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 III — Greater odes of the kingdom
1 2 3
Chapter 3 — Decade of Dang

255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265

Shijing III. 3. (255)

How vast is God,
The ruler of men below !
How arrayed in terrors is God,
With many things irregular in His ordinations !
Heaven gave birth to the multitudes of the people,
But the nature it confers is not to be depended on.
All are [good] at first,
But few prove themselves to be so at the last.

King Wen said, 'Alas !
Alas ! you [sovereign of] Yin-shang,
That you should have such violently oppressive ministers,
That you should have such extortionate exactors,
That you should have them in offices,
That you should have them in the conduct of affairs !
Heaven made them with their insolent dispositions,
But it is you who employ them, and gave them strength. '

King Wen said, 'Alas !
Alas ! you [sovereign of] Yin-shang,
You ought to employ such as are good,
But [you employ instead] violent oppressors, who cause many dissatisfactions.
They respond to you with baseless stories,
And [thus] robbers and thieves are in your court.
Thence come oaths and curses,
Without limit, without end. '

King Wen said, 'Alas !
Alas ! you [sovereign of] Yin-shang,
You show a strong fierce will in the centre of the kingdom,
And consider the contracting of enmities a proof of virtue.
All unintelligent are you of your [proper] virtue,
And so you have no [good] men behind you, nor by your side.
Without any intelligence of your [proper] virtue,
You have no [good] intimate adviser nor minister. '

King Wen said, 'Alas !
Alas ! you [sovereign of] Yin-shang,
It is not Heaven that flushes your face with spirits,
So that you follow what is evil and imitate it.
You go wrong in all your conduct ;
You make no distinction between the light and the darkness ;
But amid clamour and shouting,
You turn the day into night. '

King Wen said, 'Alas !
Alas ! you [sovereign of] Yin-shang,
[All around you] is like the noise of cicadas,
Or like the bubbling of boiling soup.
Affairs, great and small, are approaching to ruin ;
And still you [and your creatures] go on in this course.
Indignation is rife against you here in the Middle kingdom,
And extends to the demon regions. '

King Wen said, 'Alas !
Alas ! you [sovereign of] Yin-shang,
It is not God that has caused this evil time,
But it arises from Yin's not using the old [ways].
Although you have not old experienced men,
There are still the ancient statutes and laws.
But you will not listen to them,
And so your great appointment is being overthrown. '

King Wen said, 'Alas !
Alas ! you [sovereign of] Yin-shang,
People have a saying,
'When a tree falls utterly,
While its branches and leaves are yet uninjured,
It must first have been uprooted. '
The beacon of Yin is not far-distant ; –
It is in the age of the [last] sovereign of Xia. '

Legge 255

Shijing III. 3. (256)


An outward demeanour, cautious and grave,
Is an indication of the [inward] virtue.
People have the saying,
'There is no wise man who is not [also] stupid. '
The stupidity of the ordinary man,
Is determined by his [natural] defects.
The stupidity of the wise man,

What is most powerful is the being the man ; –
In all quarters [of the State] men are influenced by it.
To an upright virtuous conduct,
All in the four quarters of the State render obedient homage.
With great counsels and determinate orders,
With far-reaching plans and timely announcements,
And with reverent care of his outward demeanour,
One will become the pattern of the people.
Is from his doing violence [to his natural character].

As for the circumstances of the present time,
You are bent on error and confusion in your government.
Your virtue is subverted ;
You are besotted by drink.
Although you thus pursue nothing but pleasure,
How is it you do not think of your relation to the past,
And do not widely study the former kings,
That you might hold fast their wise laws ?

Shall not those whom great Heaven does not approve of,
Surely as the waters flow from a spring,
Sink down together to ruin ?
Rise early and go to bed late,
Sprinkle and sweep your court-yard ; –
So as to be a pattern to the people.
Have in good order your chariots and horses,
Your bows and arrows, and [other] weapons of war ; –
To be prepared for warlike action,
To keep at a distance [the hordes of] the South.

