, but it is a soft-wood inferior 
sort of tree. Such is the King's minister, whom he compares to 
Ch'in Kuei ^ j^ , the minister of the Emperor Kao Tsung, 
circa A.D. T 1^5 (Mayers' " Chinese Reader's Manual," art. 783), 
and to Yen Kao ^ ^, minister of Chia Ching of the Ming 
dynasty, a.d. 1522. 

The chief objection to these interpretations seems to be that 
the meaning of 'the Chinese characters must be tremendously 
strained to arrive at them. In no other place in this Classic has 


If even little birds may fly- 
Up to the vault of heaven on high, 

What may not man attain ? 
But lazy knaves, to labour loth, 
Are slaves to idleness and sloth. — 

Their wages, grief and pain. 

Shang Ti any other meaning than the " Supreme Being," nor can I 
find any other instance of Chi'ng being used in the sense of " to 
manage affairs." It may sometimes be translated " to tranquil- 
lize," but " repose," " quiet," in a substantive or adjectival sense, 
is the usual rendering. I therefore make the piece a warning 
against taking life too easily. 

Stanza 3. (See the notes on Part II., Book V., No. 2, which 
begins with the description of a little bird, in that case a dove, 
flying up to the vault of heaven). • 


' Book VIII. 

No. I. 

Oh, for the h6me of long ago ; 
Would that we were there once more, 
Where our nobles lived of yore, 
Clad in furs of glossiest sheen, 
Silver-tongued, composed, serene, 
At the capital of Chou. 

■ 2. 
Caps or leafy hats they wore ; 
Girdles each had round his waist. 
Bound with such a natural taste, 
That the long end's, left untied. 
Might sway graceful at his side ; 
Jasper ear-rings, too, they bore. 

Then the dames of lofty line, 
With their curly tresses like 
Scorpion stings in act to strike. 
Noble ladies scorn to wear 
Aught but their own natural hair. 
For them how I long and pine. 

No. I. 

The Preface will have it that this piece is directed against King 

Yu, but it seems, oh the face of it, to have been written when the 

-capital had been removed from Hao in the west to Lo in the east, 

and some " laudator temporis acti " had hottie-siek longings for 

the old city. 


Could I find them once again, 
I would follow them to see 
All the beauties dear to me ; 
Gaze upon their thick, black hair, 
Curling round in ringlets rare. 
But my longing is in vain. 

No. 2. 


Through the meadows to and fro 
Seeking herbs and indigo, 
I laboured all the morn, but still 
My hands, my skirts I failed to fill. 

The " leafy hats " are hats made of the T^ai 5 plant, a kind 
of grass, mentioned in the notes on No. 7 of the 2nd Book of this 
Part. The manner of wearing the girdles is curiously expressed 
in the original. It is not that they let their girdles hang down. 
The girdles were naturally long. How a manufactured article 
like a girdle can be naturally long is a mystery to me. 

The " dames of lofty line," is in the Chinese "might be called 
Yin ^ or Chi •^," say Howards or Talbots. It is curious to 
find the hair of Chinese women admired for its curliness. A rat's 
tail is corkscrewy compared to the hair of a Chinese lady of the 
present day. 

No. 2.- 
This little ballad does not need much elaboratfon. We need 
not trouble ourselves with the fancies of those commentators 
who say that the speaker is an officer of state, who regrets the 
absence of a fellow-officer, whose hunting is a metaphor for 
quelling disorder, and his fishing for finding worthy ministers 
of state. 


It matters nought. I'll homewards fare 
To wash and comb my tangled hair. 
'Tis right I should be clean and neat, 
In seemly guise my lord to greet. 

He said that when five days were o'er 
He would return to me once more. 
Ah, me, what makes this sad delay ? 
Six days has he been gone away. 

Perhaps a hunting he will go ; 
So in its case I've placed his bow. 
Or else to fish he may incline ; 
I've carefully arranged his line. 

And while he angles in the stream. 
To capture thence the tench and bream, 
I Ml sit beside the river brim 
To watch the skill displayed by him. 

" Herbs " is my equivalent for Lu j^ , which Dr. Legge 
translates " king-grass," and Zottoli, " bamboo." " Indigo " is the 
^ Lan, Polygonum Tinctorium, according to Zottoli. 

I do not know why Dr. Legge translates the last line, " While 
people looked on to see." Surely it is " While / looked, or will 
look, on to see." 

z 2 


No. 3. 


Tall and strong the millet grew, 

Fattened by the genial rain. 
Long our journey, tedious too, 
- But the Earl, our leader true. 

Cheered us mid our toil and pain. 

At his words our ardour glowed. 

He would bring us back ere long. 
Heavy barrows filled the road^ 
Men who bent beneath their load. 

Carts and oxen swelled the throng. 

Then for fear the savage foe 

To molest us were intent, 
Infantry in many a row, 
Cars and horse were bidden go. 

To secure accomplishment. 

Thus in might majestical 

Led by him we marched away ; 
Built a fortress strong and tall. 
Girt with rampart, fosse and wall, 

Which should keep the foe at bay. 

No. 3. 
This piece takes us back to the time of King Hsiian ^ J , 
King Yu's immediate predecessor. A fuller account of this 
expedition will be found in No. 5 of Book III. of Part III. For 
the present it is sufficient to point out that Hsieh HJ is the 
modern T^ng Chou % ^i\ in Honan (not to be confounded with 


Hard our labour and severe ; 

But the Earl performed his pari j 
MTade the springs and fountains clear, 
Drained the plains of marsh and mere, 

To rejoice his monarch's heart. 

No. 4. 

In the marshlands lying low, 

The luxuriant mulberries grovir. 
Dark and glossy are the leaves upon the tree. 

Though they form a glorious sight 

'Tis not this that brings delight ; 
'Tis the coming of my noble lord to me. 

^ jl'l'l Teng Chou, in Shantung). The Earl of Shao was 
afterwards Duke Mu ^^ . 

Liu Yuan makes the good will of the soldiers towards their 
leader due to the fact, which is, he says, inferred in the second 
stanza, that the Earl would allow them to bring back their waggons 
and oxen, and would not detain them, an extraordinary act of 
virtue on the part of an Oriental General. 

No. 4. 
Yet another poem, the sense of which must depend on the 
meaning of the word Chun tzu ;§: ^ . In this case I make it 
"a princely husband." I think that the frankness of the 
language is appropriate to a wife, and that the affectionate terms 
are such as are employed by a' woman rather than by a man. 
The Chinese commentators, whom Dr. Legge follows, assert, of 
course, that the speaker in the poem expresses his admiration for 
some officers of noble character. As the leaves of the mulberry 
are not only the .beautiful part of the tree but the useful also, so 



Aught but happy can I be, 

When this princely man I see, 
Whose virtues make me love him more and more. 

Nor shall I be shamed to say 

My affection cannot stray, 
For I cherish him within my bosom's core. 

No. 5. 


The fibres of the rush are bound 
By withes of grass which tie it round. 
I must be banished from his side, 
All solitary to abide. 

The sunset clouds of brilliant hue, 
Refresh the rushy meads with dew. 
The laws of right and heaven's great way, — 
Too hard he finds them to obey. 

admirable men are useful as well as ornamental. The deep colour 
of the leaves typifies the deep feeling of benevolence innate in 
these officers, and so on. The Preface, as usual, finds in the 
piece an attack on King Yu, who seems to be to the author of the 
Preface what King Charles's head was to Mr. Dick. 

For my own part, I think it possible that the subject of the 
poem may well be the Earl of Shao's wife welcoming her husband 
on his return from the expedition described in the preceding 

No. S. 
All the critics agree that the subject of this piece is Queen 
Shen ^ , the wife of King Yu, who was superseded in her hus- 
band's affections by his concubine Pao Ssu ^ ^ ; but some 
commentators, instead of making the writer speak of her own 


Northward the flooded waters flow, 
To enrich the fields, where rice plants grow. 
With wounded heart I sigh or sing, 
Upon my great lord pondering. 

The branches of the mulberry tree 
Will-feed the fire to comfort me. 
My master tortures me indeed, 
And makes my sorrowing heart to bleed. 

The palace bells and drums resound ; 
Their merry notes are heard around. 
For him I pine with grief p'erwrought ; 
For me he never has a thought. 

experience, put the poem in the riiouth of a third party, viz. the 
people of Chou, a proceeding which robs the verses of all dramatic 

I have followed the structure of the Chinese original on this 
occasion. As for the statements contained in the first two lines 
of each stanza, " the bearing of them lies in their application," 
and each reader may apply them as he thinks fit under the- cir- 
cumstances. I give the explanation of each, which seems to me 
to be the most natural. 

1 . The rush is tied with the white grass ; so should husband 
and wife be bound together. 

2. The clouds bedew the herbage ; so should a king have a 
kindly influence on those about him. 

3. The rising waters irrigate the rice-fields; so should a king 
benefit his people. 

4. I burn mulberry-wood in my furnace. Mulberry-wood is 
valuable and expensive, and adapted for nobler uses ; so am I. 
Dr. Legge inserts the adjective "small" before furnace, saying 
that the mulberry-wood, which would suffice for all sorts of cook- 
ing, was only used in this limited way. So was the Queen 
degraded from her place. 



The crane sits on the dam at ease, 
The heron hides among the trees. 
Ah, me ! he tortures me indeed, 
And makes my wounded heart to bleed. 

The mallards on the dam may stay, 
And fearless sleep the live-long day. 
Fickle and varying as the wind, 
My lord is false in heart and mind. 

Stand on a shallow stone and try 
To look tall, — 'tis futility. 
Far from my lord I'm forced to go, 
And pine in misery and woe. 

5. The music in the palace is heard outside. The folk know 
■what is done in the palace. This is the Chinese equivalent of 
"The fierce light that beats upon the throne and blackens every 

6. The crane [^ Chiu, Marabou crane, Leptoptilos Javanica, 
Zottoli] — a big fierce bird, and an unclean feeder, which, accord- 
ing to Chinese naturalists, will face a man — sits on the dam to 
catch fish, while the unfortunate heron [^ Ho, also a crane, 
Grus Viridirostris, but considerations of metre make me give it 
the name of heron], a smaller and weaker bird, and a clean feeder, 
does not venture near. This typifies the position of Queen Shgn 
vis a vis Pao Ssu. 

7. The mallards are emblems of conjugal fidelity, a virtue 
which the King did not possess. 

8. This simile is the most obscure of all the eight. I can make 
nothing more of it than, " I can do no good with the feeble means 
at my disposal." I reject the idea that the thin stone is Pao Ssu, 
and that the King is lowered by his connection with her. 


No. 6. 


There perches a little oriole ; 

Upon the mound he sits. 
He is resting his weary wing, 
So. he stays, to twitter and sing, 

Once more, then away he flits. 


But I am worn and weary 

With marching the live-long day. 
Oh, give me some food, some drink, 
Lest exhausted and faint I sink ; 
Then show me my proper way. 

Think not I fear the journey. 

But of failure I am afraid. 
I cannot march fast or far, 
I must call an attendant car 

To lend me its friendly aid. 

No. 6. 

The reader will indeed think it strange if any other meaning 
than the above can be screwed out of this little piece. Liu Yiian's 
view, however, is that the way to the Court of King Yu is, meta- 
phorically, so long and hard to travel that virtuous officials will 
not venture to tread it. The writer of the poem appeals (to the 
world in general ?) to provide such with the means of doing so. 
The oriole sitting'on the mound is the type of an official in retire- 
ment. In spring's bright days orioles flutter about, so when good 
government prevails trustworthy ministers of state are seen every- 
where. Chu Fu tzii puts the poem in the mouth of the oriole. 
(See Dr. Legge's notes.) My first stanza about the oriole is a very 
free amplification of the original. 

The characters ^ M Mien Man are no doubt corrupt. 


No. 7. 

Supple gourd leaves are our fare, 

Let them now be plucked and boiled ; 
And for meat we have this hare 

Baked upon the coals, or broiled. 

Still a store of wine we boast ; 

Let the cups with it be crowned. 
Pledge the guests, and pledge the host ; 

Pass the goblet round and round. 

When Chu Fu tzu explains them as the note of the bird, and Mao 
as the epithet applied to a little bird, it is pretty evident that 
neither of them know the meaning of the phrase. |§ Hui is 
certainly "to teach, to instruct," but in this conjuncture it 
must surely mean, " Tell me what way I must go," and not as 
Dr. Legge has it in his metrical version, " Teach my mind the 
way to think." To adopt a joke of Gilbert k Becket's, a starving 
man wants grub, not grammar. 

No. 7. 
I believe that this piece represents the hard fare of a campaign, 
when a soldier has only a hare to offer his comrades for supper, 
but with the wine which they have they make merry. I do not 
hold with Dr. Legge that it is only written to convey this lesson : 
" When the provisions are most frugal, all the rules of polite inter- 
course may yet be preserved." The ceremonious way of drinking 
is first for the host to taste the wine to see whether it is all right, 
as Mr. Pickwick, in the post-chaise with Mr. Ben Allen, tasted the 
milk punch. Then the host hands a cup of wine to his guests, 
which they drink, and they in turn hand a cup to him which he 
drinks, after which they drink together, pledging each other, but 
how often this last ceremony was to be repeated books of etiquette 
do not say. 


No. 8. 


The frowning rocks and the crags are steep, 

Which tier on tier to the sky ascend. 

The hills are high, and the rivers deep. 

The road to the east is long to wend. 

When shall we get to our journey's end ? 

By the charge of my troops and my duties worn, 

Small leisure have I by night or morn. 

No. 8. 

We have already had many ballads in which a soldier com- 
plains of his hard lot. In this one the General in charge of the 
expedition joins in the same tune, and says how wearisome he 
finds his duties and responsibilities and his separation from home. 

It is not known for certain what particular expedition it is 
to which this piece refers. Nearly all the fighting in the early 
part of the Chou dynasty was against the barbarous tribes of the 
west and north, while the eastern frontiers were quiet enough. 
According to Dr. Legge's notes, an incursion of the Huai tribes, 
who inhabited what is now Kiangsu, against the State of Lo, in the 
time of King Li, j^ ^ may be referred to. The Preface, of 
course, assigns the piece to the time of King Yu. 

The mention of the swine "with their hoofs white wading through 
the streams," as the original Chinese runs, is a little obscure, but 
I think that my rendering of it is the correct one. The rain had 
been so heavy that the mud had all been washed away, so that 
the pigs could not wallow or cover themselves with black mud, as 
Chinese pigs delight to do. 

It is curious to see that the Chinese connected the Hyades 
with rain. So did the Greeks and Romans, who gave them a name 
signifying " the rainers." No doijbt they all did this because these 
stars, which are in Taurus, rise about the time of the vernal 
equinox, a very wet season in China as elsewhere. Horace 



The swine are seen with their hoofs all white, 
, For each wallowing place is a running ri]I. 
The moon in the Hyades lifts her light 
To show the rain will be heavier still, 
And augment the tasks that we must fulfil, 
Ere we may return to the west once more. 
With our labours, our troubles, our dangers o'er. 

No. 9. 


The flowers are dulled to a yellow hue. 
Or lie on the ground to decay and die ; 

And my hopes are faded and dying too — 
Sad and sick of my life am I. 

Would I had never been born to bear 

This weight of sorrow and this despair. 

speaks of them as " Tristes Hyadas " (Odes i, 3), and Virgil as 
" Pluvias Hyadas" (GEn. i, 744). Tennyson adopts the latter 
epithet: ,,^^^^ ^ 

Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 

Vext the dim sea." yj, 


With this Chinese ballad before me, it strikes me as a strange 
coincidence that the Romans should derive the name Hyades 
from vs, " a pig." (See Dr. Smith's " Classical Dictionary," s. v. 
Hyades). Still it is nothing more than a coincidence. I base 
no theory on it. 

No. 9. 
This is an obscure and fragmentary poem. My translation of 
it is pretty free. It is- referred, as usual, to the time of Xing YU. 


'Tis a time of famine, distress and woe, 

And even our sheep look starved and lean/ 
No flash of a fin do our fish-ponds show, 

Where the gleam of the stars is the sole thing seen. 
Exhausted are most of our stores of meat, 
That few can procure enough food to eat. 

No. 10. 


Although the autumn comes, a.nd every leaf 
Changes to yellow or a faded brown ; 

To us it brings no respite from our grief. 
The duties laid on us still weigh us down. 

My second stanza is the equivalent of the following : " The 
ewes have large heads. Three stars are in the weir. [If some] 
men can eat, few can get their fill." The big heads of the ewes, 
say the commentators, denote that the bodies of the sheep were 
so starved and lean that their heads looked unnaturally large. 
There were no fish left in the weirs ; the only thing to be seen 
there was the reflection of the three stars, probably the stars of 
Orion's belt. 


"The flowers" (stanza i) is the equivalent of 1^ Tiao, 
bignonia, or Tecoma grandiflora. 

No. 10. 

This piece seems to be a supplement of the last but one. 
(See the notes on it). In this piece, however, it is a soldier who is 
speaking, not the general. 

The last stanza of the original is obscure. It runs : " The 
bushy-tailed foxes may keep to the dark grass, and our carts tra- 
verse the royal roads." The reader may take the meaning to be 


Are we not men that we should thus be torn 

From home to serve beneath some alien sky ? 
No leisure grant they to us night or morn. 

'Tis work and weary journeyings ceaselessly. 

The long- tailed foxes 'midst the jungle grass 

May thrive, and wild beasts in some desert brake. 
But not we men, whose carts incessant pass. 

As down the royal roads our way we take. 

what I have made it in my translation, or he may adopt Liu 
Yiian's idea. There are foxes hidden in the grass, while our 
carts go along the road ; that is, there are rogues intriguing 
against us at Court, while we are away on active service. 



I HAVE little to add to what I have said in my intro- 
ductory note to Part II. Many of the pieces in this Part 
may appropriately be termed Sagas. The first eighteen 
poems are styled CMng j[£, " correct/' as showing a pros- 
perous state of things when good government prevailed. 
Duke Chou, the younger brother of Wu Wang, the first 
King of the Chou dynasty, is said to be the author of these. 
The remainder, whose authorship is doubtful, are calltd 
Pien ^, "changed," or "degenerate," as they describe a 
time of trouble and disorder. 

I am afraid that the general reader will firid a great 
part of this division, more especially the "Degenerate 
Songs," rather dull reading ; but the student of Chinese 
history (if there is such a person), and of the Chinese 
Classics, will find in these poems a good deal that is 
worthy of his notice. 

A A 


Book I. 

No. I. 


'Tis to King W^n above to whom we owe 

The present glories of the House of Chou. 

The State of Chou might boast an ancient name, 

But ere his time no honours could it claim. 

He made it glorious, so to us by heaven 5 

The gift of Empire was in due time given. 

And now his soul has soared beyond the sky, 

To sit amongst the chosen ones on high. 

So earnest, so determined was the King, 
To future days his fame and praise shall ring. lO 

Nor this alone ; to stock and branch descend 
Rewards and gifts divine that know no end. 
Throughout all ages honour and renown 
Princes and nobles of the State shall crown ; 
For these with ardour and with reverent zeal, i S 

Effect wise measures for our common weal. 
As long as their array shall here be found. 
King W^n's repose is sweet, his slumber sound. 

Heaven's great behest that he should rule the land 
King W^n received, obedient to command. 20 

Nor failed to let his loyal followers see, 
His ceaseless reverence for this grand decree. 

No. I. 
This didactic poem, which, in the original at any rate, is not 
wanting in dignity, is said to have been written by Duke Chou, 
for the instruction of his nephew King Ch^ng ^ J . 

The reader should perhaps be reminded that the dynasty pre- 
ceding the Chou was the Shang '^ , which was afterwards called 
the Yin j|g. It is interesting to see that when the adherents of 

A A 2 


Once myriad princes of the Shang bore sway. 
The word was passed. King WSn they must obey. 
The Powers can both exalt and overthrow ; 25 

So now, obedient to the house of Chou, 
Adorned with bonnets and embroidered dress, 
To our libations see Yin's nobles press. 

Now ye who serve the King with loyalty 
Forget not him who ruled in days gone by. 30 

Be virtuous, be obedient, so shall peace 
And happiness throughout the realm increase. 

Ere Empire passed from Shang's now fallen state, 
Her monarch was heaven's favourite and mate. 
Let this then prove a warning not to slight 35 

Divine decrees^ lest, if we hold them light, 
We in our turn may fall and pass away. 
Let us instead a righteous name display. 
Remembering this ; the acts of heaven on high, 
Call for a watchful ear, a wakeful eye. 40 

Let but King W^n your pattern still remain, 
Long o'er the myriad regions shall you reign. 

the Chou family had overthrown the Yin dynasty, the princes of 
the latter were not exterminated, but were invited to take parts in 
the sacrificial rites of their successors. We shall see more of 
this later on. 

The couplet, "And now his soul," &c. (lines 7, 8) is my 
inadequate rendering of " King Wen ascends and descends on 
the right and left of God." I am inclined to think that 
" descend" in this instance may mean "that his spirit descends 
to earth to bless and guide his posterity." (See II., vi. 5). 

"Adorned with bonnets and embroidered dress" (line 27). 
The bonnets are the Hsii j^, flat-topped hats, not at all unlike 
college caps with strings of beads hanging from them. The em- 
broidered dress is the 7^« ||[ , a robe with the figures of axes 
embroidered on it, as mentioned in II., vii. 8. 


No. 2. 


To match the glorious light above, — 

The Majesty divine, — 
'Tis needed that on earth below 

Men's virtues glow and shine. 
For heaven is jealous and o'erthrows 

The careless monarch's sway. 
Now learn how from Yin's rightful heir 

The kingdom passed away. 

It was a maiden fair of Yin, 

A princess, Jen, her name. 
The prince had called her to his side. 

And she his wife became. 
Virtuous and pure were he and she ; 

She bore for him a son. 
To be renowned in future days. 

Our noble monarchy Wen. 

No. 2. 

Dr. Legge calls the first two lines of the poem, which literally 
translated are, " Brightness below. Awful Majesty on high," 
enigmatical. I take them to mean, " We should be bright below 
in order to respond to the Majesty of Heaven above," and have 
amplified them accordingly. The last line of the poem is equally 
obscure. It is, " The morning of the meeting is clear and bright." 
I have no doubt that the two characters Hui Chao •^ ^J are 
hopelessly corrupt, feeling sure that the meaning of the line was, 
" Here is an example of the brightness— /.«. the bright and 
glorious deeds — which heaven requires in men." Dr. Legge's 
interpretation is, " That morning's encounter was followed by a 
clear bright day." 

It is said that King Ch^ng was too much addicted to pleasure, 


And he in his turn watchfully 

And reverently served heaven. 
To him were thus the highest gifts, 

The choicest blessings given. 
Virtue that never swerves aside 

Its due reward will bring. 
From east to west, from north to south, 

All owned him as their King. 

Then heaven bestowed a further boon ; 

For when the King would mate, 
A maiden, like an angel bright. 

Came from a mighty State. 
She came to where Wei's river flows ; 

The auspices were fair. 
Down from his throne the monarch stepped. 

And went to meet her there. 

Across the stream a bridge of boats — 

A glorious sight to see — 
He built, whereon the maid might pass 

His bride and wife to be. 

and was inclined to believe that all good gifts would come to 
him without any trouble on his part. Duke Chou then recounted 
to him the deeds of his ancestors for three generations past, to 
show him how quick heaven is to resent derelictions of duty, 
and to reward merit. 

The first ancestor mentioned is Chi ^, Wen's father. (We 
shall find a fuller account of him in No, 7 of this book). His 
wife was Tat /in -^ H, a- princess of CMA ^. No one seems 
to know where this place was, nor does it matter. She is held 
up as one of the great examples of matronly virtue in China. 
She and her husband were the parents of Wen, who, though he 
never was on the throne, was canonized as King Wen, and is 


As heaven had willed, the realm of Chou 

Was his and his alone. 
Within the royal capital 

He sat upon the throne. 

Nor was the good example set 

By her, who gave to life 
King W^n, nor her undying fame 

Forgotten by his wife. 
Heaven's grace still blessed this virtuous pair, 

She bore a son. Prince Wu, 
To be preserved, and crowned, and helped 

The tyrants to subdue. 

As in some forest dense and close 

The trunks of trees are found ; 
So numerous were the foemen ranged 

About the desert ground. 
But " God is with you," cried we all, 

" Each noble on your side," 
So let no craven doubt or, 

Within your heart abide. 

looked on as the founder of the Chou dynasty. (See Mayers's 
" Chinese Readers' Manual," »rt 570.) His wife was T'ai Ssu 
■j^ J^, and the glories of their marriage are described in the 
epithalamium with which this classic begins, and their virtues are 
celebrated in many of the pieces in the first book of Part I. 
Thirdly, and lastly, we have their son, King Wu, the father of 
King Ch^ng, and the overthrower of the Yin or Shang Dynasty. 

The last stanzas of this saga should be read in conjunction 
with Part V. of the Shu Ching, or " Classic of History," and the 
appendix to it, wherein will be found described the abominable 
cruelties of Chou Hsin |-^ ■2^, the last King of the Yin dynasty, 
the gathering of the feudal Princes to King Wu at ^ '-^ M^ng' 
Ching, the Ford of M^ng, and the battle in the Wilderness of 
Mu ify^, and the exploits of the old " Grand Master," Shang fu 



Across the waste we drove them back ; 

Swift horse and chariot flew, 
As like an eagle on the wing 

Down swooped the brave Shang fu. 
In such a fight as this we find 

The Majesty divine 
Well matched by brilliant deeds on earth, 

Whose glories long shall shine. 

No. 3. 



As the heaviest gourd, or the melon fruit, 

Has been at first but a tiny shoot, 

Which day by day has increased in size, 

So, as we have heard, did our kingdoms rise 

From small beginnings. Old stories tell 

When we lived on the banks of the Ts'ou and Ch'i, 

"fl^ ^, a veteran of eighty. The battle in question was a sort 
of Battle of the Spurs, for the followers of Chou Hsin seem to 
have offered so feeble a resistance that a slaughter ensued, wherein 
so much blood was spilt that "the pestles floated about," a 
curious phrase which defies explanation, but reminds the reader 
of the " gunpowder running out at the heels of their boots.'' 

I understand the Une |^ -f* ^ M Wei Yii Hou Using, 
to mean, " The feudal nobles are with you," not as Dr. Legge 
does, " We rose to the crisis." The horses it may be noted were 
Yiian |^, which is said to mean black-maned, white-bellied. 
Rather a curious mixture of colours, even for a Chinese horse. 

No. 3. 
The reader is referred back to the introductory notes on 
Book XV. of Part I. The chiefs of the House of Chou dwelt 


We had no houses wherein to dwell, 
Till T'an fu became our duke, and he 
Made kiln-shaped hovels, and holes in the side 
Of the hills he dug, where the folk might hide. 


But it came to pass, in the morn one day, 
That the duke with his duchess rode away ; 
O'er the banks of the river they galloped fast. 
Till they reached the base of Mount Ch'i at last ; 
And essayed to find them the fittest place 
To serve as the homestead for all our race. 

The plain of Chou, spreading out to the south, 
Was so fertile and fair that sweet in the mouth 
Were its bitterest herbs. With his followers true 
The duke consulted, and omens drew 
From the marks on the branded tortoise-shell. 
The answer came — and it pleased him well — 
" This is the auspicious place for you." 

in Pin ^ or gJJ from B.C. 1796 to B.C. 1325. Pin, as the reader 
may recollect, is in the Shensi Province, lat. 35 "04, N., long. 
io8"o6, E. (Playfair). The life of the first settlers there is de- 
scribed at length in the first of the pieces of Book XV. of Part I. 
According to this they were well housed, and by no means 
reduced to hiding in hovels and holes in the hill-sides, as this 
poem represents them. This piece details the removal of the 
people from Pin to the plain of Chou in B.C. 1325, Mencius's 
explanation of this exodus is that the barbarians were constantly 
making incursions into the land of Pin, and that T'an fu, other- 
wise known as King T'ai -^ 3i; finding that he could not keep 
the barbarous hordes away by paying them a " Danegeldt," left 
Pin, but the people preferring him to their homes followed him, 
and made a settlement at the foot of Mount Ch'i (|J, as the 
poem narrates. 

Stanza i. Duke T'an fu ^ ^ was King W^n's grandfather. 


He bade each man choose a fitting site ; 
He gave them fields to the left and right, 
Some more, some less, as it seemed him best. 
He set up the boundaries and drained the land ; 
Throughout the country from east to west, 
There was nothing he did not take in hand. 

Then officers twain he chose, a man 
Well skilled in craft, and a man to teach 
The others. His task was assigned to each. 
So they fashioned houses for all the clan. 
Each stone was laid even, and straight and right 
By the measuring line and plummet ; and tight 
The planks of the building frames they strain, 
Thus rose the solemn ancestral fane. 

In sooth, 'twas a gladsome sight to see ; 
Five thousand cubits of wall arose. 
Some carried the earth, and with shouts of glee 
Filled up the frames. With responsive blows 
Some beat it firm, that the walls might be 
Smooth, solid, complete, from all blemish free. 
And such was the din and the noise around 
That even the roll of the drum was drowned. 

His wife was known as T'ai Chiang ^ ||. The rivers Ch'i 
f^ and Ts'ou jj. ran into the Wei, the large affluent of the Yellow 

" Made kiln-shaped hovels, and holes in the side of the hills 
he dug," is my version of the four characters ^ ^M. M /\ ^'"■^ 
Fu T'ao Chiieh, " He kilned mounds, he kilned caves." In this 
I follow Dr. Legge. Dr. Edkins, however, in a lecture before 
the Shanghai branch of the Royal Asiatic Society; says, "The 
art of house-building was spread among the Tartar tribes by the 
Chou family, when they took refuge from the tyranny of the 


For the King's sole use they designed the gate 
Of the inner palace. 'Tvvas grand and great. 
But the outer portal, where nobles go 
When they visit the King, formed as grand a show. 
And an altar, reared on a giant mound 
To the spirits who rule the land, they found. 
As a sacred centre and rallying place 
In time of need for the men of our race. 

Though his savage foemen he could not tame. 
Yet the Duke has left us a glorious name. 
The bushes and brushwood day by day 
From the sides of the pathways he cleared away. 
So wayfarers now pass in safety o'er, 
And the hordes of the Chun are now seen no more. 
In the depths of the desert they disappear. 
Like beasts who are startled and pant with fear. 

Shang dynasty in the Pin country, fifty miles north-west of Si An 
fu, and near the boundary of Shensi. There the aboriginal tribes 
lived in loess caves. Their new friends from civilized China 
taught them how to make double chambers and upper rooms, 
and instructed them in the art of making bricks in kilns." This 
is the interpretation which Dr. Edkins gives to this passage. 
For my own part I am inclined to think that Dr. Legge's version 
of what was written is the correct one, but that Duke Chou made 
a mistake in writing it, confusing the customs of the time of 
T'an fu with those of an earlier period, when Troglodytes or 
Cave-dwellers were net unknown in China, as we learn from the 
" Book of Changes," and elsewhere. 

