〈鄘風〉

Yong (present-day northern Henan) was the second of two small principalities later absorbed into the large state of Wei, which appears next in the collection. This set can be seen as a companion set to the “Airs of Bei,” with a parallel opening poem, the second “Cypress Boat” of the collection.

045〈鄘風・柏舟〉

Legge

It floats about, that boat of cypress wood,
There in the middle of the He.
With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead,
He was my mate;
And I swear that till death I will have no other.
O mother, O Heaven,
Why will you not understand me?

It floats about, that boat of cypress wood,
There by the side of the He.
With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead,
He was my only one;
And I swear that till death I will not do the evil thing.
O mother, O Heaven,
Why will you not understand me?

Waley

Cypress Boat

Unsteady is that cypress boat1
In the middle of the river.
His two locks looped over his brow2
He swore that truly he was my comrade,
And till death would love no other.
Oh, mother, ah, Heaven,
That a man could be so false!

Unsteady is that boat of cypress-wood
By that river’s side.
His two locks looped over his brow
He swore that truly he was my mate,
And till death would not fail me.
Oh, mother, ah, Heaven,
That a man could be so false!

1. Symbol of fluctuating intention.
2. Before his coming of age. Compare no. 102.

046〈鄘風・墻有茨〉

Legge

The tribulus grows on the wall,
And cannot be brushed away.
The story of the inner chamber,
Cannot be told.
What would have to be told,
Would be the vilest of recitals.

The tribulus grow on the wall,
And cannot be removed.
The story of the inner chamber,
Cannot be particularly related.
What might be particularly related
Would be a long story.

The tribulus grow on the wall,
And cannot be bound together, [and taken away].
The story of the inner chamber
Cannot be recited,
What might be recited,
Would be the most disgraceful of things.

Waley

On the Wall There Is Star-Thistle

On the wall there is star-thistle;
It must not be swept away.1
What is said within the fence2
May not be disclosed.
But what could be disclosed3
Was filthy as tale can be.

On the wall there is star-thistle;
It must not be cleared away.
What is said within the fence
May not be reported in full.
But what could be reported in full
Was lewd as tale can be.

On the wall there is star-thistle;
It must not be bundled for firewood.
What is said within the fence
May not be openly recited.
But what could be recited
Was shameful as tale can be.

1. Because its prickles keep out intruders.
2. I.e., at the secret hearing of love-disputes.
3. The matrimonial dispute here referred to is traditionally supposed to have taken place in Wei, about 699 BC.

When Hui, still in his minority, succeeded Xuan as Duke of Wei in 699, the men of Qi, who at this period dominated the affairs of the central Chinese states, forced Hui’s half-brother Wan to marry Hui’s widowed mother, who was a Qi princess, in order to ensure a succession favorable to Qi interests. The princess was Hui’s step-mother, and it is supposed that a dispute arose concerning the legitimacy of the union. Something very shocking evidently transpired during the hearing of the case (if we accept that this explanation of the poem is correct). Presumably what transpired was that Wan had already had intercourse with his step-mother during his father’s lifetime.

Zheng Xuan, in his commentary on the last words of Zhou li, chapter 26, says that the place where love-disputes were heard was “covered over on top and fenced in below.” I take the gou of the present song as equivalent to the zhan (fencing) of Zheng’s note. Both words mean trellis-work made of thin strips of wood. Gou is usually taken to mean the partition which divided the woman’s rooms from the man’s. But it was deeds, not words, which disgraced the harem. The “words” that were shocking were the stories told at the trial. My interpretation certainly makes better sense; but we know so little of these yin song (trials in camera) that I only put it forward as a hypothesis.

Karlgren

A vivid sidelight on the life in an oriental palace harem:

1. On the wall there is the Tribulus, it cannot be brushed away;
the words of the (inner trellis-work =) inner chamber, they cannot be told*;
what can be told is (still) the ugliest of tales.
* To reveal the shameful intrigues of the »inner chamber» by telling them to the outer world would be like laying bare the wall by removing its protecting overgrowth.

2. On the wall there is the Tribulus, it cannot be removed;
the words of the inner chamber, they cannot be told in detail;
what can be told in detail is (still) the longest of tales.

3. On the wall there is the Tribulus, it cannot be bundled;
the words of the inner chamber, they cannot be recited;
what can be recited is (still) the most shameful of tales.