Perfect what concerns your officers and people ;
Be careful of your duties as a prince [of the kingdom] ; –
To be prepared for unforeseen dangers.
Be cautious of what you say ;
Be reverently careful of your outward demeanour ;
In all things be mild and correct.
A flaw in a mace of white jade,
May be ground away,
But for a flaw in speech,
Nothing can be done.

Do not speak lightly ; – your words are your own : –
Do not say, ' This is of little importance. '
No one can hold my tongue for me ;
Words are not to be cast away.
Every word finds its answer ;
Every good deed has its recompense.
If you are gracious among your friends,
And to the people, as if they were your children,
Your descendants will continue in unbroken line,
And all the people will surely be obedient to you.

Looked at in friendly intercourse with superior men,
You make your countenance harmonious and mild ; –
Anxious not to do anything wrong.
Looked at in your chamber,
You ought to be equally free from shame before the light which shines in.
Do not say, ' This place is not public ;
No one can see me here. '
The approaches of spiritual Beings,
Cannot be calculated [beforehand] ;
But the more should they not be slighted.

O prince, let your practice of virtue,
Be entirely good and admirable.
Watch well over your behaviour,
And allow nothing wrong in your demeanour.
Committing no excess, doing nothing injurious ; –
There are few who will not in such a case take you for their pattern.
When one throws to me a peach,
I return to him a plum.
To look for horns on a young ram,
Will only weary you, my son.

The soft and elastic wood,
Can be fitted with the silken string.
The mild and the respectful man,
Possesses the foundation of virtue.
There is a wise man ; –
I tell him [good] words,
And he yields to them the practice of docile virtue.
There is a stupid man ; –
He says on the contrary that my words are not true : –
So different are people's minds.

Oh ! my son,
When you did not know what was good, and what was not good,
Not [only] did I lead you on by the hand,
But I showed the difference by appealing to affairs.
Not [only] did I charge you face to face,
But I held you by the ears.
And still perhaps you do not know,
Although you have held a son in your arms.
If people are not self-sufficient,
Who comes [only] to a late maturity after early instruction ?

Great Heaven is very intelligent,
And I pass my life without pleasure.
When I see you so dark and stupid,
My heart is full of pain.
I taught you with assiduous repetition,
And you listened to me with contempt.
You would nto consider me your teacher,
But regarded me as troublesome.
Still perhaps you do not know ; –
But you are very old.

Oh ! my son,
I have told you the old ways.
Hear and follow my counsels ; –
Then shall you have no cause for great regret.
Heaven is now inflicting calamities,
And is destroying the State.
My illustrations are not taken from things remote ; –
Great Heaven makes no mistakes.
If you go on to deteriorate in your virtue,
You will bring the people to great distress.

Legge 256

[Xref] Lunyu XI. 6. quotes Shi Jing III. 3. (256)
gbog – Lunyu 273 – 2005/12/02

Shijing III. 3. (257)




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.

Legge 257

Shijing III. 3. (258)

Bright was that milky way,
Shining and revolving in the sky.
The king said, 'Oh !
What crime is chargeable on us now,
That Heaven [thus] sends down death and disorder ?
Famine comes again and again.
There is no victim I have grudged ;
Our maces and other tokens are exhausted : –
How is it that I am not heard ?

'The drought is excessive ;
Its fervours become more and more tormenting.
I have not ceased offering pure sacrifices ;
From the border altars I have gone to the ancestral temple.
To the [Powers] above and below I have presented my offerings and then buried them : –
There is no Spirit whom I have not honoured.
Hou-ji is not equal to the occasion ;
God does not come to us.
This wasting and ruin of our country, –
Would that it fell [only] on me !

'The drought is excessive ;
And I may not try to excuse myself.
I am full of terror and feel the peril,
Like the clap of thunder or the roll.
Of the remnant of Zhou, among the black-haired people,
There will not be half a man left ;
Nor will God from His great heaven,
Exempt [even] me.
Shall we not mingle our fears together ?
[The sacrifices to] my ancestors will be extinguished.

'The drought is excessive ;
And it cannot be stopped.
More fierce and fiery,
It is leaving me no place.
My end is near ; –
I have none to look up to, none to look around to.
The many dukes and their ministers of the past,
Give me no help.
O ye parents and [nearer] ancestors,
How can ye bear to see us thus ?