Stanza 2. The first two Unes are difficult. They are, " The 
plain of Chou was rich and fertile. Violets ("ra Chin) and thistles 
(^ Vu) like cakes." I accept the Chinese explanation that these 
herbs, which elsewhere were bitter, were sweet here. 


'Twas by the example of good King Wen. 
Two neighbouring chiefs, so our legends run, 
Allowed their rancorous rage to cease, 
And swore to each other a lasting peace. 
Then strangers first as his vassals came. 
Soon others followed to be the same. 
They had noted his prowess, and came to yield 
Due homage to one who would be their shield 
And defence, nor suffer a tyrant strong 
To insult the weak and to do them wrong. 

Mount Ch'i was in the Feng Hsiang ^ ^ district, also in 
Shensi, lat. 34° 35' N., long. 107° 50' N. (Playfair). The tribes 
of Chou remained here until the time of King Wen, as we shall 
see later on. 

Stanza 5. "A man well skilled in craft, and a man to teach 
the others," is the equivalent of the Ssii Kung ^ § , Minister 
of Works, and Ssu T'u p\ ^, Minister of Instruction. 

Stanza 8 describes a state of things when the country was like 
Britain before the coming of Arthur. 

"And thus the land of Cameliard was waste, 
Thick with wet woods, and many a beast therein, 
And none or few to scare or chase the beast. 

Tennyson's " Coming of Arthur." 

Stanza 9 is evidently an interpolation. It is presumably 
an extract from some other poem on King Wen. The chiefs in 
question were the chiefs of Ju ^ and Jut |^, who, having a 
quarrel about some land, came to King Wen to ask him to act 
as their arbitrator ; but when they came to his territory, they 
found such civilization, good government and politeness prevail- 
ing, that they retired without troubling him to hear their story. 
(See Dr. Legge's notes). 


No. 4. 


Abundance reigned, for even in the wood 
Grew fuel for our needs in plenteous store. 

Before our monarch, dignified and good, 

From east and west came outlanders, and swore 

That they would prove his liegemen to the end. 

So far his name and royalty extend. 

A glorious sight it was for all to see 

To right and left of him, on either hand, 
With sceptres raised in solemn gravity. 

His princes and his mighty nobles stand, 
Knowing such high officials should be seen 
Waiting with reverent and respectful mien. 

When war-clouds lowered, swift as a galley flies 

Down stream, when all the rowers tug and strain — 
So swooped the King upon his enemies. 

With six huge armies following in his train." 
The Milky Way in heaven glows clear and bright, 
So glows our monarch in his subjects' sight. 

No. 4. 

Both this piece, and the one which follows it, like most of the 
poems which the Chinese put under the head of " allusive," are 
fragmentary, and consequently difiScult to make sense of, for the 
reader has to string the fragments together as best he can, in 
order to get at the meaning. My version does not pretend to 
be more than a paraphrase. I accept the usual theory that the 
piece is in praise of King W^n, who is again held up as a pattern 
for young King Cheng to follow. 

Stanza i. The trees which furnished fuel were the Yi ^ 
and P'o ^ . Both of these are varieties of the oak. 


To us he was more precious and more dear 

Than chiselled ornaments of gems and gold. 
So wise was he, that all his laws revere, 

Whom the four quarters of his realm enfold. 
And many a year he reigned to show us then 
How we should live amid our fellow-men. 

No. 5. 




Pursuit of righteousness — be this your aim — 

Your dignity be due to this alone. 
So shall you reign unvexed by hostile claim, 

And sit in quiet on a peaceful throne. 

Stanza 2. The word, which I translate "sceptre," is Ch'ang 
Jgl, which is described as a half-mace {Fan Kuei 3^ ^). 
Nobles carried the half-mace, the King bore the complete one. 
I can find no drawing of these articles, but I have little doubt 
that they were the original forms of the yu I, or Court sceptre of 
a later date. The commentators, however, insist that these 
Chang were the handles of libation cups. It is hard to 
believe this. 

Stanza 3. The river on which the galley flies down stream is 
the Ching -Jg , which we have had mentioned before. The com- 
mentators remark that King Wen really never had six armies to 
follow him, as this force could only have been commanded by 
one who was actually King, and not by one who was only 
canonized as such. 

No. S. 
I follow Liu Yuan in his explanation of the poem. Dr. Legge 
adopts that of most of the Chinese Commentators, who make this 


First, then, be plenty scattered through your land, 

As thick as brushwood at the mountain's base ; 
Then, with the huge libation cup in hand, 

Before the royal altar take your place. 

The massive cup fill up with yellow wine — 

The cup which monarch's lips alone may press ; — 

Thus shall the people own your right divine. 
And spirits from on high approve and bless, 

Would you be leader of men's destinies. 

Their guide, their rule ? A task to you is given 
, To do unquestioning, as in the seas 

The fishes leap, as falcons soar to heaven. 

piece a poem in praise of King Wen. As I said in my notes on 
the last piece, all these poems, which are called allusive, are 
terribly fragmentary and unconnected. My paraphrase of this one 
is even freer than my version of the last, but I repeat that I think 
it wiser to claim any amount of license, and to write a compre- 
hensible set of verses, than to follow the Chinese version so 
slavishly that the resultant stanzas convey no idea to the English 
reader. Dr. Legge's first verse is as follows : — 

" Round the foot of Mount Han 
Grow the hazel and thorn. 
Self-possession and law 

Did our monarch adorn. 
Striving for his height of place, 
These around him threw their grace." 

It took me a long time to parse this. 

Stanza i. My first stanza is nothing but an amplification of 
four Chinese characters, '^%,^%, Kan Lu K'ai Ti, " Pursue 
blessing, (so shall you be) happy and at ease." Lu is, I know, 
" reward, emolument, pay," but I believe here it must stand for 
the righteousness to which such a reward is due. 



Let bright, pure wine be poured in seemly wise, 
And be the bull, a perfect victim slain, 

So when you offer fitting sacrifice 

You and your folk still greater joy shall gain. 

Your dignity must serve your people's need, 

Not yours alone. The stateliest forest grove 
With fuel some poor peasant's hearth will feed. 

Thus win the spirits' blessing and their love. 

Whene'er the state and glory of a king 

Is pure from taint, from all dishonour free, 
His loving, loyal subjects to him cling, 

As clings the ivy, clasping round the tree. 

Stanza 2. The mountain mentioned in this verse is Mount 
Han ^^, in the modern ]§ ^ j|^ Nan CMng Hsien, in Shensi. 
The brushwood is the CMn ^ haze!, and ^ Hu, thorn. 

Stanzas 2, 3. The huge and massive libation cup was given to 
King Wen by King Chou Hsin, when the latter appointed Wen 
" Lord of the West." King Wen solemnly drank from it before 
the people to show that he was duly invested as their ruler. 
King Cheng is bid to do the like, to show his subjects that he 
rules by right divine. 

Stanza 4. The Chinese version merely states that " Falcons fly 
to heaven, fishes leap in the water," and leaves the lesson to be 
drawn from this fact to the imagination of the reader. This may 
be what I have expressed in my verse, or it maybe, "A king's 
power should ascend to the zenith and descend to the nadir.'' 
There is a third explanation, which Dr. Legge adopts, " Animals 
do what it is their nature to do unconsciously." So there went 
out an influence from King Wen, unconsciously to himself. 

Stanza 6. The Chinese version again only mentions the fuel. 
The lesson drawn from it is my own inference. Again, in stanza 7, 
the ivy (or, rather, our old friend the dolichos creeper) is men- 
tioned, but the allusion is self-evident on this occasion. 


No. 6. 

A loving, pure and reverent dame 
Was King Wen's mother ; 
A queen a royal stock might claim, 

Though scarce another. 
In turn as noble, wise and good. 

Was King W^n's wife. 
Of princely sons a countless brood 

From her had life. 
King Wen would never fail to pay 

The reverence owed 
To spirits who have passed away 

To heaven's abode. 
They loved the good example shown 

To wife, to kin. 
To every clan and nation known 

The realm within. 
Unseen by human eyes he knew 

That heaven's keen sight 
Can pierce the dark, and all we do 
Shall come to light. 

No. 6. 
Liu Yiian insis's that King Wen is not the subject of the 
poem, but that the two ladies, T'ai Jen, the King's mother, and 
T'ai Ssu, his wife, are. He says that the term ^ ^ Kua Chi 
(which he understands as a self depreciatory expression, and not 
as a title of honour, as Dr. Legge does, or " a rare wife," as other 
commentators do), is used by T'ai Ssu of herself ; and, further, 
that such phrases as " unseen by human eye," and " all un- 
taught," are more applicable to a woman than to a man. Perhaps 
so, but there are other passages in the poem which can only 
apply to a man. Liu Yuan gets over the difiSculty by making 
her use them of her husband ; but it seems to be simpler on the 
whole to make the subject of the piece King Wen. 

B B 


Through hall and temple harmony 

And reverence reigned. 
For virtue's path unweariedly 

The King maintained. 
Through ills endured perforce no blot 

Was on his fame ; 
For all untaught he ne'er forgot 

His glorious name ; 
Till old and young were wise and sage 

In following him. 
Thus may his light from age to age 

Be never dim. 

No. 7. 


The rulers of this realm of ours 

Had long misused their sovereign powers ; 

Till heaven in awful majesty 

Looked down from the abodes on high, 

Seeking some true, some kingly man. 

Around the realm its glances ran. 

King Wfin's mother, T'ai J^n, is already mentioned in No. 2 
of this book. She is spoken of here as being loving to T'ai 
Chiang -j^ |^, the wife of T'an fu, and, consequently, her 
mother-in-law. Love of a daughter for a mother-in-law is in 
China looked on as almost a more essential duty and a greater 
virtue than conjugal love. Duke W^n's wife was T'ai Ssu. (See 
Part I., Book I. i, and the following poems.) 

The " ills endured perforce," no doubt refer to King W^n's 
imprisonment by Chou Hsin, the last king of the Shang dynasty. 

No. 7. 
This saga, or ballad, speaks for itself, but each stanza will call 
for a foot-note or two. 


They pierced the country's furthest bound, 

But still no king for us was found. 

Until the greater States were past, 

And the small west State was reached at last. 

Then heaven smiled kind with an aspect fair. 

For the true and the kingly man was there. 

This man was T'ai. It had been his lot 
To dwell where the forests densest grow. 
But he feared no toil, and he faltered not. 
As he hewed the trees down with blow on blow. 
No stumps he suffered to slowly rot ; 
And fallen trunks, which would but decay, 
And obstruct, he lifted and bore away. 
The hornbeams, the mountain mulberries 
He thinned, and cleared off the tamarisk trees. 
Though a clump here or there, or an ordered row 
Was left for a shade or a pleasing show. 
Till the face of the country looked bright, and smiled, 
In the place of a wilderness dense and wild. 
His God-given wisdom impressed with dread 
The savage hordes, who in terror fled. 
And a noble wife he had wedded, meet 
For him who ascends to a monarch's seat, 
When the will of heaven is made complete. 

Stanza i. " The rulers of this realm " are of course the Kings 
of the Yin (or Shang), and of the Hsia dynasties. " The true 
and kingly man " was T'an fu, canonized as King T'ai, whose 
exploits have already been recorded in No. 3 of this book. 

Stanza 2. I presume that the forests in which T'an fu lived 
were in the state of Pin ^jj or ^ . Due south of this, in the 
neighbourhood of Ichang, the primeval forest still exists, as I am 
informed by Mr. A. Pratt, a distinguished Fellow of the Royal 
Geographical Society, who has made an interesting and valuable 
collection of natural objects in that district. The trees men- 
tioned in the Chinese version are: — first, the Ch'eng \^, 

B B 2 


Now heaven had watched these hills, and knew 
How paths had been cut the forest through, 
And oaks and cypresses cleared away. 
And decreed that the man, who such tasks could do. 
Was the man to bear royal rule and sway. 
To the King in time two sons were given. 
The younger brother ne'er failed to show 
The duty youths to their elders owe ; 
But when he saw 'twas his country's gain 
That he, not the elder son, should reign, 
He accepted the burden imposed by fate. 
And sat on the royal throne in state. 

Now the King was blessed with a judgment rare. 
And the fame of it spread throughout the land. 
Til] every tribe had become aware 
He was able to rule, and to have command ; 
To be a King, who in kingly wise 
Can guide the realm and its destinies. 

tamarisk ; second, the |^ CM, which I have translated the 
hornbeam. Zottoli calls it the " Carpinus,'' with a mark of 
interrogation after it, and Dr. Legge invents the name of " Stave 
Tree " for it, because it is often used for walking-sticks ; third, 
the Yen M, mountain mulberry (Murus silvestris, Zottoli). 
I can find nothing about the ^ Kuan savages, except that they 
were supposed to be the same as the ^ Chun tribes, mentioned 
in No. 3 of this book. King T'ai's wife was T'ai Chiang, as the 
reader no doubt remembers. 

The resident in China who reads this and the following stanza 
cannot help wishing that the Chinese of the present day would 
take example by what was done in remote antiquity, and 
produce a practical result. Want of communication is the curse 
of China. The man who can open the eye of the Chinese 
Government to see the beneiit of good roads will be a worthy 
successor of King T'ai, and may, perhaps, like him, be afterwards 
venerated as a sage. 


All cordially hail his rule, and try 
To show their obedience, their loyalty. 
When the kingdom descended in turn to W^n, 
There was nothing his virtue had left undone. 
Heaven's blessings pass onwards from sire to son. 

King W6n by heaven was kindly warned 
To be just, impartial, nor led astray 
By private feeling, lest men should say — 
" Why is this one loved, and another scorned .' " 
Such thoughts are a dangerous flood. Pass o'er 
And in safety stand on the farther shore. 

Now it came to pass that the folk of Mi 
Rebelled, our borders they dared invade, 
And part of the land was in ruin laid. 
Till the monarch, to set his kingdom free 
From these evil-doers, in wrath arose 
And marshalled troops to repel the foes. 
That all the country from east to west 
Might enjoy prosperity, peace and rest. 

Stanza 3. King T'ai had three sons, the eldest of whom was 
Vai -Po "j^ f^ , and the third CAz ^ , or Wang Chi, the father 
of Ch'ang, afterwards King Wen. King T'ai noted the promise of 
his grandson CKang, and for his sake wished his third son to succeed 
himself. In deference to his wishes, T'ai Po and his second brother 
retired among the barbarous tribes of the south, leaving the succes- 
sion clear for Wang Chi and his son. Confucius, in the " Ana- 
lects," Book VIII., Chapter i, lauds the self-sacrifice of T'ai Po. 

Stanza 4. The King is of course Chi. 

Stanza S- 3^ ^ ^ Teng Yu Ngan is translated by Dr. Legge, 
" He grandly ascended to the height of virtue." I follow Liu 
Yuan, who explains the phrase as part of the advice given to 
King W^n, " Do not get drowned ; find your way across," and 
amplify it accordingly. " The folk of Mi ^ were a tribe in 
Kansu. They invaded ^, YUau (modern Ching Chou, {^ i[i|.|), 
and Kung ^, evidently a place in the same neighbourhood. 



But the King in his palace quiet stayed, 

For he knew his soldiers required no aid. 

They climbed to the mountains furthest bound ; 

Not a single trace of the foe they found. 

For it had not dared, this marauding band, 

To pierce our hills. Not a foeman durst 

From our pools or our fountains quench his thirst. 

So the King decreed : " Take the richest land 

And live in peace -to the south of Ch'i, 

From every fear of invasion free. 

And a town on the banks of the Wei create. 

Which shall be the capital of our State." 

Then to good King Wen was this blessing given — 
" Thy wisdom, thy virtue are dear to heaven ; 
No pride, no fickleness, there we find. 
Thy heart is humble, thy deeds designed. 
Not caring the praise of mankind to gain, 
But in strict accord with the will divine. 

Stanza 6. The capital was CKing Yi, g g,, where Wen 
established himself for a while before building his capital at 
Fing ^, as will be mentioned in No. lo of this book. 

Stanza 7. Ts'ung, % (in Hsi Ngan fu), was the country of King 
Wen's implacable foe, the Marquis Hu J^, at whose instiga- 
tion King Wen was imprisoned by King Chou Hsin. 

Stanza 8. The " engines of war" are the Lin, fg, a movable 
turret, and ihe Chung, '1^ , a mantlet, perhaps a sort of Roman 
Testudo. The Chinese commentators will have it that the 
paucity of captives and trophies taken shows the clemency of 
King Wen. The latter part of the stanza hardly bears out this 
notion. The " trophies snatched from the heads of the slain," 
were the left ears of the enemies' corpses which were cut off. It 
is curious to see that even in this century this abominable custom 
of taking the ears of the enemy as a trophy was still practised by 


Yet tasks for accomplishment still remain. 
Subdue thy foes, and with friends of thine 
Prepare your ladders, your warlike gear, 
And before the ramparts of Ts'ung appear." 

Their fearful engines of war they ply. 

But the ramparts of Ts'ung were thick and high ; 

And few were the living captives ta'en. 

Or the trophies snatched from the heads of the slain ; 

Till W6n made a solemn offering, 

And prayed for strength to o'ercome the foe. 

That all might submit, and then men might know 

How none may insult or oppose a king. 

With redoubled vigour, and all his strength. 

He assails their walls, till they yield at length. 

He destroys, and leaves not a man alive, — 

To show 'tis vain with his power to strive. 

the Turks. " Later on (1. e. in 1826) the atrocities of the 
Egyptians in the Morea, the wholesale massacres and enslavings, 
the hundreds of pairs of ears nailed over the Seraglio gate as 
trophies of war formed a new basis of remonstrance." (" Life of 
Stratford Canning," by Stanley Lane-Poole, vol. i., page 403.) 
The proclamations issued by the Chinese authorities during the 
Franco-Chinese war, offering rewards for the heads of French 
soldiers, show that this barbarous desire for scalps has not yet 
died out. At the same time it is fair to point out that some say 
that prisoners were released after having one ear clipped so that 
they might be known again. 

The line which I translate " destroys and leaves not a man 
alive," is rendered by Dr. Legge, " He extinguished (its sacrifices) 
and made an. end of its existence." 


No 8. 

The King had bidden a wondrous tower rise, 

Whose shape and bounds right cunningly he planned. 

The people heard. Each loyal subject tries 
To be the first to obey hi3 King's command, 

Unpressed, unurged. The work was quickly done 

By each, as for a father toils a son. 

And round about a wondrous park he made, 
Wherein to keep a herd of fallow deer, 

Who fed or slept of danger unafraid. 

And white cranes' glistening plumage shone anear ; 

While by his marvellous lake the monarch stood, 

To watch the fishes leaping in the flood. 

No. 8. 

The tower in this poem was apparently built when King W6n 
had removed his capital to Feng ^, the modern Hsi Ngan Fu 
W ^ Jffi ^^^ capital of the Shensi Province (lat. 34° 17' N., 
and long. 108° 58' E., Playfair). It is suggested that Fing is 
only another name for Ts'ung, the town which King Wen captured, 
as the last poem shows, and that the King, after extirpating the 
natives of it, rebuilt the town, renamed it, and settled his own 
men in it. (See Dr. Legge's notes on No. 10 in this book.) 

The commentators find a great deal in this marvellous tower. 
In the first place its construction was an assumption of kingly 
power, for none but a king might dare to build such. Secondlj', 
the tower was built not only for astronomical and meteorological 
purposes, as Dr. Legge says, but as a place where omens of good 
and ill might be learnt by astrology and divination in other forms 
as well. Yon Strauss looks on it as a school or college. Round 
this tower was a park in which timid deer and shy cranes grew 
tame, because they knew that there they would not be molested, 


A hall for festivals the monarch reared, 

A pleasant place with water flowing round, 
Where posts and frames for bells and drums appeared. 

Which rang- or thundered with a jocund sound. 
Their snake-skin drums the blind musicians beat ; 
Our joy and merriment were made complete 

No. 9. 


A line of virtuous monarchs 

Makes up the house of Chou. 
The wisdom shown by fathers 

The sons will also show. 
And when the first three rulers, 

To heaven had passed away. 
King Wu assumed the royal power, 

As good, as wise as they. 

In this park was a Fi Jg^, which is a hall or pavilion built in the 
middle of a Yung J|ft or circular pool, which must again be 
accepted as a symbol of royalty, because the princes of the feudal 
States might only have in front of their pavilions semi-circular 
pools, such as we see still in front of Confucian temples. In this 
hall music was played for the amusement and delight of King Wen's 
subjects. The blind musicians played on drums covered with 
the skins of the To ^, which Dr. Legge translates " iguana," and 
Pfere Zottoli, " crocodile." I call it snake, because Chinese banjoes 
of the present day are covered with boa-constrictor skin. Liu 
Yiian enters into a dissertation on the civilizing effects of music 
and dancing, and remarks how King Wgn influenced his subjects 
for good by means of these arts. 

No. 9. 
King Wu is evidently the subject of this ballad, though he is 



He reigned their fit successor. 

With eagerness he learned 
Heaven's high decrees and wishes, 

Thus confidence he earned. 
All took him for their pattern, 

They knew right well that he. 
Whose heart was full of filial love, 

Was fit their guide to be. 


His subjects loved him fondly. 

Obediently and well. 
They felt he was the one man. 

No other could excel. 
They glory in his virtue. 

They imitate the worth, 
Which gains a brilliant name and fame 

Throughout the entire earth. 


Let sons and grandsons follow 

The great example given. 
So shall they earn the blessing 

Bestowed on such by heaven. 
And thus through myriad ages 

Each tribe around shall send 
Good wishesj while each swears to be 

A helper, vassal, friend. 

nowhere mentioned by name. The first three rulers are equally 
clearly Kings Tai, Chi and Win. 

The first line of the poem is f ^ j^ Jl Hsia Wu Wei. 
Chou, a line which no one can translate, except by arbitrarily 
making Hsia to mean "subsequent," and Wu "to continue," 
and the whole line " subsequent successions make up Chou." 
The best way out of the difficulty is to change f Hsia into % 
Win, and then the line is " (Kings) W^n and Wu make up the 
race of Chou." Zottoli and Lacharme both adopt this emendation. 


No< 10. 



How was it that King W6n earned his fame ? 
By this — that peace was alone his aim ; 
And he saw that his work was completely done. 
A ruler true was our good King Wen. 


By heaven's command he had overthrown 
The city of Ts'ung which he made his own. 
His home, and his kingdom's centre, too, 
For our good King Wen was a ruler true. 

It was not self-love bade the King repair 
The moat and walls he demolished there. 
But respect for the past he would thus evince, 
For filial and true was our royal prince. 

King Wu reigned in Hao ^, which, like Feng, was in the 
district of Hsi Ngan fu, but, according to Zottoli, was more 
conveniently situated for the reception of the feudal princes 
when they came to pay homage, and Wu therefore moved thither 
in B.c 1 133. 

No. 10. 

The concluding line of the first stanza is 2it I M bS ^^^ 
Wang CMng Tsai, " Was not King Wen a true sovereign ? " But 
to get at this meaning we must translate CMng " to be a true 
sovereign." The literal meaning of the word is steam, and Liu 
Yiian will have it that the meaning of the line is, " King W^n's 
fame was diffused like steam." The final lines of the other stanzas 
are similar. 

In his remarks on stanza 2, Liu Yiian asserts that the commands 
which Wen received were not those of heaven, but those of King 


And there his merit shone bright and clear ; 
And the folk came thither from far and near, 
And hailed him as guardian with reverence due, 
For our royal prince was a ruler true. 


To the east of the city a river rolled ; 
'Twas banked by Yii in the days of old. 
Where the people flock and allegiance bring 
To Wu, their monarch, their mighty King. 

Who removed to Hao, where a hall they raise, 
And around it a circle of water plays. 
Then from north to south and from east to west. 
By all was he monarch and king confest. 

Chou Hsin, who, though a tyrant himself, knew a good man when 
he saw him. 

Stanza 3 is obscure and difficult, and my version of it is little 
more than a shot at its meaning. The Chinese version runs, 
" He repaired the walls and moat. His making F^ng was 
according (' to the pattern of his forefathers,' Legge). In no 
haste to gratify his wishes, he repeated the filial duty which had 
come to him." I have nothing better to suggest than that W6n 
rebuilt and renamed the town, from no motives of self-glorification, 
but from a desire to copy the actions of his ancestors, especially 
those of T^an fu. The commentators again assert that King 
W^n assumed royal rights by the construction of a moat. 

King Wu is the subject of stanza 5 and the following stanzas. 
The epithet Huang ^, " Imperial," is applied to him, which is 
supposed to show that he actually was King of China. I have 
tried to indicate this in my verses by giving him the title of 
monarch, with which I have not dignified King W^n on this 
occasion. It is almost unnecessary to note that Yii is the " Great 
Yii" of B.C. 2205, who has been mentioned before. 



By a tortoise-shell then the King divined, 
For the capital this is the spot designed. 
So the city was built complete by Wu, 
And worthy a monarch so good and true. 

By the river the millet was shining white, 
To choose such a country was wise and right. 
That his sons might enjoy the advantage, too, 
And bless their father the good King Wu. 

The reader is referred to the notes on the preceding pieces in 
this book for the location of the cities of Feng and Hao, and for 
a description of the hall surrounded by water. 

Stanza 8. The river is the Feng, a small stream running into 
the Wei. (The city and the river have the same Chinese character.) 
Dr. Legge translates the second line of the stanza, " Did not 
King Wu show wisdom in his employment of ofBcers ? " I follow 
Liu Yiian, and connect the line with the one before it thus ; 
" By the waters of Feng grows the white millet (g' CKi; Zottoli 
translates it, lettuce). Why should not the King take advantage 
of it ? " This means, King Wu saw the land was rich and fertile, 
-and, like a wise man, occupied it, a course from which his 
descendants gained considerable good. 


Book II. 

No. I. 

Chiang Yuan was the first of our race ; she lived in 
the days of yore ; 

Now list to the wondrous tale of her and the son she 

She brought an offering pure to the gods, and prayed 
them to bless 

The mother, who fain would be freed from the curse 
of her barrenness. 

And it came to pass that she stept on the footprint a 

god had made, 5 

And thus in a marvellous way was answered the 
prayer she prayed. 

She conceived ; so she dwelt retired, till she brought 
forth her son ; and he. 

Whom she bore and nourished there, was the won- 
derful child, Hou Chi. 

So kind were the gods that when the months ere 
his birth were run. 

The mother was spared all pangs in bearing her first- 
born son. ID 

No. I. 

King Ch^ng is taught by this legend the blessings conferred 
on himself and his people by the introduction of agriculture, and 
the necessity of never forgetting the grateful rites which are due 
to heaven for such benefits. 

This poem is, in my opinion, full of interest, for several reasons. 
It is the only poem in the whole classic which I can frankly 
acknowledge to be a solar myth. That is to say, if the story of 
Romulus and Remus/ who were exposed and suckled by a she- 
wolf, and the tales of CEdipus, Perseus, and other Grecian heroes, 
who were left to die, but were miraculously preserved, are solar 


As a lamb without hurt or pain is dropped on 

the flowering lea, 
So without distress or throe did his mother bring 

forth Hou Chi. 
On her offerings clean and pure the gods had 

benignly smiled, 
Foreseeing, the boy she bore would be known as no 

common child. 
Yet the new-born babe was laid in a narrow lane to 

die, 15 

'Neath the feet of oxen and sheep, who would crush 

him in passing by. 
But oxen and sheep forbore, and with tender and 

loving care, 
They fostered and saved the life of the child that 

was lying there. 
Men left him, then, to starve in a wilderness vast 

and wild. 
But wood-cutters passed that way who found and 

preserved the child. 20 

myths, denoting the emergence of light out of darkness, then the 
story of Hou Chi is a myth also. In his case we may even take 
advantage of one point which does not affect the Greek heroes, 
and that is the power of the sun over our crops. If it be objected 
that Hou Chi actually existed, we may remember that solar 
myths have gathered round such an unquestionably historical 
character as Cyrus, who was likewise ordered to be killed when 
an infant, lest he should supplant Astyages. But the most striking 
parallel to the legend of Hou Chi is the story of Chandragupta, 
whose mother, "relinquishing him to the protection of the devas, 
places him at the door of a cattle-pen. Here a bull named 
Chando comes to him and guards him, and a herdsman noting 
this wonder, takes the child and rears him as his own." — (Cox's 
" Aryan Mythology," vol. ii., page 84.) The name Chandragupta, 
my friend Consul Watters informs me, means, " moon-protected," 
but, as he points out, there is no doubt as to the actual historical 
existence of such a king, and the inscribed pillars which he set 


So they placed him naked on ice, to be killed by 

the winter's cold ; 
But the wings of a wild swan clasped the child in 

their soft, warm fold. 
When the wild swan flew at last the boy so bewept 

the bird, 
Through the country far and near was the sound of 

his wailing heard. 
While yet he crawled on the ground, unable to 

stand upright, 25 

Men marvelled to see a child, so majestic, so wise 

and bright. 
And when he became a lad, who himself could supply 

his needs. 
It was his delight to plant large beans on the level 

Right well did his tillage thrive, his beans formed a 

glorious show. 
And his light green tufts of rice were shining row 

upon row. 30 

up throughout his kingdom remain to this day. I cannot be 
sure that Hou Chi had as real an existence ; but be this as it 
may, his story is as much or as little of a solar myth as the stories 
of the other heroes, whose names I have given. 

The original poem consists of eight stanzas. Some notes on 
most of these are necessary. 

Stanza 1 (lines 1-8). We know nothing of Chiang Yuan 
H ^ beyond what is said of her here and in the " Annals of 
the Bamboo Books." (See Legge's " Classics," vol. iii,, Pro- 
legomena, p. 142.) She was apparently the wife or concubine 
of the Emperor Ti Ku "S? # or Kao Hsin ]^ r^, B.C. 2435-2365. 
In the " Bamboo Books " it is stated that she trod on the 
foot-print of a giant, which caused her to -become pregnant. 
The " Bamboo Books " have several other examples of similar 
miraculous conceptions. 

Dr. Legge translates fe ^ fliC jt Yu Chieh Yu Chih, " In 
the large place where she rested." Zottoli and Lacharme have 

c c 


And strong and close did his crops of hemp and 

of wheat upshoot, 
And the trailing gourds, which yielded abundance 

of yellow fruit. 
And what was the rule he learnt as his guide in his 

husbandry ? 
He transgressed not Nature's laws, but assisted 

Though heaven has boons in store, and rich is 

the bountiful soil, 35 

Yet the gifts of both shall be lost, if man shall forbear 

to toil. 
So he stubbed up the grass and weeds ere sowing 

the yellow grain, 
Which he tended with care till fit to be used as seed 

Then his land grew green with the blades, next white' 

with the ripened wheat ; 
Each ear was strong and good, each kernel was 

formed complete. 40 

similar translations, but all the commentators seem to lose them- 
selves when they try to explain what this large place was. We 
have had the'phrase before in II., vi., 7. I am content to make 
the words here mean " Then and there." 

