〈檜風〉

Gui (also read Kuai) was a small state absorbed into Zheng in the eighth century BC. Because of that, some argue that these four poems belong to the “Airs of Zheng”; others point out that these poems originate from a time when Gui was still sovereign and thus have their own designation. The small size of the set does suggest that the poems should be seen as remnants of something larger, and similarities with the following set suggest parallel provenances.

146〈檜風・羔裘〉

Legge

In your lamb’s fur you saunter about;
In your fox’s fur you hold your court.
How should I not think anxiously about you?
My toiled heart is full of grief.

In your lamb’s fur you wander aimlessly about;
In your fox’s fur you appear in your hall.
How should I not think anxiously about you?
My heart is wounded with sorrow.

Your lamb’s fur, as if covered with ointment;
Glistens when the sun comes forth.
How should I not think anxiously about you?
To the core of my heart I am grieved.

Waley

Your Lamb’s Wool

In your lamb’s wool sauntering,
In your fox-fur at Court—
Oh, how can I help thinking of you?
My heart throbs with pain.

In your lamb’s wool roaming,
In your fox-fur there in the Hall—
Oh, how can I but think of you?
My heart is sad and sore.

In your lamb’s wool glossy
As the first rays of dawn—
How can I help thinking of you?
My heart is sick within.

147〈檜風・素冠〉

Legge

If I could but see the white cap,
And the earnest mourner worn to leanness!
My toiled heart is worn with grief!

If I could but see the white [lower] dress!
My heart is wounded with sadness!
I should be inclined to go and live with the wearer!

If I could but see the white knee-covers!
Sorrow is knotted in my heart!
I should almost feel as of one soul with the wearer!

Waley

Plain Cap

That the mere glimpse of a plain cap
Could harry me with such longing,
Cause pain so dire!

That the mere glimpse of a plain coat
Could stab my heart with grief]
Enough! Take me with you to your home.

That a mere glimpse of plain leggings
Could tie my heart in tangles!
Enough! Let us two be one.

148〈檜風・隰有萇楚〉

Legge

In the low wet grouds is the carambola tree;
Soft and pliant are its branches,
With the glossiness of tender beauty.
I should rejoice to be like you, [O tree], without consciousness.

In the low, damp grounds is the carambola tree;
Soft and delicate are its flowers,
With the glossiness of its tender beauty.
I should rejoice to be like you, [O tree], without a family.

In the low, damp grounds is the carambola tree;
Soft and delicate is its fruit,
With the glossiness of its tender beauty.
I should rejoice to be like you, [O tree], without a household.

Waley

In the Lowlands Is the Goat’s-Peach

In the lowlands is the goat’s-peach;1
Very delicate are its boughs.
Oh, soft and tender,
Glad I am that you have no friend.

In the lowlands is the goat’s-peach;
Very delicate are its flowers.
Oh, soft and tender,
Glad I am that you have no home.

In the lowlands is the goat’s-peach;
Very delicate is its fruit.
Oh, soft and tender,
Glad I am that you have no house.

1. The goat’s-peach was later identified with the Chinese gooseberry, which now only grows a long way south of the Yangtze. The same names were applied to the Actinidia chinensis, which grows in the north and is probably what is meant here.

149〈檜風・匪風〉

Legge

Not for the violence of the wind;
Not for a rushing motion of a chariot;
But when I look to the road to Zhou,
Am I pained to the core of my heart.

Not for the whirlwind;
Not for the irregular motion of a chariot;
But when I look to the road to Zhou,
Am I sad to the core of my heart.

Who can cook fish?
I will wash his boilers for him.
Who will loyally go to the west?
I will cheer him with good words.

Waley

No Breeze

No breeze stirs,
No cartwheel grates.
I gaze down the highway
And my heart is sad within.

No breeze blows,
No cartwheel whirrs.
I gaze down the highway
And my heart within is sore.

If there is anyone who offers to cook the fish
One is glad to wash the cauldrons for him.
If anyone will make cause with the west,1
That’s a tune I’ll gladly join in!

1. Gui lay immediately to the east of the new Zhou capital. The singer, I think,wanted to make cause with Zhou instead of with Qi.

