〈國風〉

〈周南〉

This set is one of the four airs associated with the Zhou royal house. The poems in this group are said to come from the Zhou ancestral setdement near Mount Qi, which was said to be under the control of the Duke of Zhou. The set is integral to the long exegetical traditional of the Songs; this is especially so for poem no. 1, which has been traditionally linked to the royal consort of King Wen. The commentaries attribute this set (as well as the next) with the civilizing influence by the Zhou on their neighbors, presumably to the south.

001〈周南・關雎〉

Legge

Guan-guan go the ospreys,
On the islet in the river.
The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:
For our prince a good mate she.

Here long, there short, is the duckweed,
To the left, to the right, borne about by the current.
The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:
Waking and sleeping, he sought her.
He sought her and found her not,
And waking and sleeping he thought about her.
Long he thought; oh! long and anxiously;
On his side, on his back, he turned, and back again.

Here long, there short, is the duckweed;
On the left, on the right, we gather it.
The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:
With lutes, small and large, let us give her friendly welcome.
Here long, there short, is the duckweed;
On the left, on the right, we cook and present it.
The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady:
With bells and drums let us show our delight in her.

Waley

The Ospreys Cry

“Fair, fair,” cry the ospreys
On the island in the river.
Lovely is this noble lady,
Fit bride for our lord.

In patches grows the water mallow;
To left and right one must seek it.
Shy was this noble lady;
Day and night he sought her.

Sought her and could not get her;
Day and night he grieved.
Long thoughts, oh, long unhappy thoughts,
Now on his back, now tossing on to his side.

In patches grows the water mallow;
To left and right one must gather it.
Shy is this noble lady;
With great zither and little we hearten her.

In patches grows the water mallow;
To left and right one must choose it.
Shy is this noble lady;
With bells and drums we will gladden her.

Owen

Fishhawk

The fishhawks sing gwan gwan
on sandbars of the stream.
Gentle maiden, pure and fair,
fit pair for a prince.

Watercress grows here and there,
right and left we gather it.
Gentle maiden, pure and fair,
wanted waking and asleep.

Wanting, sought her, had her not,
waking, sleeping, thought of her.
on and on he thought of her,
he tossed from one side to another.

Watercress grows here and there,
right and left we pull it.
Gentle maiden, pure and fair,
with harps we bring her company.

Watercress grows here and there,
right and left we pick it out.
Gentle maiden, pure and fair,
with bells and drums do her delight.

Karlgren

1. Kwan-kwan (cries) the ts'ü-kiu bird, on the islet of the river;
the beautiful and good girl, she is a good mate for the lord.

2. Of varying length is the hing waterplant, to the left and the right we catch it;
the beautiful and good girl, waking and sleeping he (sought her:) wished for her;
he wished for her but did not get her, waking and sleeping he thought of her;
longing, longing, he tossed and fidgeted.

3. Of varying length is the hing waterplant, to the left and the right we gather it;
the beautiful and good girl, guitars and lute (befriend her:) hail her as a friend.

4. Of varying length is the hing waterplant, to the left and the right we cull it as a vegetable;
the beautiful and good girl, bells and drums cheer her.

002〈周南・葛覃〉

Legge

How the dolichos spread itself out,
Extending to the middle of the valley!
Its leaves were luxuriant;
The yellow birds flew about,
And collected on the thickly growing trees,
Their pleasant notes resounding far.

How the dolichos spread itself out,
Extending to the middle of the valley!
Its leaves were luxuriant and dense.
I cut it and I boiled it,
And made both fine cloth and coarse,
Which I will wear without getting tired of it.

I have told the matron,
Who will announce that I am going to see my parents.
I will wash my private clothes clean,
And I will rinse my robes.
Which need to be rinsed, which do not?
I am going back to visit my parents.

Waley

The Cloth-Plant Spreads

How the cloth-plant1 spreads
Across the midst of the valley!
Thick grows its leaves.
The oriole in its flight
Perches on that copse,
Its song is full of longing.