Stanza 3 (lines 20-24). The commentators are not agreed as 
to what the bird was that protected Hou Chi. Some of them, in 
defiance of natural history, translate the word in the plural, and 
say that it was a flock of swallows. (See IV., iii., 3.) Dr.'Legge, 
in his metrical translation, calls if an eagle. I find a wild swan 
suggested by one critic, and promptly jump at the notion, as, 
given such a legend, a wild swan is the most appropriate bird for 
the performance of the action narrated. 

It is not stated by whom the child was exposed. It is natural 
to believe that it would be Chiang Yiian's husband, angry that 
his wife had had a son, of which he^was not the father ; but most 
Chinese scholars say that it was the wife herself, who looked on 
the child as of evil omen. It was only after he had been three 
times miraculously preserved that shp understood that it was 


Thus the folk of T'ai rejoiced in the plenty the fields 

afford ; 
And they praise Hou Chi and choose him to be 

their king and their lord. 
He gave them beautiful grain that his people might 

well be fed ; 
The double-kernelled millet, the black, the white and 

the red. 
They planted them far and wide through the country 

side around. 45 

And in autumn they reaped the harvest, and stacked 

the sheaves on the ground ; 
Or heaped upon backs and shoulders they carried the 

crops away, 
To be used for the solemn offering Hou Chi was the 

first to pay. 
And now of the Sacrifice. 'Tis thus that the rites 

begin : 
In a mortar the grain is hulled and cleared of the 

husk and skin. 50 

heaven's will that the child should live. He was known as 
Hou CM ^ ^, " the Royal Outcast^'' until his name was changed 
to ^ ^ Hou Chi, which means " Royal Grain." It is doubtful 
whether this name is not a title rather than a personal appel- 

Stanza 5 (lines 33-42). It is supposed that, as soon as Hou 
Chi had grown to manhood, he was appointed Minister of Agri- 
culture by the Emperor Yao ^ (b.c. 2356-2255), and, as a 
reward for his services in this office, he was invested with the 
fief of T'ai §P, in the modern Shensi. 

My quatrain beginning, " And what was the rule he learnt " 
(lines 33-36), is an amplification of two lines meaning, "The 
husbandry of Hou Chi had the plan of helping," or, as Dr. 
Legge translates it, "proceeded on the plan of helping (the 
growth)." The commentators say that there is heaven above 
and earth below j but to make grain grow, a third thing is needed, 
namely, the labour of man. 

c c 2 


It is sifted and winnowed clean, and shaken in water 

It is fit to make purest spirit, whose vapour may 

float and fill 
The hall where the worship is paid. The omens are 

duly learnt 
From herbs which are mixed with the fat of a victim 

devoutly burnt. 
For a lamb must be slain to furnish the broiled and 

the roasted meat, 55 

That a new year's blessing be won by an offering 

made complete. 
The earthen and wooden stands with gifts must be 

loaded high. 
That a sweet and fragrant steam may ascend from 

earth to the sky. 
The gods in their home above delight in a grateful * 

And gifts at their proper season are needed to please 

them well. 60 

This sacrifice Hou Chi founded. From him to the 

present day 
Is there ever a man to grudge it, regret it, or wish 

it away .' 

Stanza 6 (lines 43-48). Four kinds of millet are mentioned, 
the black, the double-kernelled, the red and the white. It should 
be noted that in this stanza there is no mention of any other 
grain than millet, which leads me to conclude that the climate of 
T'ai was too cold, too dry, or too barren for the rice, wheat, 
hemp, and gourds mentioned above. Te this day millet rathe r 
thanj ice is the f ood of peasants in Nort h China. 

Stanzas 7 and 8 (lines 49-62)! IdS^not think that " the 
sacrifice " is the ancestral worship of Hou Chi by the Kings of 
the Chou dynasty, as Dr. Legge says, but rather the New Year 
worship of the Supreme Being which was instituted by Hou Chi. 

A difficulty is presented by the use of the word |^ Pa, which 
Dr. Legge, following some of the commentators, says, " was the 


No 2. 



The reeds in many a patch and bed 

Bedeck the wayside grass. 
Let not the kine with heavy tread, 

Or flocks of sheep which pass, 
Crush them ; for soon will come an hour, 
When bright they shine with leaf and flower. 

Come hither, kinsfolk, brethren mine,. 

In closest union knit. 
See mats on which ye may recline, 

And stools whereon to sit. 
May all be here, and none away, 
On this our festive holiday. 

name for a sacrifice offered to the spirits of the road on setting 
out on a journey." Liu Yiian makes it mean " a sacrifice offered 
at the west gate of the temple." I have shirked the difficulty of 
translating it myself. 

Dr. Legge's notes on this poem are most valuable and ex- 

No. 2. 

I have not followed the structure of the original in my version 
which is a tolerably free rendering. 

The introductory stanza (which is a paraphrase of the first 
half stanza of the original) is said by the commentators to 
typify the concord which should exist in members of a family^ 
who have all sprung from one root, and the danger and annoy- 
ance which outsiders, compared to sheep and kine, may cause. 

The speaker in the second stanza is supposed to be the King, 
though I see nothing in the poem to show that the feast was 
given by a royal personage. I slur over the description of the 
dainties offered to the guests. They are to me too painfully 


The servants, who the board attend, 

Fill up the goblets high, 
That well the host may pledge each friend, 

And friend may make reply. 
Nor is there wanting dainty meat. 
Lute, drum, nor sound of singing sweet. 

The bows and arrows next we try ; 

The shafts are balanced true. 
So strong and straight four arrows fly, 

All pierce the target through. 
Afar those skilled in shooting stand ; 
Unscorned each novice close at hand. 

The master fills our cups at last 

With liquor strong, and prays 
That those whose prime of life has past 

Be granted peaceful days. 
That heaven may deign their age to bless 
With concord, love, and happiness. 

suggestive of a feast in a pantomime. In addition to roast and 
broiled meat with gravy and pickles, there were tripe and (ox) 
cheek, or sausages, according to Dr. Williams. If this is 
a royal banquet, the nearest parallel to it is the royal supper 
alluded to in one of Du Maurier's pictures in " Punch," where a 
cad in the streets takes advantage of a stoppage to address a 
Duke bound in his carriage to a state ball : " Hurry up, your 
Grace, or you won't be in time for supper. All the tripe and 
onions and the sausages are finished, and they're sending round 
the corner for all the fried fish they can buy." 

The feast, like the merry-making described in II., vii. 6, was 
followed by a trial of skill in archery. The last line of the 
Chinese stanza describing this, runs thus : /? ^ Jsi /?> 1^ 
Hsu Pin Yi Pu Wu, which Dr. Legge translates, " The guests 
are arranged by the humble propriety of their demeanour." 


No. 3. 


Unstinted draughts of wine your cups afford. 

With bounteous kindness us you satiate. 
Myriads of years be granted youj my lord ; 

Bright happy hours for ever be your fate. 

Yes, draughts unstinted did your cups afford. 

You gave us dainty meats on which to feast. 
Myriads of years may you enjoy, my lord ; 

In these your glory be for aye increased ; 

Which, now begun, shall grow from day to day. 

And reach perfection, which your aim should be. 
He who may speak for those now past away, 

Declares it in the blessing they decree. 

Surely it ought to be " The guests are arranged for shooting in 
such a way that none can be made fun of.'' This would of course 
be with the novices and bad shots close to ihe target, and the 
good shots further off, as pigeon shooters are handicapped at 

In the last stanza, the Master, presumably the King, is de- 
picted as drinking to his aged guests, "those with hoary hair 
and wrinkled backs," and praying for their happiness. According 
to Chu Fu tzii, and Dr. Legge, the King prays that they may lead 
one another on to virtue, and support one another in it." Another 
rendering is " May they lead and support me, the King." I think 
that the phrase only means, " May the old men have guidance 
and support.'' 

No. 3. 

It is usually supposed that this piece is responsive to the last. 
The King's relations, having been feasted by him, express their 
sense of his kindness, and pray for a blessing on his head. Liu 


And this the blessing : You had taken care 

Your sacrificial bowls were pure and clean. 
While friends, who came to you this rite to share, 

Performed their parts with grave and reverent mien. 

Such grave and reverent mien the spirits love. 

For this to you shall duteous sons be given. 
To show the virtues dear to those above. 

Accept the blessing now bestowed by heaven. 

This is the blessing : While the ages run, 
Along your palace cloisters wide and high 

Your race shall walk. By son succeeding son 
Your line shall last to all posterity. 

From whom shall this posterity descend ? 

With royal headship you the gods invest. 
Yea, till ten thoiisand years shall have an end, 

This dignity on you alone shall rest. 

Thus they ensure this dignity divine. 

A noble wife is sent to you, oh, king. 
To be the mother of your race and line. 

From her your countless progeny shall spring. 

Yiian objects to this theory, believing that thejast poem described 
a merry-making. This, he says, is a solemn rite inside the ancestral 
temple, at a time when the spirits of the departed were supposed 
to be present in " the Personator of the Dead," and that therefore 
these two pieces had nothing to do with each other. 

I have endeavoured in my version to imitate the manner in 
which the close of each stanza of the original introduces the 
followifig one. 

Liu Yiian finds in this poem "the five blessings" : i. Longevity. 


No. 4. 


The mallards and the sea-gulls sport within some safe 

Mid the shallows, aits, and gorges, in the pools where 

rivers meet. 
Just as free from care and danger, we within the ancestral 

Where happiness and dignity descend and aye remain. 
Feast on rich and dainty viands, quaff the rarest, sweetest 

We the proxies of the spirits, who are worshipped as 

May this happiness and dignity increase from day to day. 
Till they reach their full perfection, driving every ill 


2. Riches. 3. Peacefulness and serenity. 4. Love of virtue. 
5. An end crowning the life. (See Mayers's "Chinese Readers' 
Manual," Part II., art. 123.) 

No. 4. 

I have not followed the structure of the Chinese version, which 
consists of five stanzas, each beginning with an allusion to the wild 
fowl. These wild fowl are the Hu ^ , wild duck, and the Yi ^ , 
which is probably a gull. Dr. Legge translates it a widgeon, 
because the Ching ^, the river on which the birds were, is too 
far from the sea to have sea-gulls on it. If the doctor had lived 
in Hankow, he would have found that gulls are almost as plentiful 
there in the winter months as they are by the sea-shore. The 
commentators find all sorts of fanciful allusions in these birds 
frequenting the clear river Ching (the Ching in China is the type 
of clearness, as the Wei is of muddiness), and the aits and gorges ; 
but we need scarcely trouble ourselves with them. 

It is said that on the day after the greater festivals, the members 
of the family who had been chosen to be " Personators of the 


No. 5. 


Of our beloved admirable king 
Great is the worth, the virtue which I sing. 
The folk, the officers, throughout the land 
He rules, as heaven has given him command. 
Divine support and aid so often shown 
Prove heaven declares the monarch as its own. 

Thus shall he dignity and blessing claim, — 
Thousands of sons to keep alive his name, — 
Grandsons, whose virtues and whose worth are great. — 
Such men are fit to rule a mighty State. 
Such err in nothing. Nothing they neglect. * 

Old laws they treat with fealty and respect. 

Self-reverence stamps their royal dignity. 
The. glory of their names shall never die. 
They know no weak dislike^ no jealous hate. 
But freely trust the nobles of the State. 
Where the four quarters of the realm extend. 
All wish them blessings which shall have no end. 

Dead," were feasted in the ancestral temple. Such a feast is 
here described. Dr. Legge, following Chu Fu tzii, declares that 
a blessing is invoked on the " Personators of the Dead." I follow 
those commentators who make the personators invoke a blessing 
on the King, of whom happiness and dignity (which, as the poem 
itself says, are always found in the royal ancestral temple) are 
the fitting attributes. 

No. s. 
There is nothing to show that it is King Cheng, whose praises 
are sung here, but I am content to adopt the accepted theory 
that he is the person celebrated. 


From him good order flows, and wise decrees, 
His friends may live untroubled and at ease. 
His princes and the high officials vie 
In love for him, in cordial loyalty. 
No sloth he knows. His people undistrest, 
In him, their monarch, find repose and rest. 

No. 6. 


By his people's woes was Duke Liu opprest, 

By night or day he would snatch no rest ; 

He divided the fields again and again, 

And in stacks or barns stored the scanty grain. 

But, alas ! his efforts were all in vain. 

He bade his men carry dried meat in packs, 

And pour such corn as they saved in sacks ; 

Then with bow and arrow and shield and spear, 

And axes and hatchets in each man's hand. 

He bade them abandon their native land, 

Lest his tribe with its glories should disappear. 

Dr. Legge makes the second stanza a prophecy, and the third 
a prayer. I make them both prophetical. " They freely trust 
the nobles of the State/' means that each king in succession will 
treat his brothers and kinsfolk, the nobility of the kingdom, as 
his friends, and not look on them as a danger to his throne. In 
China, as in other oriental monarchies and empires, those 
nearest the throne are often its greatest danger. 

No. 6. 

This poem is said to be the composition of Duke Shao ^ ^, 

or Chi Shih ^^ ^f , a member of the Royal Family. (See the 

introductory note to Book II. of the ist Part.) Duke Shao is 

said to have composed the piece when young King Ch^ng was 


The people knew that his every thought 
With care and devotion to them was fraught ; 
So when he proclaimed that his clan must leave 
The plain which sufiSced not to feed them all, — 
For the folk were many, the fields were small, — 
There were none to utter complaints or grieve. 
For the Duke had ascended the rocky height. 
And all admired their mighty lord. 
As they marked his belt with its jewels bright. 
And the shining scabbard, which held his sword. 
But when he returned to the plain once more. 
All thoughts of remaining to starve were o'er. 

So they left their homesteads. There was not a man 
To desert his chief when the march began. 
Whose care for his people still filled his mind, 
As southward he gazed from the hills to find 
Some place for them. And he saw below 
A plain so ample that none need fear 
Distress or want in the regions here ; 
A plain where a hundred streamlets flow. 

about to ascend the throne, in order to teach the King, by the 
example of an ancestor, how a sovereign's chief thought should 
be the care of his people. 

Duke Liu gi] is said to be the great-grandson of Hou Chi, the 
subject of the first poem in this book, but chronology will not 
bear out this theory. Historians say that Hou Chi was invested 
with the government of T'ai §p in the year e.g. 2276. His 
reputed father, the Emperor Kao Hsin, or Ti Ku, came to the 
throne, B.C. 2435, and reigned till b.c. 2365 ; so that his son 
must have been of patriarchal age in B.C. 2276. The migration 
described in this poem is assigned to the year B.C. 1796, so that 
from the time of Hou Chi to the time of his great-grandson 480 
years passed, which, as Euclid says, is absurd. The easiest way 
out of the difficulty is to take Hou Chi as an ancestor of Duke 


" For our future capital 'tis the place," 
The Duke declared. "Here is room and space 
On these rolling downs for our folk to dwell. 
Should strangers join, we may lodge them well 
In huts, and from this as my judgment-seat 
I will issue laws, I will justice mete. 
And here with my friends, should the need arise, 
Consult, and plans for our good devise." 

His love for his people still filled his breast. 
When all in this country found peaceful rest, 
He summoned his officers great and small. 
And mats were spread in the central hall, 
And stools were set where the guests might sit. 
Or recline on the mats, as each man thought fit. 
And a victim, the finest in all the sty. 
Was slain, and he filled up the gourd cups high. 
That all, as they feasted around the board, 
Might own him as ruler, as king and lord. 

Liu, but not necessarily his great-grandfather, that is to say, if 
we believe that Hou Chi had a real existence. 

The migration described here was into Pin ^ or ^jj, the 
modern Pin Chou in Shensi. But where was the migration 
from? This remains doubtful, for it is disputed whether it 
was from T'ai, or whether the people had before this been 
driven into the deserts infested by the Huns and other 
barbarous tribes, whence Duke Liu rescued them. It is 
sufficient to note that in B.C. 1796 Duke Liu and his tribe, 
the ancestors of the Chou dynasty, settled in Pin, where they 
remained till B.C. 1325, when T'an fu removed them to Chou, 
as is described in III., i., 3. 

My version follows the structure of the original pretty closely, 
except that a couplet is inserted here and there to explain the 
story, or to make the verses run a little more easily. Each 
stanza of the original begins with a line signifying, "The 
Generous Duke Liu," or, as Dr. Legge translates it, "Of 
generous devotion to the people was Duke Liu." 


His love for his people was warm and strong. 
The land he ruled now was broad and long. 
He climbed to the mountain top to see 
Where the proper bounds of the land should be, 
(Part was cold in the shade^ part warm in the sun,) 
And to mark where the streams and the fountains run. 
Three troops were enrolled to protect his land, 
And the level marshes and fields he planned. 
That the tax might be paid as the laws demand. 
To the west of the mountains he spread his State 
Till the tribe of Pin became. truly great. 

Stanza i. Duke Liu and his clan were a prey to two evils. 
Their land did not produce enough food for their wants, and the 
wild tribes gave them no rest. I lay greater stress on the first 
evil, but many of the commentators, struck with the lines in 
which it is mentioned that every man was armed, enlarge on the 
dangers to which their foes exposed them. 

Stanza 2. The Duke, dressed in his insignia of ofiSce, to awe 
and impress the people, climbed the hill to see whether he could 
descry land fit for their habitation. But none such could be 
found, so he made up his mind to migrate. 

Stanza 3. The people marched, apparently in a south-easterly 
direction, until the Duke sighted the undulating plain of Pin, 
where there was ample room, and a good supply of water. Some 
say that there is a place in Pin called " The hundred springs.'' 
I have taken the phrase as descriptive, and not as a proper 
name. To make the last two lines of this stanza a speech of the 
Duke's is my own idea. 

Stanza 4. Duke Liu being now safely established in Pin 
invites his officers to a solemn feast to show that he assumes the 
right to rule the country, and to be the ruler and headman of his 
clan. Liu Yiian says that the sacrifice of a pig and libations 
poured from cups of calabash or gourd, indicate that ancestors 
were worshipped on this occasion with the rites appropriate to 
the ruler of a country alone. 

Stanza 5. In this stanza are described the good government 
of Pin, and the prosperity that ensued. The Duke surveyed the 



Of devotion was Duke Liu full, and of zeal, 
His only care was his people's weal. 
They leave their wooden huts on the plain, 

And in boats they ferry across the Wei 
To fetch back iron and stone again 

To build them houses which ne'er decay. 
No hovels squalid and mean and small 
Were seen in the bounds of his capital. 
Thus the people increase and they multiply ; 
Both sides of the valley they occupy. 
Till the land is too narrow for them, and so 
To the further bank of the Juy they go. 

country by marking how the shadows fell. At least, that is what 
I make out of the word ^ Ying, which is used as a verb in this 
stanza. The lands which got the full benefit of the sun were, no 
doubt, subject to heavier taxes than those which had a northerly 
slope and exposure. The land was laid out in large squares, 
containing nine smaller ones, according to the system of division 
which we have had described before. The formation of a 
standing army of three corps, or troops, shows that the country 
was rich and populous. Dr. Legge rightly ridicules Mao's theory 
that the people marched to Pin in three bodies, with the women 
and children in the inside, a manoeuvre that reminds the reader 
of Mr. Montague Tigg's speech : " If you could have seen me, 
Mr. Pinch, at the head of my regiment on the coast of Africa, 
charging in the form of a hollow square, with the women and 
children and the regimental plate-chest in the centre, you would 
have respected me, Sir." 

Stanza 6. The meaning of the first half of this stanza is rather 
doubtful. The Chinese version, literally translated, is, " The 
people (Dr. Legge makes the subject Duke Liu) having built 
themselves huts in Pin, cross the Wei to get stone and iron ; so 
their dwellings are settled and properly defined." My amplifica- 
tion of this may convey the right meaning, but it is fair to call 
attention to the fact that Li J^ is oftener translated whetstone 
than stone. It may well be that the iron and whetstone were 


No. 7. 

There are waters beside the roadway, 

Defiled by the mud they lie, 
Till each traveller hot and thirsty. 

Will pass them untasted by. 

Yet these waters when clean and filtered 

We use when we cook our rice, 
And to wash out the sacred vessels 

For our holiest sacrifice. 

If a monarch, though young and foolish. 

Is courteous and kind, we may 
Behold him called by his people 

Their father, defence, and stay. 

needed to produce agricultural implements, rather than for 
building purposes. 

The two valleys are those of the Huang ^ , and of the Kuo j^, 
which I cannot identify. The x\vex Jui ^ runs into the Ching. 

No. 7. 

There are two explanations of this piece, or rather two appli- 
cations of the simile contained in it. Liu Yiian adopts the 
following : " Pool water is muddy, but, when properly filtered, it 
can be used even in sacred and sacrificial rites. So the people 
are ignorant ; but if the king is kind and condescending, they 
will look up to him as their parent and their model, and will 
become efficient servants of the State." He infers that Duke 
Shao is singing in this poem the praises of King Ch^ng, who 
made good officers out of men who originally were stupid and 

The other explanation, which I prefer, is that King Chgng, on 
ascending the throne, was oppressed by a sense of his own 


No. 8. 

As the south wind's eddying breath 
Cooled the glades the hills beneath, 
Thither came our genial King, 
There to ramble, there to sing. 
I, too, sang, nor thought it wrong. 
This the burden of my song. 

" For a King so courteous, kind. 
May each blessing be designed. 
May contentment fill your breast. 
When you ramble, when you rest. 
May you live, and may you die. 
Like the kings in years gone by. 

" Glorious may your kingdom be, 
Undisturbed, from danger free. 
May the gods, my genial lord, 
Length of happy years afford. 
While all powers of nature bring 
Grateful homage to their King. 

deficiencies, and Duke Shao cheers him by pointing out, as 
Judge Gascoigne may have done to Henry V., that, notwith- 
standing his youthful errors, he may yet be everything that a 
monarch should be. 
I have not followed the structure of the Chinese version. 

No. 8. 
I have on this occasion followed the structure of the original 
in my version. Duke Shao and King Ch^ng are supposed to be 
walking together on a pleasant day in summer, enjoying the 

D D 


" Noble King, your father's throne 
We acknowledge as your own. 
Who may venture to defy 
Royal rights and majesty ? 
Live in peace then, and possessing 
Happiness and every blessing. 

" May you find about your Court 
Men to help you and support. 
Pious men are called the wings. 
Guides and leaders of their kings. 
While our King shall prove, we pray 
All men's model, rule, and stay. 

" Let your royal worth be seen 
Pure as jade of whitest sheen. 
Then your praises shall resound 
To your kingdom's furthest bound, 
As the lands four quarters through, 
Hopefully we look to you. 

shade and the cool breeze. After the King has sung a song, 
which, the commentators say, was no doubt in praise of his 
excellent officers, his uncle responds with the accompanying 
ditty. My translation is perhaps rather more optative than the 
Stanza 3 — 

" While all powers of nature bring 
Grateful homage to their King " — 

is an amplification of " May you be the host of all the spirits." 
The spirits are those of the hills, fountains," &c. " He who 
possesses all under the sky sacrifices to all the spirits, .and thus 
the Son of Heaven is indeed the host of them all." A commen- 
tator named Ying ta, quoted in Dr. Legge's notes. 


" Phoenixes auspicious fly, 
Hark, their pinions rustle by ! 
As good omens they appear, 
Telling us that men are here, 
Quick to obey each order given, 
Loving you the Son of Heaven. 

" Look, we see the phoenix fly, 
Soaring to the azure sky. 
Nobles honoured in the State 
For your royal orders wait. 
Each would show his loving zeal 
For your loyal subjects' weal. 

" Listen, now the phoenix sings 
On that crest where laurel springs. 
On the sunlit slopes below 
Greener still its bushes grow. 
Sweet is each harmonious note 
Welling from the songster's throat. 

Stanza 6 — 

" Let your royal worth be seen, 
Pure as jade of whitest sheen." 

Dr. Legge makes the subject of this stanza the officers of state. 
I see no reason why it is not the King, who is the subject of all 
the others. 

Stanza 7. The name of the tree, which I translate " laurel," is 
the Wu T'ung )^ fl^ , which the reader may translate Dryandra 
Cordifolia, with Dr. Legge, Eleococca vernicosa, with Dr. Williams, 
a Sterculia Platanifolia, with Pere Zottoli. Anyhow, he can easily 
find out which of the three it really is, as the Wu T'ung is the 
sole tree on which the phoenix will settle ; so he has only to keep 
his eye on the next phoenix which comes his way, and to notice 
on which tree it alights, to decide the question beyond a doubt. 

D D 2 



" Sovereign lord, I count in vain 
All the cars your sheds contain, 
Or your coursers fleet and strong, 
Trained to whirl your cars along." 
This the little song I sing, 
Singing with my lord, the King. 

No. 9. 

The folk indeed are heavily opprest. 
Would we might win for them a little rest. 
Grant them some scanty respite from their woes, 
Some brief tranquillity, some short repose. 
What shall we do .' The centre of the State 
Let us defend, and make it truly great. 

The student of the commentaries will find some curious 
allusions and metaphors to be extracted from this poem. I have 
not troubled myself with them. Liu Yiian, in the true spirit of 
Mr. Barlow, points out what a beautiful lesson this poem 
conveys. " Here is a King enjoying an hour of leisure. Does he 
spend it in frivolity ? No ! He and his trusted counsellor sing 
together and discuss the scheme of government." si sic omnes. 

No. 9. 

We now come to the poems which are called Ften ^, or 
" Degenerate Pieces." They are for the most part dull and 
heavy productions, like so many of those in the 2nd Part, 
complaining of the misgovernment of the country, and the 
distress of the people. They appear to be anything but songs fit 
for a festival. 

This piece in the original consists of five stanzas of eleven lines 
each, repeating the same thing in slightly different words. I 
have therefore condensed it considerably. It is attributed by 
most Chinese scholars to Duke Mu ^, , who wrote it during the 


The home, the ark, the refuge for our race. 

So shall distress and misery give place 

To ease and comfort, and the realm have peace 

From north to south, and all disorders cease ; 

No wily servile rascals will we spare, 

But force such evil-doers to beware. 

Robbers who plunder and oppress our lands 

Shall look for little mercy at our hands. 

All parasites and braggarts we restrain, \ 

With those who heaven's decrees and will disdain, > 

And such as give their wicked thoughts the rein. J 

Forget not those far distant. They shall share 

With those hard by in our protecting care. 

Such royal service ne'er was paid in vain. 

Upon his throne in peace the King shall reign. 

About him reverently we all attend. 

And every virtuous statesman calls us friend. 

Though hard and burdensome our tasks appear, 

And we be weak and feeble, do not fear. 

As precious jewels in our monarch's eyes 

We seem, so thus I rouse your energies. 

reign of King Li j^, B.C. 878-828, meaning thereby to point out 
to his royal master how his subjects suffered from his misrule. 
There is little of this discernible in the verses themselves, in which 
the King is mentioned with loyal affection. 

Liu Yiian's theory is that the poem was not written during the 
reign of King Li, but in the time of King Chang's old age, when 
the people were beginning to forget the glories and good govern- 
ment of Wen and Wu. He says that the author was probably 
either a young hereditary officer, who was awed by the task of 
reform which seemed laid on his shoulders, or else an old official 
who tried to encourage his juniors to rise to a sense of their 

I cannot help thinking that the stress laid on the importance 
and value of the capital shows that when the poem was written 
it was advisable to remind the people of the advantage of 
having a settled dwelling-place, and to warn them of the necessity 
of giving up their old nomadic habits. 


No. 10. 


No looger to our folk are given 
The blessings once bestowed by heaven. 
Where there was joy and happiness, 
Are found but misery and distress. 
To whom is such misfortune due } 

To you, whose words are idle wind. 

In you no prescient plan we find ; 
No wise and guiding rule have you. 
Nay, treacherous are you, and untrue. 
Thus all who trust you go astray. 
Now list the earnest words I say. 

The Powers have laid a heavy hand 
On us. Their wrath afflicts the land. 
Is this a time for men to dare 
To look with an indifferent air, 
And see calamities o'erwhelm 
Our troubled, our distracted realm ? 
Ah, no, be only true and kind. 

How quickly will dissension cease, 
And union in its place will bind 

The folk in bonds of love and peace. 

No. 10. 
This piece, according to the views usually accepted, is a 
warning addressed to the younger officials by an old statesman, 
who, according to the Preface, was the Earl of Fan ^ fg, 
who lived in the reign of King Li. I venture to start the theory 
that the poem is a reply to the writer of the last jiiece, who has 
therein expressed his ideas of what is required in the way of good 
government and reform, ideas which the author of this poem 


Our paths may not together lie, 
Your fellow-servant still am I. 
I come to give you words of warning, 
You slight me with disdain and scorning. 

In straits like these 'tis hardly wise 
To make our wrongs a jest and play. 

Our fathers bade us not despise 
E'en what the stupid woodmen say ; 
For fools may know the shortest way. 

When heaven's destroying wrath is near, 
Is this a time to mock or jeer ? 
Ye are but young, an old man I. 
I speak with all sincerity. 
But ye are proud, and sneering say, 
"What means this drivelling dotard here ?" 

Why, see ye not the times are sad. 
And woes and troubles multiply 
Like flames, which all our skill defy. 

From which no safety may be had ? 

In such a hard distressful time 
To boast, to flatter, were a crime. 
A grave and reverent mien respect. 
Lest if such duties we neglect 
The virtuous men, who should abound. 
Shall in our midst no more be found. 

treats with the greatest scorn and contempt. It is as if the 
Secretary-of-State for Ireland had put his plans for the better 
government of that distressful country into verse, and a member 
of the opposition had replied in metre, holding up the un- 
fortunate scheme to the ignominy which in his eyes it of course 

The poem is unusually obscure, and as the Chinese com- 


The people only sigh and groan. 

Let us then find the remedy. 
Be help and kindness promptly shown 

To save them in extremity. 

Heaven has not willed that human sight 
Be blind to its life-giving light. 

Some easy task to me declare, — 
To make the fifes in concert suit 
The key-note of the leader's flute — 

Of two mace ends to make a pair — 
To lift, without extraneous aid, 
Some toy, on which your hand is laid. — 
To teach the folk and bid them know 
The will of heaven on earth below 
Were easier — but for this — their eyes 
You blind by your iniquities. 

