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 I — Lessons from the states
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15
Chapter 1 — The odes of Zhou and the South

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Shijing I. 1. (3)

I was gathering and gathering the mouse-ear,
But could not fill my shallow basket.
With a sigh for the man of my heart,
I placed it there on the highway.

I was ascending that rock-covered height,
But my horses were too tired to breast it.
I will now pour a cup from that gilded vase,
Hoping I may not have to think of him long.

I was ascending that lofty ridge,
But my horses turned of a dark yellow.
I will now take a cup from that rhinoceros' horn,
Hoping I may not have long to sorrow.

I was ascending that flat-topped height,
But my horses became quite disabled,
And my servants were [also] disabled.
Oh ! how great is my sorrow !

Legge 3

Je cueille, cueille la bardane !
je n'en emplis pas un panier,
— Hélas ! je rêve de cet homme ! —
et le laisse sur le sentier !

Je gravis ce mont plein de roches :
mes chevaux en sont éreintés !...
Je me verse à boire de ce vase d'or
afin de ne plus rêver sans trêve !...

Je gravis cette haute colline :
mes chevaux en perdent leur lustre !...
Je me verse à boire dans la corne de rhinocéros
afin de ne plus souffrir sans trêve !...

Je gravis ce mont plein de sables :
mes chevaux en sont tout fourbus !...
Mon conducteur en est malade !...
Hélas ! hélas ! que je gémis !

Granet LVIII.

Thursday, August 16, 2007
Banging the Drum

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Dynasty: Eastern Zhou
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.16)

Banging the drum, dang, dang, dang,
Eager soldiers raise their arms.
They all fortify our citadel and canals,
But I follow my regiment to the south.

I serve my general Sun Zi Zhong,
To make peace for State of Chen and Song.
For our engagement that I cannot return,
So I am in worry and anxiety.

Where I shall look for shelters?
Where I will find my horse?
And how I should search?
Maybe the answer is hiding in the woods.

“Our vow is beyond death and life”,
I and you are together I always remembered.
I will hold your hand,
And together we grow old.

Too pitiful we are faraway apart,
The distance separates us to meet again!
Too miserable this takes forever,
And it does not let us fulfill our vow!

The poet may be an elite soldier of State of Wei.
He followed his general Sun Zi Zhong served near the border of State of Chen and Song (two states were in conflict), and stayed there. He was anxiously waiting for the order to return to his home there his wife was. And during the operation, he lost his horse, which was a desperate situation (horses in ancient time carried soldier supply and weapons, are life companion for soldiers in advance or retreat), he lost his horse, his supply, maybe his armor and weapons, and the road he was facing that we may lose his life so he may never go back. In all these mess, he started searching, and somehow at this hopeless moment he started to revisit his happiest moment, when he together vowed in marriage ceremony with his wife, and he was even afraid that he might never see his love again.
The end of our life, reminds us the true happy moment, experience, value... Confucius said:" At the end of man's life, his words are graceful; At the death of a bird, his song is in grievous tone.

It is unfair to put anyone in such situation: "To kill or to be killed".
The poet's questions are common for everyone in desperate time, when we cannot run away and our future is in other people's decision. When nations or states look for honour, justice, righteousness, peace... their actions and methods often fall into violence. So common's life, happiness and value are at stake, become sacrifice of their leaders' faith and belief. So the poet asked "Where I shall look for shelters? Where I will find my horse(his life companion)? How I should find?" And "Maybe the answer is hiding in the woods." He might be seek a way out, that to hide in the forest, away from society?

And His last statement for his true value is his home, his love, his fulfillment of his vow is his true duty. Hero's duty is to pursue love.

Anon. – 1 – 2006/12/08
Other Contemporary English Translation:

Sunday, August 19, 2007
Streaming Wind

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.19)

Screaming, screeching, the streaming wind,
It is cloudy, rainy, and gloomy sky.
Husband and wife shall encourage each other,
They should not have any angers and blame.
As if we gather cabbages and radishes,
That we shall not throw away their roots.
Let us not forget our graceful words:
“Be with you together until our death!”

As I walked on my road slowly,
But my feet and heart are in disagreeing.
I do not wish you to go with me for long,
But I never expected you just stopped by the door.
Who said the edible plant is so bitter?
But to me it is sweet as shepherd's purse.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
And you two are so close and brotherly.

River Wei joins into river Jing, defiled her surface,
But the bottom of river Jing is still very clear.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
But please stop saying that I am unclean.
Please do not come to my fishing dam,
Please do not lift up my fishing baskets.
Even you do not respect my faithfulness,
Who would care about my name and family?

Marriage is river where is too deep,
Then we shall cross it in a boat.
Marriage is river where is shallow,
Then we shall swim to across it.
If we really lack or need anything,
Then we shall seek it in strength and heart.
Even our neighbor meet any disaster,
We offer our hands in crawling or running.

If you really do not love me I understand,
But why you look at me as if I’m your enemy.
All my love and grace you never accepted,
As if I’m junk that no one is willing to bid.
Our past life were in suffering of poverty,
We supported each other to overcome all troubles.
Now your life is in a good and easy shape,
But you compare me to a venomous insect.

I am like a preserved dry vegetable you stored,
That just for you to get pass the winter season.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
But please do not use me to prevent poverty,
Please stop venting and ranting at me.
Please do not force me into any heavy labor.
All our past love and goodwill are forgotten,
And your grace and my love are gone and vanished.

The poet might be a wife who lived with her husband for some difficult and suffering time. And after their life got better, her husband found new love and abandoned her, married a young girl, and despised his old/first wife, and used his wife as his slave or servant or something. I really felt her paining. And I decided not to look or support for polygamy marriage. If I need to battle my wife for whole life, then to death I will fight with or against her like the TV show: “Everybody loves Raymond”. :-)
This poem is for every wife.

Anon. – 5 – 2006/12/08
[Xref] Lunyu IX. 27. quotes Shijing I. 3. (33)
gbog – Lunyu 236 3 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu XIV. 39. quotes Shi Jing I. 3. (34)
gbog – Lunyu 386 4 – 2005/12/02
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