How the cloth-plant spreads
Across the middle of the valley!
Close grow its leaves,
I cut them and steam them,
Make cloth fine and coarse,
For clothes that will not irk me.

I will go to my nurse,
I will tell her I am going home.
Here I sud my shift,
Here I wash my dress.
Which things are clean and which not?
I am going to comfort my parents.

1. Ge is the name applied to various sorts of creeper from the fibers of which cloth was made—and species of Pachyrhizus, including the yam bean. (Waley translates the term as both cloth-plant and cloth-creeper. Ed.)

003〈周南・卷耳〉

Legge

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!

Waley

Cocklebur

Thick grows the cocklebur;
But even a shallow basket I did not fill.
Sighing for the man I love
I laid it there on the road.

“I am climbing that rocky hill,
My horses stagger,
And I stop for a little to drink from that bronze ewer
To still my heart’s yearning.

I am climbing that high ridge,
My horses are sick and spent,
And I stop for a little while to drink from that horn cup1
To still my heart’s pain.

I am climbing that shale;
My horses founder,
My groom is stricken,
Oh, woe, oh, misery!”

1. “Horn-cup.” Literally “drinking-horn,” made of the horn of the si. This word may have originally meant rhinoceros. In Zhou times it meant wild cattle. Today it again means rhinoceros. The link is that the hide of both animals was used for defensive armor.

In the first verse it is the lady left at home who speaks; in the remaining verses it is the man away on a perilous journey.

004〈周南・樛木〉

Legge

In the south are trees with curved drooping branches,
With the doliches creepers clinging to them.
To be rejoiced in is our princely lady:
May she repose in her happiness and dignity!

In the south are the trees with curved drooping branches,
Covered by the dolichos creepers.
To be rejoiced in is our princely lady:
May she be great in her happiness and dignity!

In the south are the trees with curved drooping branches,
Round which the dolichos creepers twine.
To be rejoiced in is our princely lady:
May she be complete in her happiness and dignity!

Waley

Drooping Boughs

In the south is a tree with drooping boughs;
The cloth-creeper binds it.
Oh, happy is our lord;
Blessings and boons secure him!

In the south is a tree with drooping boughs;
The cloth-creeper covers it.
Oh, happy is our lord;
Blessings and boons protect him!

In the south is a tree with drooping boughs;
The cloth-creeper encircles it.
Oh, happy is our lord;
Blessings and boons surround him!

005〈周南・螽斯〉

Legge

Ye locusts, winged tribes,
How harmoniously you collect together!
Right is it that your descendants
Should be multitudinous!

Ye locusts, winged tribes,
How sound your wings in flight!
Right is it that your descendents
Should be as in unbroken strings!

Ye locusts, winged tribes,
How you cluster together!
Right is it that your descendents
Should be in swarms!

Waley

Locusts

The locusts’ wings say “throng, throng”;
Well may your sons and grandsons
Be a host innumerable.

The locusts’ wings say “bind, bind”;
Well may your sons and grandsons
Continue in an endless line.

The locusts’ wings say “join, join”;1
Well may your sons and grandsons
Be forever at one.

1. The three noises that the locusts’ wings make are punned upon and interpreted as omens.

006〈周南・桃夭〉

Legge

The peach tree is young and elegant;
Brilliant are its flowers.
This young lady is going to her future home,
And will order well her chamber and house.

The peach tree is young and elegant;
Abundant will be its fruits.
This young lady is going to her future home,
And will order well her chamber and house.

The peach tree is young and elegant;
Luxuriant are its leaves.
This young lady is going to her future home,
And will order well her family.

Waley

Peach-Tree

Buxom is the peach-tree;
How its flowers blaze!
Our lady going home
Brings good to family and house.

Buxom is the peach-tree;
How its fruit swells!
Our lady going home
Brings good to family and house.