047〈鄘風・君子偕老〉

Legge

The husband’s to their old age,
In her headdress, and the cross-pins, with their six jewels;
Easy and elegant in her movements;
[Stately] as a mountain, [majestic] as a river,
Well beseeming her pictured robes:
[But] with your want of virtue, O lady,
What have you to do with these things?

How rich and splendid
Is her pleasant-figured robe!
Her black hair in masses like clouds,
No false locks does she descend to.
There are her ear-plugs of jade,
Her comb-pin of ivory,
And her high forehead, so white.
She appears like a visitant from heaven!
She appears like a goddess!

How rich and splendid
Is her robe of state!
It is worn over the finest muslin of dolichos,
The more cumbrous and warm garment being removed.
Clear are her eyes; fine is her forehead;
Full are her temples.
Ah! such a woman as this!
The beauty of the country!

Waley

Companion of Her Lord till Death

Companion of her lord till death,
The pins of her wig1 with their six gems,
Easy and stately,
Like a mountain, a river
Worthy of her blazoned gown.
That our lady is not a fine lady
How can any man say?

Gorgeous in its beauty
Is her pheasant-wing robe,
Her thick hair billows like clouds,
No false side-lock does she need.
Ear-plugs of jade,
Girdle pendants of ivory,
Brow so white.
How comes it that she is like a heavenly one,
How comes it that she is like a god?

Oh, splendid
In her ritual gown!
Rich the crepes and embroideries
That she trails and sweeps.
Clear is our lady’s brow,
That brow well-rounded.
Truly such a lady
Is a beauty matchless in the land.

1. Compare no. 13.

Karlgren

1. (She who) is to grow old together with the lord, she has the toupee and pins with six ornaments; she is gracefully compliant, (beautiful) like mountain and river, (suitable for =) worthy of the pictured robe; that you would not be good, how could that be possible?

2. Freshly bright is her pheasant robe, the black hair is like a cloud; she disdained the interlaced false hair; oh, the earstoppers of jade, the comb-pin of ivory; the whiteness of the forehead! How is she so like Heaven, how is she so like God?

3. Freshly bright is her ritual robe, it covers the dolichos crepe, and that is the plain garment worn next to the body; oh, your clear forehead, the colour of your forehead! Truly a person like that, she is the beauty of the country.

048〈鄘風・桑中〉

Legge

I am going to gather the dodder,
In the fields of Mei.
But of whom are my thoughts?
Of that beauty, the eldest of the Jiang.
She made an appontment with me in Sangzhong;
She will meet me in Shanggong;
She will accompany me to Qishang.

I am going to gather the wheat,
In the north of Mei.
But of whom are my thoughts?
Of that beauty, the eldest of the Yi.
She made an appontment with me in Sangzhong;
She will meet me in Shanggong;
She will accompany me to Qishang.

I am going to gather the mustard plant,,
In the east of Mei.
But of whom are my thoughts?
Of that beauty, the eldest of the Yong.
She made an appontment with me in Sangzhong;
She will meet me in Shanggong;
She will accompany me to Qishang.

Waley

She Was to Wait

I am going to gather the dodder
In the village of Mei.1
Of whom do I think?
Of lovely Meng Jiang.
She was to wait for me at Sang-zhong,
But she went all the way to Shang-gong
And came with me to the banks of the Qi.

I am going to gather goosefoot
To the north of Mei.
Of whom do I think?
Of lovely Meng Yi.
She was to wait for me at Sang-zhong,
But she went all the way to Shang-gong
And came with me to the banks of the Qi.

I am going to gather charlock
To the east of Mei.
Of whom do I think?
Of lovely Meng Yong.
She was to wait for me at Sang-zhong,
But she went all the way to Shang-gong,
And came with me to the banks of the Qi.

1. The places mentioned in the song were all in northern Henan.

Saussy

I pick the dodder.
In the village of Mei.
Of whom do I think?
Of the beautiful Eldest Daughter Jiang.
She met me among the mulberry treesm
Invited me to the Upper Palace,
Accompanied me along the river Qi.

049〈鄘風・鶉之奔奔〉

Legge

Boldly faithful in their pairings are quails;
Vigorously so are magpies.
This man is all vicious,
And I consider him my brother!

Vigorously faithful in their pairings are magpies;
Boldly so are quails.
This woman is all vicious,
And I regard her as marchioness.

Waley

How the Quails Bicker

How the quails bicker,
How the magpies snatch!
Evil are the men
Whom I must call “brother.”

How the magpies snatch,
How the quails bicker!
Evil are the men
Whom I must call “lord.”