'The drought is excessive ; –
Parched are the hills, and the streams are dried.
The demon of drought exercises his oppression.
As if scattering flames and fire.
My heart is terrified with the heat ; –
My sorrowing heart is as if on fire.
The many dukes and their ministers of the past,
Do not hear me,
O God, from Thy great heaven,
Grant me the liberty to withdraw [into retirement] !

'The drought is excessive ; –
I struggle, and fear to go away.
How is it I am afflicted with this drought ?
I cannot ascertain the cause of it.
In praying for a good year I was abundantly early ;
I was not late [in sacrificing] to [the Spirits] of the four quarters and of the land.
God in the great heaven,
Does not consider me.
Reverent to the intelligent Spirits,
I ought not to be thus the object of their anger.

'The drought is excessive ; –
All is dispersion, and the bonds of government are relaxed.
Reduced to extremities are the Heads of departments ;
Full of distress are my chief minister,
The master of the horse, the commander of the guards,
The chief cook, and my attendants.
There is no one who has not [tried to] help [the people] ;
They have not refrained on the ground of being unable.
I look up to the great heaven ; –
Why am I plunged in this sorrow ?

'I look up to the great heaven,
But its stars sparkle bright.
My great officers and excellent men,
Ye have drawn near [to Heaven] with reverence with all your powers.
Death is approaching,
But do not cast away what you have done.
You are seeking not for me only,
But to give rest to all our departments.
I look up to the great heaven ; –
When shall I be favoured with repose ?

Legge 258

Shijing III. 3. (259)

Grandly lofty are the mountains,
With their large masses reaching to the heavens.
From these mountains was sent down a Spirit,
Who gave birth to [the princes of] Fu and shen.
Fu and Shen,
Are the support of Zhou,
Screens to all the States,
Diffusing [their influence] over the four quarters of the kingdom.

Full of activity is the chief of Shen,
And the king would employ him to continue the services [of his fathers],
With his capital in Xie,
Where he should be a pattern to the States of the south.
The king gave charge to the earl of Zhou,
To arrange all about the residence of the chief of Shen,
Where he should do what was neccessary for the regions of the south,
And where his posterity might maintain his merit.

The king gave charge to the chief of Shen,
'Be a pattern to the regions of the south,
And by means of those people of Xie,
Proceed to display your merit. '
The king gave charge to the earl of Zhou,
To make the statutory definition of the territory and fields of the chief of Shen.
The king gave charge to the chief 's steward,
To remove the members of his family to the spot.

Of the services of the chief of Shen,
The foundation was laid by the earl of Zhou,
Who built first the walls [of this city],
And then completed his ancestral temple.
When the temple was completed, wide and grand,
The king conferred on the chief of Shen,
Four noble steeds,
With their hooks for the trappings of the breast-bands, glittering bright.

The king sent away the chief of Shen,
With its carriage of state and its team of horses.
'I have consulted about your residence,
That it had best be fixed in the South.
I confer on you a great sceptre,
As the symbol of your dignity.
Go, my uncle,
And protect the country of the South.'

The chief of Shen took his departure,
And the king gave him a parting feast in Mei.
Then the chief of Shen returned, [and proceeded] to the south,
And found himself at last in Xie.
The king had given charge to the earl of Zhou,
To make the statutory division of the lands,
And to lay up stores of provisions,
That the progress of the chief might be accelerated.

Martial-like, the chief of Shen,
Entered into Xie.
His footmen and charioteers were numerous,
And throughout the regions of Zhou all rejoiced.
'You have got a good support : –
Very distinguished is the chief of Shen,
The great uncle of the king,
The pattern of the officers, both civil and military. '

The virtue of the chief of Shen,
Is mild, and regulated, and upright.
He will keep all these countries in order,
And be famed throughout the kingdom.
[I], Ji-fu, made this song,
An ode of great excellence,
Of influence good,
To present to the chief of Shen.

Legge 259

Shijing III. 3. (260)

Heaven, in giving birth to the multitudes of the people,
To every faculty and relationship annexed its law.
The people possess this normal nature,
And they [consequently] love its normal virtue.
Heaven beheld the ruler of Zhou,
Brilliantly affecting it by his conduct below ;
And to maintain him, its Son,
Gave birth to Zhong Shan-fu.