Buxom is the peach-tree;
How thick its leaves!
Our lady going home
Brings good to the people of her house.

007〈周南・兔罝〉

Legge

Carefully adjusted are the rabbit nets;
Clang clang go the blows on the pegs.
That stalwart, martial man
Might be shield and wall to his prince.

Carefully adjusted are the rabbit nets,
And placed where many ways meet.
That stalwart, martial man
Would be a good companion for his prince.

Carefully adjusted are the rabbit nets,
And placed in the midst of the forest.
That stalwart, martial man
Might be head and heart to his prince.

Waley

Rabbit Nets

Firmly set are the rabbit nets,
Hammered with a ding, ding.
Stout-hearted are the warriors,
Shield and rampart of our elder and lord.

Firmly set are the rabbit nets,
Spread where the paths meet.
Stout-hearted are the warriors,
Good comrades for our elder and lord.

Firmly set are the rabbit nets,
Spread deep in the woods.
Stout-hearted are the warriors,
Belly and heart of our elder and lord.

When women were going to have babies they ate plantain in order to secure easy delivery. This plant has always had a high reputation as a drug in the West as well as in the East. In the Highlands it was called the Plant of Healing. It was one of the nine sacred herbs of the Saxons, and Pliny held that it was a cure for hydrophobia. Its use in childbirth is, so far as I know, peculiar to China.

008〈周南・芣苢〉

Legge

We gather and gather the plantains;
Now we may gather them.
We gather and gather the plantains;
Now we have got them.

We gather and gather the plantains;
Now we pluck the ears.
We gather and gather the plantains;
Now we rub out the seeds.

We gather and gather the plantains;
Now we place the seeds in our skirts.
We gather and gather the plantains;
Now we tuck out skirts under our girdles.

Waley

Plantain

Thick grows the plantain;
Here we go plucking it.
Thick grows the plantain;
Here we go gathering it.

Thick grows the plantain;
Here we hold it between the fingers.
Thick grows the plantain;
Here we are with handfuls of it.

Thick grows the plantain;
Here we have our aprons full of it.
Thick grows the plantain;
Now apronfuls are tucked in at our belts.

009〈周南・漢廣〉

Legge

In the south rise the trees without branches,
Affording no shelter.
By the Han are girls rambling about,
But it is vain to solicit them.
The breath of the Han
Cannot be dived across;
The length of the Jiang
Cannot be navigated with a raft.

Many are the bundles of firewood;
I would cut down the thorns [to form more].
Those girls that are going to their future home,
I would feed their horses.
The breadth of the Han
Cannot be dived across;
The length of the Jiang,
Cannot be navigated with a raft.

Many are the bundles of firewood;
I would cut down the southern wood [to form more].
Those girls that are going to their future home,
I would feed their colts.
The breadth of the Han
Cannot be dived across;
The length of the Jiang
Cannot be navigated with a raft.

Waley

The Han Is Broad

In the south is an upturning tree;
One cannot shelter under it.
Beyond the Han a lady walks;
One cannot seek her.
Oh, the Han it is so broad,
One cannot swim it,
And the Jiang, it is so rough
One cannot boat it!

Tall grows that tangle of brushwood;
Let us lop the wild-thorn.
Here comes a girl to be married;
Let us feed her horses.
Oh, the Han it is so broad,
One cannot swim it,
And the Jiang, it is so rough
One cannot boat it!

Tall grows that tangle of brushwood;
Let us lop the mugwort.
Here comes a girl to be married;
Let us feed her ponies.
Oh, the Han it is so broad,
One cannot swim it,
And the Jiang, it is so rough
One cannot boat it.

I call the Yangtze the Jiang, to distinguish it from the Yellow River, which I call simply “the River.” The mention of the Han River and the Yangtze together fixes the scene of this song somewhere near modern Hankou, in east-central Hubei.

010〈周南・汝墳〉

Legge

Along those raised banks of the Ru,
I cut down the branches and slender stems.
While I could not see my lord,
I felt as it were pangs of great hunger.