In 658 BC the people of Wei, continually harassed by the Di tribes, were forced to abandon their capital north of the Yellow River, in northern Henan, and transfer it to the southern enclave of Hebei that runs in a narrow strip between Shandong and Henan. In their move they were assisted and protected by Duke Huan of Qi, who sent a gift of three hundred horses (Guo yu, Qi yu. Multiplied in this song to three thousand), presumably because most of theWei people’s horses had been captured by the Di. The following song describes the building of the new capital. We do not know itsexact site, nor what is meant by “Tang” and the “Jing hills.”

050〈鄘風・定之方中〉

Legge

When [Ding] culminated [at night fall],
He began to build the palace at Chu.
Determining its aspects by means of the sun,
He built the mansion at Chu.
He planted about it hazel and chesnut trees,
The yi, the tong, the zi, and the varnish-tree,
Which, when cut down, might afford materials for lutes.

He ascended those old walls,
And thense surveyed [the site of ] Chu.
He surveyed Chu and Tang,
With the high hills and lofty elevations about:
He descended and examined the mulberry trees;
He then divined, and got a fortunate response;
And thus the issue has been truly good.

When the good rain had fallen,
He would order his groom,
By starlight, in the morning, to yoke his carriage,
And would then stop among the mulberry trees and fields.
But not only thus did he show what he was;
Maintaining in his heart a profound devotion to his duties,
His tall horses and mares amounted to three thousand.

Waley

The Ding Star in the Middle of the Sky

The Ding-star1 is in the middle of the sky;
We begin to build the palace at Chu.
Orientating them by the rays of the sun
We set to work on the houses at Chu,
By the side of them planting hazels and chestnut-trees,
Catalpas, Paulownias, lacquer-trees
That we may make the zithers great and small.

We climb to that wilderness
To look down at Chu,
To look upon Chu and Tang,
Upon the Jing hills and the citadel.
We go down and inspect the mulberry orchards,
We take the omens and they are lucky,
All of them truly good.

A magical rain is falling.
We order our grooms
By starlight, early, to yoke our steeds;
We drive to the mulberry-fields and there we rest.
Those are men indeed!
They hold hearts that are staunch and true.
They have given us mares three thousand.

1. Part of Pegasus; also called the Building Star.

051〈鄘風・蝃蝀〉

Legge

There is a rainbow in the east,
And no one dares to point to it.
When a girl goes away [from her home],
She separates from her parents and brothers.

In the morning [a rainbow] rises in the west,
And [only] during the morning is there rain.
When a girl goes away [from her home],
She separates from her brothers and parents.

This person
Has her heart only on being married.
Greatly is she untrue to herself,
And does not recognize [the law of] her lot.

Waley

A Girdle

There is a girdle in the east;
No one dares point at it.
A girl has run away,
Far from father and mother, far from brothers young and old.

There is dawnlight mounting in the west;
The rain will last till noon.
A girl has run away,
Far from brothers young and old, far from mother and from father.

Such a one as he
Is bent on high connections;
Never will he do what he has promised,
Never will he accept his lot.

The girdle is the rainbow. Its appearance announces that someonewho ought not to is about to have a baby; for the arc of the rainbow typifies the swelling girdle of a pregnant woman. No one dares point at it, because pointing is disrespectful, and one must respect a warn-ing sent by Heaven. The second verse opens with a weather proverb. The “mounting” here typifies the swelling girdle; the rain means, I think, the tears she will shed when she finds that she has been deceived. For the lover is bent on forming powerful marriage connections that will improve his lot in life, and whatever promises hemay make now, he will certainly not fulfill them.

The character with which “rainbow” is here written means “spider” and is simply a phonetic borrowing for the “girdle” character. See textual notes. Characters for rainbow presumably have
the “serpent” radical because at an earlier stage of their mythology the Chinese regarded the rainbow as a snake, a belief very common in Africa and elsewhere. For the rainbow as a woman’s belt, see Phyllis Kemp, Healing Ritual in the Balkans (p. 199); Francoise Legey, Folk-lore of Morocco, p. 47 (rainbow as girdle of Mohammed’s daughter). The fact that elsewhere than in China the rainbow is regarded as a girdle makes it unlikely that the “girdle” element in the Chinese character is simply phonetic.

052〈鄘風・相鼠〉

Legge

Look at a rat, it has its skin;
But a man should be without dignity of demeanour.
If a man have no dignity of demeanour,
What should he but die?