The virtue of Zhong Shan-fu,
Is mild and admirable, according as it ought to be.
Good is his deportment ; good his looks ;
The lessons of antiquity are his law ;
He is strenuously attentive to his deportment.
In full accord with the Son of Heaven,
He is employed to spread abroad his bright decrees.

The king gave charge to Zhong Shan-fu : –
'Be a pattern to all the princes ;
Continue [the services of] your ancestors.
You have to protect the royal person ;
Give out the royal decrees, and report on them.
Be the king's throat and tongue ;
Spread his government abroad,
So that in all quarters it shall be responded to. '

Most dignified was the king's charge,
And Zhong Shan-fu carries it into execution.
In the States, the princes, be they good or bad,
Are clearly distinguished by Zhong Shan-fu.
Intelligent is he and wise,
Protecting his own person ;
Never idle, day or night,
In the service of the One man.

The people have a saying : –
'The soft is devoured,
And the hard is ejected from the mouth. '
But Zhong Shan-fu,
Does not devour the soft,
Nor eject the powerful.
He does not insult the poor or the widow ;
He does not fear the strong or the oppressive.

The people have a saying : –
'Virtue is light as a hair,
But few are able to lift it. '
When I think of the matter,
It is only Zhong Shan-fu that can lift it.
I love him, but can do nothing to help him.
Any defects in the king's duties,
Are supplied by Zhong Shan-fu.

Zhong Shan-fu went forth, having sacrificed to the Spirit of the road.
His four steeds were strong ;
His men were alert ;
He was always anxious lest he should not be equal to his commission ;
His steeds went on without stopping,
To the tinkling of their eight bells.
The king had given charge to Zhong Shan-fu,
To fortify the city there in the east.

With his four steeds so strong,
And their eight bells, all tinkling,
Zhong Shan-fu proceeded to Qi ; –
And he will soon return.
I, Yin Ji-fu, have made this song : –
May it enter like a quiet wind,
Among the constant anxieties of Zhong Shan-fu,
To soothe his mind !

Legge 260

Shijing III. 3. (261)

Very grand is the mountain of Liang,
Which was made cultivable by Yu.
Bright it is the way from it,
[Along which came] the marquis of Han to receive investiture.
The king himself gave the charge : –
'Continue the services of your ancestors ;
Let not my charge to you come to nought.
Be diligent, early and late,
And reverently discharge your duties ; –
So shall my appointment of you not change.
Be a support against those princes who do not come to court,
Thus assisting your sovereign. '

With his four steeds, all noble,
Very long, and large,
The marquis of Han came to court,
With the large sceptre of his rank ; –
He entered and appeared before the king.
The king gave him,
A fine dragon-flag, with its feathery ornaments ;
A chequered bamboo-screen, and an ornamented yoke ;
A dark-coloured robe with the dragons on it, and the redslippers ;
The hooks for the trappings of the breast-bands, and the carved frontlets ;
The leaning-board bound with leather, and a tiger's skin to cover it,
The ends of the reins, with their metal rings.

When the marquis of Han left the court, he sacrificed to the Spirit of the road ;
He went forth, and lodged for the night in Tu.
There Xian-fu gave him the parting feast ; –
With a hundred vases of clear spirits.
And what were the viands ?
Roast turtle and fresh fish.
And what were the vegetables ?
Bamboo sprouts and pu.
And what were the gifts ?
A carriage of state with its team.
Many were the vessels of sauces and fruits ;
And the other princes [at court] joined in the feast.

The marquis of Han took to himself a wife, –
A niece of king Fen,
The daughter of Jue-fu.
The marquis of Han went to receive her.
To the residence of Jue.
His hundred chariots were in grand array,
The eight bells of each emitting their tinkling ; –
Illustrious was the glory [of the occasion].
The virgins, her companions, followed the lady,
Leisurely like a beautiful cloud.
The marquis of Han looked round at them,
Filling the gate with their splendour.