Along those raised banks of the Ru,
I cut down the branches and fresh twigs.
I have seen my lord;
He has not cast me away.

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.

Waley

Banks of the Ru

I go along the high banks of the Ru1
Cutting faggots from the bough.
I have not yet seen my lord;
I feel a pang as of morning hunger.

I go along the high banks of the Ru
Cutting boughs that have been lopped and grown again.
At last I have seen my lord;
He has not left me for ever.

“The bream has a red tail;
The royal house is ablaze.
But though it is ablaze,
My father and mother are very dear.”

1. A tributary of the Huai, in southeastern Henan. In the last verse the returning husband speaks. A fish with a bleeding tail, floating helplessly downstream, is the symbol of a ruined kingdom, as we may see from a passage in the Zuo zhuan chronicle (Duke Ai, 17th year).

011〈周南・麟之趾〉

Legge

The feet of the Lin:
The noble sons of our prince,
Ah! they are the Lin!

The forehead of the Lin:
The noble grandsons of our prince,
Ah! they are the Lin!

The horn of the Lin:
The noble kindred of our prince,
Ah! they are the Lin!

Waley

Unicorn’s Hoofs

The unicorn’s hoofs!
The duke’s sons throng.
Alas for the unicorn!

The unicorn’s brow!
The duke’s kinsmen throng.
Alas for the unicorn!

The unicorn’s horn!
The duke’s clansmen throng.
Alas for the unicorn!

That this was a dance song is shown by its extreme likeness to no. 25, which we know to have been a dance song. There is a “unicorn-dance” in Annam. It takes place at the full moon of the eight month.1 Masked dances sometimes end by the chief mask being set up and shot at.2 That, I think, is what is happening here. The archers shoot away first its hoofs, then its brow, then its horn.

1. Van Huyen, Les Chants Altemés…en Annam, p. 18. “L’homme qui sait Hen danser avec une the de licome….
2. F. E. Williams, “Mask Ceremonies on the Papuan Gulf,” Congrès International des Sciences Anthropologiques, Compte Rendu (1934), p. 274.

〈召南〉

The second of the two “southern” sets, this one is associated with the Duke of Shao, half brother to King Wu. He was given the more western part of the older Zhou lands, with the capital at Shao, where these poems are said to have been collected. “In the Wilds Is a Dead Doe” (23) has stirred much discussion throughout the ages and is
certainly memorable in its imagery and poignancy

012〈召南・鵲巢〉

Legge

The nest is the magpie’s;
The dove dwells in it.
This young lady is going to her future home;
A hundred carriages are meeting her.

The nest is the magpie’s;
The dove possesses it.
This young lady is going to her future home;
A hundred carriages are escorting her.

The nest is the magpie’s;
The dove fills it.
This young lady is going to her future home;
These hundreds of carriages complete her array.

Waley

Magpie’s Nest

Now the magpie had a nest,
But the cuckoo lived in it.
Here comes a girl to be married;

With a hundred coaches we’ll meet her.
Now the magpie had a nest,
But the cuckoo made a home in it.
Here comes a girl to be married;
With a hundred coaches we’ll escort her.

Now the magpie had a nest,
But the cuckoo filled it.
Here comes a girl to be married;
With a hundred coaches we’ll gird her.

The Chinese believed it was an honor for other birds to rear the cuckoo’s young, as we may see by this poem of Du Fu (eighth century A.D.) on the small cuckoo:
  It gets its young reared in many birds’nests,
  And the many birds do not dare complain,
  But continue to care for the feeding of its young
  With mien as reverent as one who serves a god.
Here the bride coming as an honored stranger into the family is compared to the young cuckoo.

013〈召南・采蘩〉

Legge

She gathers the white southernwood,
By the ponds, on the islets.
She employs it,
In the business of our prince.

She gathers the white southernwood,
Along the streams in the valleys.
She employs it,
In the temple of our prince.