Look at a rat, it has its teeth;
But a man shall be without any right deportment.
If a man have not right deportment,
What should he wait for but death?

Look at a rat, it has its limbs;
But a man shall be without any rules of propriety.
If a man observe no rules of propriety,
Why does he not quickly die?

Waley

Look at the Rat

Look at the rat; he has a skin.
A man without dignity,
A man without dignity,
What is he doing, that he does not die?

Look at the rat; he has teeth.
A man without poise,
A man without poise,
What is he waiting for, that he does not die?

Look at the rat; he has limbs.
A man without manners,
A man without manners1
Had best quickly die.

1. But li includes a great deal that we should call religion; for example, sacrificing at the right time.

Karlgren

1. Look at the rat, it has its skin; a man without manners - a man without manners, why does he not die?

2. Look at the rat, it has its teeth; a man without demeanour - a man without demeanour, why does he tarry to die?

3. Look at the rat, it has its limbs; a man without decorum - a man without decorum, why does he not quickly die?

053〈鄘風・干旄〉

Legge

Conspiciously rise the staffs with their ox-tails,
In the distant suburbs of Jun,
Ornamented with the white silk bands;
There are four carriages with their good horses,
That admirable gentleman,
What will he give them for [this]?

Conspiciously rise the staffs with their falcon-banners,
In the nearer suburbs of Jun,
Ornamented with the white silk ribbons;
There are four carriages with their good horses,
That admirable gentleman,
What will he give them for [this]?

Conspiciously rise the staffs with their feathered streamers,
At the walls of Jun,
Bound with the white silk cords;
There are six carriages with their good horses,
That admirable gentleman,
What will he give them for [this]?

Waley

Pole-Banners

High rise the pole-banners
In the outskirts of Jun,1
With white bands braided.
Oh, fine horses, four abreast!
Such great gentlemen,
What can we offer them?

High rise the pole-banners
By the gate-house of Jun,
With white bands bound.
Oh, fine horses, five abreast!
Such great gentlemen,
What can we give them?

High rise the pole-banners
By the walls of Jun,
With white bands plaited.
Oh, fine horses, six abreast!2
Such great gentlemen,
How an we feed them?

1. Near the capital of the Wei state, in northern Henan.
2. Evidence of six horses having drawn one chariot has been found in excavations of Zhou tombs.

054〈鄘風・載馳〉

Legge

I would have galloped my horses and whipt them,
Returning to condole with the marquis of Wei.
I would have urged them all the long way,
Till I arrived at Cao.
A great officer has gone, over the hills and through the rivers;
But my heart is full of sorrow.

You disapproved of my [proposal],
And I cannot return to [Wei];
But I regard you as in the wrong,
And cannot forget my purpose.
You disapproved of my purpose,
But I cannot return across the streams;
But I regard you as in the wrong,
And cannot shut out my thoughts.

I will ascend that mound with the steep side,
And gather the mother-of-pearl lilies.
I might, as a woman, have many thoughts,
But every one of them was practicable.
The people of Xu blame me,
But they are all childish and hasty [in their conclusions].

I would have gone through the country,
Amidst the wheat so luxuriant.
I would have carried the case before the great State.
On whom should I have relied? Who would come [to the help of Wei]?
Ye great officers and gentlemen,
The hundred plans you think of
Are not equal to the course I was going to take.

Waley

Gallop

I ride home, I gallop
To lay my plaint before the lord of Wei,
I gallop my horses on and on
Till I come to Cao.
A great Minister, post-haste!1
How sad my heart.

He2 no longer delights in me;
I cannot go back.
And now, seeing how ill you use me,
Surely my plan is not far-fetched!

He no longer delights in me;
I cannot go back across the river.
And now, seeing how ill you use me,
Surely my plan is not rash!

I climb that sloping mound,
I pick the toad-lilies.
A woman of good intent
Has always the right to go.
That the people of Xu should prevent it
Is childish, nay, mad.

I walk in the wilderness;
Thick grows the caltrop.
Empty-handed in a great land,
To whom could I go, on whom rely?
Oh, you great officers and gentlemen,
It is not I who am at fault;
All your many plans
Are not equal to what I propose.

1. Sent to bring her back.
2. Her husband in Xu.

The general situation in this poem is quite clear. The speaker is a lady of Wei, unhappily married in Xu, a small state to the southeast of Wei. She attempts to go back to her own people and home, but is detained by the men of Xu. She speaks of Xu as a “great land” out of conventional courtesy. Tradition says that she was Mu Fu-ren, a Wei princess married to the Lord of Xu about 671 BC.