7. . 
The monarch is his kingdom's heart.; 
Its central core. His subjects' part 
Must be to keep him free from fear. 
And see no danger ventures near. 
. His outer wall, his first stockade 
Shall be his subjects^ good and wise. 
His nobles, his great families, 

His officers shall give their aid 
To form the buttress, be the screen. 

The Princes are the citadel 
Which none may penetrate, I ween. 

Here virtue in repose may dwell^ 

mentators admit, it is difficult to see the connection between the 
various stanzas. I follow the structure of the Chinese version 
this time, but my translation is necessarily free. 


And ne'er shall terror come anigh 

Our monarch's calm tranquillity. 

The wrath of heaven above rever e. 

Do all appointed tasks with fear, 

Aye on the watch for heaven's decrees. 

Please heaven, nor care yourselves to please. 

The Powers above are wise, and know 

Both all ye do, and where ye go. 

They see you when you go astray, 

And cease to walk in wisdom's way. 

Stanza 5 — 

" The virtuous men who should abound, 
Shall in our midst no more be found " — 

is the equivalent of '^ A ^ Z' Shan Jin Ts'ai Shih, which I 
would translate, " Virtuous men shall become corpses," i. e. shall 
die. Dr. Legge's translation is, " Good men are reduced to per- 
sonators of the dead," as he says in a note, men who were good 
for nothing but to eat and drink. I cannot think that the perso- 
nators of the dead were thought of thus disrespectfully. 

Stanza 6 is very obscure. I only hope that I have made a fair 
shot at its meaning. The fife and flute should be bamboo flute 
and porcelain whistle, or occarina, mentioned in Book II., 
Part v., s. 

Stanza 7 seems an interpolation. 


Book III. 

No I. 



How mighty is the Being 

Who governs men below. 
How stern his countless mandates. 

To Him we service owe. 
Though given a virtuous nature 

And taught the proper way, 
Alas ! how few retain it, 

How few but go astray. 

Once Chou Hsin had this kingdom ; 

His minister was W6n ; 
Who wept and sighed, lamenting 

To see the realm undone. 
Extortionate exactors 

Oppressed the land alone ; 
For none but petty tyrants 

Stood round the monarch's throne. 

No. I. 

I must begin by noting that this book, though like the other 
parts of Books II. and III., called a decade, contains eleven 
poems. The Chinese commentators do not try to explain the 

The first poem of this book is again assigned to Duke Mu, 
who addressed it to King Li, to warn him that his riotous course 
of life was well calculated to bring him and his country to 
destruction. The Duke cleverly puts his remonstrances in the 


W6n said, " Although their natures 

Were planted there by heaven ; 
Yet power and place and office 

The King alone has given. 
Thus thieves and liars flourish, 

And not the good and w^ise. 
While endless plaints and curses 

Around the Court arise. 

" My liege," he groaned, " you reckon 
As kingly virtues, rage. 
Revenge and angry feelings, 

Which nothing may assuage. 
So none will stand to serve you, 

Behind you, at your side. 

No councillor, no statesman 

Will in your Court abide. 

" Alas ! " he cried, " my sovereign 
You tread a dangerous way. 
You follow what is evil 

By night and eke by day. 
Your face is flushed with drinking ; 

But heaven is not to blame. 
'Tis foolish noisy revelling. 

Which brings you thus to shame. 

mouth of King Wen, as though they were made to King Chou 
Hsin ^^ ^, the last monarch of the Chou dynasty, by King 
Li's great and good ancestor. 

I have for the most part followed the structure of the original, 
although part of my stanza 3 is taken out of stanza 2 of the 
Chinese version. 

Stanza i. Dr. Legge's notes should be carefully studied. He 
points out in these that Mao makes _t % Shang Ti, the equiva- 


" Disorder buzzes round us. 

Misfortune, woe and trouble, 
In ruin's fateful chaldron 

Now seethe and boil and bubble. 
Of wrath and indignation 

I hear the ominous sounds, . 
Which reach the barbarous regions 
Beyond our kingdom's bounds. 

" From heaven these evils came not. 
They came because no more 
You heed the words of wisdom 

Devised for us of yore. 
Though sages now may fail us, 

Their precepts are our own. 

You flout them till your kingdom 

And power are overthrown. 

" A tree, all green and leafy, 
Lies prone upon the ground. 
'Twas in the root and trunk core 

Decay and rot were found. 
Be wise then, and remember 

Not many years ago ; 
Take warning and example 

From the Hsia King's overthrow." 

lent of King Li, and not God, the Supreme Being. The line 
% ^ % ^ Chi Ming To P'i, Dr. Legge translates: "With 
many things irregular in His (God's) ordinations." I prefer to 
read the last word Pi (without the aspirate), and to translate the 
line, " How stern are his commands." 

Stanza 6. " Disorder buzzes round us," &c., is my paraphrase 
of a sentence, " (Things are) like cicadas, or like the bubbling of 
soup." " The barbarous regions " is literally " the devil ( j| kuei) 
regions." Chinese to this day call foreigners " foreign devils." 


No. 2. 


A reverent mien, composed and self-possessed, 

Is virtue's stronghold in the heart of man. 

Though people say, " You never find a sage 

Who is not stupid, yet stupidity 

In him is want of sympathy, and pride, 5 

And not the common ignorance of fools. 

What is a ruler's greatest requisite } 
'Tis this. To be a man. Then through the realm 
All regions feel the influence of a man. 
And loyal homage all will come to pay, 10 

Where reigns uprightness, and when virtue guides. 
Thus with wise counsels and impartial laws, 
Far-reaching plans, and timeous decrees, 
And, above all, with grave and reverent mien 
The King becomes the model for his folk." 15 

It is curious to see how far back this amiable custom has 

Stanza 8. Dr. Legge makes the proverb, " When a green and 
leafy tree falls, it must first have been uprooted." I think that 
the meaning is rather, "The tree must be rotten in root and 
core," though I admit that to arrive at this I must substitute 
some other word for j^ Po. 

No. 2. 
The accepted explanations of this poem lead us into such 
hopeless absurdities that I adopt my own version, which I am 
content to extract from the words of the poem alone, ignoring 
all the commentaries. The commentators say that Duke Wu'^,o( 
Wei @, supposed to be the author of No. 6 of Book VII. of Part II., 
is also the author of this. On the authority of " The Narratives of 
the States " (g pg , Kuo Yii), they say that Wu, at the age of 95, 
composed this piece to admonish himself. Dr. Legge says that 


Alas ! such sayings now describe you not. 
The kingdom groans 'neath error and misrule. 
Such virtue as you' had is lost and gone ; 
And fumes of wine besot and cloud your brain. 
Though you to pleasure are a slavish thrall, 20 

Need you forget the days that went before, 
Or quite neglect the words of former kings, 
Nor care to know the laws their wisdom made ? 
Surely shall they on whom heaven's anger lights 
To ruin sink, as water from a spring 25 

Flows downward to the marshes to be lost. 

Despise not little duties. Early rise, 
And late retire. Have your courtyards clean. 
In such things be a pattern to the world. 
Keep in good order all your cars, your steeds, 30 

Your bows and arrows, all your warlike gear. 
No foe shall come to take you unawares. 
And savage southern hordes shall keep aloof. 

In matters which concern your people's weal, 
Take careful note of how your nobles act. 35 

" the conception of the writer in taking such a method to ad- 
monish himself is almost unique, and the execution of it is 
successful." As regards the last half of this sentence, I disagree 
with the learned doctor. Granted, for the sake of argument, that 
all the sage maxims and wise advice of the first nine stanzas are 
moral reflections addressed by a sage to himself, what are we to 
make of stanzas 10 and 11, where the speaker says, " Not only 
did I lead you by the hand, and instructed you face to face, but 
I held you by the ear . , . yet you listened to me with con- 
tempt, would not let me be your teacher, and thought me a 
hard master ? " 

The attempt of the Preface to harmonize the commentators' 
view of the poem with a warning addressed to King Li, is nega- 
tived by the simple fact that Wu only began to be ruler of Wei 
sixteen years after the death of King Li, and ruled it for fifty-five 
years. If he was ninety -five, as alleged above, when he wrote 
this, he could not have been more than twenty-four years old 


Be on the watch 'gainst perils unforeseen. 

Be cautious of the words which pass your lips, 

And still retain your grave and reverent mien. 

Be mild and complaisant. A speck or flaw 

May from a crystal mace be ground away. 40 

A flaw or slip of the tongue is ne'er forgot. 

Then say not lightly, " Little do I care 

What words I speak. Is not my tongue my own .? 

Who dares restrain it .? " Ah, my liege, reflect. 

Words are not idle wind, but each word finds 45 

Its answer ; each good deed its recompense. 

Be gracious to your friends. The common folk 

Treat as if all were children of yourself. 

Then shall your line extend to future days, 

And all your people honour and obey. 50 

To wise and noble men be always kind, 
And meet such men in friendly intercourse. 
Against ill deeds be ever on your guards 
That even in your inmost room's recess 
The light that shines therein may shame you not. 55 
Say not, " No mortal eye beholds me here, 
Here in this secret spot." The spirits see. 

when King Li died, after a reign of fifty years. So it stands to 
sense that he could not have been the King's tutor. I am quite 
content to make the poem the production of some preceptor to 
warn some king ; but what preceptor, or what king, history 
showeth not, though I guess King Li to be the king. Dr. Legge's 
notes on this poem will well repay perusal. 

Stanza i (lines 1-6). I think that it is better to translate 
P^ Yic, a stronghold (of virtue) than an indication of it, as 
Dr. Legge does. ^ Li, I make " want of sympathy,'' and not, 
" doing violence to his natural character." 

It is curious to note the tremendous stress which the Chinese 
then, as now, laid on gravity of demeanour. 

Stanza 5 (lines 34-41). Dr. Legge says that line 2, which he 
translates, " Be careful of your duties as a prince (of the king- 
dom)," should be decisive against any reference of the ode to 


Invisible to us they come and go 

To mark our actions, so despise them not. 

Strive then, my lord, to have your virtuous deeds 60 

Admired by all, and see no fault be found 

In your demeanour. No excess commit. 

Do naught to hurt or injure other men. 

Thus shall the nation's pattern be their king. 

Requite each act of kindness. If a peach 65 

Be thrown to you, at once return a plum. 
All men are weak. Be lenient to their faults. 
A yearling ram has not yet grown its horns. 

It is the pliant and elastic wood 
Which takes the silken string and makes the bow. 70 
It is the kind and humble man alone. 
Whose virtues have foundations fixed and sure. 
Give to a wise man sensible advice ; 
He heeds your words and docilely obeys. 
Offer good counsel to a stupid dolt, 75 

He laughs at your advice and calls it false. — 
Such difference is there twixt the sage and fool. 

Before you could distinguish, — oh, my son, — 
'Twixt good and evil, was not I the man 
To lead you by the hand, and indicate 80 

King Li. I fail to see this. I translate the first two lines of the 
stanza, " Render perfect your people. Be careful what your 
nobles plan." 

Confucius so much admired the moral lesson conveyed by 
the simile of the flaw in the crystal mace in this stanza, that 
he gave his niece in marriage to a man named Nan Yung, 
because this was his favourite quotation. See the Confucian 
" Analects," xi. 5. 

Stanza 10 (lines 78-89). It is not clear whether holding the 
pupil by the ears, as the author of this poem says he did, means 
holding him by the ear and drawing him towards the master, so 
that no word of instruction be lost, or whether it was a painful 
reminder to the pupil to attend to his lessons. My own sad 
experience as a school-boy is in favour of the latter explanation. 

E E 


How in this world of ours we always find 

That right produces right, and wrong breeds wrong ? 

Nor mine the duty to instruct alone, 

But to correct you. Yet though years have flown. 

And you are now the father of a son, 85 

I fear that you are still in ignorance. 

How will your people e'er be satisfied. 

Unless from early morn to night you strive, 

And thus acquire knowledge to be of use } 

Heaven's will be done. To see you dense and dull 90 
Afflicts my heart and causes me distress. 
Day after day, unwearying, I taught. 
You heard my words of wisdom with contempt. 
You would not take me as your guide in life. 
You thought me troublesome, pedantic, rude. 95 

So now, although long life be granted you 
Past human span, you never shall be wise. 
My son, take warning by the words I speak. 
Keep to old ways and list to my advice ; 
So shall you have no reason to lament. 100 

The wrath of heaven hes hard upon the land, 
And dire calamities destroy your realm. 
I warn you by these woes before your eyes 
That heaven possesses no unerring hand, 
And should you still descend the downward path, 105 
Ruin and death will overwhelm your State. 

In my translation I soften the phrase, which has a certain 
grotesqueness, to " correct you." 

The last two lines of the stanza are very obscure, and are most 
probably corrupt. I conjecture that they mean, "The people 
are not satisfied, because you do not acquire knowledge early, 
and perfect it late." Dr. Legge's translation, " If people are not 
self-sufficient, who comes (only) to a late maturity after early 
instruction?" is beyond my understanding. 

Stanza 11 (lines 90-97). The concluding lines of this stanza 
confirm the opinion of those who hold that Duke Wu was 
addressing himself. Dr. Legge's version is, " Still, perhaps you 


No. 3. 




Here once there stood a well-grown mulberry tree, 

Which all around had cast a grateful shade. 

But one by one its leaves were plucked away, 

Until the tree was dead, its life destroyed. 

So dies our nation. Our intense distress S 

Afflicts my heart with never ceasing grief, 

And stirs each pitying feeling in my soul. 

Oh, heaven, that shinest great and bright above. 

Why art thou deaf to all our cries of woe ? 

Disaster grows. No peace can be secured. 10 

On every side the mighty coursers wheel 
The war cars. Flags and banners flap o'erhead. 
Till every State in ruin is engulphed. 
And till our black-haired race is seen no more. 
Naught but the ashes of the State remain. 1 5 

The nation's doom, alas, is close at hand. 
What can arrest it ? Heaven withdraws its aid. 
No place is left where we may safely rest ; 
No place to which we may for safety flee. 

do not know. But you are very old." I see nothing to prevent 
the words being put in the future tense, as I have done in my 

No. 3. 
In the year 841 B.C., the people being addressed by King Li, 
rose in revolt, and drove him into Chih ^, the modern Ho Chou 
^ ;[il in Shansi, where he remained till he died in B.C. 827. 
During his exile, Dukes Shao ■^ and C/iou J^ were the regents 
of the country, and the period of their administration was known 
as Hung Ho :^ ^q, mutual' harmony. Liu Yiian points out that 
this is the only instance of a revolution in the history of China 

E E 2 


Oh, would that men of wisdom might be found 20 
To bind the State together, and with heart 
And soul repress disorder. Vain the wish. 
When disaffection rears its head so high, 
And fosters and increases our distress. 
Must I not weep when I behold our land 25 

Thus torn and harried ? Surely I was born 
In some unlucky hour to have to bear 
The wrath of heaven, when no repose is known 
From east to west, and no abiding place 
Is left ; for even on our furthest bounds 30 

Come savage tribes to plunder and destroy. 

Counsel you have, nor caution you neglect. 
And yet disorder grows, divisions come. 
This is the point which craves your anxious care ; — 
To carefully discern 'twixt man and man, 35 

Lest, like a smith, who seizes in his hand 
A red-hot iron, waiting not to dip 
And cool it in the water, your crude haste 
Brings pain instead of profit, till at last 
You and your creatures sink 'neath ruin's flood. 40 

'Tis hard to fight one's way against a storm. 
When gusts obstruct and choke the panting breath. 
There are those who might aid us, but they say 
" It is of no avail ; men need us not.'' 
So to their farms and husbandry they turn. 45 

which did not lead to a subversion of the dynasty after a devas- 
tating civil war. 

The authorship of the poem is ascribed to Jui Liang fu 
"^^5^1 ^" Earl, about whom nothing very much seems 

The structure of the poem is irregular. The first eight stanzas, 
as didactic and heavy as any in the whole classic, consist of 
eight lines each . The eight remaining stanzas contain only six 
lines apiece, and the sentiments in them differ materially from 
those in the beginning of the poem. I have little doubt that the 
two halves have in reality no connection with each other. I have. 


Preferring thus to sow their corn and reap, 
Rather than serve their country and their king. 

Yet even them disaster follows fast ; 
For heaven decrees us misery and death, 
The abdication of the royal throne, 5° 

Injurious insects to devour our crops, 
And bring our husbandmen to evil case ; 
And danger and decay are everywhere. 
What can I do, save pray to heaven alone ? 
Look on this picture and on that. Behold 55 

A good and righteous ruler. All his folk 
Gaze up at him with reverence and respect. 
With all his heart he forms well-measured plans, 
And seeks for men to carry out these schemes. 
Now mark the ruler neither good nor wise. 60 

Blinded by self-conceit, he cares for naught 
But his own will, his own short-sighted views. 
And heeds not that his people are distraught. 
List then and hearken to the song- 1 sing. 


See the herds of fallow deer 65 

Pace together through the wood. 

Men unfriendly, insincere. 

Will not help you to your good. 

Though you find it, as we say. 

Hard to ^o, and hard to stay. 70 

therefore, in my translation made the latter half a song, as the 
easiest way out of the difficulty. 

Stanza 2 (lines 10-16). "Our black-haired race is seen no 
more." Dr. Legge makes the ingenious suggestion that there 
were no black-haired men left, because all the young and lusty 
were away fighting or slain, so that only white-haired old men 
were to be seen. I am afraid that Li ^, even if we make it 
"black-haired," and not "agricultural," is only a conventional 
epithet applied to the Chinese in general, and that it cannot have 
the force which Dr. Legge would give to it. 



Far and wide the sage's voice, 
His wise words, we gladly greet. 

Scorn we fools who dare rejoice, 
Blinded by their own conceit. 

Deem you that I fear or shrink 75 

To divulge the thoughts I think ? 

But the good man, loved by all. 

In our glory has no part. 
All the sweets of office fall 

To the men of cruel heart, 80 

Till the people take delight 
In wrong-doing, not in right. 

There are paths for gusts of wind. 

Out of barren gulfs they blow. 
Cause will have effect. We find 85 

From a good man good deeds flow. 
While the bad man's guide must be 
His innate impurity. 

Evil winds have found their way. 

Greed perverts and lust of gain. 90 

But my warnings are, they say. 

Babble from a drunkard's brain. 
Good men scorned, despised, I see. 
All my task is vain, ah, me ! 

Stanza 7 (lines 48-54). Liu Yiian would make out that even 
those who retire to their farms rather than take office, reap no 
benefit from the evasion of their duties, because evil insects, 
which he says is a metaphor for extortionate tax-gatherers, came 
and stole the fruit of their labours. I take the insects in their 
literal sense. 

Stanza 8 (lines 55-64). Some say that a comparison between 


Speak I thus in ignorance ? 95 

Nay, a gnat upon the wing 
Sometimes hits its mark by chance ; 

Safely plants its tiny sting. 
Though to profit you I try, 
I excite your ire thereby. 100 

Hypocrites devoid of shame 

Raise revolt and anarchy. 
Making it their only aim 

How to work us injury. 
All this wickedness and woe 105 

To their evil toil we owe. 

How can quiet peace prevail 

While these robbers do us wrong .' 

All their tricks, their falsehoods fail. 

Learn it, villains, from my song. no 

All your slanders I can track, 

All your lies behind my back. 

bad King Li and the good Dukes is intended, but there is nothing 
to show this. Besides, this poem was probably written just when 
affairs were coming to a crisis, before the two Dukes could show 
of what stuff they were made. 

Stanza 9 (the ist metrical stanza). The allusion to the deer 
can be explained as the reader fancies. Some say that it means, 
" Here is a herd of feeble creatures." Others, " The deer move 
together in harmony. Such friendly relations are not now found 
among men." 

Stanza 14 (6th metrical stanza). Dr. Legge makes Chung ^ 
a bird. I see no reason why we should alter its usual meaning, 
or put the verb in the passive tense, as he does. He explains the 
phrase in his note : " Birds on the wing are generally missed, 
though sometimes one is brought down." (" They do fly into 


No. 4. 



The King looked up with streaming eyes ; 
He sought for help from the starlit skies. 
It was all in vain. 'Twas a cloudless night, 
And the river of heaven flowed clear and bright. 
Till he cried aloud in his grief and pain, 
" Ah, me, what crime to my charge is laid. 
That death and disorder my realm invade, 
And famine tortures again and again .' 
Is there one god I have failed to pay 
The reverence due, or a gift so rare 
I have grudged to give it, or would I spare 
Our holiest tokens whene'er we pray ? 
But the heavens above me are deaf to my prayer. 


" The fiery blasts of this heat increase, 
And the drought torments us, and will not cease. 
What altar has failed of its offering. 
From the tiny shrines in the forest wild. 
To the royal fane reserved for the King ? 
Each has its sacrifice undefiled. 

the shot sometimes," as the keeper said.) It seems to me to be 
far more natural to make the speaker talk of himself as an insect, 
and say that he can sometimes hit. Chinese are always fond of 
self-depreciatory terms. To this day petitioners speak of them- 
selves as "ants," 

No. 4. 

We now arrive at a poem full of human interest, which, to my 

mind, is one of the best and most suggestive in the whole classic. 

My translation of it is free, but I hope not inaccurate. Another 

metrical translation of it was published anonymously in No. 2 of 


Of the gods above and below is none 
To whom due homage has not been done. 
Yet to help us is great Hou Chi afraid, 
And God, omnipotent, grants no aid. 
Would my kingdom's ruin but fell on me, 
Me only, leaving my people free. 

" I may not hope to escape this ill, 
This terrible drought, which afflicts us still, 
Though I know the danger, and full of dread 
I wait as men wait for the thunder's crash. 
When the storm's o'erhead, and the lightning's flash 
May come in a moment to strike them dead. 
Of the black-haired people, Chou's mighty clan, 
Will be scarce left living one single man. 
Nor will heaven above exempt e'en me 
From this cruel fate, though men shake to see 
The King destroyed, and his royal line. 
And ancestral rites, which they thought divine. 

" Fierce burns the drought with a fiery glow. 
No refuge we find in this time of woe ; 
When I find, alas, that my end is near. 
There is nothing left, there is no one here. 

Vol. iv. of the "China Review," Sept.-Oct. 1884, which is well 
worth the attention of the reader. I think that I am justified in 
saying that the author of it was the Hon. Alfred Lister, of Hong- 
kong, by whose death we have lost a good Chinese scholar. 

The composition of this piece is assigned to J^ng Shu -pj ^ , 
apparently an officer of the Court, and the drought mentioned in 
it may be accepted as having occurred in B.C. 821, the sixth year 
of King Hsiian, ^,who reigned from e.c. 827 to 782. (The 
reader should again consult Dr. Legge's notes.) 

Stanza r. " The River of Heaven," literally the Yun Han, 
g ^. " The (River) Han in the Clouds " is, of course, " The 
Milky Way." 


Ye shades of great men of days gone by, 
Bring ye no hope to your tortured land ? 
Oh, my parents' spirits, who dwell on high. 
Will ye not stretch out a helping hand ? 

" Our hills are scorched, and our rivers dry, 
For the dire drought demon is passing by. 
O'er all the nation his fatal breath 
Is scattering fire and flames and death ; 
Till my heart, too, feels as if set on fire. 
Deaf are the ghosts of the mighty dead. 
Thou who ruledst this world forego thine ire 
Against thy slave, who would fain retire 
To hide in the deserts his humbled head. 

" But though realm be lost, and destruction nigh. 
From the post of fear shall a brave man fly ? 
I know not whence my misfortune came. 
To what sin of mine to impute the blame. 
Was I late in making the prayers of spring, 
When we pray to heaven for a fruitful year ? 
Did I fail at the autumn thanksgiving, 
When we thank the gods for our harvest cheer .' 
As the gods see men, and high heaven knows all, 
'Tis hard that on me should their anger fall. 

" A gift so rare I have grudged to give it." It appears that 
the maces and other sacred articles used at the royal sacrifices 
were afterwards buried in the earth. None of these had been 
grudged, and yet no answer comes to the King's prayers. In this 
classic we find frequent mention of prayers to heaven. In 
modern times, the Emperor, instead of praying to heaven alone, 
prays to heaven (the Yang, male, or positive principle of nature), 
and to earth (the Yin, female, or negative principle). Offerings 
to earth are buried in the ground. If the commentators are 
right in their view that King Hsiian's gifts were buried in the 
earth, it would seem that even in the Chou dynasty sacrifices 


" Because this ruin pervades the land, 
My sway is weak. With a feeble hand 
I hold the reins which should guide the State, 
And my nobles groan 'neath a heavy weight ; 
Though there is not one man who will not try, — 
From my statesmen of highest dignity, 
To the youngest servant within my gate, — 
To help me to banish this misery. 
From heaven above us some aid I'd borrow 
To draw me out from this gulf of sorrow. 

" I look to the skies above this night, 
But all I can see is the stars shine bright. 
Oh, nobles, oh, friends, beloved by me. 
Who have done whatever such men can do. 
Though your King is waiting for death's decree. 
Relax not the efforts begun by you. 
'Tis not for me only such pains ye take. 
Your work is done for my people's sake. 
For me, my prayer is, may I find peace 
In the silent grave, where all sorrows cease. 

were made to earth, but I accept the theory with great reluc- 

Stanza 2. " The shrines in the forest wild," are the CKiao J]}, 
frontier altars. Hou Chi is, of course, the deified patron of 
agriculture. See III., ii., i. 

Stanza 5. " The drought demon " is the Han Po ^^ '^, 
otherwise Han Kuei ^ ^ , or Han SMn ^ jjii^ , also known as 
Han Mu ^ -^ , " Mother of Droughts," a dwarf with eyes in top 
of his (or her) head, who runs like the wind. 

Stanza 6. I have slurred over the titles of the King's officers, 
mentioned in this stanza. They are the Premier, the Master of 
the Horse, the Commander-in-Chief, the cook and servants. Liu 
"Viian will have it that at the sacrifices none of them failed to be 
present, making Chou j^ , in this passage, the equivalent of "to 


■No. 5. 




By Yin Chi Fu. 

Majestic are the mountains ; grandly, loftily they rise, 
And their masses soar above us till their peaks attain 

the skies. 
When such hills produce a spirit, it is such a mighty 

As inspires the souls of heroes, men like Fu, and men 

like Shen ; 
Fu and Sh€n, the realm's defenders, its strong buttress 

and its screen. 5 

In all quarters of the kingdom are their name and 

influence seen. 
Now the King knew Sh6n was earnest both in 

action and in thought. 
As his fathers were before him, and a rich reward this 


be present at." He is alone in this explanation. All the other 
commentators understand Chou as " to save," " to help." 

No. 5. 
We have already had mention of Yin Chi fu jB' "^ "g" , in 
II., iii., 3, ■where he appears as commander of an expedition 
against the -wild tribes. In II., viii., 3, we have a description of 
the building of Hsieh llj , the capital of SMn ^ , under the 
direction of the Earl of Shao, otherwise known as Duke Mu, of 
Shao /H S 5^- It ^'^ make this poem sufficiently clear^ if I 
point out that the events described in it took place during the 
reign of King Hsiian, that the Marquis of Shen, who belonged to 
the Chiang ^ family, was the King's maternal uncle, and that 
Hsieh, as I have mentioned before, was in the modern Ting 


For the monarch made him chieftain of a region vast 

and great, 
Where Sh^n might rule in Hsieh as a pattern to each 

State 10 

To the southward. And they named the land by his 

own name of Sh^n, 
And a palace there was built him. All the work was 

deftly done 
By the Earl of Shao, who laboured to fulfil his King^s 

That the virtuous race of Shen should ever live to 

bless the land. 
Then words of kindly guidance came from forth the 

monarch's mouth. 15 

" Dear chieftain, be the model to my regions in the 

When my people need example, let them look to you 

and see 
By the peaceful men of Hsieh what a well-ruled State 

should be." 
And the Earl of Shao was bidden to set boundaries to 

each field, 
And to name the royal taxes that each plot of ground 

should yield. 20 

Next a steward of the household the King ordered to 

For such folk as with the chieftain went in Hsieh to 


Chou ^ >]\\ , in Honan. (Dr. Legge's exhaustive notes on this 
poem should be carefully perused.) 

Stanza i (lines 1-6). " When such hills produce a spirit," &c., 
is Mayers' translation. There are sundry interpretations of this 
phrase. Dr. Legge says that the spirits of the four mountains 
were supposed to have a special interest in the family of Chiang 
and its collateral branches. Pfere Zottoli points out that the 
monarch was accustomed to offer sacrifices to the spirits of 
the mountains of the four quarters — north, south, east, and west. 


For the chieftain's sake foundations of the city wall 

were laid 
By the Earl. A splendid temple to Shin's ancestors 

he made ; 
And when this was built, four noble steeds the monarch 

sent, bedight 25 

With scarlet bands and harness, and with trappings 

glittering bright. 
A royal car and steeds stood by to bear the chief 

The monarch said, " I pondered long where you 

should bear your sway, 
Ere I fixed it in the south lands. Take this sceptre, 

let it be 
To all nations as the symbol of the power and dignity 30 
Wherewith you are invested by the King. Dear 

kinsman go, 
And protect my southern borders from the dangers of 

the foe." 
A parting feast the King bestowed, ^twas in the 

land of Wei, 
Then southward to his destined place our chieftain 

took his way. 
At length he reached his capital at Hsieh, there to 

find 35 

To fields and farms the Earl of Shao the limits had 

assigned ; 
And stores of food were ready to supply the chieftain's 

That nothing might delay him, or might check his 

coursers' speed. 

I do not know that we need hunt out any deep meaning in the 
phrase. The idea that a hero is animated by the spirit of the 
country which bore him and his race, is not altogether unknown 
in poetry. 

Stanza 3 (lines 15-23). "Such folk as with the chieftain went 


As he entered Hsieh 'twas a sight to glad each 
martial eye 

To see his ranks of warriors and of horsemen troop- 
ing by. 40 

Now throughout each State and country every man 
delights to hear 

Such a guardian of the empire, such a strong defence 
is near. 

And they cry, " Our monarch's kinsman is to us our 
guiding star, 

And the model for our rulers whether peace prevails 
or war. 

The virtues of our chieftain shine with lustre pure 

and bright, 45 

For his heart is kind and gentle, and his government 

May he guide this region wisely till all nations know 
his name, 

And each subject of our monarch knows and cele- 
brates his fame." 

I have made this song, a good song, for it pays the 
tribute due 

To our Chieftain by his loving friend and follower 

Chi fu. 5° 

in Hsieli to abide," is an amplification of Ssu J^n ^/, ^, private 
persons. I take it to mean all the followers of the family, 
including servants and hangers-on of all kinds. The " Complete 
Digest," quoted by Dr. Legge, says, " While his family was not 
removed to his new residence, the chieftain could not enjoy his 
domestic bliss," so the King thoughtfully had his household sent 
with him. 