With head-dress reverently rising aloft,
Early, while yet it is night, she is in the prince’s temple;
In her dead-dress, slowly retiring,
She returns to her own apartments.

Waley

Some time after marriage the wife was solemnly presented to her husband’s ancestors. It is this rite, and not the arrival of the bride from her father’s house, which from the religious point of view really constitutes the wedding. It is thus the counterpart to what takes place in church in Western marriage ritual. It will be noticed that the bride wears a wig or head-covering of false hair. This was only worn while serving the ancestors. Modern Hasidic Jewish brides go further, shaving their heads and wearing a wig during the whole of their married life.

Gathering White Aster

See, she gathers white aster
By the pools, on the litde islands.
See, she uses it
At the rituals of her prince and lord.

See, she gathers white aster
Down in the ravine.
See, she uses it
In the ancestral hall of prince and lord.

Her tall wig nods
At dawn of night, while she plies her task.
With tall wig gently swaying
Here she comes back to her room.

014〈召南・草蟲〉

Legge

Yao-yao went the grass-insects,
And the hoppers sprang about.
While I do not see my lord,
My sorrowful heart is agitated.
Let me have seen him,
Let me have met him,
And my heart will then be stilled.

I ascended that hill in the south,
And gathered the turtle-foot ferns.
While I do not see my lord,
My sorrowful heart is very sad.
Let me have seen him,
Let me have met him,
And my heart will then be pleased.

I ascended that hill in the south,
And gathered the thorn-ferns.
While I do not see my lord,
My sorrowful heart is wounded with grief.
Let me have seen him,
Let me have met him,
And my heart will then be at peace.

Waley

The Cicada

Anxiously chirps the cicada,
Restlessly skips the grasshopper.
Before I saw my lord
My heart was ill at ease.
But now that I have seen him,
Now that I have met him,
My heart is at rest.

I climbed that southern hill
To pluck the fern-shoots.
Before I saw my lord
My heart was sad.
But now that I have seen him,
Now that I have met him,
My heart is still.

I climbed that southern hill
To pluck the bracken-shoots.
Before I saw my lord
My heart was sore distressed.
But now that I have seen him,
Now that I have met him,
My heart is at peace.

015〈召南・采蘋〉

Legge

She gathers the large duckweed,
By the banks of the stream in the southern valley.
She gathers the pondweed,
In those pools left by the floods.

She deposits what she gathers,
In her square baskets and round ones
She boils it,
In her tripods and pans.

She sets forth her preparations,
Under the window in the ancestral chamber.
Who superintends the business?
It is [this] reverent young lady.

Waley

Gathering Duckweed

Here we are gathering duckweed
By the banks of the southern dale.
Here we are gathering water-grass
In those channeled pools.

Here we are packing them
Into round basket, into square.
Here we are boiling them
In kettles and pans.

Here we lay them beneath the window
Of the ancestral hall.
Who is the mistress of them?1
A young girl purified.

1. I.e., for whose benefit is the ceremony performed?

016〈召南・甘棠〉

Legge

[This] umbrageous sweet pear-tree;
Clip it not, hew it not down.
Under it the chief of Zhou lodged.

[This] umbrageous sweet pear-tree;
Clip it not, break not a twig of it.
Under it the chief of Zhou rested.

[This] umbrageous sweet pear-tree;
Clip it not, bend not a twig of it.
Under it the chief of Zhou halted.

Waley

Sweet Pear-Tree

Young and tender is this sweet pear-tree;
Do not lop it or knock it,
For the Lord of Shao took shelter under it.

Young and tender is this sweet pear-tree;
Do not lop or harm it,
For the Lord of Shao rested under it.

Young and tender is this sweet pear-tree;
Do not lop it or uproot it,
For the Lord of Shao reposed beneath it.

This song is supposed to have been made by the people of the south, in grateful memory of the Lord of Shao’s services to their country.