〈衛風〉

Wei was closely associated with the Zhou royal house (first enfeoffed brother of King Wu) and was one of the most powerful andest-lived feudal states throughout the Zhou and Warring States periods. The River Qi, which appears throughout the set, is a principle tributary of the Yellow River, crossing the Wei territory westst. This set, which can be grouped with the two preceding sets,1 contains a number of outstanding poems, especially the early narrative of “A Simple Peasant” (58) and the naive lyric “A Quince” (64).

1 This is seen, for example, in the description of a performance of the Songs in 543 BC, which is discussed in the Postface.

055〈衛風・淇奧〉

Legge

Look at those recesses in the banks of the Qi,
With their green bamboos, so fresh and luxuriant!
There is our elegant and accomplished prince,
As from the knife and the file,
As from the chisel and the polisher!
How grave is he and dignified!
How commanding and distinguished!
Our elegant and accomplished prince,
Never can he be forgotten!

Look at those recesses in the banks of the Qi,
With their green bamboos, so strong and luxuriant!
There is our elegant and accomplished prince,
With his ear-stoppers of beautiful pebbles,
And his cap, glittering as with stars between the seams!
How grave is he and dignified!
How commanding and distinguished!
Our elegant and accomplished prince,
Never can he be forgotten!

Look at those recesses in the banks of the Qi,
With their green bamboos, so dense together!
There is our elegant and accomplished prince,
[Pure] as gold and as tin,
[Soft and rich] as a sceptre of jade!
How magnanimous is he and gentle!
There he is in his chariot with its two high sides!
Skilful is he at quips and jokes,
But how does he keep from rudeness from them!

Waley

Little Bay of the Qi

Look at that little bay of the Qi,
Its kitesfoot1 so delicately waving.
Delicately fashioned is my lord,
As thing cut, as thing filed,
As thing chiseled, as thing polished.
Oh, the grace, the elegance!
Oh, the luster, oh, the light!
Delicately fashioned is my lord;
Never for a moment can I forget him.

Look at that little bay of the Qi,
Its kitesfoot so fresh.
Delicately fashioned is my lord,
His ear-plugs are of precious stones,
His cap-gems stand out like stars.
Oh, the grace, the elegance!
Oh, the luster, the light!
Delicately fashioned is my lord;
Never for a moment can I forget him.

Look at that little bay of the Qi,
Its kitesfoot in their crowds.
Delicately fashioned is my lord,
As a thing of bronze, a thing of white metal,
As a scepter of jade, a disc of jade.
How free, how easy
He leant over his chariot-rail!
How cleverly he chaffed and joked,
And yet was never rude!

1. A kind of reed-like grass

056〈衛風・考槃〉

Legge

He has reared his hut by the stream in the valley,
—That large man, so much at his ease.
Alone he sleeps, and wakes, and talks.
He swears he will never forgets [his true joy].

He has reared his hut in the bend of the mound,
—That large man, with such an air of indifference.
Alone he sleeps, and wakes, and sings.
He swears he will never pass from the spot.

He has reared his hut on the level height,
—That large man, so self-collected.
Alone, he sleeps and wakes, and sleeps again.
He swears he will never tell [of his delight].

Waley

Drumming and Dancing

Drumming and dancing1 in the gully
How light-hearted was that tall man!
Subtler than any of them at capping stories.
And he swore he would never forget me.

Drumming and dancing along the bank,
How high-spirited was that tall man!
Subtler than any at capping songs.
And he swore he would never fail me.

Dancing and drumming on the high ground,
How gay was that tall man!
Subtler than any at capping whistled tunes.
And he swore his love would never end.

1. Literally “bending the legs.” That particular kind of dancing (with bent knee), so common in the Far East, must be meant.

I think that too many of the songs have been explained by M. Granet as being connected with a festival of courtship in which the girls ands lined up on opposite sides of a stream—a type of festival well known in Indochina. This song, however, is clearly connected with such a meeting. An interesting book on courtship by exchange of songs has been published by N. van Huyen (Chants Alternés des Garçons Filles en Annam, 1934).

057〈衛風・碩人〉

Legge

Large was she and tall,
In her embroidered robe, with a [plain] single garment over it:
The daughter of the marquis of Qi.
The wife of the marquis of Wei,
The sister of the heir-son of Tong
The sister-in-law of the marquis of Xing,
The viscount of Tan also her brother-in-law.