Stanza 6 (lines 33-38). The land of Wei jajj is the modern 
F&ng Hsiang 11, ^ in Shensi, where the King must have been 
travelling, as it was not in the straight line between the royal 
capital and the land of Shen. 


No. 6. 


By Yin Chi Fu.' 

That cause will produce effect is a law decreed us by- 
To guide all the actions of men was this rule of our 

nature given. 
While virtue can win men's love, can we call it a 

marvellous thing 
That men acknowledge and love the virtue of him I 

sing .' 
The gods had beheld how the hearts of all the 

dwellers on earth i; 

Had been cheered by our monarch's acts, and by all 

his deeds of worth. 
To proclaim him as heaven's own son, and secure 

him the blessing due, 
They sent as his aid and help, our chieftain, our Chung 

Shan fu ; 
Whose virtue is ever found what a chieftain's virtue 

should be, 
And fair is his face and form, his manner from 

harshness free. lo 

In his gait and mien he is careful to have there no 

fault or flaw, 
For the lessons of bye-gone days are to him his guide 

and his law. 

No. 6. 

We know little of Chung Shan A f (^ [Ij "^ - He was 

Marquis of Fan ^ , and was one of King Hsiian's ministers, 

perhaps the Prime Minister. He was sent to Ch'i ^ to fortify 

one of the cities there, probably the capital. His friend, Yin 


A man so trusted and loved by his monarch is 

surely he, 
The man whom the King would choose to publish 

each bright decree. 
And the King thus gave him charge : " Be the 

pattern to every lord, 15 

As thy ancestors were of yore, and be both a shield 

and sword 
To guard my person, and be as the royal lips and 

To publish the King's decree through the kingdom 

from north to south ; 
And spread the signs of my sway abroad, till all 

nations see, 
And all submit to my rule with the reverence due 

to me." 20 

Such was the solemn charge which the King on 

our chieftain laid, 
Who wrought with labour and pain to have his 

master obeyed. 
With anxious mind he watched, and with bright, 

far-piercing eyes. 
He marked each prince to learn if his deeds were 

foolish or wise. 
Never idle, by day or night from his duties he never 

swerved, 2S 

Respecting himself, for he knew 'twas his master the 

King he served. 

Chi fu, " drops into poetry " on the occasion, as his wont 
apparently was. 

It seems curious that this poem — to say nothing of the one 
which precedes it, and two which follow it — should be included 
under the head of " Degenerate Pieces." Liu Yiian has a sug- 
gestion that Chung Shan fu's mission took place at the close of 
King Hsiian's reign, when His Majesty had begun to stray from ' 
the paths of virtue, and that Chung Shan fu had been sent away 

F F 


"What is soft we eat, but reject the hard," as our 

folks have said ; 
The one it cannot resist, of the other we are afraid. 
But our chieftain acts not thus, far other indeed his 

plan ; — 
He insults not the poor and helpless ; he fears not 

the violent man. 30 

Again, our people have said that virtue is light as a 

Yet light as it is, 'tis a burden few shoulders are fit 

to bear. 
When I think the matter o'er, of all the men I have 

The man who can bear this weight is our chieftain, 

and he alone. 
His friends who love him would aid, but to whom 

save to Chung Shan fu ,35 

Would the King entrust his duties, or set him his 

tasks to do ? 
He offered an offering due to the spirit that guards 

the road. 
Then mounted his car, and away his four strong 

coursers strode. 
Their merry bells rang clear, as they went without 

stop or stay, 
For the sole things feared by the chief and his men 

were sloth and delay. 40 

His quest was this : he was bade to the eastlands of 

Ch'i to go. 
And there to wall in a city to guard our folk from 

the foe. 

on a useless errand because the King wgs jealous of him, and did 
not want to have him about his Court. ■; ; 

Stanza i (lines 1-8). " That cause will -produce effect," &c., is 
my translation of the second line'of the original, which is, literally, 
" There are things and there are laws." This sentence was 
quoted in a metaphysical discussion, in which Confucius and 


May his steeds, with their tinkling bells, bring him 

safe from the land of Ch'i, 
And ere many days have flown, may my friend 

return home to me. 
I have made this song ; may it come as a cooling 

and gentle wind 45 

To refresh him amid his cares, and to quiet his 

anxious mind. 

No. 7. 


Along the shining road that winds beneath 
The mighty range of Liang, which years before 
Great Yii had changed to slopes of fertile fields, 
To render homage came the lord of Han. 
On him the King himself then laid this charge : 5 
" Follow the footsteps of your sires of yore ; 
Nor deem these words of mine an idle breath. 
Early and late be diligent, and strive 
To do your duty with such reverence. 
That my delight in you may never wane. 10 

Mencius both took a part (see Mencius, VI., Part i, Chap. 6). 
Students of Chinese metaphysics, who follow the methods of 
Giles and Balfour, and not those of Mr. Potts's critic, no doubt 
know the piece. 

No. 7. 

This piece is also attributed to Yin Chi fu, although he has 
not on this occasion put his name to it. My translation of it is 
free. I have slurred over a good many of the Chinese terms, as 
the foot-notes will show. 

The Marquis of Han ||: was a feudal prince, whose capital, as 
far as I can gather, was at Cho Chou '0 >)]] , in the district of 
Shun T'ien fu, where Peking now stands. . The poem represents 

F F 2 


Reprove such nobles as neglect to come 

To Court, and pay myself the allegiance due. 

Thus shall you do a service for your King." 

Four stallions, noble steeds of hugest bulk, 
Had drawn their lord the Marquis to the Court. 15 

He bore the sceptre to his rank assigned, 
And came and humbly stood before the King, 
Who gave him as a mark of loving trust, 
A dragon flag with feathers bright bedecked, 
A chequered screen, an ornamented yoke, 20 

A rich, dark 'broidered robe, and scarlet shoes ; 
And, that his chariot might befit his rank, 
Breast-plates, carved frontlets, reins with metal rings, 
And harness-hooks, and boards whereon to lean 
Bright with red leather and a tiger's fell. 25 

Laden with these the Marquis left the Court. 
First to the spirits which protect the road 
He paid the offering meet. That night he stayed 
At the first halting place, to eat the feast 
Hsien fu prepared him at the King's command. 30 

Beneath a heavy load the table groaned. 
The wine, unstinted, from a hundred jars 
Flowed, and each dainty gift of land and sea 
Was shared by princes, who had joined the feast. 

him going to Court, where the King — King Hsiian, no doubt — 
receives him with much kindness, confirms him as successor to his 
father, and loads him with gifts. The Marquis then goes home, 
and takes to himself a wife, and the King, finding him a loyal 
ruler, enlarges his domain, and makes him warden of his northern 

Dr. Legge's notes must not be neglected. 

Stanza i (lines 1-13). The range of Liang ^ was in Cho 
Chou, according to Liu Yiian, although the reference to " Great 
Yii," would make it appear that it was the Mount Liang men- 
tioned in " The Tribute of Yii," which was indisputably close to 
the Yellow River. 

Stanza 2 (lines 14-25). " Breast-plates and harness hooks" are 


Last to our Marquis noble gifts were given, — 35 

A princely car with team appropriate, 
Vessels and salvers bearing cakes and fruits. 

Our Marquis sought and found a fitting bride 
Of royal race, the daughter of Kuei fu. 
He went himself to bring the lady home ; 40 

A hundred chariots formed his splendid train, 
The bells on each rang out a merry tune ; 
It formed, in sooth, a grand and glorious sight. 
But, lo, a grander and more glorious sight ! 
Within the gateway of her father's home 45 

There stood the maiden, and on either side 
The virgins sent to bear her company. 
As bright, as fair they shone as sunset clouds. 
Nought could the Marquis say. He could but stand 
To gaze upon them in an ecstacy. 50 

The maiden's sire had been a warrior bold. 
Far had he wandered. Many a State he knew. 
Yet none so pleasant as the land of Han ; 
So fair a home for his beloved child. 
For there broad meres extend, large rivers flow, S 5 

Within whose waters shoals of fishes swim. 
And in its forest wilds the hunter tracks 
The deer, the lynx, the tiger, and the bear. 

my equivalents of ^ Kou, hooks, and ^ Ying, breast ornaments 
for a horse. Dr. Legge makes them one article only : " Hooks 
for the trappings of the breast-bands." 

Stanza 3 (lines 26-37). "The first halting-place was Tu'^," 
but no one seems to know where this was, nor is it known who 
Hsiefifu ^ ^ was. 

" The dainty gifts of land and sea," consisted of roast turtle, 
fresh fish, bamboo shoots, and Pu f^ , apparently lotus-rooti 
which is a Chinese delicacy. 

Stanza 4 (lines 38-50). The Marquis's bride was a daughter of 
Kuei fu F^ ^ , who married a sister of King Li. He was a 
Minister of State, and a great warrior. 


In sport like this the warrior took delight ; 

And here his daughter too found rest and joy. 60 

Large was the city where the Marquis dwelt. 
'Twas built in days of old by men of Yen, 
What time his forbear had received command 
To hold the wild barbarians in check. 
So now the Monarch gave our Marquis charge 65 

To rule the tribes which dwell towards the north ; 
To be their chieftain, and to govern them, 
To make his town walls strong, his town moats deep. 
To fix the boundaries of the fields, and tell 
What taxes it was fit the land should pay ; "jo 

And further, to his sovereign lord to send, 
As tribute, furs of panther, fox, and bear. 

"The virgins sent to bear her company," are the bride's 
relations, who have been several times spoken of in the ballads of 
Part I. 

Stanza 5 (lines 51-60). It is my own idea that Kuei fu looked 
on the land of Han with a hunter's eye. The Chinese com- 
mentators, quoted by Dr. Legge, have- some absurd remarks to 
show that wild beasts may be an advantage to agriculture, 
A prof OS of this, I learn from an article in the " Field," that some 
of the villagers near Amoy object to the destruction of tigers 
which infest that locality, on the plea that the tigers know them 
and will not hurt them, while their presence keeps the country 
free from nocturnal robbers and marauders. The game men- 
tioned in this stanza, and in the following one, may still be found 
in the mountains near Peking. 

Stanza 6 (lines 61-72). " The tribes which dwell towards the 
north " are the Chui j^ and the Mi |g . Nothing seems known 
about them. 

I notice that Dr. Legge here, and elsewhere, translates ^ Pi, 
as Grisly Bear. Ursus labiatus is Pfere Zottoli's rendering. 
Surely the Grisly Bear, or, as I should prefer to spell it, " Grizzly 
Bear," is a native of North America only. 


No. 8. 


We went where the Han and the Yang tzii flow. 

Their waters are deep and vast. 
Like the roll of these waters our mighty host 

Through the length of those borders past. 
Our chariots ran, and our banners shone, 

No slackness, no thought of rest. 
No leaving the ranks, for the tribes of Huai 

Were the foes against whom we pressed. 


'Twas a glorious sight to behold our troops, 

When we rested, our labours done. 
By those mighty streams, while the news was sent 

To the King of successes won. 
And the monarch's heart was rejoiced to learn 

That warfare was at an end. 
And strife and trouble were now unknown 

As far as our bounds extend. 

No. 8. 

The Earl of Shao is, of course, Duke Mu of Shao, mentioned 
in No. 5 of this book, and in II., viii., 3. He was sent to 
subdue the tribes of Huai,' and to bring them into allegiance 
to King Hsiian. This expedition took place during the 
second year of the King's reign. The Huai \^ tribes lived 
in the northern part of what is now Kiangsu. Probably they 
covered the country from Huai Ngan fu ffg ^ Jj^, to the north 
bank of the Yangtzii. The Earl of Shao took them in flank 
by coming down the Yangtzii, apparently embarking at what 
is now Hankow. 

Stanza 3. The southern sea was the China, or Yellow, Sea, at 


As the Earl with us by these rivers stayed, 

They brought him the King's command, 
To include these tracts in the State's domain. 

To divide and allot the lands ; 
Yet not to vex or distress the folk 

Who conformed to the king's decree, 
That the ground be apportioned to great and small. 

As far as the southern sea. 

Then the King announced, " 'Tis to you I owe 

That my rule and my power are known. 
By the help of your ancestor, Duke of Shao, 

My ancestors won their throne. 
Then think of me not as a little child. 

But remember Kings W6n and Wu, 
That your earnest labour may reap reward, 

And your merit the guerdon due. 

" I give you a vase of my sacred wine 
To be poured from this cup of jade. 
The hills and the fields of Chou are yours ; 

It will pleasure Wdn's holy shade 
To know what he gave to the Duke of yore 

By me to his scion is given." 
The Earl bent low to the earth and prayed 
To heaven for the Son of Heaven. 

the mouth of the Yangtzu, which river, it must be remembered, 
may be taken as the southern border of China at the time of the 
Chou dynasty. 

Stanza 4. The Earl of Shao was a descendant of the great 
Duke Shao, of the time of King Wu. Dr. Legge translates the 
fourth and fifth lines of the stanza, " You do not (only) have a 
regard to me the little child, but you try to resemble that Duke 


" May he live for ever, and I maintain 
My ancestor's glorious name ; 
And my master's kindness and gracious deeds 

To the nations I will proclaim. 
For wise like Wen is our Son of Heaven ; 

This wisdom may he display 
Through unending years to the furthest point 
Of the kingdom, which owns his sway." 

No. 9. 


In clear and solemn tones the monarch laid 
This charge on Nan Chung's scion, when he said, 
" You as our Minister of War I choose. 
Have then our martial gear made fit for use. 
Our six battalions for the field prepare. 5 

Do all with caution and with reverent care ; 
Because our States which far to southward lie 
For our assistance and our succour cry." 

of Shao." I think that the introduction of " only " is uncalled 
for, and that the sentence is in the optative or imperative mood. 
" Do not think of me as a little child, but be like the Duke of 
Shao (and behave to your sovereign, as he did to his)." 

Stanza 5. Duke Shao's principality was ^ Yen, in Chih li, but, 
as the commentators suggest, no doubt some of his family had 
part of the royal domain in Ch'i Chou ^ jgj , which, on this 
occasion, is confirmed to the Earl of Shao. 

Stanza 6. " Wise like Wen " is my translation of "% ^ Win 
TL Dr. Legge translates it " civil virtues." Perhaps the 
author, who, by the way, is said to be Yin Chi fu, intended that 
the words should have a double meaning. 

No. 9. 
The JIuai f^ is the river which passes through the north of 
Kiangsu, and falls into tJie sea by what was known a year or two 


Yin's chief, obedient to the King's command, 

Had charged the Earl of Ch'eng to take in hand lo 

The mustering of the troops beside the Huai, 

And warn them that they leave this speedily. 

And seek the land of Hsii, wherein no rest 

Would be allowedj for fear the troops molest 

The peaceful folk and mar their husbandry, 15 

If they delayed, nor passed with swiftness by. 

In strength and grandeur like a king indeed 
Behold our monarch to the field proceed. 
No broker} line, no column out of place — 
Steady and sure our forces onward pace, 20 

Until the land of Hsii on every side 
Was overawed, each region terrified 
And shaking, as a mortal shakes with fear 
When sudden thunder crashes on his ear. 

Like some fierce tiger mad with hungry rage, 25 

The King advanced, for nothing could assuage 
His wrath, or tame his captains' energy. 
Who vied with him, until along the Huai 
His serried ranks had seized a captive crowd, 
Whose leaders at his feet now humbly bowed. 30 

ago as the old mouth of the Yellow River, but in the present 
condition of that erratic stream it is difficult to say which is the 
old mouth and which the new. The land of Hsii ^^ was the 
country to the north of this river. Liu Yiian says that the tribes 
there, encouraged by the weakness of ^vagMu (b.c. iooi to 947), 
had long been in a state of revolt, until King Hsiian determined 
to take them in hand himself, and reduce them to obedience 
once for all. 

The Preface ascribes the authorship of this piece to the Earl 
of Shao, the hero of the preceding poem. The title of this is 
Chang Wu '^ ^, "always martial," two words which do not 
occur together in any line of the poem. 

Stanza i (lines r-8). " Nan Chung's scion," i.e. descendant of 
Nan Chung ^ fifi , of the time of King Wgn, who is mentioned 
in II., i., 8, as doing good service jgainst the Huns. This 


Our army held their land secure and well ; 

None by those streams would venture to rebel ; 

For numerous are our troops. As swift they go, 

As if hawks' pinions bore them on the foe. 

As Han's and Yang tzii's waves sweep rolling by 35 

So move our armies, ceaseless, orderly. 

Like these vast floods, whose waters none may stem. 

None know their movements, none may vanquish them. 

Then strong as mountains firmly fixed and great 

They nobly tranquillize each rebel State. 40 

Men knew our king was truthful and sincere. 
So rebel chieftains came from far and near, 
To own the merits of the Son of Heaven, 
Suing to him with whom they late had striven. 
The King saw quiet now prevailed, and knew 45 

These chiefs to their allegiance would prove true ; 
So he announced, " We will no longer stay. 
Back to our capital we haste away." 

descendant's name was Huang fu ^ ^, probably the father of 
Huang fu mentioned in II., iv., 9 as a dangerous character 
during the reign of King Yu. 

Stanza 2 (lines 9-16). Yin's chief is our old friend Yin Chi fu, 
who here appears to be the King's private secretary, or aide-de- 
camp. The Earl of Ch'eng ^ (Ch'eng was a district in the 
royal domain) was Hsiufu 1^ ^, the Minister of War. 

I have followed Chu Fu tzu, and Dr. Legge, in saying that the 
King warned the troops not to molest the husbandmen. The 
original is " that the three labours may proceed in order," i.e. 
the labours of spring, summer and autumn. I should mention, 
however, that Liu Yiian says that the three labours are those of 
the Ssu T'u •gl j^ , whom we may here translate the officer in 
charge of the commissariat, the Ssti Ma r] ,f| , the officer in 
command of the fighting troops, and the Ssu Kung ^ @ , the 
engineer in charge. 

Stanza 4 (lines 25-32). The description of the officers, who are 
said to be like tigers, is compared by the commentators with the 
phrase in IL, iv., i, where the soldiers of the Royal Guard call 
themselves " the teeth and claws of the King." 


No. 10. 



I look to heaven, which will no kindness show. 
For long, long days calamities we bore, 
And still must groan beneath a weight of woe. 
People and rulers weep, as though our store 
Were spoilt by ant and locust. Now no more 
Can peace be found. Your laws are as a snare 
Or cruel trap too hard for men to bear. 


Our people once held acres rich and good, 
Of which your grasping clutches now are fain. 
Their hinds and servants looked to them"for food, 
Whom your oppression will not have remain ; 
For guiltless men must suffer bitter pain. 
And see the guilty, who should have the blame. 
Escape the laws, nor bear their destined shame. 

No. ID. 

We have now before us a brace of poemSj which fairly come 
under the head of " degenerate," as treating of degenerate times 
and manners. This piece is assigned, doubtless with truth, to 
the days of King Yu ^ 3E > the successor of King Hsiian, who 
reigned from b.c. 781 to 771. He was completely under the 
influence of his concubine, Pao Ssu ^ j^ , who has been already 
mentioned in II., iv., 8, 9, and elsewhere. The author of this 
poem bewails the power assumed by her and her creatures the 
eunuchs of the harem, and finishes by the expression of a faint 
hope that the King may yet reform. 

Stanza 3. Pao Ssu is of course the woman attacked in this 
stanza. English readers, who wish to know more of her, are 
referred to an article by Mr. H. Kopsch in the " China Review," 


The wisdom of a man builds up a wall, 
A woman's wisdom that same wall o'erthrows. 
Her wit though bright presages grief to all, 
As doth the owl. From her loud chattering flows 
No reason, but disorder, strife, and woes. 
It is not heaven which sends these plagues to vex ; 
'Tis sexless men, with those of weaker sex. 

They crush, deceive, and hurt us. Day by day 
They slander us. They backbite and they lie, 
Nor think they evil of their words. They say, 
" What harm is in them .? " Should a wise man try 
To leave his lore, and practise usury, 
Ruin is his, and ruin is her fate. 
Who leaves her spinning-wheel to rule the State. 

How is it heaven now shows itself unkind^ 
And by the spirits we're no longer blest ? 
Such ills, such omens ne'er affect your mind. 
The barbarous foes unchecked our bounds infest ; 
And those who fain would save you you' detest. 
Your conduct, most unkingly, drives away 
Your folk. Your kingdom hastens to decay. 

Vol. iv., No. 2, entitled " The Cleopatra of China." It is a 
translation from the Lieh Kuo Chih, a popular history. 

Stanza 4. This verse is obscure and difiScult. Dr. Legge 
translates line 2 • " Their slanders in the beginning may be 
falsified in the end." I think that it only means: "They begin 
by finding fault or backbiting, and finish by lying," a natural 

The last four lines of this stanza are most incomprehensible. 
Literally translated, they are : " As if regarding the 300 per cent., 
the superior man (our old friend, Chun tzu, ;§• ^) has a 
knowledge of it. The woman without (knowledge of) public 
affairs leaves her silk-worms and weaving." Liu Yiian's explana- 



A net of evils has been cast around, 

Of wrongs, to which your realm has b.een betrayed. 

Good men have gone. No saviour can be found. 

Ah, me, my soul is bitterly afraid. 

None, none may hope its meshes to evade. 

For when we see all righteous men depart, 

What is there left but hopeless grief of heart ? 

When strong and full the jets of water spring, 
It tells their source is lying far below ; 
And thus the greatness of my sorrowing 
Shows that my sufferings are not one day's woo. 
Would other times had been my lot, but know 
Great heaven is strong and helpful. Do not shame 
Your sires, your sons shall then revere your name. 

tion differs essentially from the accepted translations. He connects 
the 300 per cent, with the preceding lines thus, " and so their 
lies increase at (the rate of) 300 per cent." Then the remainder 
runs, " Does not the wise man know that a woman has nothing 
to do with public affairs? Shall she leave her silk-worms and 
weaving ?" The verse is no doubt corrupt 

Stanza 5. "The barbarous foe" means the tribes of the ^«'|lt, 
in the north. King Yu and Pao Ssu eventually owed their 
deaths to them. 

Stanza 6, in the original, is curiously and unusually incom- 
plete. It begins " Heaven is letting down its net, and many — " 
there the sentence stops. "Are the calamities in it" may be 
understood. Lines 4 and 5 are " Heaven is letting down its net, 
and soon — " " all will be caught therein," is understood. 


No. II. 


Great heaven, in furious wrath and ire, 

Forgets to be compassionate. 

Worn out with want and famine dire, 

The land lies waste and desolate. 

Deserted the once fertile meads, 

Which many a year supplied our needs. 

And even in the forests lying 

Upon our kingdom's furthest bound. 

This want, this scarcity is found. 

From which the nomad tribes are flying. 


Heaven's " net of crime " upon us lies 
To punish our iniquities. 
We groan beneath its cruel weight, 
Seeing a mean, oppressive crew 
Devour and prey upon the State ; 
To them are our misfortunes due, 
For they were bade to bring us peace. 
And make disputes and discord cease. 
Butj no, their negligence and pride 
Breed strife and feud on every side. 

No. II. 

My version of this poem is very free, although I keep to the 
Chinese structure of it, and do not run the stanzas into each 

Neither King Yu nor Pao Ssu, his consort, is mentioned by 
name, but there is no doubt that his reign, and the miseries which 
then prevailed, are described in these verses, the authorship of 
which, as well as that of the last piece, is ascribed to the Earl 
of Fan ^ . 

Stanza 4. "The flowering rush" is the Chu '%, which is 


Thanks to their slanderous perfidies 
To them the King imputes no blame ; 
On us alone the danger lies, 
And bitterly we feel the shame. 

How can the grass grow green and lush 
In years of drought when fields are dry ? 
How quickly fades the flowering rush 
Suspended on a tree to die. 
Such scanty grass, such rushes we. 
Who all these ills, these evils see. 


In days of yore prosperity 

Fell to the good man's lot alone. 

This present state of misery 

And wrath to him was all unknown. 

Then bad grain might not mate with good. 

As now it may. So sad my mood, 

I fain would rest where grief is o'er 

And anxious thoughts can wound no more. 

apparently a water-weed of some kind. Dr. Legge, in his metrical 
version, speaks of it as " grafted on a tree." Can a water-weed 
be grafted on a tree ? 

Stanza 5. Dr. Legge makes the last line but one of this stanza 
an address to " the mean creatures " of the Court. " Why do 
you not retire of yourselves ? " It seems to me to be more 
natural to make it a soliloquy. " Why can I not retire ? " 

Stanza 6. Dr. Legge says in his notes that lines " 1-4 of this 
stanza mention two things, each of which had its cause, and so 
the cause of the present disorder might be discovered." Liu 
Yiian drives the simile harder still. The King is the pool of 
water with a store of virtue in it for the benefit of his people. 
This store should be kept full by the efforts of good men in the 


A pond to which no streamlets flow 
From fields around will disappear. 
A spring must draw its waters clear 
From sources lying deep below. 
But dry and dead are pond and spring 
To cause distress and suffering ; 
And well I know it is not I 
Who shall escape calamity. 

Great ministers our monarchs had. 
Would we could find such men again 
As Dukes, who in a day could add 
Vast regions to the King's domain. 
These regions in a single day 
Our nobles now can cast away. 
Alas ! we cry, of hope bereft, 
We have not now one good man left. 

kingdom, but owing to the baneful . presence of Pao Ssu, they 
will not come forward nor do anything to help him to increase it. 
Again, the King is the spring and fount of blessing to his people, 
but this fount is choked at its source by the crowd of evil 
counsellors about his palace. 

Stanza 7. The Dukes are the Dukes of Shao. If the word is 
in the singular, it may be either the Duke Shao of the reign of 
King Wen, or his namesake of the reign of King Hsiian. Dr. 
Legge ridicules the idea of its being the latter. I solve the 
difficulty by putting the word in the plural. 

G G 


G G 2 

( 453 ) 



I SHOULD content myself with giving the name of Hymns 

to all the pieces in this Part, were it not for Book II., the 

contents of three of which, at any rate, cannot by any 

possibility be termed hymns. I have, therefore, added the 

word Eulogies. The Chinese title of the whole part is 

Sung g^, Praise. The Preface says that it contains 

"pieces in admiration of the embodied manifestation of 

complete virtue, announcing to spiritual beings their 

achievements thereof." (Dr, Legge's translation.) This 

part is divided into three books, the Sung of Chou, the 

Sung of Lu, and the Sung of Shang ; in other -words, the 

Hymns of the Chou dynasty, the Eulogies of the Rulers 

of Lu, and the Hymns of the Shang dynasty. Dr. Legge 

translates the title of the whole part, " Odes of the Temple 

and the Altar." Books I. and III. are " Sacrificial Odes 

of Chou and Shang" respectively, while Book II. is "The 

Praise Odes of Lu." P^re Zottoli translates the title as 

"PrsEconia ;" Lacharme,»" Parentales Cantus;" and Strauss, 

" Feiergesange." The hymns are, for the most part, 

addressed by the ruling monarch to the shades of departed 

kings, his ancestors, which is why Lacharme calls them 

" Parentales Cantus." 


The reader may think that I have strained a point in 
calling some of these pieces " hymns ; " but I am content 
to take _ the word of the commentators that they were 
sung on the occasions of the sacrifices, and other rites 
solemnized in the ancestral temples. 


Book I. 

Hymns of the Chou Dynasty. 

The first division of Part IV. is divided into sections 
containing ten poems each. To the similar sections of 
Parts II. and III. t)r. Legge has given the name of 
" Books," and I have followed him. Here, however, he 
has called the whole division a book, making the first 
section Book I. (i.) ; the second, Book I. (ii.) ; and the 
third, Book I. (iii.). I have preferred to name the sections 
Book I., Book Ia and Book Ib, as less confusing. 


No. I. 


Solemn and still the pure ancestral fane ; 

And many a lord and officer of State, 

Who strive to share the virtues of King Wen, 

Whose hearts with love and reverence are imbued. 

Stand round to aid us in the sacrifice. 

They haste to do him service at his shrine, 

Wishing to be on earth as he in heaven. 

For famed and honoured is his glorious name, 

A name whereof mankind will never tire. 

No. 2. 

High heaven's mysterious statutes 

No change, no error know. 
And oh, King Wen's great virtues, 

How gloriously they show ! 
We gratefully acknowledge 

His favour to our State. 
May we and each descendant 

These virtues emulate ! 

No. I. 
This is an unrhymed hymn or anthem to King W6n. The 
commentators say that when the eastern capital at I/O \!^ was 
finished, King Cheng went thither and consecrated the newly 
erected royal ancestral temple by a solemn sacrifice, at which 
a red bull was offered to the shade of King Wgn, and another 
to the shade of King Wu. Thete is, however, nothing in this 
hymn, or in the following one, to indicate when they were sung. 
The Preface seems to be the authority on which the commenta- 
tors mainly rely in fixing certain appropriate occasions to these 


No, 3. 


Keep we in our memories 

King Wen's wise and bright decrees, 

Knowing from the time we laid 

Our first offerings at his feet, 

Till to-day, when by his aid 

This great realm is made complete. 

They have been the augury 

Of our State's prosperity. 

No. 4. 


Ye princes, noble and enlightened friends. 

It is by you these blessings were designed. 
Your loyal kindness for us never ends. 
As our posterity shall keep in mind. 

No. 2. 
This hymn is said to have been sung when Duke Chou had 
drawn up the code of laws for the new dynasty. 

No. 3. 

It is said that this hymn was accompanied by a sort of Pyrrhic 
dance, to illustrate King Wen's martial prowess. The Chinese 
commentators do not mention the occasion for which it was 
written. Liu Yiian suggests, very reasonably, that this hymn, and 
the two which precede it, all form one composition. 

No. 4. 
The Preface says that this hymn was sung at the solemn 
ceremonies performed when King Cheng succeeded to the throne, 


From lust of gold, from wild profusion turn ; 

Be both unknown each prince's rule within ; 
Our favour and our gratitude to earn ; 

While higher honours still your sons shall win. 

Quit ye like men, and then through every State 

The influence of your glorious deeds shall flow ; 
Your virtues other chiefs shall imitate. 

Our ancient kings are not forgot, we know. 

No. 5. 


The mountains heaven had framed were rough and wijd, 
But King T'ai laboured till the hill-sides smiled 
With fertile fields, and as King T'ai began, 
So did King W^n continue, till there ran 
Good level roads from all obstruction free 
To reach the stony rugged range of Ch'i. 
May their descendants ne'er forget their name. 
Their useful deeds, but strive to do the same. 

and the feudal Princes assisted at the sacrifice. Chu Fu tzii 
says that it was a hymn for general use in the ancestral temple, 
to be sung when the King, after thrice presenting a cup to the 
shades of the dead, handed it to the guests. (See Dr. Legge's 
notes.) I think it quite probable that the hymn may have been 
first composed on the occasion of King Chdng's accession, and 
was afterwards used on all occasions when the feudal Princes were 
summoned to sacrificial rites. 