017〈召南・行露〉

Legge

Wet lay the dew on the path:
Might I not [have walked there] in the early dawn?
But I said there was [too] much dew on the path.

Who can say the sparrow has no horn?
How else can it bore through my house?
Who can say that you did not get me betrothed?
How else could you have urged on this trial?
But though you have forced me to trial,
Your ceremonies for betrothal were not sufficient.

Who can say that the rat has no molar teeth?
How else could it bore through my wall?
Who can say that you did not get me betrothed?
How else could you have urged on this trial?
But though you have forced me to trial,
I will still not follow you.

Waley

Paths with Dew

The paths are drenched with dew.
True, I said “Early in the night”;
But I fear to walk in so much dew.

Who can say that the sparrow has no beak?
How else could it have pierced my roof?
Who can say that you have no family?
How else could you bring this suit?
But though you bring a suit,
Not all your friends and family will suffice.

Who can say that the rat has no teeth?
How else could it have pierced my wall?
Who can say that you have no family?
How else could you bring this plaint?
But though you bring this plaint,
All the same I will not marry you.1

1. Literally, “I will not follow up” the love-meeting. Compare poem no. 151, verse 3.

018〈召南・羔羊〉

Legge

[Those] lamb-skins and sheep-skins,
With their five braidings of white silk!
They have retired from the court to take their their meal;
Easy are they and self-possesed.

[Those] lamb-skins and sheep-skins,
With their five seams wrought with white silk!
Easy are they and self-possessed;
They have retired from the court to take their their meal.

The seams of [those] lamb-skins and sheep-skins,
The five joinings wrought with white silk!
Easy are they and self-possessed;
They have retired to take their their meal from the court.

Waley

Young Lamb

In skins of the young lamb
Sewn with white silk of five and twenty strands,
Going home to supper from the palace
With step grave and slow!

In hides of the young lamb
Sewn with white silk of a hundred strands,
With step grave and slow
From the palace going to his supper!

In skins of the young lamb sewn
With white silk of four hundred strands,
With step grave and slow
Going home to supper from the palace!

The more numerous the strands the more potent the personal magic (de) of the wearer. Thread of a fixed number of strands is often used in attaching amulets, charms, and the like.

019〈召南・殷其靁〉

Legge

Grandly rolls the thunder,
On the south of the southern hill!
How was it he went away from this,
Not daring to take a little rest?
My noble lord!
May he return! May he return!

Grandly rolls the thunder,
About the sides of the southern hill!
How was it he went away from this,
Not daring to take a little rest?
My noble lord!
May he return! May he return!

Grandly rolls the thunder,
At the foot of the southern hill!
How was it he went away from this,
Not remaining a little at rest?
My noble lord!
May he return! May he return!

Waley

Deep Rolls the Thunder

Deep rolls the thunder
On the sun-side of the southern hills.
Why is it, why must you always be away,
Never managing to get leave?
O my true lord,
Come back to me, come back.

Deep rolls the thunder
On the side of the southern hills.
Why is it, why must you always be away,
Never managing to take rest?
O my true lord,
Come back to me, come back.

Deep rolls the thunder
Beneath the southern hills.
Why is it, why must you be always away,
Never managing to be at home and rest.
O my true lord,
Come back to me, come back.

020〈召南・摽有梅〉

Legge

Dropping are the fruits from the plum-tree;
There are [but] seven [tenths] of them left!
For the gentlemen who seek me,
This is the fortunate time!

Dropping are the fruits from the plum-tree;
There are [but] three [tenths] of them left!
For the gentlemen who seek me,
Now is the time.

Dropt are the fruits from the plum-tree;
In my shallow basket I have collected them.
Would the gentlemen who seek me
[Only] speak about it!

Waley

Plop Fall the Plums

Plop fall the plums; but there are still seven.1
Let those gendemen that would court me
Come while it is lucky!

Plop fall the plums; there are still three.
Let any gendeman that would court me
Come before it is too late!

