The oldest collection of Chinese poetry, more than three hundred songs, odes and hymns. Tr. Legge (en) and Granet (fr, incomplete).
Luxuriantly is that young mulberry tree,
And beneath it wide is the shade ;
But they will pluck its leaves till it is quite destroyed.
The distress inflicted on these [multitudes of the ] people,
Is an unceasing sorrow to my heart ; –
My commiseration fills [my breast].
O thou bright and great Heaven,
Shouldest thou not have compassion on us ?
The four steeds [gallop about], eager and strong ;
The tortoise-and-serpent and the falcon banners fly about.
Disorder grows, and no peace can be secured.
Every State is being ruined ;
There are no black heads among the people ;
All are reduced to ashes, [as it were], by calamity.
Oh ! alas !
The doom of the kingdom hurries on.
There is nothing to arrest the doom of the kingdom ;
Heaven does not nourish us.
There is no place in which to stop securely ;
There is no place to which to go.
Superior men are the bonds [of the social state],
Allowing no love of strife in their hearts.
Who reared the steps of the dissatisfaction,
Which has reached the present distress ?
The grief of my heart is extreme,
And I dwell on [the condition of] our territory.
I was born at an unhappy time,
To meet with the severe anger of Heaven.
From the west to the east,
There is no quiet place of abiding.
Many are the distresses I meet with ;
Very urgent is the trouble on our borders.
You have your counsels ; you employ caution ;
But the disorder grows and dismemberments ensue.
I tell you the subjects for anxiety ;
I instruct you how to distinguish the orders of men.
Who can hold anything hot ?
Must he not dip it [first] in water ?
How can you [by your method] bring a good state of things about ?
You [and your advisers] will sink together in ruin.
[The state of things] is like going in the teeth of the wind,
Which makes one quite breathless.
Some have a mind to go forward,
But they are made to think it is of no use to do so.
They attach themselves to husbandry,
And labour like the people instead of eating [the bread of office].
Their sowing and reaping are precious to them ;
They love this substitute for [official] emolument.
Heaven is sending down death and disorder,
And has put an end to our king.
It is sending down those devourers of the grain,
So that the husbandry is all in evil case.
All is in peril and going to ruin ;
I have no strength [to do anything],
And think of [the Power in] the azure vault.
Here is a good and righteous ruler,
Who is looked up to by the people and by all ; –
He keeps his heart, and his plans are formed on mature deliberation,
Searching carefully for helpers.
There is one who has no such character,
But reckons only to his own views to be good ; –
He holds only to his own thoughts,
And causes the people to be distracted.
Look into the middle of that forest,
At the herds of deer roaming together.
[But here] friends are insincere,
And do not help one another in what is good.
People have the saying,
'To go forwards or backwards is alike impracticable. '
Here is a wise man ; –
His views and words reach to a hundred Li,
There is a stupid man ; –
He on the contrary rejoices in his madness.
It is not that I could not speak [all this] ; –
How is it I was withheld by my fear ?
Here is a good man,
But he is not sought out nor employed.
There is a hard-hearted man,
And he is thought of and promoted once and again.
The people [in consequence] desire disorder,
And find emjoyment in bitter, poisonous ways.
Great winds have a path ; –
They come from the large empty valleys.
Here is a good man,
Whose doings will be good.
There is a man unobservant of the right,
Whose goings will be according to his inward filthiness.
Great winds have a path ; –
The covetous men try to subvert their peers.
I would speak, if he would hear my words,
But I can [only] croon them over as if I were drunk.
He will not employ the good,
And on the contrary causes me [such] distress.
Ah ! my friends,
Is it in ignorance that I make [this ode]?
[But it may happen] as in the case of a bird on the wing,
Which sometimes is hit and caught.
I go to do you good,
But you become the more incensed against me.
The unlimited disorder of the people,
Is owing to those hypocrites, skilful to prevaricate.
They work out the injury of the people,
As if their efforts were not equal to it.
The depravity of the people,
Is brought about by their strenuous endeavours.
That the people are unsettled,
Is owing to the robbers that prey on them.
Hypocritical, they say ' These men will not do ; '
But when their backs are turned, they show their skill in reviling [the good].
Although you say, ' We did not do this, '
I have made this song about you.
The Book of Odes – Shi Jing III. 3. (257) – Chinese off/on – Français/English
Alias Shijing, Shi Jing, Book of Odes, Book of Songs, Classic of Odes, Classic of Poetry, Livre des Odes, Canon des Poèmes.
The Book of Odes, The Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean, Three-characters book, The Book of Changes, The Way and its Power, 300 Tang Poems, The Art of War, Thirty-Six Strategies
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