Her fingers were like the blades of the young white-grass;
Her skin was like congealed ointment;
Her neck was like the tree-grub;
Her teeth were like melon seeds;
Her forehead cicada-like; her eyebrows like [the antenne of] the silkworm moth;
What dimples, as she artfully smiled!
How lovely her eyes, with the black and white so well defined!

Large was she and tall,
When she halted in the cultivated suburbs.
Strong looked her four horses,
With the red ornaments so rich about their bits.
Thus in her carriage, with its screens of pheasant feathers,
she proceeded to our court.
Early retire, ye great officers,
And do not make the marquis fatiqued!

The waters of the He, wide and deep,
Flow northwards in majestic course.
The nets are dropt into them with a plashing sound,
Among shoals of sturgeon, large and small,
While the rushes and sedges are rank about.
Splendidly adorned were her sister ladies;
Martial looked the attendant officers.

Waley

A Splendid Woman

A splendid woman and upstanding;
Brocade she wore, over an unlined coat,
Daughter of the Lord of Qi,
Wife of the Lord of Wei,
Sister of the Crown Prince of Qi,
Called sister-in-law by the Lord of Xing,
Calling the Lord of Tan her brother-in-law.

Hands white as rush-down,
Skin like lard,
Neck long and white as the tree-grub,
Teeth like melon seeds,
Lovely head, beautiful brows.
Oh, the sweet smile dimpling,
The lovely eyes so black and white.

This splendid lady takes her ease;
She rests where the fields begin.
Her four steeds prance,
The red trappings flutter.
Screened by fans of pheasant-feather she is led to Court.
Oh, you Great Officers, retire early,
Do not fatigue our lord.

Where the water of the river, deep and wide,
Flows northward in strong course,
In the fish-net’s swish and swirl
Sturgeon, snout-fish leap and lash.
Reeds and sedges tower high.
All her ladies are tall-coiffed;
All her knights, doughty men.

This poem celebrates the most famous wedding of Chinese antiquity, that of Zhuang Jiang, daughter of the Lord of Qi (northern Shandong), who married the Lord of Wei in 757 BC. Wei centered around the modern Wei-hui in northern Henan. Xing was farthernorth, on the borders of Henan and southern Hebei. Tan was the modern Cheng-zi-ai, near Long-shan, in central Shandong. It has become famous because of the excavations carried out there in recent years.1 One has to bear in mind that the bridegroom and bride are in other parts of the world often treated as though they were a king and queen. It is not impossible that such a song as this, though royal in origin, was afterward sung at ordinary people’s weddings.

1. See, for example, Academia Sinica, 4.2 (1933).

058〈衛風・氓〉

Legge

A simple-looking lad you were,
Carrying cloth to exchange it for silk.
[But] you came not so to purchase silk;
You came to make proposals to me.
I convoyed you through the Qi,
As far as Dunqiu.
‘It is not I,’ [I said], ‘who would protract the time;
But you have had no good go-between.
I pray you be not angry,
And let autumn be the time.’

I ascended that ruinous wall,
To look towards Fuguan;
And when I saw [you] not [coming from] it;
My tears flowed in streams.
When I did see [you coming from] Fuquan,
I laughed and I spoke.
You had consulted, [you said], the tortoise-shell and the reeds,
And there was nothing unfavourable in their response.
‘Then come,’ [I said], ‘with your carriage,
And I will remove with my goods.

Before the mulberry tree has shed its leaves,
How rich and glossy are they!
Ah! thou dove,
Eat not its fruit [to excess].
Ah! thou young lady,
Seek no licentious pleasure with a gentleman.
When a gentleman indulges in such pleasure,
Something may still be said for him;
When a lady does so,
Nothing can be said for her.

When the mulberry tree sheds its leaves,
They fall yellow on the ground.
Since I went with you,
Three years have I eaten of your poverty;
And [now] the full waters of the Qi,
Wet the curtains of my carriage.
There has been no difference in me,
But you have been double in your ways.
It is you, Sir, who transgress the right,
Thus changeable in your conduct.

For three years I was your wife,
And thought nothing of my toil in your house.
I rose early and went to sleep late,
Not intermitting my labours for a morning.
Thus [on my part] our contract was fulfilled,
But you have behaved thus cruelly.
My brothers will not know [all this],
And will only laugh at me.
Silently I think of it,
And bemoan myself.