Jue-fu is very martial,
And there is no State which he had not visited.
When he would select a home for Han-ji,
There seemed none so pleasant as Han,
Very pleasant is the territory of Han,
With its large streams and meres,
Full of big bream and tench ;
With its multitudes of deer,
With its bears and grisly bears ;
With its wild-cats and tigers.
Glad was he of so admirable a situation,
And here Han-ji found rest and joy.

Large is the wall of [the city of] Han,
Built by the multitudes of Yan.
As his ancestor had received charge,
To preside over all the wild tribes [of that quarter],
The king [now] gave to the marquis of Han,
The Qi and the Mo,
Forthwith to hold the States of the north,
And to preside over them as their chief ;
Making strong his walls, and deep his moats,
Laying out his fields, regulating his revenues,
Presenting his skins of the white fox,
With those of the red panther and the yellow grisly bear.

Legge 261

Shijing III. 3. (262)

Large was the volume of the Jiang and the Han,
And the troops advanced like a flowing current.
There was no resting, no idle wandering ; –
We were seeking for the tribes of the Huai.
We had sent forth our chariots ;
We had displayed our falcon-banners.
There was no resting, no remissness ; –
Against the tribes of the Huai were we marshalled.

Large flowed the Jiang and the Han,
And grandly martial looked the troops.
The whole country had been reduced to order,
And an announcement of our success had been made to be king.
When the whole country was pacified,
The king's State began to feel settled.
There was then an end of strife,
And the king's heart was composed.

On the banks of the Jiang and the Han,
The king had given charge to Hu of Zhou : –
'Open up the whole of the country ;
Make the statutory division of my lands there ;
Not to distress the people, nor with urgency,
But making them conform to the royal state.
Make the larger and the smaller divisions of hte ground,
As far as the southern sea. '

The king gave charge to Hu of Zhou : –
'You have everywhere diffused [and carried out my orders].
When Wen and Wu received their appointment,
The duke of Zhou was their strong support.
You do not [only] have a regard to me the little child,
But you try to resemble that duke of Zhou.
You have commenced and earnestly displayed your merit ;
And I will make you happy.

'I give you a large libation-cup of jade,
And a jar of herb-flavoured spirits from the black millet.
I have made announcement to the accomplished one,
And confer on you hills, lands, and fields.
In Yu-zhou shall you receive investiture,
According as your ancestor received his. '
Hu bowed with his head to the ground, [and said],
'May the Son of Heaven live for ever ! '

Hu bowed with his head to the ground,
And in response displayed the goodness of the king,
And roused himself to maintain the fame of his ancestor.
'May the Son of Heaven live for ever !
Very intelligent is the Son of Heaven ;
His good fame shall be without end.
Let him display his civil virtues,
Till they permeate all quarters of the kingdom.

Legge 262

Shijing III. 3. (263)

Grandly and clearly,
The king gave charge to his minister,
A descendant of Nan Zhong,
The Grand-master Huang-fu : –
'Put my six armies in order,
And get ready all my apparatus of war.
Be reverent, be cautious,
That we may give comfort to the States of the south. '

The king said to the Head of the Yin clan,
'Give a charge to Xiu-fu, earl of Cheng,
To undertake the arrangement of the ranks,
And to warn all my troops.
Along the bank of the Huai,
[We go] to see the land of Xu,
Not delaying [our march], not occupying [the territory],
That the threefold labours [of husbandry ] may proceed in order. '

Full of grandeur and strength,
The Son of Heaven looked majestic.
Leisurely and calmly the king advanced,
Not with his troops in masses, nor in broken lines.
The region of Xu from stage to stage was moved ;
It shook and was terrified, – the region of Xu.
As by the roll of thunder or its sudden crash,
The region of Xu shook and was terrified.

The king aroused his warlike energy,
As if he were moved with anger.
He advanced his tiger-like officers.
Looking fierce like raging tigers.
He displayed his masses along the bank of the Huai,
And forthwith seized a crowd of captives.
Securely kept was the country about the bank of the Huai,
Occupied by the royal armies.

The royal legions were numerous ;
[Swift] as if they flew on wings,
[Imposing] as the current of the Jiang and the Han ;
Firm as a mountain ;
Rolling on like a stream ;
Continuous and orderly ;
Inscrutable, invincible ;
Grandly proceeding to set in order the States of Xu.