Liu Yiian is much impressed with the solemnity of this hymn. 
He says that its dignity and grandeur show that it could have 
been composed at no other time than the early days of the Chou 

No. S. 

See III., i., 7, for an account of King T'ai's labours in clearing 


No. 6. 


It was by heaven's firm fixed decree 

The throne was given to monarchs twain. 
King Cheng, too, sat there, nor was he 

A King in slothfulness to reign. 
To strengthen and to glorify 

His throne he laboured night and day. 
His efforts won tranquillity. 

And peace which ne'er shall pass away. 

the country about Mount Ch'i |U, and preparing it for cultivation, 
and in laying out roads. This hymn might appropriately be 
sung at the opening of a railroad in China. According to the 
Preface it was sung at the sacrifices to the former Kings, and 
to the Dukes of Chou. 

Liu Yiian, following the scholars subsequent to the Han and 
T'ang dynasties, declares that this is a hymn in honour of the 
spirits of the mountains, and compares it to the worship still 
paid to " The Long White Mountain " in Manchuria, the cradle 
of the present reigning family. (See " The Long White Mountain," 
by H. G. M. James.) 

No. 6. 

It seems more natural to make Cheng ^, which means "com- 
pleting," the name of the King, than to use the word as an 
epithet, although that is the way in which we must use it if we 
follow the suggestion of the Preface, that the hymn was sung 
at the border sacrifices to heaven and earth. 

Liu Yiian has a long and learned dissertation on this piece. 
He says that man's nature is originally good, but " the seven 
emotions, viz., Joy, Anger, Grief, Fear, Love, Hatred, and Desire, 
are apt to destroy this goodness, except in the case of men like 
King Cheng, who will exert their mental efforts to enlarge their 
natural good qualities." This question is argued from the Buddhist, 
Taoist and Confucian standpoint. 


No. 7. 




A ram, a bull, for sacrifice I bring. 
May heaven accept my humble offering. 

Obeying King W^n s statutes fain would I 
Like him secure my land's tranquillity. 

So shall King Wen from realms beyond the skies 
Bestow his blessing on our sacrifice. 

The powers divine I worship night and day, 
That heaven's kind favour ne'er may pass away. 

No. 7. 
It is supposed that this hymn was sung when the King received 
the princes in the Hall of Audience. Dr. Legge says, that " a 
sacrifice is presented to God, and with him is associated King 
Wen, the two being the fountain from which, and the channel 
through which, the sovereignty had come to the House of Chow." 
In No. 10 of this book we shall find Hou Chi spoken of as 
"the Mate (gg P'ei) of Heaven," or, as Dr. Legge calls it, "the 
correlate of Heaven." Some of the commentators say that King 
Wen holds a similar position in this hymn. Those who hold, as 
I do, that the Chinese have always had a belief in God, the 
Supreme Being and Ruler of the woirld, are loth to degrade this 
monotheism by allowing that the Chinese admit other beings to 
anything approaching an equality with the Deity. But the 
language of this hymn, in which the worshipper begins by saying 
that he sacrifices to heaven, /. e. to God, and that King Wen 
bestows his blessing on it, and finishes by declaring that he 
worships the Powers Divine {lit. the Majesty of Heaven), forces 
me to concede that King WSn here holds the position of mediator 
between the worshipper and God. 


No. 8. 

The King in state is passing through the kingdom lately 

won ; 
May heaven accept him as its own, and hail him as a 

His movements watched with reverent awe by all men 

clearly show 
The throne and royal crown are now the heritage of 

Yea, even the spirits, which protect each stream, each 

mountain crest, 
Partake of our prosperity, and share our nation's rest. 
Ah, is he not indeed a King from whom such blessings flow, 
And is it not a royal line, the illustrious House of Chou ? 
The Princes and his mighty chiefs who stand on either 

side — 
Each has some tributary State to govern and to guide. 
In bow-case and in quiver are the bows and arrows laid, 
And shield and spear are stored away, we do not need 

their aid. 
" While through these regions," cried the King, " true 

virtue I display. 
The appointment heaven has deigned to grant will 

never pass away." 

No. 8. 
It is rather straining the meaning of words to call this piece 
a hymn. Dr. Legge says that it is appropriate to King Wu's 
sacrificing to heaven, and to the spirits of the hills and rivers, 
on a progress through the kingdom, after the overthrow of the 
Shang dynasty, Liu Yiian says that this hymn was originally 
used by Wu Wang on the occasion of his inspecting the feudal 
States, and that it was afterwards employed on similar occasions 
by later kings. So far as I can gather, it was the custom of the 
King to make a progress through the feudal States, in order to 


No. 9. 


Let us think, as we worship, of bye-gone times. 
Of the days of our great King Wu, 

Whose arm was strong, and whose ardour blazed 
Like a fire the kingdom through. 

Next Ch^ng and K'ang by the powers above 

Were chosen our Kings to be. 
And nobly and wisely each ruled, and all 

Rejoiced in their sovereignty. 

So let our drums and our bells resound, 

And our music in concord blend. 
That on us who worship these Kings of yore 

Great blessings may now descend. 

receive the homage of the Princes. This progress took place 
once in every twelve years; but I presume that the first took 
place shortly after the new King succeeded to the throne. 

Liu Yiian has a long note on this poem, the gist of which is 
that if a man does right heaven will be in accord with him ; but 
when a man does wrong it is of no use to try by flattery to win 
the help and blessing of the powers of nature. 

No. 9. 
This piece would not call for remark were it not that the 
Preface, and some of the commentators, declare that Ch6ng and 
K'ang are not the names of the Kings, but epithets applied to 
King Wu. Such a difficulty could arise in no other language but 
Chinese, but as King Ch6ng was King Wu's successor, and was 


Let our reverent mien and deportment show 

Our thanks to the Powers, who bless 
Our lives with abundance of meat and drink 

And unending happiness. 

No. 10. 


Hail, Hou Chi ! To thee was given 
To be proved the mate of heaven. 
Thou wast kind, and thou wast good. 
Thine the gift of grain for food. 
Yea, God's barley, and God's wheat, 
Sent by Him to be man's meat. 

succeeded in turn by King K'ang, it certainly seems a needless 
suggestion that Cheng and K'ang are anything else but the 
proper names of these monarchs. 

My translation is free, and does not follow the structure of the 

No. 10. 

See III., ii., j, for the legend of Hou Chi. 

The " Mate of Heaven " is my rendering of P'ei T'ien |g 5^, 
which" Dr. Legge translates the " Correlate of Heaven." One of 
the commentators explains the phrase. Heaven gives men the 
gifts of earth, but a mediator is needed to show men the way to 
take advantage of them. This was Hou Chi's office. Compare 
the couplet in " The Legend of Hou Chi" : — 

" Though heaven has boons in store, and rich is the bountiful 
Yet the gifts of both shall be lost, if man shall forbear to toil." 

For my own part, I am of opinion that the phrase F'ei T'ien 


Wheresoe'er the land may lie, 
Whatsoe'er its boundary, 
Therein be the grain crop sown. 
Social laws and rights are known. 

confers on Hou Chi a position approaching equality with the 
Supreme Being. (See my notes on No. 7 of this Book). 

The close of the hymn is obscure and probably corrupt, but I 
think that the meaning of it is, that agriculture has a civilizing 
and humanizing influence. Liu Yiian says that it was made in 
the time of King K'ang to remind him of his ancestor, and of 
his duty to encourage the spread of agriculture among his 


Book Ia. 

No. I. 


Ye ministers, ye rulers of the State, 

With reverence to your various tasks repair. 

Your monarch's precepts, after due debate, 
Practise, as ye are bound, with reverent care. 

Ye, too, who help them, have your labours now. 

The spring is waking ; mark each new turned field, 
And lands which for three years have felt the plough, 

Where wheat and barley their bright produce yield. 

How fair they shine, to show that glorious heaven 

Grants a good year to all this realm within. 
Now to our hinds let weeding tools be given. 

That sickles may anon their work begin. 

No. I. 
This piece, and the following one, seem to be out of place 
among the hymns, and to belong more properly to Part II. of 
this work. The commentators, however, say that this piece was 
sung in the temple, when the King was dismissing the Ministers 
of State, who had come to assist at the spring and autumn 

H H 


No. 2. 


Oh, King Cheng's glory is clear and bright ; 
His splendour is shining in all men's sight. 
And these the instructions he gives to you. 
Let your peasants sow all their various grain, 
And do the wprk which they have to do 
In the iields which they as their own retain. 
In every glebe let the plough pass through ; 
And let all the work be as eagerly done. 
As though ten thousand men were but one. 

No. 2. 

This piece is evidently closely akin to the last. It is assigned 
to King K'ang, who at the spring sacrifice divined the will of his 
deceased ancestor, King Cheng, by branding a tortoise-shell. 
A favourable response was granted, and King K'ang accordingly 
directed that orders be given to the husbandmen to set to work 
at once to plough and sow. 

" The' fields which they as their own retain," is my equiva;lent 
for " your private fields all over the 30 li." The reader may 
again be reminded that the old division of ground in China was 
into large squares, which in turn were subdivided into nine 
other squares. Of these the eight outer squares belonged to 
separate families, while the centre one was cultivated by the eight 
families for the benefit of the Government. The commentators, 
therefore, laud the magnanimity of the King, who, on this 
occasion, only thinks of his people's harvest, and not of his own. 

We can hardly take " ten thousand " as the exact number of 
people inhabiting a square of 30 //, say ten miles in perimeter, 
although the Chinese commentators, followed by Dr. Legge, 
accept this as the meaning. If this is so, either the // must have 
been considerably larger than the present //, which is about a 
third of a mile, or else the Chinese could in those days pack 
themselves even tighter than they do now. I think that the 
words "ten thousand" only means, in this connection, the whole 
of you, who are to labour like one pair, not one man, as my 
version has it. 


No. 3. 



When the flocks of egrets light 

On the western marshy lea, — 
Snowy wings and graceful flight — 
Is there aught so fair, so bright ? 
Yes, I know a fairer sight. 

'Tis the guests who flock to me. 

Here my love shall never tire. 
There no hate, no foolish ire 

Ever shall assail the name 
Of the friends, whom I desire. 
These the men, who night and day, 
Here with me, or far away 

Have a never-dying fame. 

No. -3. 
Here, again, is a piece which will hardly strike the reader as a 
hymn. My version follows the Chinese text pretty closely, 
although I have taken the liberty of expanding the lines 
describing the egrets. The words themselves show nothing 
more than the delight of a host at receiving some welco'ne 
guests. The commentators, however, all agree in saying that the 
subject of this poem is the King, to whose Court have come 
descendants of the kings of the Yin or Shang dynasty, to assist 
at one of the great sacrifices. He dismisses them with these 
verses, expressive of his affection for them. It appears that when 
the Yin dynasty was overthrown, the Princes of that dynasty 
were invested with certain States, which they held on the same 
tenure as the other feudal Princes, with the King of Chou, for 
their suzerain lord. If this is true, I can only say that the 
Chinese in old days were more magnanimous than their descen- 
dants now. I never heard that the descendants of the Ming 
dynasty had much honour paid to them. 

H H 2 


No. 4. 

Grant that this year abundant harvest reign, 
And be our granaries piled with rice and grain. 
Let sheaves in myriads and in millions fill 
Our barns. From these sweet wine we will distil, 
To pour as solemn offerings at the shrine 
Of those, who, passed away, are now divine ; 
The sainted sires and mothers of our line. 
Pleased with such sacrifice may they bestow 
Unnumbered blessings on the folk below. 

According to the above interpretation "Here" (in verse 2) 
means "in the royal domain of Chou," and "There" in the 
States which they rule. 

I have translated Hsi Yung 1^ m as " Western marsh," but Liu 
Yiian describes it as a royal park, in which there was a pavilion 
and an ornamental sheet of water, about which the egrets congre- 
gated. It was, in fact, a park like that described in III., i., 8. 
The King would receive his guests in such a pavilion. 

No. 4. 
This hymn is supposed to have been sung at the autumn and 
winter sacriiices in honour of Hou Chi and other divinities. I 
have made it optative, and not descriptive, as Dr. Legge has 
done. He makes it a thanksgiving rather than a prayer. The 
Chinese commentators insist that the plenty prayed for is for the 
benefit of the people, and the full granaries for the benefit 
of the King. They also say that the use of grain for distilling 
spirits shows that the harvest was so abundant, that after every 
one had had enough grain for food, sufficient remained to make 
drink of. I remember that the country people at Newchuang 
were in the habit of making a spirituous drink out of their millet, 
and exporting it to other parts of China, and that the native 
authorities objected to this, because the crops were meant for 
food, and not for drink. 


No. 5. 

The blind musicians have been called to play 
Within the royal Court, this festal day. 

Drive in the posts, and set the frames upright. 
With plumes bedeck them. Fix the peg row tight. 
On this the drums both great and small suspend. 
Timbrels and sounding stones their notes shall lend. 
His baton let the leader take in hand, 
His signal, too, wherewith he stops the band. 

Breathe in your flutes, and on your reed-pipes blow. 
In dulcet measures let your music flow. 

Then shall the spirits of the dead draw near. 
And to your music turn a well-pleased ear. 
Our guests, too, will be there, and haply say, 
" May strains like these be slow to die away." 

No. 5. 
The Preface says that this piece was made when Duke Chou> 
of the time of King Cheng, had completed the construction of his 
instruments of music, and the enrolment of the members of his 
band. This hymn was not used at the royal sacrifices. 

It is stated that there were 300 blind musicians, as well as 300 
other performers who had not lost their sight. If this be true, it 
would make us suspect that the infirmity of these blind men had 
been brought about intentionally. 

The description of the musical instruments is confused and 
not easy to reproduce. Dr. Legge's translation is — 
" 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." 
1 understand that two posts were driven into the ground in the 
Courtyard of the temple. Between these posts was fixed a frame 


No. 6. 

royaL offerings of fish. 

Fish are in the stews, where flow 
Waters of the Ch'i and Ch'ou. 
Thence we take the sturgeon out, 
Giant fish, and fish whose snout 
Is a dagger long and sharp, 
Barbel, bleak, and eels and carp ; 
Fit fish for a sacrifice. 
Whence a blessing may arise. 

(Dr. Legge's "face-board") with a row of pegs (Dr. Legge's 
' high toothed edge ") on the upper part of it. Plumes of 
feathers decorated the frame and posts. From the frame were 
suspended large and small drums. The musicians had also 
timbrels and sounding stones, as well as pan-pipes and flutes. 
The instrument which I translate " timbrel, " was a little drum 
with a handle to it, and two balls attached to it with strings. 
These balls struck the parchment as the performer twisted the 
handle in his hand. Chinese pedlars use a similar instrument 
to this day. The baton, according to Dr. Legge's description, 
was a wooden clapper ; the signal to stop a wooden figure like a 
tiger, with a toothed ridge on his back, along which a stick was 
drawn as a signal to the players to stop. It must be remembered 
. that the performers were blind. 

Liu Yiian has an excursus on the fact that there is no music in 
heaven (Purcell's epitaph, " He is gone where only his music will 
be excelled," would be out of place in China) and no scents, — how 
a Chinaman must enjoy that ! — and that, therefore, it is necessary 
to employ either the odour of sacrifice or the sweet sounds of 
music to tempt the spirits of the blest to revisit the earth. 

The visitors, according to the same commentator, were the 
feudal Princes and the representative of the late dynasty. 

No. 6. 

This hymn is said to have been sung when the King presented 

a fish in the ancestral temple, a ceremony which took place, either 

at the beginning of winter, or in the first month of spring, when the 

sturgeon make their appearance. (See Dr. Legge's note on the piece.) 


No. 7. 

The princely guests have come ; they stand around 

The altar, in its offerings to unite. 
The King, with face of gravity profound, 

Begins decorously the sacred rite. 

" A noble bull I lay before thy shrine, 

While friends assist me in the service done. 
August and mighty sire from realms divine. 
Comfort me now, your true, your reverent son. 

Liu Yuan, a propos of the hymn, has a long dissertation on the 
necessity of remembering humanity even in sacrificing victims. 
He says, that in old times the cattle used in sacrifice were not 
those harnessed to the plough, and that dogs offered at the altar 
were not those who had guarded the house. He also quotes 
Confucius's tender-heartedness in that he only shot at birds 
flying, and fished with a rod and line, and not a net. 

The fishes in the piece are the Chan ^,2, sturgeon, the 
Yu H^, snouted or sword-fish dolphin ; the CKang |^, yellow 
jaws (Legge^jOr bleak (Zottoli) ; the YenQ^, mud-fish, and the 
Zi II , carp ; all of which we have met before. We have also 
the Tiao jS,j[^ , described as a long, narrow fish. Pfere Zottoli calls 
it a trichiurus. I venture to it make an eel. The rivers Ch'i and 
Ch'ou we have also had mentioned before. They are tributaries 
of the Yellow River. To judge from this hymn, a theory which I 
have lately heard, that the Yellow River only produces one kind of 
fish, does not seem to bear the stamp of truth. 

" Stews " is my translation of Ch'en ^ , which was apparently 
an artificial wooden breeding-place for fish. Dr. Legge says that 
it was to afford the fish warmth, which I doubt. 

No. 7. 
This hymn is the most solemn and reverential of all in this 
book. The Preface says that it was appropriate to the Ti |^ , or 


" In wisdom thou the man didst ever play ; 

Endowed wast thou with arts of war and peace ; 
Till heaven rejoiced to watch thy peaceful sway, 
And granted blessings which shall never cease. 

" I live till shaggy brows conceal my eyes ; 

I am with countless gifts made blest and great. 
To thee, then, famous sire, I sacrifice. 

To her, who nobly shared thy throne and State. 

No. 8. 



The Princes come their lord to greet, « 

And learn his will with reverence meet, 

Obedient to their King. 
Their dragon-'broidered banners fly 
And glance o'erhead ; and merrily 

The small bells chime and ring. 
The burnished rein-gear glitters bright. 
It is, in sooth, a glorious sight. 

great quinquennial sacrifice. The commentators are divided in 
opinion whether the King who conducted the ceremony was King 
Wu or King Ch^ng. The beings to whom worship was paid 
were indisputably the shades of King Wen and his wife. (Dr. 
Legge has an exhaustive note on this piece, q.v.) 

In the Confucian " Analects," Book III., Chaps, x. and xi., 
there are allusions to " the Great Sacrifice." Confucius says that 
he had no wish to look on at it, and declared that he was 
ignorant of the meaning of it. He intended to point out that 
the rulers of his own State, the State of Lu, had no right to usurp 
a rite, which was too solemn to be performed by any one but the 
sovereign himself. Moreover, in the second chapter of the same 
book, he speaks of the use of this hymn by any one but the King 
as a usurpation of the royal rites. 


He leads them to his father's shrine, 
The honoured founder of his line. 
In filial love he kneels and prays 
His sire may grant him length of days ; 
And majesty which knows no end, 
But will from age to age descend. 

Though blessings manifold and great 
Are showered on him who rules the State, 

Yet none can equal this. — 
To know this happiness is due 
To trusted friends and followers true. 
Who furnish many a fresh delight. 
And joys increasing, pure, and bright. 

An endless source of bliss. 

No. 9. 


My noble friend, my noble friend ! 

White royal steeds obey his rein. 
His stately henchmen him attend. 

And form for him a seemly train. 

No. 8. 

This hymn was evidently sung when the feudal Princes came 
to Court to pay homage, and to receive the King's commands. 
The Preface states that it belongs to the time of King Cheng, and 
that it was sung on the first occasion of the Princes coming to 
assist in the sacrifice to King Wu. (Dr. Legge's notes should 
again be consulted.) 

The last sentence in the hymn is a little obscure, but I think 
that I have expressed its meaning. 

No. 9. 
The reader would be inclined to place this piece in one of the 



Short are the hours we pass together ; 

He can but stay two nights or four. 
Bring hither ropes his steeds to tether, 

Until he journeys forth once more. 

Escorted on his way by me, 

And honoured as befits our guest 
Shall he be then. Such worth has he, 

May heaven's full blessing on him rest. 

earlier parts, and to accept it as a poem in welcome of some 
honoured guest ; but its position among the hymns, and the 
mention of the white horses, on which I have a note below, lead 
all the commentators to say that the poem is in honour of Duke 
Sung, who had come as the representative of the Shang dynasty 
to assist King ChSng at a royal sacrifice. 

Duke Sung J^ , originally Viscount Wei 1^ ^ , was a kins- 
man on the mother's side of Chou Hsin, the last king of the 
Shang dynasty. In concert with Viscount CAi ^ -^ , and Pi 
Kan ^ ^ , he endeavoured to warn the King of his folly, and 
to dissuade him from his tyranny, but without avail. Viscount 
Chi was imprisoned, and Pi Kan cruelly slaughtered, while 
Viscount Wei made his escape. After the Shang dynasty was 
overthrown he was made Duke of Sung. (See Mayers' " Chinese 
Readers' Manual," arts. 844, 552, and 242 a, and Dr. Legge's 
notes on this hymn.) 

The first stanza is corrupt. "^ Yi, in this classic, is usually a 
particle conveying no meaning ; but Dr. Legge makes it mean 
here " also," which he enlarges into " like his ancestors." It 
appears that white was the royal colour in the Shang dynasty, as 
red was in the Chou. Yellow, as is well known, is the Imperial 
colour now. 


No. lo. 

Oh great King Wu, right royally thy glorious work was 

To thee the proper path he showed, thy accomplished 

sire, King Wen. 
He gave thee as inheritance to conquer Yin, to stay 
Their cruelty, and leave a name, which shall not pass 


No. lo. 
It is said that this hymn was the prelude to a sacred dance 
performed in the ancestral temple in honour of King Wu. 


Book Ib. 

This book contains eleven pieces, or hymns. 

No. I. 


A burden far too wearisome and great 
Lies upon me, who am a little child, 

Left heart-sick and alone to rule this State, 
And tame the people now disturbed and wild. 


Like thee, great father, ever let me be. 

For thou through life a filial heart didst shew. 
Thy thoughts were of thy mighty sire, as he 

Were present moving in thy Courts below. 

And I, though weak and feeble, feel the need 

Of showing reverence and the homage due 
To you, ye mighty kings, whom I succeed. 

Yea, night and day I'll ever think on you. 

No. I. 
The first few pieces of this book are touching expressions of 
humility, to which King Chgng gave vent, as he worshipped after 
the mourning for his father was at an end, or when he took over 
the reins of Government from his uncle, Duke Chou, who had 
been acting as Regent. This hymn is addressed to his father, 
King Wu, and to the rest of his ancestors. 


No. 2. 


Father, as I mount thy throne, 
Whence thy spirit now has flown, 
To be shrined in bliss on high. 
In blind eagerness I try 
To complete the schemes designed 
By thy sage far-seeing mind. 

'Tis for naught I strive and strain, 
All my efforts are in vain. 
Though I start on wisdom's way, 
Folly leads my steps astray. 
Can a weakling such as I 
Bear the stress of sovereignty ? 
May, oh may this gift be given. 
Let thy sainted soul from heaven 
Still these palace courts pervade. 
Bringing comfort, bringing aid. 
Till thy wisdom clear and bright 
Is my instruction and my light. 

No. 2. 

My translation of this hymn is somewhat free. It appears to 
be akin to the one before it, and is addressed to the shade of 
King WSn. 

Liu Yiian states that the hymn was composed after the 
rebellion of Wu King ^ J^ • In the Preface to the " Classic of 
History," Confucius notes that when King Wu had conquered 
Yin, i. e. had destroyed the Shang dynasty, he appointed Wu 
Keng, a member of the deposed royal family, to be a feudal 
Prince, and the representative of the Shang family. A few 
sections later he says : " King Cheng, having made an end of the 
appointment of Yin, and having put Wu Keng to death, appointed 
Ch'i |,J , the Viscount of Wei (the subject of No. 9 of the last 
book) to take the place of the descendants of Yin." From this 
we are to infer that Wu K^ng made an unsuccessful attempt to 
recover the throne for his own family. 


No. 3. 

Oh would that I might learn true reverence ; 
For though the will of Heaven is manifest, 
'Tis hard to satisfy each stern decree. 
Nor will I plead that heaven is high aloft, 
Beyond my ken ; it is about my path, 
About my ways, and marks each deed I do. 

I, weak and young, am but a feeble child. 
Too dull to know what reverence may mean. 
But onward day by day and month by month 
I press, until my flickering gleams of sense 
Shall shine a lamp of wisdom pure and bright. 

Help me to bear these burdens. Powers Divine, 
That men may glorify my virtuous acts. 

No. 4. 



My days have been passed in folly, 
Which brought but grief in its train. 

But now I will sin no longer 
To, suffer such needless pain. 

No. 3. 
According to the Preface, this piece is a caution addressed to 
the King by his ministers. Even if this is so, the first six lines 
only can be interpreted in this sense, and the remainder must be 
the King's reply to them. I prefer to follow Dr. Legge, and to 
make it all spoken by the King as a hymn addressed to heaven, 
or the Supreme Being. 

No. 4. 
The commentators seem agreed that in this piece King Cheng 
expresses his regret for his unworthy suspicions of his uncle, 


2. , 

Like a child I played with an insect, 
And thought it a harmless thing, 

Till I placed my fingers upon it. 
And found it could fly and sting. 

To carry the cares of the kingdom 

Is my burden designed by fate ; 
Till the savour of life is bitter, 

And I faint ^neath the crushing weight. 

Duke Chou, and for his partiality for Wu Keng and his adhe- 
rents, who repaid his leniency by rebelling against him. 

Two of the Chinese lines are very obscure. They run, ',' At 
first, indeed, that was a feach insect, but it took flight and 
became a bird." Dr. Legge says that peach insect means a wren, 
which took wing and became a large bird. To get stung by a 
wasp, which looked like a wren and turned out a hawk, is sug- 
gestive of nightmare, not to say delirium tremens. Liu Yiian 
says that the peach insect is a grub which becomes a bird, and 
adds that such metamorphoses are not uncommon ! It seems to 
me that by far the easiest way out of the difficulty is to make the 
peach insect a harmless beetle, with which the subject of the 
ode thought he was playing, until he suddenly found that the 
creature was a wasp, which took to flight and stung him. It is 
not straining the Chinese language to make Niao ,^ , mean "a 
flying creature." 

It may be noted that there is nothing in the wording of the 
poem to show that the sense is metaphorical rather than literal. 
The word which we translate " kingdom," is only ^ Chia, 
which has many other meanings. Leave this out, or slur over it 
as corrupt, and there is then nothing to indicate that the King is 
the subject of the piece, or that anything is meant beyond the 
self-accusations of some one who has foolishly got stung. For 
the benefit of literal-minded persons I offer the following flippant 
lines : — 


No. 5. 

'Tis time to pluck away the weeds, 
For spring is coming now. 

Root up the bushes, that the ground 
Be cleared to take the plough. 

To pull the roots the hinds appear ; 

Their gangs in thousands come. 
Some on the banked-up meadows work. 

And in the marshes some. 

None may be absent at this tide. 

The master and his heir. 
Yea, lads and babes, with labouring men 

Stalwart and strong, are there. 

" I was playing about like a fool, though I will not do so again, 
With the business end of a wasp, till my language became 

I thought it could only creep ; I had never supposed, not I, 
That the beastly thing was possessed of a sting, and had wings 

wherewith to fly. 
Experience teaches, they say, and I know now that wasps have 

But the knowledge is painful and bitter. Oh, d — n the nature 

of things." 

No. S. 
There is little of a hymn about this, which is all the same a 
cheerful and pleasing piece. The Preface states that it was used 
in the spring, when the King prayed to the spirits. It seems 
equally appropriate to the autumn thanksgiving. 

I I 


How merrily they eat the meals 

Their loving wives prepare. 
The clods upon the sunny slopes 

Yield to the ploughman's share. 

Each seed contains the germ of life. 

We sow the various grain j 
And soon in long unbroken lines 

Our crops bedeck the plain. 

Luxuriantly the young shoots rise 

So fresh, so green and gay. 
But let us step between the stalks 

To pluck the weeds away. 

Hurrah ! in troops the reapers come ; 

They pile the sheaves on high, 
Till hundreds, thousands, myriads 

Of stacks around us lie. 

From these we fail not to distil 

Sweet spirits, and the wine 
To pour before our holy shades, 

And serve for rites divine. 

My translation is tolerably free, and scarcely follows the 
structure of the original, which is not divided into stanzas. 

Stanza 2. The word for banked-up meadows is CMn H^, dykes, 
which I think in this place connotes the land inside the dykes. 

Stanza 4. "How merrily they eat the meals" is rather more 
refined than the Chinese version, " what a gobbling there is of 
the food brought to them." 

The praise of strong drink in the latter part of the poem will 


For happy is the realm which knows 

The fragrance wine imparts. 
The old revive, when grateful fumes 

Of wine refresh their hearts. 

It is not now, nor here alone, 

Such gifts are sent by heaven, 
Which has from year to year to us 

Its choicest blessings given. 

No. 6. 


Sharp and keen is each trusty share 
To cleave the clods, when the sun's fierce glare 
Has baked the earth to a solid crust. 
So through the furrows the blades we thrust, 
And we sow the various kinds of seeds. 
Each tiny grain has its germ of life. 
And as the husbandman's work proceeds, 
His meals are brought by a child or wife, 
Whose duty it is for the men to care 
And carry them food, as they labour there. 

remind the reader of Burns's address to John Barleycorn. My 
9th stanza runs thus in the Chinese version : " Fragrant is the 
smell of the wine, enhancing the glory of the State. It has a 
smell like pepper for'the comfort of the aged." 

No. 6. 
This hymn, again, in the Chinese version, is divided into 
paragraphs only, not stanzas. 
The mention of the bull slain in sacrifice denotes, say the 

I I 2 



Then their h'ght splint hats on their brows they tie, 
And along the corn-lands their hoes they ply, 
That the weeds may be carefully cleared away, 
Which in rotting heaps on the ground they lay 
That the millet may grow luxuriantly, 

Now through the harvest the reapers go. 
With a pleasant rustle the millet falls ; 
And we stack the sheaves in a serried row 
As high and strong as our city walls. 
A hundred granaries broad and wide 
Are filled with the grain which our fields provide, 

No fear we feel when our barns are full „ 
That children and wives may have nought to eat. 
And we kill a tawny crooked-hbrned bull, 
To thank the gods with an offering meet* 
For our fathers of yore would have thanked them thus. 
Shall such grateful rites be forgot by us ? 
. — ___ __^^____ % 

Chinese commentators, that this hjnnn was sung by the King, 
who was the only person in the realm entitled to offer a bull in 
sacrifice. This hymn was, therefore, probably sung at the 
Harvest Festival in the autumn. 

