Shi Jing Introduction Table of content – The Book of Odes

The oldest collection of Chinese poetry, more than three hundred songs, odes and hymns. Tr. Legge (en) and Granet (fr, incomplete).

Section IV — Odes of the temple and the Altar
1 2 3 4 5
Chapter 5 — Sacrificial odes of Shang

301 302 303 304 305

Shijing IV. 5. (301)

How admirable ! how complete !
Here are set our hand-drums and drums.
The drums resound harmonious and loud,
To delight our meritorious ancestor.
The descendant of Tang invites him with this music,
That he may soothe us with the realization of our thoughts.
Deep is the sound of the hand-drums and drums ;
Shrilly sound the flutes ;
All harmonious and blending together,
According to the notes of the sonorous gem.
Oh ! majestic is the descendant of Tang ;
Very admirable is his music.
The large bells and drums fill the ear ;
The various dances are grandly performed.
We have admirable visitors,
Who are pleased and delighted.
From the old, before our time,
The former men set us the example ; –
How to be mild and humble from morning to night,
And to be reverent in discharging the service.
May he regard our sacrifices in summer and autumn,
[Thus] offered by the descendant of Tang !

Legge 301

Shijing IV. 5. (302)

Ah ! ah ! our meritorious ancestor !
Permanent are the blessings coming from him,
Repeatedly conferred without end : –
They have come to you in this place.
The clear spirits are in our vessels,
And there is granted to us the realization of our thoughts.
There are also the well-tempered soups,
Prepared beforehand, the ingredients rightly proportioned.
By these offerings we invite his presence, without a word,
Nor is there now any contention [in any part of the service].
He will bless us with the eyebrows of longevity,
With the grey hair and wrinkled face, in unlimited degree.
With the naves of their wheels bound with leather, and their ornamented yokes,
With the eight bells at their horses' bits all tinkling,
[The princess] come and assist at the offerings.
We have received the appointment in all its greatness,
And from Heaven is our prosperity sent down,
Fruitful years of great abundance.
[Our ancestor] will come and enjoy [our offerings],
And confer [on us] happiness without limit.
May he regard our sacrifices in summer and winter,
[Thus] offered by the descendant of Tang !

Legge 302

Shijing IV. 5. (303)

Heaven commissioned the swallow,
To descend and give birth to [the father of our] Shang.
[His descendants] dwelt in the land of Yin, and became great.
[Then] long ago God appointed the martial Tang,
To regulate the boundaries throughout the four quarters.
[In those] quarters he appointed the princes,
And grandly possessed the nine regions [of the kingdom].
The first sovereign of Shang,
Received the appointment without any element of instability in it,
And it is [now] held by the descendant of Wu-ding.
The descendant of Wu-ding,
Is a martial king, equal to every emergency.
Ten princes, [who came] with their dragon-emblazoned banners,
Bear the large dishes of millet.
The royal domain of a thousand Li,
Is where the people rest ;
But there commence the boundaries that reach to the four seas.
From the four seas they come [to out sacrifices] ;
They come in multitudes ; –
King has the He for its outer border.
That Yin should have received the apppointment [of Heaven] was entirely right ; –
[Its sovereign] sustains all its dignities.

Legge 303

Shijing IV. 5. (304)

Profoundly wise were [the lords of] Shang,
And long had there appeared the omens [of their dignity ].
When the waters of the deluge spread vast abroad,
Yu arranged and divided the regions of the land,
And assigned to the exterior great States their boundaries,
With their borders extending all over [the kingdom].
Then the State of Song began to be great,
And God raised up the son [of its daughter], and founded [the Family of] Shang.

The dark king exercised an effective sway.
Charged with a small State, he commanded success ;
Charged with a large State, he commanded success.
He followed his rules of conduct without error ;
Wherever he inspected [the people], they responded [to his instructions].
[Then came] Xiang-tu, all-ardent,
And all [within] the seas, beyond [the middle region], acknowledged his restraints.

The favour of God did not leave [Shang],
And in Tang was found the subject for its display.
Tang was not born too late,
And his wisdom and virtue daily advanced.
Brilliant was the influence of his character [on Heaven] for long,
And God appointed him to be model to the nine regions.

He received the rank-tokens [of the States], small and large,
Which depended on him, like the pendants of a banner ; –
So did he receive the blessing of Heaven.
He was neither violent nor remiss,
Neither hard nor soft.
Gently he spread his instructions abroad,
And all dignities and riches were concentrated iin him.

He received the tribute [of the States], large and small,
And he supported them as a strong steed [does its burden] ; –
So did he receive the favour of Heaven.
He displayed everywhere his valour,
Unshaken, unmoved,
Unterrified, unscared : –
All dignities were united in him.

The martial king displayed his banner,
And with reverence grasped his axe.
It was like [the case of] a blazing fire,
Which no one can repress.
The root, with its three shoots,
Could make no progress, no growth.
The nine regions were effectually secured by him.
Having smitten [the princes of] Wei and Gu,
He dealt with [the prince of] Kun-wu, and with Jie of Xia.

Formerly in the middle of the period [before Tang],
There was a time of shaking and peril,
But truly did Heaven [then] deal with him as its son,
And sent him down a minister,
Namely A-heng,
Who gave his assistance to the king of Shang.

Legge 304

Shijing IV. 5. (305)

Rapid was the warlike energy of [our king of] Yin,
And vigorously did he attack Jing-Chu.
Boldly he entered its dangerous passes,
And brought the multitudes of King together,
Till the country was reduced under complete restraint : –
Such was the fitting achievement of the descendant of Tang.

'Ye people, ' [he said], ' of Jing-chu,
Dwell in the southern part of my kingdom.
Formerly, in the time of Tang the Successful,
Even from the Jiang of Di,
They dared not but come with their offerings ;
[Their chiefs] dared not but come to seek acknowledgment : –
Such is the regular rule of Shang. '

Heaven has given their appointments [to the princes],
But where their capitals had been assigned within the sphere of the labours of Yu,
For the business of every year, they appeared before our king,
[Saying], ' Do not punish nor reprove us ;
We have not been remiss in our husbandry. '

When Heaven by its will is inspecting [the kingdom],
The lower people are to be feared.
[Our king] showed no partiality [in rewarding], no excess [in punishing] ;
He dared not to allow himself in indolence : –
So was his appointment [established] over the States,
And he made his happiness grandly secure.

The capital of Shang was full of order,
The model for all parts of the kingdom,
Glorious was his fame ;
Brilliant, his energy.
Long lived he and enjoyed tranquillity,
And so he preserves us, his descendants.

We ascended the hill of King,
Where the pines and cypresses grew symmetrical.
We cut them down, and conveyed them here ;
We reverently hewed them square.
Long are the projecting beams of pine ;
Large are the many pillars.
The temple was completed, – the tranquil abode [of his tablet].

Legge 305

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The Book of Odes – Shi Jing IV. 5. – Chinese off/onFrançais/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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