The king's plans were directed in truth and sincerity,
And the region of Xu came [at once to terms] ;
Its [chiefs] were all collected together ; –
Through the merit of the Son of Heaven.
The country was all reduced to order ;
Its [chiefs] appeared before the king.
They would not again change their minds,
And the kings said, ' Let us return. '

Legge 263

Shijing III. 3. (264)

I look up to great Heaven,
But it shows us no kindness.
Very long have we been disquieted,
And these great calamities are sent down [upon us].
There is nothing settled in the country ;
Officers and people are in distress.
Through the insects from without and from within,
There is no peace or limit [to our misery].
The net of crime is not taken up,
And there is no peace nor cure [for our state].

Men had their ground and fields,
But you have them [now].
Men had their people and followers,
But you have violently taken them from them.
Here is one who ought to be held guiltless,
But you snare him [in the net of crime].
There is one who ought to be held guilty,
But you let him escape [from it].

A wise man builds up the wall [of a city],
But a wise woman overthrows it.
Admirable may be the wise woman,
But she is [no batter than] an owl.
A woman with a long tongue,
Is [like] a stepping-stone to disorder.
[Disorder] does not come down from heaven ; –
It is produced by the woman.
Those from whom come no lessons, no instruction,
Are women and eunuchs.

They beat men down, hurtful, deceitful.
Their slanders in the beginning may be falsified in the end,
But they do not say [that their words were] very wrong ; –
[They say], ' What evil was there in them ?
As if in the three times cent per cent of traffic,
A superior man should have any knowledge of it ;
So a woman who has nothing to do with public affairs,
Leaves her silk-worms and weaving.

Why is it that Heaven is [thus] reproving [you] ?
Why is it that the Spirits are not blessing [you] ?
You neglect your great barbarian [foes],
And regard me with hatred.
You are reagrdless of the evil omens [that abound],
And your demeanour is all-unseemly ;
[Good] men are going away,
And the country is sure to go to ruin.

Heaven is letting down its net,
And many [are the calamities in it].
[Good] men are going away,
And my heart is sorrowful.
Heaven is letting down its net,
And soon [will all be caught in it ].
Good men are going away.
And my heart is sad.

Right from the spring comes the water bubbling,
Revealing its depth.
The sorrow of my heart, –
Is it [only] of to-day ?
Why were these things not before me ?
Or why were they not after me ?
But myteriously Great Heaven,
Is able to strengthen anything ;
Do not disgrace your great ancestors,
And it will save your posterity.

Legge 264

Shijing III. 3. (265)

Compassionate Heaven is arrayed in angry terrors ;
Heaven is indeed sending down ruin,
Afflicting us with famine,
So that the people are all wandering fugitives ; –
In the settled regions and on the borders all is desolation.

Heaven sends down its net of crime ; –
Devouring insects, who weary and confuse men's minds,
Ignorant, oppressive, neglient,
Breeders of confusion, utterly perverse : –
These are the men employed to tranquilize our country.

Insolent and slanderous, –
[The king] does not know a flaw in them.
We, careful and feeling in peril,
For long in unrest,
Are constantly subjected to degradation.

As in a year of drought,
The grass not attaining to luxuriance ;
As water plants attached to a tree ;
So do I see in this country,
All going to confusion.

The wealth of former days,,
Was not like our present condition.
The distress of the present,
Did not previously reach this degree.
Those are [like] coarse rice, these are [like] fine ; –
Why do you not retire of yourselves,
But prolong my anxious sorrow ?

A pool becomes dry, –
Is it not because no water comes to it from its banks ?
A spring becomes dry, –
Is it not because no water rises in it from itself ?
Great is the injury [all about].
So that my anxious sorrow is increased.
Will not calamity light on my person ?

Formerly when the former kings received their appointment,
There were such ministers as the duke of Zhou,
Who would in a day enlarge the kingdom a hundred Li ;
Now it is contracted in a day a hundred Li.
Oh ! Alas !
Among the men of the present day,
Are there not still some with the old virtue ?

Legge 265

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