Plop fall the plums, in shallow baskets we lay them
Any gentleman who would court me
Had better speak while there is time.

1. This poem is akin to love-divinations of the type “Loves me, loves me not” and “This year, next year, sometime, never.” Seven, as with us, is a lucky number.

021〈召南・小星〉

Legge

Small are those starlets,
Three or five of them in the east,
Swiftly by night we go;
In the early dawn we are with the prince.
Our lot is not like hers.

Small are those starlets,
And there are Orion and the Pleiades.
Swiftly by night we go,
Carrying our coverlets and sheets.
Our lot is not like hers.

Waley

The following is the song of the handmaids in some princely household. They had to leave their master’s side before daybreak, to “fade out” before dawn, and therefore compare themselves to stars; whereas the wife could remain with her lord all night.

Small Stars

Twinkle those small stars,
Three or five in the east.
Shrinking, through the dark we walk
While it is still night in the palace.
Truly, fates are not equal.

Twinkle those small stars,
In Orion, in the Pleiades.
Shrinking, through the dark we walk
Burdened with coverlet and sheet.
Truly, fates are not alike.1

1. For a comparatively modern parallel, see J. K. Shryock, “Ch’ên Ting’s Account of the Marriage Customs of the Chiefs of Yünnan,” American Anthropologist, vol. 4, 1934.

022〈召南・江有汜〉

Legge

The Jiang has its branches, led from it and returning to it.
Our lady, when she was married,
Would not employ us.
She would not employ us;
But afterwards she repented.

The Jiang has its islets.
Our lady, when she was married,
Would not let us be with her.
She would not let us be with her;
But afterwards she repressed [such feelings].

The Jiang has the Tuo.
Our lady, when she was married,
Would not come near us
She would not come near us;
But she blew that feeling away, and sang.

Waley

The Jiang Parts and Joins

The Jiang1 parts and joins.
Our lady went to be married
And did not take us.
She did not take us,
But afterward she was sorry.

The Jiang has its islands.
Our lady went to be married
And did not bring us.
She did not bring us,
But afterward she found room for us.

The Jiang divides and joins.
Our lady that went to be married
Did not move us with her.
She did not move us with her,
But in the end she has let us come.

1. The Jiang is the Yangtze River. Ed.

This is a song of bridesmaids who suffered the indignity of being left behind when the bride removed to her husband’s house. The image of a river dividing and joining again, as a symbol of temporary part­ing, occurs in early Japanese poetry: “Like the torrent whose course is barred by a great rock, though now we are parted, in the end I know that we shall meet,” Warete mo suye ni awamu to zo omou. (Shìkwa Wakashū, book 7 no. 228) The last line, “But in the end she has let us come,” is corrupt, and the sense can only be guessed at.

023〈召南・野有死麕〉

Legge

In the wild there is a dead antelope,
And it is wrapped up with the white grass.
There is a young lady with thoughts natural to the spring,
And a fine gentleman would lead her astray.

In the forest there are the scrubby oaks;
In the wild there is a dead deer,
And it is bound round with the white grass.
There is a young lady like a gem.

[She says], Slowly; gently, gently;
Do not move my handkerchief;
Do not make my dog bark.

Waley

If people find a dead deer in the woods, they cover it piously with rushes. But there are men who “kill” a girl, in the sense that they seduce her and then fail to “cover up” the damage by marrying her. Such is the burden of the next poem, its last three lines calling up elliptically the scene of the seduction.

In the Wilds Is a Dead Doe

In the wilds there is a dead doe;
With white rushes we cover her.
There was a lady longing for the spring;
A fair knight seduced her.

In the wood there is a clump of oaks,
And in the wilds a dead deer.
With white rushes well bound;
There was a lady fair as jade.

“Heigh, not so hasty, not so rough;
Heigh, do not touch my handkerchief.1
Take care, or the dog will bark.”

1. Which was worn at the belt.

Karlgren

A girl secretly enticed into a love affair is likened to precious game carefully wrapped up and hidden by the lucky poacher.