I was to grow old with you;
Old, you give me cause for sad repining.
The Qi has its banks,
And the marsh has its shores.
In the pleasant time of my girlhood, with my hair simply gathered in a knot,
Harmoniously we talked and laughed.
Clearly were we sworn to good faith,
And I did not think the engagement would be broken.
That it would be broken I did not think,
And now it must be all over!

Waley

A Simple Peasant

We thought you were a simple peasant
Bringing cloth to exchange for thread.
But you had not come to buy thread;
You had come to arrange about me.
You were escorted across the Qi
As far as Beacon Hill.
“It is not I who want to put it off;
But you have no proper match-maker.
Please do not be angry;
Let us fix on autumn as the time.”

I climbed that high wall
To catch a glimpse of Fu-guan,1
And when I could not see Fu-guan
My tears fell flood on flood.
At last I caught sight of Fu-guan,
And how gaily I laughed and talked!
You consulted your yarrow-stalks2
And their patterns showed nothing unlucky.
You came with your cart
And moved me and my dowry.

Before the mulberry-tree sheds its leaves,
How soft and glossy they are!
O dove, turtle-dove,
Do not eat the mulberries!3
O ladies, ladies,
Do not take your pleasure with men.
For a man to take his pleasure
Is a thing that may be condoned.
That a girl should take her pleasure
Cannot be condoned.

The mulberry-leaves have fallen
All yellow and seared.
Since I came to you,
Three years I have eaten poverty.
The waters of the Qi were in flood;
They wetted the curtains of the carriage.4
It was not I who was at fault;
It is you who have altered your ways,
It is you who are unfaithful,
Whose favors are cast this way and that.

Three years I was your wife.
I never neglected my work.
I rose early and went to bed late;
Never did I idle.
First you took to finding fault with me,
Then you became rough with me.
My brothers disowned me;
“Ho, ho,” they laughed.
And when I think calmly over it,
I see that it was I who brought all this upon myself.

I swore to grow old along with you;
I am old, and have got nothing from you but trouble.
The Qi has its banks,
The swamp has its sides;
With hair looped and ribboned5
How gaily you talked and laughed,
And how solemnly you swore to be true,
So that I never thought there could be a change.
No, of a change I never thought;
And that this should be the end!

1. Where her lover was. The scene is northern Henan.
2. Used in divination. See no. 169, verse 4.
3. Which are supposed to make doves drunk.
4. Which was a good omen.
5. While still an uncapped youth.

059〈衛風・竹竿〉

Legge

With your long and tapering bamboo rods,
You angle in the Qi.
Do I not think of you?
But I am far away, and cannot get you.

The Quanyuan is on the left,
And the waters of the Qi are on the right.
But when a young lady goes away, [and is married],
She leaves her brothers and parents.

The waters of the Qi are on the right
And the Quanyuan is on the left.
How shine the white teeth through the artful smiles!
How the girdle gems move to the measured steps!

The waters of the Qi flow smoothly;
There are the oars of cedar and boats of pine.
Might I but go there in my carriage and ramble,
To dissipate my sorrow!

Waley

Bamboo Rod

How it tapered, the bamboo rod
With which you fished in the Qi!
It is not that I do not love you,
But it is so far that I cannot come.
The Well Spring is on the left;
The Qi River on the right.
When a girl is married
She is far from brothers, from father and mother.

How it tapered, the bamboo rod
With which you fished in the Qi!
It is not that I do not love you,
But it is so far that I cannot come.
The Well Spring is on the left;
The Qi River on the right.
When a girl is married
She is far from brothers, from father and mother.
While still an uncapped youth.

The Qi River is on the right,
The Well Spring is on the left;
But, oh, the grace of his loving smile!
Oh, the quiver of his girdle stones!
The Qi spreads its waves;
Oars of juniper, boat of pine-wood.
Come, yoke the horses, let us drive away,
That I may be rid at last of my pain.

060〈衛風・芄蘭〉

Legge

There are the branches of the sparrow-gourd;
There is that lad, with the spike at his girdle.
Though he carries a spike at his girdle,
He does not know us.
How easy and conceited is his manner,
With the ends of his girdle hanging down as they do!

There are the leaves of the sparrow-gourd;
There is that lad with the archer’s thimble at his girdle.
Though he carries an archer’s thimble at his girdle,
He is not superior to us.
How easy and conceited is his manner,
With the ends of his girdle hanging down as they do!

Waley

Vine-Bean

The branches of the vine-bean;1
A boy with knot-horn at his belt!
Even though he carries knot-horn2 at his belt,
Why should he not recognize me?
Oh, so free and easy
He dangles the gems at his waist!