Stanza i, " His meals are brought by a child or wife," is my 
paraphrase for " There are those who come to see them with 
round or square baskets, containing rations of millet." Liu 
Yiian says that those who come to see them are the royal 
inspectors, who come in to see that the King's interests are 
properly looked after, and his land properly cultivated. We 
have had these officers mentioned before in I,, xv., i. I prefer 
to follow Dr. Legge, and make it the wives and children who 
bring the men their meals, as in the last part. 

Stanza 2. The weeds are the T'u ^ , thistle, and the Liao ^, 
polygonum or smartweed. Dr. Legge calls one smartweed on 
dry lahd, and the other smartweed on wet. 


No. 7. 

In silken garments bright and clean, 
His cap on head, with reverent mien, 
He notes how each thing in the hall 
Stands ready for the festival. 
Next, he descends the palace stair. 
Yes, sheep and oxen, all are there. 
Vases and bowls are on the board. 
And tripods, wherein wine is stored. 
For these he takes our purest wine 
As fittest for the rites divine. 

When we the sacrifice begin, 
No strife is heard, no angry din. 
Old men rejoice to see that peace 
Prevails, and all disorders cease. 

Stanza 3. "A hundred granaries'' is, literally, "a hundred 
houses," which the Chinese version says are opened (to receive 
the grain). Liu Yuan alleges that the houses would be closed 
in the spring, and would only be opened when the grain is ready 
for them. Dr. Legge (see his notes) remarks that the " hundred 
houses" were the houses of a hundred families constituting 
a clan. 

No. 7. 

Dr. Legge calls this " An ode appropriate to a sacrifice and 
the feast after it. The Preface says that it relates to the enter- 
tainment of the personators of the dead. Liu Yiian asserts that 
after the great sacrifices, the aged men were bidden to a feast, 
and that this hymn refers to the preparations for their refresh^ 
ment, a view which I am inclined to take. 

Among the vessels mentioned in the Chinese version is the 
bowl, or cup, made of rhinoceros-horn. Dr. Legge says that this 
cup " was drunk as a punishment, but we are now to conceive of it 
as standing idly with no occasion to resort to it." Surely this is 
a needless refinement. The Doctor apparently forgets that 
forfeits of this kind are usually exacted merrily, and paid good 


No. 8. 


When the days were dark and evil, and tyranny reigned 

and wrong. 
King Wu in secret worked till our glorious army was 

Then a fairer morning dawned, when the sun shone out 

clear and bright. 
So he did on his royal armour, and girded himself for the 



On us has the favour of heaven descended, for we have 

The power and strength which the King in his martial 

might achieved. 
Then be it our duty to deal aright with these boons, and 

To do what the monarch did, in the days when he was 


humouredly. He translates ]S9 ^ ;^ ffc Hu K'ao Chih Usui, 
" An auspice this of great longevity." It seems to me simpler to 
make it, " For the comfort of the aged !" 

.,- No. 8. 

The Chinese name of this piece is Cho §5 , "to deliberate." 
This word does not occur in the piece itself. It is suggested 
that the proper name is Cho ^ , which is the name of a dance 
(see Dr. Legge's notes), and that the hymn was the prelude to a 
pyrrhic or martial dance, intended to represent pantomimically 
the achievements of King Wu. The authorship of the hymn is 
assigned to King Chou. 

I have followed Dr. Legge in translating J^ j^ ^ Yung Ta 
Chieh, " He put on his royal armour." Liu Yuan's explanation 
is : " He undertook the great work of aiding " (heaven to over- 
throw the tyrant). ' 


No. 9. 

Throughout our myriad regions 

Both peace and plenty reign, 
To show that heaven still loves us, 

Its favour we retain. 
King Wu, our martial monarch, 

Had followers tried and true. 
He bade them guide his kingdom, 

He taught them what to do. 
Till heaven had made him glorious, 

And showed that he alone. 
Who drove out our oppressors 

Should sit upon the throne. 

No. 10. 

As heavenly wisdom deems it meet and right 

That I, the son 
Of him whose earnest and untiring might 

The kingdom won, 
Should rule his country, let me always cherish 

A thought of him. 
Nor let his glory and his virtues perish. 

His name grow dim. 

No. 9. 
This hymn is supposed to have been sung at the conclusion of 
the pyrrhic dance, to which the last piece was the prelude. I 
dare say that this theory is correct, as the poem represents the 
lasting peace and prosperity which prevailed all over the country, 
thanks to the achievements of King Wu. 

No. 10. 
This hymn is said by some to be connected with the dance 


To give his people such tranquillity 

As lasts for ever 
King W^n's descendant's only wish shall be ; 

His sole endeavour. 

No. II. 


Now our realm is proud and great, 

As befits the Royal State. 

Climb our mountains steep and high, 

Choose the highest peaks, and try, 

Is there aught that meets the eye 

Gazing on the plain below 

Save the mighty state of Chou ? 

Take a boat, and in it ride 

Down the Ho's strong flowing tide. 

Still the lands on either side 

All are ours ; the vast domains 

Which the House of Chou retains. 

during which the two last hymus were sung, but the connection is 
not evident, especially as the hymn is in honour of King Wen,- 
not of King Wu. I prefer the explanation of the Preface, which 
says that it contains the words with which King Wu accompanied 
his grants of fiefs and appanages to his chieftains in the ancestral 

No. II. 

This hymn is supposed to have been sung on the occasion of a 
royal progress through the kingdom, perhaps in the reign of King 
Wu, but more probably in that of king Ch6ng. Liu Yiian points 
out that to the mountains sacrifices would be paid, and on the 
banks of the river cities and towns would be built. 

Dr. Legge translates Hsi ^ , " regulated," " embanked." I 
think that the word only means " full flowing." 


Book II. 

Eulogies collected in the land of Lu. 

See the prefatory note to this Part. In this I have already 
pointed out that it is impossible to call the four pieces 
which constitute this book, or at any rate the first three of 
them, hymns, although the Chinese compilers include them 
under Sung ^, for which, elsewhere, the word " hymns " is 
certainly the nearest equivalent. The term Sung presents 
a further difficulty in regard to this book. It is applied 
exclusively to Royal Hymns. How then came Royal 
Hymns to be used in the land ol Lu, ^ 1 Moreover, if 
they were used there, how did a compiler so jealously 
conservative of kingly privileges as Confucius include 
them in this classic ? Several explanations are offered. 
One is that when the Duke of Chou was acting as Regent 
during King Chang's minority, he made his son Po Ch'in 
fg # feudal Ruler, and that the use of Royal Hymns 
was permitted in his territory, in consideration of his being 
the King's first cousin. The Preface attributes all the 
pieces in this book to the time of Duke Hsi ^ S 
B.C. 658-626, which would be during the reigns of Kings 
Huei ^, and Hsiang g,. It states in its introduction to 
the first piece in this book that it was made by special 
permission of the suzerain. Dr. Legge's explanation, 
however, is, in my opinion, the correct one. It is that 
this book belongs in reality to Part I., in which there are 
no ballads of the State of Lu, and that its inclusion in 
Part IV. is an error. 

Lu, which by the way was the country of Confucius, 
includes a portion of the modern Province of Shantung. 


No. I. 

The careful man, who keeps the thought of duty in his 

And never wearies, never tires, shall be most surely blest 
With blessings fairly won. As proof behold the gallant 

Which on the distant frontier wilds our lord, the Marquis, 

The stallions graze about the plain. No colour that is 

Is wanting there. His droves contain the chestnut and 

the roan, 
The spotted, piebald, skewbald, the dun, the dappled-grey, 
The mottled-brown, the creamy-white, the dark red, and 

the bay. 
Yes, coursers of the white-flanked breed with wall-eyed 

steeds are there. 
The size, the sleekness of them all is owing to his care. 

No. I. 

I have made no attempt to follow the structure of the original, 
which consists of four stanzas. These, like those of so many 
pieces of the earlier parts of this classic, have a burden or refrain 
at the beginning and end of each verse, each final refrain being 
slightly varied. 

The Marquis, to whom the horses belonged, is said to have 
been the Duke Hsi, just mentioned in the introductory note to 
this book, though there is nothing in the ballad itself to show this» 

The student who cares to study the exact colour of these 
horses is referred to Dr. Legge's notes. The doctor gives the 
following colours : — i. Black and white breeched. 2. Light 
yellow. 3. Pure black. 4. Bay. 5. Green and white! 
6. Yellow and white. 7. Yellowish red. 8. Dappled grey. 
9. Flecked as with scales. 10. White, and black maned. 
II. Red and black maned, 12. Black and white maned. 


Unceasingly he tends them, so no wonder the/ are strong, 

And docile, and untiring, as they draw his car along. 

So looking on his teams we say, " He shows us what is 

By industry and foresight, and by wise and careful thought." 

No. 2. 


Their chariots speed along the way 
Drawn by four stallions brown or grey. 
Sleek, stout and strong these coursers seem ; 
They form, in sooth, a splendid team. 
Thus morn and eve the lords repair 
To greet their Prince, who bids them share 
The wine and dainties he supplies 
To nobles who are good and wise. 

13. Cream coloured. 14. Red and white. 15. With white hairy 
legs. 16. With fishes' eyes. 

It is indeed a tour de force to run all these into verse. I am 
forced to content myself with thirteen equivalents, hoping that 
the words " piebald, skewbald, and spotted," will cover a good 
deal of ground. Any one who has seen a drove of ponies in 
Mongolia has seen there animals whose colours and markings 
he would find it difficult to define. 

Mao Ch'i Ling divides the horses into four classes : — i. Horses 
for the state chariot, which would be used when the Mar- 
quis went to Court or to a solemn sacrifice. 2. War horses. 
3. Hunters. 4. Packhorses. 

Liu Yiian suggests that this ballad was used as a hymn at a 
sacrifice to the god of horses. (See II., iii., 6). 

No. 2. 
This piece is again ascribed by the Preface to the time of Duke 
Hsi, and by Liu Yiian to the time of Po Ch'in. Liu Yuan goes 


Like egrets sailing through the sky 
We see these nobles glancing by. 
As from their chariots they descend 
With all around their splendours blend. 
As flocks of egrets when they light. 
Make_the expanse of meadows white. 

We listen to the drums' deep sound, 
As Prince and noble pass around 
The cups with choicest liquor crowned. 
With dances and with revelry 
The merry hours go gliding by, 
Until some noble rising says, 
" Oh, may our Prince know prosperous days. 
The virtues which in him now shine 
Shall ne'er be wanting in his line." 
Thus has the feast its fitting end, 
And home once more the nobles wend. 

on to say that it represents a feast held after the harvest thanks- 
giving, when all were invited to the Court. According to him, if 
it was not used on the occasion of a solemn ceremony the piece 
would not be among the hymns, 

The Chinese commentators made a good deal out of the 
egrets. These birds, Chou Hsi remarks, are not only beautiful 
but- methodical in their motions. Dr. Legge translates the line 
B? ■q If ^^^"' ^^"^ ^^"' " They drink to the full, and then 
return home." He notes that this expression intimates that the 
festivity was conducted with decency and order. Liu Yiian, on 
the contrary, says that the line means that no one was allowed to 
depart till he was fou, in the Scotch sense. Tsui certainly, as a 
rule, means intoxicated. 


No. 3. 

This crescent water is a pleasant sight, 

With herbs and mallows growing green thereby. 

And here our Prince, the Marquis, shall alight. 

O'erhead his flags with 'broidered dragons fly. 

His coursers' bells are tinkling merrily. 

His subjects, great and small compose his train. 

He presses on this pleasant spot to gain. 


For 'tis indeed a pleasant spot to view; — 
This curving pool round which the cresses grow. 
Here let us welcome him, the lord of Lu, , 
Whose steed's and chariots are a glorious show ; 
But far more glorious is his fame, we know. 
With gracious smiles and aspect grave and bland, 
To those around he issues his command. 

No. 3. 

The reader has again a choice between Duke Hsi and Po Ch'in 
for the Subject of the poem. It seems that' there were expedi- 
tions against the barbarous tribes of Huai (see III., iii., 8, 9), 
both in the time of Po Ch'in, and in the time of Duke Hsi. 

" The semi-circular pool " is the name of a college, or hall of 
learning — say the commentators, followed by von Strauss — in 
front of which was a pond in the shape of a half moon. In III., 
i., 8, mention is made of a pavilion surrounded by water called 
Fi Yung JB^ Jif . Such a pavilion and circular pond were royal. 
Feudal Princes might only have a hall Kung ^ , with a Pan \^ , 
semi-circular sheet of water, in front. I scarcely know why this 
place is called a college. It seems to me that the only teaching 
given in it was the orders given by the Prince to the commanders 
of his forces, and to his counsellors. Still, to this day, a semi- 
circular piece of water is found in front of Confucian temples, 


Yes, pleasantly these crescent waters lie. 
We pluck the mallows growing on the brink. 
Be such long life our Prince's destiny 
As mortals rarely have. 'Tis right, we think, 
That he who comes our generous wine to drink 
Should win such blessings, for he treads the way 
Of virtue. Him his loving folk obey. 

Right admirable is our lord of Lu, 
A pattern to all dwellers in the State ; 
To virtue always reverently true ; 
And both in peace and warfare really great. 
His well-earned fame shall even penetrate 
The realms, where dwell his ancestors in bliss. 
Such pious deeds and such rewards are his. 

and " To cross the semi-circular pool" is a metaphorical expression 
for " To take the first literary degree." I cannot find the 
original reason for having a pool in front of a seat of learning, or 
for making the pool of this particular shape. 

I have followed the division of the original poem into stanzas, 
and my translation, with a few exceptions and omissions, is as 
close as I can make it, but the piece is rather difficult, and no 
doubt contains many corrupt passages. 

Stanza i. " Herbs and mallows " is the equivalent of CKin ]^, 
cress (Legge), or parsley (Zottoli). The commentators say that 
the plants mentioned in this and the two next stanzas are all 
understood to be allusions to the men of talent about the Marquis, 
•whom he was careful to encourage. 

Stanza 2. " Cresses " is the translation of Tsao ^ , pondweed 
(Legge), or cinatophyllum (Zottoli). 

Stanza 3. " Mallows '' on this occasion are mallows ^ Alao. 

Lin Yiian says, in reference to the Marquis's drinking, that he 
was not so much drinking himself as regaling the old men of the 
State, who in return appropriately wish him a longer life than 
that usually granted to mortals. 


A nd that his glories may be ne'er forgot, 
He built this hall, by which this water flows. 
In token that his name shall perish not. 
'Twas he that conquered our barbarian foes. 
His generals, brave as tigers, here depose 
Their blood-stained tokens, while his judges try 
Rebels, who dare his Government defy. 


His skilful leaders did their duty well. 
Right valiantly did they assert his sway. 
The tribes from east and south did they expel 
By dint of martial might and war's array. 
Here in this hall, their trophies they display. 
No need to question what rewards are meet 
For those who lay such war-spoils at his feet. 

Stanza 5. Dr. Legge makes the poem from this stanza onwards 
prophetic. The foundation of this college is an auspice he says 
that its founder will conquer the barbarous tribes, and so on ; 
but the fact that the conquest is described in detail seems to me 
sufficient to negative the idea. 

The " blood-stained tokens " are the left ears of the slain, as 
described in III., i., 7. I have rather slurred the translation of 
the last two lines of the stanza. They are, " His skilful examiners, 
like Kao Yao (he was the Minister of Crime in the reign of Shun, 
and had the control of the barbarous tribes of the frontier. See 
Mayers' Chinese "Readers' Manual," Art, 242), present their 
prisoners in (the college of) the semi-circular pool." 

Stanza 6. This is a difficult verse. Dr. Legge translates the 
last four lines of the original, " Vigorous and grand, without noise 
or display, without having appealed to the judges, they will here 
present the proofs of their merit." Surely to apply the phrase, 
" without noise or display " to officers returning in triumph, is to 
introduce an incongruity, if not a contradiction. I would sub- 
stitute some other word for JTm ^" noise," say, ^^Jj^, "martial," 
and make the line, " Are they not martial, are they not glorious?" 


His archers drew their strong horn-stiffened bows. 
With whistling sounds we heard the arrows fly. 
The huge war-chariots rushed upon the foes. 
Horsemen and footmen fought untiringly 
Until they vanquished all the tribes of Huai. 
So well and thoughtfully his plans were laid, 
These savage tribes all yielded and obeyed. 


The owls in flocks come flying through the air 

To settle on the trees about this hall, 

To feast upon the mulberries growing there, 

And utter notes so sweet and musical. 

Wild tribes, no more to barbarous ways a thrall, 

Shall bring as tribute what they most do prize, 

Their tortoise-shells, their gold and ivories. 

But I have only my own authority for doing this. " Without 
appealing to the judges " means, according to Dr. Legge, that no 
leader disputed the claims of another. 

Stanza 8. According to Dr. Legge, and the commentators, 
" the owl is a bird with a disagreeable scream, instead of a 
beautiful note ; but the mulberries grown about the college of Lu 
would make it sing delightfully." And so would the influence of 
Lu, going forth from the college, transform the nature of the wild 
tribes about the Huai. Those scholars had evidently never read 
this quotation from Aurora Leigh : — 

" Melodious owls 
(If music had but one note, and 'twas sad, 
'T would sound just so)." 

I think the idea of a melodious owl more natural than that of a 
converted owl. 

The tribute of gold and ivory brought by the Huai tribes, who 
lived on the sea-board, was, a Chinese friend suggests, not the 
produce of the country itself, but articles imported thither over 
sea. Certainly, no gold mines are known to exist in Kiangsu 
(though gold is found in Shantung) now. Still less are elephants 
found there. 


No. 4. 


How solemn are these temples ; 

How strong, how fairly wrought. 
Within their calm recesses 

Let us recall in thought 
Our great ones and our heroes, 

Who lived in days of old, — 
The wonders of our nation 

On glory's scroll enrolled. 

First there was Hou Chi's mother, 

Whose stainless virtue won 
From Heaven above such favour 

That when her months were run, 
No pang no throe distressed her; — 

She painlessly gave birth 
To her blest son, who taught us 

The precious gifts of earth. 

No. 4. 
This long and diffuse ode, or saga, is of course in honour of 
Duke Hsi, who is mentioned therein by name. Duke Hsi was 
the son of Duke Chuang ^ , also mentioned in the piece, by a 
lady of the harem. His immediate predecessor was his young 
half-brother, who ruled as Duke Min ^ . He was the son of 
the chief wife. He only ruled for two years, for the people re- 
belled, and murdered him, and, according to Liu Yiian, destroyed 
the ancestral temple. Duke Hsi assumed princely power, made 
the rebels submit, and rebuilt the temple. This poem was, no 
doubt, composed on the occasion of its restoration. It is, as I 
said, long and diffuse, so that it is difficult to preserve the 
sequence cf ideas which it is intended to convey. The original 
poem consists of nine stanzas, some of eight lines, some of ten, 

K K 


He learnt how millet ripened, 

Some early, and some late. 
First pulse, then grain he planted, 

To feed his tiny State ; 
Until the whole wide country 

Saw Yii's great work complete, 
And people sowing, reaping 

The millet, rice and wheat. 

Among Hou Chi's descendants 

Was T'ai the King, and he 
Made civilized the country 

To southward of Mount Ch'i. 
There first our revolution 

Began. Kings Wen and Wu 
Cut short the Shangs' oppression ; 

Our tyrants overthrew. 

From plains where raged the battle 

The troops of Shang we drave. 
Each man from groom to noble 

Was fearless, prompt and brave. 

some of seventeen. My translation follows the order of the 
Chinese clauses to the best of my power, though I have been 
obliged to employ nineteen stanzas in order to do so. The 
greater part of my first stanza, and the first half of my eighteenth 
stanza, have no Chinese equivalents. I have made interpolations 
in these two places in order to impart a consistency to the poem, 
and to make it run smoothly. 

Stanza 2. Hou Chi is, of course, the hero described in Part III., 
ii., I, the deified inventor of agriculture. His mother was Chiang 

" His tiny State " is my rendering of Hsia Kuo "f g| , which 
however, according to Liu Yuan and others, should be the 
equivalent of THen Hsia 5^ T' "^ under heaven." 


We knew that heaven was for us. 

" Doubt not," our warriors cried, 
" We beat them, we shall conquer ; 

Heaven fights upon our side." 

When the kingdom was established, 

The final victory won, 
"My uncle," said the monarch, 

" I name your eldest son 
To be Lu's Lord and Marquis ; 

His country I enlarge ; 
To rule in fealty to us 

The State he has in charge." 

The eastern land he governed, 

The rivers and the plains. 
The mountains, and the regions 

Annexed to his domains. 
.Duke Chuang's son his descendant. 

With banners flying high. 
In a car with six strong horses 

To the sacrifice draws nigh. 

Stanza 3. "Yii's great work" was of course draining the 
deluge away, bc. 2286-2278. (See Mayers' "Chinese Readers' 
Manual," art, 931.) 

Stanza 4. For T'ai, the King, see III., i., 7, where his achieve- 
ments are described. Liu Yiian notes that the first attack on 
the suzerainty of the Shang dynasty was the assumption by T'ai 
of the title of Wang ^ or King. Kings Wen and Wu scarcely 
require a note. 

Stanza 5. "The plains where raged the battle," were the 
deserts of Mu %,. (See the conclusion of III., i., 2.) 

Stanza 6. " The monarch '' was King Cheng. The uncle was 
of course the Duke of Chou, whose eldest son, Po Ch'in, was the 
first ruler of the State of Lu. 

K K 2 


In spring, and in the autumn 

He never fails to pay 
His vows to the Almighty, 

To great Hou Chi to pray. 
He slays the choicest victim. 

As the Holy Ones approve, 
Who bestow on him their blessings 

And tokens of their love. 


At the sacrifice of autumn 

For blessings on the land, 
With horntips capped and harmless, 

Before the altar stand 
The white bull and the red bull ; 

While soup and shredded meat 
On frames and trenchers of bamboo, 
And mighty goblets are in view 

To make the feast complete. 
And to promote our merriment, 

The dancers' nimble feet. 

Stanza 7. "The regions attached to his domain" were the 
Fu Yung Pfj' ^, small dependencies, whose chiefs could not 
appear before the King except in the train of one of the feudal 
Princes. (See Dr. Legge's notes on " Confucian Analects," 
Book XVI. Chap, i.) 

Stanza 8. " The Holy Ones," are the spirits of Duke Chou and 
other ancestors. 

Stanza 9. " The White Bull " (white was then the royal colour), 
indicates the offering to Duke Chou ; " The Red Bull," the offering 
to Po Ch'in and other deceased rulers of Lu. The exigencies of 
rhyme and metre have driven me to slur over the accessories of 
the sacrifice. There was first of all a goblet, Hsi Tsun ^ ^, 
which was either shaped like a bull or had the figure of a bull 
engraved on it. Pfere Zottoli gives illustrations of both of these. 
Then there was barbecued pig, minced meat, and soup, trenchers 


The Powers will make you prosperous, 

Long lived and good and great, 
To guard the eastern region. 

To rule for years this State, 
Unvexed, unmov^ed, unfallen. 

Though length of life extend 
To the ages of the mountains, 

These Powers shall be your friend. 


Your chariots are a thousand ; — 

In every car is seen 
A-spearsman clad in scarlet. 

An archer clothed in green. 
And your footmen thirty thousand ; — 

Their helmets have red rows 
Of shells, when strong and ardent 

They go to fight your foes. 


The tribes to west and northward,^ 

The men of Ching and Shu — 
No longer dared withstand us. 

Our martial might they knew. 

of bamboo and wood, and a large frame on which to place the 

Stanza 10. The '^ % \^ ^ San Shou Tso P'eng, is obscure. 
I understand it to mean, " Three generations of your ancestors 
will befriend you.'' Dr. Legge translates it : " They (your 
ancestors) will make your friendship with your three aged 
(ministers), like the hills, like the mountains." But who were 
the three aged ministers ? 

Stanza 1 1. The phrase " A thousand chariots," indicates a feudal 
State of the,highest and most powerful order. The usual propor- 
tion of foot soldiers to chariots was as 100 to i, according to 
which the army of Lu would consist of 100,006 men. Each 
district of so many square miles provided 100 men, so that the 


Once more we ask a blessing ; 

May the spirits grant you health 
To live long years in grandeur 

With boundless stores of wealth. 

May men old age has wrinkled, 

Whose locks are white as snow, 
Befriend you. To such sages 

Prosperity you'll owe. 
May you yourself still vigorous 

Live undisturbed by fears, 
Till bushy grizzled eyebrows 

Denote a myriad years. 

On T'ai's huge summits gazing. 

We feel these peaks are ours. 
And Kuei and M^ng far eastward 

Confess our sovereign powers. 
E'en tribes along the sea-board 

Have paid the homage due, 
And owned the grand achievements 

Of our great Lord of Lu. 

fact that the army contained ico,ooo men is to be taken as a 
proof that the State of Lu included 1,000 such districts. I do 
not imagine, all the same, that we need inquire into the Colensoic 
accuracy of these numbers. Each chariot contained three men — 
a charioteer, a spearman with two spears ornamented with red 
tassels, and an archer whose bow was bound with green. My 
transfer of these colours to the clothes of the warriors is, I hope, 
an admissible license. The " red rows of shells," too, literally, is 
" rows of shells on vermilion strings." 

Stanza 12. Cning^^ and Shu 0. (For CAin§^,see the notes 
on IL, iii., 4.) SAu is the country to the eastward of it. The 
two together may be taken for the valley of the Yangtze. 

Stanza 14. T'ai ^ , Xuei ^ , and Meng ^, are mountains in 
the State of Lu. 


His rule shall to the sea-coast 

Part lands of Hsii extend. 
The wildest tribes to southward 

To him in fealty bend. 
None venture to deny him 

Allegiance, but all 
Obey our Lord the Marquis, 

And answer to his call. 

May heaven upon our Marquis, 

Its choicest gifts bestow, 
That he may rule in wisdom. 

Till age has tinged with snow 
His eyebrows ; that the country 

Of Lu he may maintain. 
Recovering all the regions 

Where his fathers used to reign. 

To glad our Lord the Marquis 

A feast we will provide. 
We place his aged mother 

And his lady by his side. 
With counsellors and veterans. 

Oh, may he rule us long ! 
And be through many winters 

Still hearty, hale and strong. 

Stanza 15. I have omitted the list of names which appears in 
the seventh stanza of the Chinese version, from which this stanza 
of mine is translated. The only place which I mention by name 
is Hsii ^ , which lay between Lu and the Huai country. The 
other places were Hu -^ and Yi |;^ , two hills of Lu, ^j| Huat, 
which we know, ^ Man, the wild tribes of the south, and |g Mt, 
the wild tribes of the north. This stanza is, of course, nothing 
but a bit of oriental rodomontade. 


1 8. 

Our scattered thoughts have wandered 

Far from this solemn fane. 
Let us once more behold it ; 

Its beauties view again. 
For this upon the mountains 

The cypress and the pine 
Were hewed and squared and measured, 

And plumbed with rule and line. 

So now these huge pine rafters 

Roof in each shrine and hall, 
Which brilliant and resplendent 

Rise vast and wide and tall. 
It was Hsi Ssu, who built it 

Magnificent and grand, 
To be the people's wonder, 

The glory of our land. 

Stanza 16. "Recovering all the regions," &c. The State of 
Lu had been deprived of a city named Chang 1/^_b^the neigh- 
bouring State of CKi ^ , and some territory named Hsii ^^ had 
been sold to the State of Ch'4ng g|^ . Duke Hsi is supposed to 
recover possession of them. 

Stanza 17. The Duke's mother was Cheng Fing jf^ ^ . His 
wife was ShSng Chiang ^'|§. The commentators sapiently 
add that the Duke would feast with his wife and mother in the 
inner apartments, while the counsellors and others would have to 
eat in the outer hall. Of course there would be some such 
arrangement now-a-days, but manners were freer in old times. 

The conclusion of my stanza is not quite so strong as the 
Chinese version, in which the poet expresses a wish that the 
Duke may have " Hoary hair and a child's teeth." 

Stanza 18. "The mountains" are Tsu lai ^ 2j$ i a^nd I/sin 
ff-tfx it > both in Lu. 

Stanza 19. Hsi Ssu ^ ^)f, was the brother of the Marquis. 



Book III. 
Hymns of the Shang dynasty. 

The reader of course recollects that the Shang '^ dynasty- 
was overthrown by the dynasty of Chou, in the latter 
days of which this classic was compiled. It seems to us 
rather a remarkable thing that the hymns of the Kings, 
whose tyranny is constantly held up to execration, should 
be mixed with those of the Kings who freed the country 
from their oppression. It is as if the Kings of the House 
of Hanover included in their books of devotion hymns for 
the preservation of the Stuarts. I do not forget that we 
used to have in our prayer-books services to commemorate 
the preservation of King James from the Gunpowder Plot, 
and the restoration of Charles II., and the execution of 
Charles I., but these hymns are more than commemorative, 
they pray for the preservation of the royal power of Shang. 
We have already seen (in IV. la. 9) a piece which is 
allowed to be in honour of Duke Sung, alias Viscount 
Wen, who assisted at the Royal Sacrifices as the repre- 
sentative of the extinct Shang dynasty. Neither this, nor 
the inclusion of these hymns in the Classic of Poetry, 
seems to strike the Chinese critics as anything ex- 

The following account is given of the collection of the 
five hymns, which compose this book. The memorials of 
the Shang dynasty had been kept, in the State of Sung %, 
but when the country fell into disorder after the Chou 
dynasty had attained sovereign power, the memorials were 
lost. In the time of King P'ing, B.C. 77^-7^9, Cheng K'ao 


/^ IE ^ ^. an ancestor of Confucius, was sent from the 
Court of Chou to Sung with twelve hymns to the old Kings 
of the Shang dynasty, but history omits to say how these 
twelve hymns had originally got to Chou. Seven of these 
had been lost by the time that Confucius compiled this 
classic, but the remainder are the five which compose this 
book. P^re Zottoli says of them, " Quinque supersunt, 
eaque ipsa, nonnihil ut judicare est, mutilata." 

Dr. Legge has valuable and exhaustive notes on this 
book, from which I have freely borrowed. 


No. I. 

PLETER."— No. I. 

That music may harmoniously flow 
We set the drums and tambours in a row, 
Whose notes resounding loud and clear and sweet 
May charm the spirits from their blest retreati 

Oh may these beings hear our prayers, and deign 
To visit earth, and glad our hearts again. 
So let the thundering drums the welkin fill, 
The while the piercing fifes scream sharp and shrill. 
Yet let their voice soar up and heavenwards float. 
In concord with " the gem that gives the note." 
Such music, admirable, grand, divine, 
Befits the scion of T'ang's princely line. 

The drums were beat. Huge bells rang merrily. 
The dancers moved with grace and dignity, 
Until delight and pleasure filled the breasts 
Of those good friends, our well-beloved guests. 