1. In the wilds there is a dead deer, with white grass one wraps it up;
there is a girl having spring feelings, a fine gentleman entices her.

2. In the forest there are low shrubby trees, in the wilds there is a dead deer;
with white grass one wraps it up and binds it;
there is a girl like a jade.

3. Slowly! Gently! Do not move my kerchief;
do not make the dog bark!

024〈召南・何彼襛矣〉

Legge

How great is that luxuriance,
Those flowers of the sparrow-plum!
Are they not expressive of reverence and harmony,
The carriages of the king’s daughter?

How great is that luxuriance,
The flowers like those of the peach-tree or the plum!
[See] the grand-daughter of the tranquillizing king,
And the son of the reverent marquis!

What are used in angling?
Silk threads formed into lines.
The son of the reverent marquis,
And the grand-daughter of the tranquillizing king!

Waley

Gorgeous in Their Beauty

Gorgeous in their beauty
Are the flowers of the cherry.
Are they not magnificent in their dignity,
The carriages of the royal bride?

Gorgeous in her beauty
As flower of peach or plum,
Granddaughter of King Ping,
Child of the Lord of Qi.

Wherewith does she angle?
Of silk is her fishing-line,
This child of the Lord of Qi,
Granddaughter of King Ping.

We know nothing further about this royal marriage, but it must have taken place about the middle of the eighth century. Fish, in the Songs, are symbols of fertility. In no. 190 a dream of fishes is interpreted as a promise of good harvests. In general, the fish that get caught in one’s nets and traps are indications of other blessings that Heaven ill send. Fish (and fishing, as in the present song) figure in several the marriage songs. In India, fishing was part of the marriage ceremony, and the fertility and prosperity of the marriage was augured from the catch. Thus, according to the Grhyasutra1 the bridal pair go into the water up to their knees and catch fish in a new garment. They ask a Brahmin who accompanies them what he sees, and he replies, “Children and cattle.” Similar customs still survive in modern India.2 A rite of this kind probably once existed in ancient China; but all memory of it was forgotten by the time the commentators set to work upon the Book of Songs.

1 See R. Pischel, Sitztungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 1905, p. 529.
2 See W. Crooke, Religion and Folklore of Northern India, p. 244 and p. 478. Also Westermarck, History of Human Marriage, vol. 2, p. 484, and W. Logan, Malabar: “Bride and bridegroom stand beside a tub of water in which several small live fish I placed and by means of a cloth capture these fish” (vol. 1, p. 128).

025〈召南・騶虞〉

Legge

Strong and abundant grow the rushes;
He discharges [but] one arrow at five wild boars.
Ah! he is the Zou-yu!

Strong and abundant grow the artemisia;
He discharges [but] one arrow at five wild boars.
Ah! he is the Zou-yu!

Waley

The Zou-yu

Strong grow the reeds;
At one shot I kill five swine.
Alas for the Zou-yu!
Strong grows the wormwood;
At one shot I kill five hogs.
Alas for the Zou-yu!

In the section on music in the Book of Rites it is said that in the pantomime which represented the victory of King Wu of Zhou over Shang, at the end of the dance, “to the left they shoot the Wild Cat’s Head and to the right the Zou-yu,” which was a mythological animal, parallel to the unicorn. Here we have the song that the archers, boasting of their prowess, sing while they “shoot the Zou-yu.” Heroes in Russian epics shoot through thirty trees, so that we need not be surprised to find these bowmen claiming incredible feats. The Confucians were in the habit of concocting a sort of pseudohistory by investing mythological figures, both animal and human, with bureaucratic functions. Thus in the second book of the Shu jing, various monsters such as the dragon are enrolled into the civil service. The same thing happened to the Zou-yu, who already in the Book of the Lord Shang (third century BC) appears as Keeper of the King’s Paddocks. Some commentators have taken the name Zou-yu in this song as the name of an official!