The branches of the vine-bean;
A boy with archer’s thimble at his belt!
Even though he has thimble at belt,
Why should he not be friends with me?
Oh, so free and easy
He dangles the gems at his waist!

1. Generally identified as Metaplexis stauntoni, which would fit quite well.
2. The knot-horn, a pointed instrument for undoing knots, was worn by adultiresumably symbolizing their right to undo the knot of a bride’s girdle; whiletaring of the bowman’s thimble signified that a man was of age to go to war.

061〈衛風・河廣〉

Legge

Who says that the He is wide?
With [a bundle of] reeds I can cross it.
Who says that Song is distant?
On tiptoe I can see it.

Who says that the He is wide?
It will not admit a little boat.
Who says that Song is distant?
It would not take a whole morning to reach it.

Waley

The River Is Broad

Who says that the River is broad?
On a single reed you could cross it.
Who says that Song1 is far away?
By standing on tip-toe I can see it.

Who says that the River is broad?
There is not room in it even for a skiff.
Who says that Song is far away?
It could not take you so much as a morning.

1. Song lay to the south of the Yellow River, Wei to the north.

062〈衛風・伯兮〉

Legge

My noble husband is now martial-like!
The hero of the country!
My husband, grasping his halberd,
Is in the leading chariot of the king’s [host].

Since my husband went to the east,
My head has been like the flying [pappus of the] artemisia.
It is not that I could not anoint and wash it;
But for whom should I adorn myself?

O for rain! O for rain!
But brightly the sun comes forth.
Longingly I think of my husband,
Till my heart is weary, and my head aches.

How shall I get the plant of forgetfulness?
I would plant it on the north of my house.
Longingly I think of my husband,
And my heart is made to ache.

Waley

Bo Is Brave

Heigh, Bo is brave;
Greatest hero in the land!
Bo, grasping his lance,
Is outrider of the king.

Since Bo went to the east
My head has been tousled as the tumbleweed.
It is not that I lack grease to dress it with;
But for whom should I want to look nice?

Oh, for rain, oh, for rain!
And instead the sun shines dazzling.
All this longing for Bo
Brings weariness to the heart, aching to the head.

Where can I get a day-lily1
To plant behind the house?
All this longing for Bo
Can but bring me heart’s pain.

1. An herb of forgetfulness; the wasuregusa of Japanese love poetry which was wornat the belt.

063〈衛風・有狐〉

Legge

There is a fox, solitary and suspicious,
At that dam over the Qi.
My heart is sad;
That man has no lower garment.

There is a fox, solitary and suspicious,
At that deep ford of the Qi.
My heart is sad;
That man has no girdle.

There is a fox, solitary and suspicious,
By the side there of the Qi.
My heart is sad;
That man has no clothes.

Waley

There Is a Fox

There is a fox dragging along
By that dam on the Qi.
Oh, my heart is sad;
That man of mine has no robe.

There is a fox dragging along
By that ford on the Qi.
Oh, my heart is sad;
That man of mine has no belt.

There is a fox dragging along
By that side of the Qi.
Oh, my heart is sad;
That man of mine has no coat.

064〈衛風・木瓜〉

Legge

There was presented to me a papaya,
And I returned for it a beautiful Ju-gem;
Not as a return for it,
But that our friendship might be lasting.

There was presented to me a peach,
And I returned for it a beautiful Yao-gem;
Not as a return for it,
But that our friendship might be lasting.

There was presented to me a plum,
And I returned for it a beautiful Jiu-gem;
Not as a return for it,

Waley

A Quince

She threw a quince to me;
In requital I gave a bright girdle-gem.
No, not just as requital;
But meaning I would love her for ever.

She threw a tree-peach to me;
As requital I gave her a bright greenstone.
No, not just as requital;
But meaning I would love her for ever.

She threw a tree-plum to me;
In requital I gave her a bright jet-stone.
No, not just as requital,
But meaning I would love her for ever.

I have here used the term “requital” because it is technical in our pastoral poetry. For example, in Michael Drayton’s Pastorals:

His lass him lavender hath sent
Showing her love, and doth requital crave;
Him rosemary his sweetheart… [etc.]

Modern botanists identify the fruit of verse 1 as Cydonia sinensis (Chinese quince), that of verse 2 as Cyndonia japonica, and that ofverse 3 as the common quince. The names of the stones very likely indicate their shape and their position in the girdle-pendant ratherthan their quality.