The knowledge of these mysteries we owe 
To our forefathers, men of long ago. 

No. I. 

King T'ang j^, known as Cheng T'ang j^ }§ , "T'ang the Com- 
pleter," was the founder of the Shang dynasty, " restoring humane 
and virtuous government to the Empire " (Mayers). He reigned 
from B.C. 176610 1754. This hymn in his honour is ascribed 
to his son, T'ai Chia -jj^ ^ , who succeeded him in 1753 ; but, 
as Dr. Legge says, the date of this and of the following hymns is 
quite uncertain. Liu Yiian gives it a later date than the time of 
T'ai Chia, saying that the hymn celebrates the worship of T'ang 
by his son, and that, therefore, both father and son are honoured 
by it. 

It may be noticed that sacrifices of meat and drink offerings 
are the most important parts of the worship of the spirits of the 
dead in the Chou dynasty. In the tireie of the Shang Kings 


No pride, no anger marred their days and nights. 
With reverence they fulfilled these sacred rites. 

In spring, in autumn, at the appointed day 
T'ang's royal offspring will not fail to pay 
The sacrifices due ; oh, may they bring 
The spirits' blessing to our land and King. 

No. 2. 

PLETER."— No. 2. 

Unnumbered are the blessings which descend 
From our illustrious sire. They know no end ; 
But ever day by day and year by year 
We feel his holy presence with us here. 

music was looked on as the method best calculated to entice the 
spirits from their abodes on high. 

It appears that the occasion of such sacrifices as that described 
here, two bands played at the same time, one inside, in the hall, 
and the other outside, in the courtyard. They kept in harmony, 
being guided by the CKing Shing ^ |^ , which is described as 
a sounding-stone formed of a precious gem. I can find no 
further description of it. 

My translation of this hymn is free. 

No. 2. 

There were, as Dr. Legge points out in his introductory note 
to this book, in the Shang dynasty four kings of renown. The 
first was T'ang, the founder of this dynasty ; the second, T'ai 
Chia :;fc ^, B.C. 1753-1720J the third, T'ai Mou -^ j^ , e.g. 
1687-1563; and the fourth, Wu Ting ^ ~y , b.c. 1324-1266. 

I digress for a moment to notice two theories regarding the ' 
Kings of the Shang dynasty. One is that of Mr. T. Kingsraill, of 


So to invite his sainted spirit down 
The goblets now with well-strained wine we crown. 
The bowls with seasoned viands fill we high, — 
Prepared in time and mingled carefully. 
Let their sweet savour to the sky ascend, 
While we in calm and silent service bend. 
May we be granted length of life we pray 
'Till cheeks are furrowed, hair and eyebrows grey. 

To aid us at this solemn worshipping 
The Princes come. We hear the small bells ring 
Hung on their coursers' bits. A glorious sight 
Each chariot is, with yokes and horses bright. 

To us did heaven above the gift bestow 
To rule this Empire ; 'tis to heaven we owe 
These fruitful years, whose harvests overflow. 

Shanghai, who asserts that these kings, twenty- eight in number, 
were only the twenty-eight mansions of the lunar zodiac. (See 
Mayers' "Chinese Readers' Manual," Part II., art. 313). The 
numbers twenty-eight agree, but I can see no other connection. 
The other theory is the extraordinary one of my cousin, Mr. Herbert 
Allen, viz. that Ssu Ma Ch'ien, the historian, and his scholars 
invented the whole of ancient Chinese history, and concocted all 
the old literary remains, including the ethical and other works 
of Confucius and Mencius (who had no real existence), to say 
nothing of this classic, and the rest of the "four books" 
and "five classics." (See his article, "R.A.S. Journal," July, 
i8go.) The names of all the kings of the Shang dynasty, 
except that of King T'ang, finish with a horary character. 
\N.B. Horary characters denote divisions of time, and are also 
used as A, B, and C, &c., are used to indicate the points of figures 
in geometry]. Mr. Herbert Allen asserts his belief that Ssu Ma 
Ch'ien evolved these kings from his own imagination; and gave 
them names denoting divisions of time, just as Robinson Crusoe 
called his henchman ' Friday.' The kings of the Hsia dynasty 
were named after stars. He explains the existence of this 
system of nomenclature thus :— " The Emperors being named 
from stars and constellations is a suspicious circumstance^ 


Come then ye shades of bye-gone Kings and bless 
Our realm and us -with endless happiness. 

In spring, in autumn, at the appointed day 
T'ang's royal offspring never fails to pay 
The sacrifices due. Oh, may they bring 
The spirits' blessing to our land and King. 

when we remember that the calendar was reformed in the year 
B.C. 104 by the historian Ssu Ma Ch'ien, just before he 
wrote his history, as tending to show what influenced his choice 
of names." My explanation of the use of horary characters 
is either that the sounds of the names of these Kings were known 
before the art of writing, so that when these sounds were first 
reproduced in Chinese characters the scribes would naturally 
choose the best known characters to represent the sounds, or that 
the King's real names were tabooed, and other names were used. 
Horary characters run in this order, Chia ^ , F? 2j > Pif'S ^ 1 
Ting ~^ , and so on, whereas of the twenty-eight kings of the 
Shang dynasty, the first has no horary character in his name ; the 
second, with five others, has Chia ; the third, also with five 
others, has Ting ; the fourth has ^ K4ng, the seventh horary 
character, and so on. Hence, it is evident that these horary 
characters in their case have nothing to do with numerals. The 
theory that the King's real names were tabooed is Dr. Terrien de 

The Preface says that this hymn is in honour of T'ai Mou, a 
theory which is supported by Liu Yiian, who remarks that it is 
scarcely likely that T'ai Mou should have no hymns in his 
honour, forgetting, apparently, that seven hymns are missing, one 
or more of which might well be to T'ai Mou. Chu Fu tzii, 
followed by Dr. Legge, insists that T'ang is the person addressed 
in it, and I am inclined to agree with them, as "T'ang's royal 
offspring" would scarcely be mentioned if the sacrifice was to 
any one else but to T'ang himself. 

It should be noted that the Chinese version gives no nomina- 
tive to the verb " come to aid us in our worshipping," but the 
subject of it must be the Princes or nobles of the State. 

The concluding lines of this piece are identical with those of 
the last 


No. 3. 

'Twas by a decree of heaven that a swallow was sent to 

this earth 
That the race of Shang might spring from a wondrous 

and mystic birth, 
To dwell in the land of Yin, and mightily rule the land, 
Till the people from north to south were submissive to 

their command. 
Then heaven called forth King T'ang, a monarch war- 
like and bold. 
To govern and settle the folk, and to guide them in days 

of old. 
To aid him in this he chose as princes the men of skill. 
And regions nine were his vassals, obeying his sovereign 

Since the first Shang reigned, we trusted that nothing 

should snatch away 
The God-given power bestowed on Wu Ting's offspring 

This scion of Wu Ting's line can fearlessly hold his 

No foe may dare to assail his crown, or disturb his throne. 

No. 3. 

This hymn, from the mention of " Wu Ting's descendant " in 
it, was no doubt addressed to King Wu Ting, though Chu Fu tzu 
speaks of it as a hymn sung in the ancestral temple to all the 
ancestors of the Royal House. 

Hsiian Niao ^ ,ft > the " Dark Bird " is explained by all the 
commentators to be a swallow. There are two versions of the 
legend. One is that Queen Chien Ti ^ ^, wife of the Emperor, 
■j^ ^ KaoHsin, bc. 2435-2366, sacrificed with her husband to 
the god of marriage, or, as Dr. Legge calls him, the " first match- 
maker," at the vernal equinox, when the swallow first made his 


With their dragon-blazoned banners above them ten 

princes bring 
The mighty bowls of millet to grace this our offering. 
The Royal domain itself holds a thousand of miles, and 

Of the folk therein is distressed, and thence do our frontiers 

To the oceans four which surround us, and men from 

the shore of the seas 
Will come to our Court in crowds to share in such rites as 

And to gaze on the mountain which forms a defence and 

a fortress meet 
For our city girt by the river, which flows at the moun- 
tain's feet. 
When a King maintains his State and earns all his 

subjects' love, 
We say how wise is the choice of the far-seeing powers 


appearance, and the result was the birth of her son, Hsieh ^ , the 
first feudal Prince of Shang. The other version is that when she 
was bathing a swallow laid an egg near her, which she ate, which 
caused her to conceive. Liu Yiian makes some remarks on the 
swallow being a bird which haunts the roofs of buildings, pointing 
out that the bird coming to where the King lived is a proof that 
his palace was not a cave or hovel, such as people of that date 
used to inhabit. (See III., i., 3.) 

The " ten princes," so the commentators say, need not be 
taken too Uterally. The phrase means all the princes. 

The last part of the hymn is very obscure, especially the line 
which runs ^ ^ f § M' , Ching Yuan Wei Ho, " Ching is 
bounded by the river." Dr. Legge says, " The most likely con- 
struction is to take Ching as a name of a hill, near which was the 
capital, to which it served as a defence and shelter." I have no 
better explanation to suggest. 


No. 4. 




The Lords of Shang were a folk of worth 

And profoundly wise. In the days when earth 

Was young were their virtue and goodness known, 

And omens showed they should win the throne. 

When the waves of the deluge spreading wide 

Had left all the nations desolate, 

Great Yii was there to arrange, divide, 

And fix the bounds of each realm and State. 

And on him the duty lay to assign 

To the regions vast on our frontier line 

Their proper limits, that these might be 

A pledge for the land's security. 

Then the State of Sung grew the chief and best. 

And stronger, as years passed on, than the rest, 

Until the decree was decreed by heaven 

To a son of this line should the crown be given. 

No. 4. 

The Preface says that this hymn was sung on the occasion of 
"The Great Sacrifice," ;/^ %^ Ta Ti, a theory which I have no 
wish to dispute, though Chu Fu tzu and other commentators 
do so. 

Stanza i. The "Lords of Shang," is in the original simply 
" Shang," but I think that " lords " is more likely to be the 
correct rendering of the whole phrase than " men of Shang." 

The fourth and fifth lines of the original present a difficulty. 
Literally translated they run " The outer great countries were the 
frontier, whose borders extended far and wide." I understand 
the meaning to be that the greater States on the frontier acted as 
a protection to the whole nation. 

L L 



Right wisely and well did " the Dark King " reign. 
When his realm was small, he had won success. 
When his realm grew large he might boast no less ; 
For his deeds done rightly had known no stain, 
And well was he loved through his broad domain. 
Hsiang t'u next ruled, and his martial fame 
Spread far and wide, till his glorious name 
Was known in the islands beyond the sea, 
Who paid to him homage and fealty. 

That the love divine for the race of Shang 
Had never failed them was shown when T'ang 
Was called to the throne on the fitting day, 
That he might the favour of heaven display. 
His wisdom and virtue, as years rolled by. 
Glowed clearer, and showed more brilliantly. 
So heaven to honour him bade him shine 
As the guiding star for the regions nine. 

The badges of vassalage great and small 
Were humbly laid at his feet, for all 
Declared him to be as the banner's stay 
Which binds the pennants so fast, that they 
May be never broken nor torn away. 

" The son of its (Sung's) line " was, of course, the Hsieh 
mentioned in the last hymn. 

Stanza 2. Why Hsieh is called " The Dark King," is not 
explained. Probably the name is connected with the Dark Bird, 
or Swallow. (See last hymn.) Hsiang fui^ j^ , was the grand- 
son of Hsieh, and was apparently chief feudal Prince. 

Stanza 3 brings us down to T'ang, the Completer, already 
worshipped in the first two hymns of this book. 

Stanza 4. " The badges of vassalage " were tokens of jade. 

Stanza 5. " A stay and a strong support," is my rendering of 


Thus the blessing of heaven on him descended 
To be neither lax, nor too severe, 
Nor weakly pliant, nor yet austere. 
For in him all virtues were duly blended. 
And he laid a kind and compassionate hand 
On all he taught, till throughout the land 
Such riches and honour as suit the throne 
Were enjoyed by him, and by him alone. 

By all of his vassals small and great 
Was tribute borne to the monarch's Court, 
For they knew that to each dependent State 
He would prove a stay and a strong support. 
And helped by heaven's all-powerful aid 
He showed to the world his matchless might, 
Unmoved, unshaken and unafraid, 
A hero indeed who has made it right 
That all blessings divine should in him unite. 


His noble standard he raised on high. 
And he grasped his battle-axe loyally. 
For the Powers above gave this command — ■ 
" The tyrant drive from your native land 
Like a fire no mortal may dare withstand." 

Tsun Mang f^ )^, literally " a great rock," but most of the 
commentators say that Mang should be Mang |^ j which means 
"a white-faced horse," and explain the line to mean, "He 
supported them, as a strong steed does its burden." Dr. 
I-egge follows this rendering. I think the line is a pretty close 
equivalent of — 

" O et proesidium et dulce decus meum." — Horace. 

" My pride, my stoup, my ornament." — Allan Ramsay. 

Stanza 6. " Loyalty,'' here means loyal to the command of 
heaven, which had bade T'ang dethrone the tyrant Chieh ^ , the 

L L 3 


Although from the root of rebellion grew 
Three shoots, their issue was all in vain ; 
To no noxious growth could they e'er attain, 
For the monarch clipped them, and overthrew 
The rebels through our nine States, until 
They submitted all to his sovereign will. 
These feudal princes were smote by him 
Ere he dealt with their master, that tyrant grim. 

Ere our monarch came, there were fears and woes 
Throughout the nation, and dread of foes. 
But T'ang was called to be " Son of Heaven," 
Then the land had peace, and to him was given 
A counsellor wise, and a statesman good, 
I Yin ; at the King's right hand he stood. 

last king of the Hsia dynasty. Chieh's chief adherents were the 
Princes of IVei W , Ku g|, and Kuen Wu ^ ^, whose names 
are given in the Chinese version. If the reader thinks that 
they should also appear in my translation, let him substitute for 
the last couplet of the stanza : — • 

" For he smote the Princes of Wei, Kuen Wu, 
And Ku, with their master the tyrant too. 

Chieh is the type of all that is wicked and tyrannical. His 
dethronement took place B.C. 1766. (See Mayers' "Chinese 
Readers' Manual," art. 259). 

Stanza 7. T Yin ^ ^ , was the chief minister of T'ang, "to 
whom he was almost what Shun had been to Yao, and Yii to 
Shun, and Yi to Yii" (Mayers). He is called in this hymn A 
Hdng fjif Hj , which some suppose to be the name of his oflSce 
(See Mayers' " Chinese Readers' Manual," art. 233). 


No. 5. 

To assail the thievish clans, who till that day- 
Infested every crag and rocky steep, 
Our martial monarch hurried to the fray. 
He drove them back through gorges dark and deep. 
And hemmed them in like flocks of mountain sheep. 
Until he made each rebel tribe submit. 
For such a noble King achievement fit. 


' And now," quoth he, " ye people of Ching Ch'u, 
My southern borders shall your tribes enfold ; 
There be my liegemen and my subjects true. 
When T'ang was monarch in the days of old, 
E'en the most savage chiefs were ne'er so bold 
As to refuse to own his sovereignty ; 
Such my forefather was, and such am I." 

No. 5. 

This hymn was probably composed when an ancestral temple 
was built in honour of Wu Ting. Some of the commentators 
assign it to the time of Ti Yi 'S? 2i > ^•^' ii9i-iiS4i the last 
king but one of the Shang dynasty. 

Stanza i. " The thievish clans " are the inhabitants of Ching 
Ch'u JlJ ^. Ching was one of the nine divisions of the Empire 
made by Yii, and, according to Playfair's " Cities and towns of 
China," comprised Hunan, Hupei, Kuanghsi, and parts of Ssu 
Ch'uan, Kuei Chou and Kuang Tung (Art. 1,155). Ch'u was a 
much smaller district. Playfair calls it a kingdom, whose centre 
was near Ch'u Chiang ^ ^. Its northern frontier was between 
the Yangtze and Yellow River; its southern frontier to south- 
ward of the Yangtze (Art. 1,412). In IV., ii., 4, I have made 
Ching and Ch'u the equivalent of the valley of the Yangtzu. Here 


At heaven's command he bade his chiefs select 
Their seats of Government within the sphere 
Of Yii's vast labours, where they might direct 
The actions of his people. Every year 
The chiefs were summoned to at Court appear, 
And pray that no reproof, no blame might lie 
On them for negligence in husbandry. 

As heaven decreed, so did his people will. 
Confirming heaven's decree, and reverently 
The monarch strove heaven's purpose to fulfil. 
Favour undue he scorned, and tyranny. 
Nor made himself the slave of luxury. 
And thus the throne and kingdom he secured; 
And long his happiness and bliss endured. 

Well ordered was his royal capital, 
A fit example for each burgh and town 
Throughout his realm. His subjects one and all 
Lauded the deeds of him who wore the crown. 
For bright his fame was, glorious his renown. 
Long lived he tranquilly ; then passed to be 
In heaven the guardian of his progeny. 

Ching and Ch'u must mean this and the country south of it. I 
conjecture from the description of the gorges that the expedition 
was into the mountainous country about Ichang. It should be 
noted that the name Ch'u is supposed to be of later date than 
the Shang dynasty, and that the use of it here is calculated to 
throw doubt on the antiquity of this hymn. 

The word which I translate " hemmed in " is Pao ^ , which 
Dr. Legge makes " brought the multitude together." 'I'his does 
not seem to me strong enough. 

Stanza 2. The most savage tribes are Ti Chiang ^ ^ , or 
Chiang of Ti, barbarous nations in^the western portions of Kansu. 


Symmetric grew the cypress and the pine 
Upon the mountain's sloping sides, and there 
To give the spirit of our king a shrine 
We hewed them down ; we sawed the tree trunks square, 
To form long beams and pillars tall and fair, 
That his blest shade among us may remain, 
And rest in peace within this holy fane. 

Stanza 4 is obscure in its first two lines. Dr. Legge translates 
them " When heaven by its will is inspecting (the kingdom) the 
lower people are to be feared," and explains this by a passage 
from the "Classic of History," which is an exact equivalent of 
" Vox populi, vox Dei." I make it, " When the will of heaven 
comes down to view us, the people fear it." 

Stanza 6. The mountain is Mount Ching, already mentioned 
in No. 3 of this book; 

This stanza is suspiciously like the concluding stanza of No. 4 
of the " Eulogies of Lu," a fact which goes far to increase our 
suspicions of the antiquity of this hymn. 



A burden far too wearisome and great . 

A crafty fisherman a snare may set . 

A double load of trouble and care 

A line of virtuous monarchs 

A loving, pure and reverent dame . 

A maiden fair and bright .... 

A Prince to his loyal folk should be . . . 

A quince, a peach, and a plum vi^ere the gifts which 


A ram, a bull for sacrifice I bring . 

A reverent mien, composed and self-possessed 

A simple and innocent youth you seemed 

A stately maiden is this fair princess 

Above our heads the wild geese fly 

Abundance reigned, for even in the wood 

Ah, those merry days of hunting . 

Along the shining road that winds beneath 

Although the autumn comes and every leaf . 

Although 'tis early summer time 

Amidst the woods a plant is found 

Armour you have none to wear . 

Around the hall in serried rows . 

Around the weeds and rushy beds . 

Around thy board in leathern caps we sit 

As heavenly wisdom deems it meet and right 

As o'er the fretted waters of the stream 

As the heaviest gourd, or the melon fruit . 

As the south wind's eddying breath 

As we sit down to feast, from the meadows hard by 

At feasts with order and decorum graced 


me you 


12 \ 







Before the tombs the thorns grow rank and foul 
Below the dam a trap was laid .... 
Brilliant and bright the blossoms grow . 
By his people's woes was Duke Liu opprest 
By night and day with longing heart I yearn 
By the east gate the" willows are growing . 






Chiang Yiian was the first of our race ; she lived in the days of 

yore. 383 

Chilly blows the north wind 57 

Cicadas chirp the livelong day 24 

Contented with my lot . 174 

Cut down the grass and thorns, and tie 148 


Dear is my parent's home to me 83 

Do you hear that sound ? 'Tis the cock a crowing . . . . 122 

Down from the stream upon the hill 191 

Dressed in their gorgeous robes, which gleam like gems or like 

flowers 135 


Each stone upon the palace wall is starred 63 

Eastward we fared ; the Duke was there to lead us ... 202 

Exiles we for your sake, oh sire 51 


Father, as I mount thy throne 478 

First on the slope, next in the vale 94 

Fish are in the stews, where flow , 470 

From the hills where medlars grow, gazing on the plain below . 301 

Gather beans in many a heap 330 

Gloomy winter's gone and past 118 

Grant that this year abundant harvest reign 468 

Great heaven bestows on us no more 274 

Great heaven, in furious wrath and ire 447 

Great Yii laid out the swamp and marshy plain . . . . 311 




Hail, Hou Chi, to thee was given .... 

Hark, saith the good wife, hark, the cock doth crow 

He is only a feeble lad, as weak as an iris flower . 

He placed the snare where many runs have met 

He stands on one side and politely makes way 

Heaven that was once compassionate 

Here once there stood a well-grown mulberry tree 

High heaven's mysterious statutes . 

His carriage sheds hold many heavy cars 

His form the worn but seemly black robes grace 

His lambskin robe of glossy white 

How mighty is the Being 

How shall we call him a hunter 'i . 

How solemn are these temples .... 

How was it that King W6n earned his fame ? 


I do not grudge the mulberries 

I grieve, because my heart's delight 

I had started ; I urged my horses, I drove at my topmost speed 

I have got to make a handle, but there is not any good 

I have no clothes at all, you declare ! 

I hear him coming. The dewdrops sprinkle 

I heard the drums, as through the camp . 

I look to heaven, which will no kindness show 

I see him wandering 'mid the flowers 

I seem to trace your form and face 

I wander forth beside the River Ju . 

I wandered forth in pensive sort .... 

I watch the waters flowing .... 

I weep when I think of the time gone by 

If any one says that your sheep are few . 

I f I could only see 

If you'd learn how our ancestors passed their years 

If your affection still continues true 

In clear and solemn tones the monarch laid . 

In Mei are beauteous maidens three 

In silken garments bright and clean 

In the marshlands lying low 

In the south a river rolls 


In your snow-white garments you pass me by 
It flies with an easy, untroubled flight 

It is a lovely summer scene 

It was by heaven's firm fixed decree. 





Keep we in our memories 457 

let no one point the hand to show 
Let us choose for our starting a fortunate day , 
Let us think, as we worship, of byegone times 
Like some small shallop floating on the tide 
Listen, in the grove I hear .... 
Luxuriantly the willows grow . . . . 


Majestic are the mountains ; grandly, loftily they rise 
May the powers above still keep thee in virtue, and joy 


Mountains are yours, within whose forests grow 

My days have been passed in folly 

My guests of to-night with their stately mien . 

My handsome sweetheart would remain 

My heart is oppressed and weary 

My man comes home again . . . 

My noble friend, my noble friend 

My noble husband has gone away 

My white steeds gallop along the way 










Nature has made the rat the worst of vermin .... 71 

Near the east moat wide and deep 175 

No longer to our folk are given 406 

Now our realm is proud and great 488 

Now the winter's gone and over, and the waters which divide . 48 


Of our beloved, admirable King 394 

Of our friends are left but few 116 



Oh bright are my spreading fields of corn 313 

Oh Captain of the Royal Guard . 253 

Oh for the home of long ago 337 

Oh God, our Father above, Thou art distant, and vast, and large 7,86 

Oh golden sun, oh silver moon 42 

Oh great King Wu, right royally thy glorious work was done . . 475 

Oh heaven above, whose glorious light on high .... 303 

Oh King Chang's glory is clear and bright 466 

Oh many a weary night we spent 200 

Oh mighty Prince, with robe of fur and leopard cuffs bedecked . 150 

Oh owl, oh owl, in vain I mourn igg 

Oh the days when my friend was dwelling 305 

Oh would that I might learn true reverence ... . 479 

On Chung Nan's Hill the poplar trees 162 

On the left hand side of the pathway . . ...153 

On the mountains to the southward and the northward" we may see 232 

On their bright pensilled wings, see the hawfinches fly . . 321, 

Onwards a cart you thrust 302 

Oriole, with the plumage bright 256 

Our fields are large, and labours 315 

Our soldiers go abroad to fight the foe .... . 106 

Our work is.finished for the year 144 


Pass the eastern gate and gain 114 

Pleasant is the garden ground 251 

Poets say there lives a creature 19 

Pursuit of righteousness, — be this your aim 366 


Rats, rats, rats 140 

Remember how we used to stray 107 

Sharp and keen is each trusty share 

She is lovely and modest and shy 

She runs along beside the rill 

She, who for many years has been my friend 

Should some one bid you climb and seek 

So deep is the river, and wide, they say . 

Solemn and still the pure ancestral fane 








Some may love not fearing shame . 
Strong were our cars. Each horse was sleek 
Supple gourd leaves are our fare 
Swift and fast the kestrel flies 






Tall and strong the millet grew 

That cause will produce effect is a law decreed us by Heaven 

That music may harmoniously flow 

The blind musicians have been called to play . 

The blue flies float on the summer air . 

The bridegroom stood to welcome me betwixt the door 




The careful man, who keeps the thought of duty in his 

The chariot speeds along the way 

The cherry stands where the fields lie low 

The cloud-like masses of her own black hair 

The couples and the collars, which are hung on every 

The crows are flying to their nest . . . . 

The dawn is breaking. From my wakeful brain . 

The dove, that weak and timid bird . 

The Duke, so gentle, yet so nobly great . 

The fibres of the rush are bound .... 

The field, which I attempt to till .... 

The flowers are dulled to a yellow hue . . 

The flowers of the cherry are gleaming white . 

The folk indeed are heavily opprest 

The fox enraged and mad with fierce desires . 

The frowning rocks and the crags are steep . 

The genial heat of summer's prime . 

The grandees from the Court I chanced to meet . 

The grasses on the moorland 

The ground was covered with bush and weed 

The house wherein we dwelt was large and stately . 

The Huns had come in countless bands 

The iris, lotus, orchis light 

The King had bidden a marvellous tower rise . 

The King in state is passing through the kingdom lately won 

The King looked up with streaming eyes . 

The King, the mighty son of Heaven 

The locusts cluster on the ground 

The long, long wilds with tired feet . 




The Lords of Shang were a folk of worth .... 
The mallards and the sea gulls sport within some safe retreat 

The masses of cherry blossom 

The mighty Yangtze with resistless force 

The moon's clear lamp is shining bright .... 

The mountains Heaven had framed were rough and wild 

(The mulberry tree on the mountain grows) 

The osiers by the brookside growing .... 

The pear-tree's leaves are thick and strong .... 

The pheasant, of all danger unbeware .... 

The plain is now with blossoms bright .... 

The plums are ripening quickly 

The princely guests have come ; they stand around 
The princes come their lord to greet .... 
The quail, to guard his mate when danger's near . 

The reeds in many a patch and bed 

The ridgy, fir-clad hill I clomb 

The road she travelled that evening was broad and easily found 

The rulers of this realm of ours 

The rushes and reeds on the river side 

The russet pear-tree stands, its boughs borne down 

The slender boughs amid 

The southern mountains by their craggy height . 
The spring wind blowing brings up clouds and rain 
The stalwart wheelwright hews the maples tall . 
The trailing creepers shroud the thorns in gloom 
The traveller in the south may see 
The two youths journeyed down the stream . 

The weir in the stream 

The withered leaves, the withered leaves . 

The woodmen on the hill 

Their chariots speed along the way . 

There are waters beside the roadway . 

There blows a cool, refreshing wind 

There perches a little oriole .... 

They led the maiden forth, and bade her tell . 

They sent me to gather the cresses which lie 

They set me to dance with an easy grace. 

This crescent water is a pleasant sight . 

This pear-tree, woodman, spare 

This youthful maiden, fair and bright . 

Though a mighty mountain may frown o'erhead 

Though seven stalwart sons are we . . . 



Though the river is swollen in flood, and fast must its waters flee 
Through the fields the lady goes ... 
Through the fields the livelong day . 
Through the meadows to and fro . 
Through winter's cold and summer weather . 
Throughout the kingdom there grows no tree 
Throughout our myriad regions 
'Tis a noble spreading tree .... 
'Tis a time of good omen, when everywhere 
Tis dark and dreary out of doors . 
'Tis fair and lovely weather .... 
'Tis said that yellow is a hue .... 
'Tis spring ; the fern shoots now appear . 
Tis spring ; the flowers and blossoms now . 
'Tis spring ; through the groves the orioles dart 
'Tis time to pluck away the weeds . 
'Tis to King Wen above, to whom we owe 
To assail the thievish clans, who till that day 
To match the glorious light above . 
To serve the State my husband goes away . 
To what shall I liken my husband's mind ? 
'Twas by a decree of heaven that a swallow was sent to this earth 
'Twas the first day of the month, when the sun in eclipse grew 









Unnumbered are the blessings which descend .... 508 

Unstinted draughts of wine your cups afford 391 

Upon a little isle I make my home 238 


Watchman, what of the night ? 248 

We gather the plantain, we pluck and we pull it . . . . 15 

We only have need of a few simple lines 290 

We remember him and sigh 13° 

We went where the Han and the Yangtze flow .... 439 
We were gathering the crops of millet, which grew on the virgin 

land 241 

Were it wise for me to try 136 

What luck awaits us ? Shall our nets appear .... 204 

What man is he? A man . 288 



When first we arrived, those creepers 52 

When my love and I were betrothed, we were but a youthful pair 62 

When our Shu Tuan for the chase has left . . . . . 103 
When the autumn harvest was over, and the harvesting tools 

laid by ... 68 

When the days were dark and evil, and tyranny reigned and wrong 486 

When the fiocks of egrets light 467 

When you use a bow well-fashioned, one made strong and stiff 

with horn 332 

Where curve the river banks with graceful sweep . . . . 258 

Where is Tzu Chai, that jaunty lad .'' 98 

Where Lo's waves, broad and deep, go sweeping by . . . 317 

Where the poplars throw but a scanty shade . . . . 16 

Why speeds he away to Chu Lin in haste .'' 178 

With a team of four bay horses 104 

With banners bright and streamers fair 72 

With my cousin I journeyed forth 168 

With slow and faltering steps and head bent down .... 90 

Within this still, sequestered spot, — 77^ 

Would you know how our ancestors spent their days . . . 194 



Ye happy waters, up-springing clear 

Ye ministers, ye rulers of the State .... 

Ye princes, noble and enlightened friends 

You artful lad 

You blame me and think me cold and shy . 

You move about with easy, careless mien 

You're a clever sort of usher for us Ministers of State 

You see them straining at the rein . . ... 

You wear blue belt and collar .... 

Your milk-white colt is safely bound