〈曹風〉

Again we have a very small set of poems from a minor feudal kingdom. Cao, located in southwestern Shandong, was absorbed by a larger state to the south, Song, in the seventh century BC. (cf. nos. 301-05).

150〈曹風・蜉蝣〉

Legge

The wings of the ephemera,
Are robes, bright and splendid.
My heart is grieved;
Would they but come and abide with me!

The wings of the ephemera,
Are robes, variously adorned.
My heart is grieved;
Would they but come and rest with me!

The ephemera bursts from its hole,
With a robe of hemp like snow.
My heart is grieved;
Would they but come and lodge with me!

Waley

Mayfly

Wings of the mayfly—
Dress so bright and new.
My heart is grieving;
Come back to me and stay.

Wing-sheaths of the mayfly—
Clothes so bright and gay.
My heart is grieving;
Come back to me and bide.

A mayfly that breaks out from its hole—
Hemp clothes, spotless as snow.
My heart is grieving;
Come back to me and rest.

151〈曹風・候人〉

Legge

Those officers of escort,
Have their carriers of lances and halberds.
But these creatures,
With their three hundred red covers for the knees!

The pelican is on the dam,
And will not wet his wings!
These creatures,
Are not equal to their dress!

The pelican is on the dam,
And will not wet his beak!
These creatures,
Do not respond to the favour they enjoy.

Extensive and luxuriant is the vegetation,
And up the south hill in the morning rise the vapours.
Tender is she and lovely,
But the young lady is suffering from hunger.

Waley

Man at Arms

That man at arms
Bears halberd and spear;
That fine gentleman,
Ribboned head cloth and red greaves.1

The pelican stays on the bridge;
It has not wetted its wings.
That fine gentleman
Has no right to his dress.

The pelican stays on the bridge;
It has not wetted its beak.
That fine gentleman
Has not followed up his love-meeting.
Oh, pent, oh, packed as they mount,

Those dawn-mists on the southern hill!
Oh, gentle, oh, fair,
Those young girls2 left to pine.

1. More accurately, demijambes.
2. Whom he has seduced; or we may take it in the singular.

152〈曹風・鳲鳩〉

Legge

The turtle dove is in the mulberry tree,
And her young ones are seven.
The virtuous man, the princely one,
Is uniformly correct in his deportment.
He is uniformly correct in his deportment,
His heart is as if it were tied to what is correct.

The turtle dove is in the mulberry tree,
And her young ones are in the plum tree.
The virtuous man, the princely one,
Has his girdle of silk.
His girdle is of silk,
And his cap is of spotted deer-skin.

The turtle dove is in the mulberry tree,
And her young ones are in the jujube tree.
The virtuous man, the princely one,
Has nothing wrong in his deportment.
He has nothing wrong in his deportment,
And thus he rectifies the four quarters of the State.

The turtle dove is in the mulberry tree,
And her young ones are in the hazel tree.
The virtuous man, the princely one,
Rectifies the people of the State.
He rectifies the people of his State:
May he continue for ten thousand years!

Waley

The Cuckoo

The cuckoo is on the mulberry-tree;
Her young go astray;
But good people, gentle folk—
Their ways are righteous.
Their ways are righteous,
Their thoughts constrained.

The cuckoo is on the mulberry-tree;
Her young on the plum-tree.
Good people, gentle folk—
Their girdles are of silk.
Their girdles are of silk,
Their caps of mottled fawn.

The cuckoo is on the mulberry-tree;
Her young amid the thorns.
Good people, gentle folk—
Their ways are faultless.
Their ways are faultless,
They shape our land from end to end.

The cuckoo is on the mulberry-tree,
Her young on the hazel.
Good people, gentle folk—
Shape the people of this land.
Shape the people of this land,
And may they do so for ten thousand years!

153〈曹風・下泉〉

Legge

Cold come the waters down from that spring,
And overflow the bushy wolf’s-tail grass,
Ah me! I awake and sigh,
Thinking of that capital of Zhou.

Cold come the waters down from that spring,
And overflow the bushy southernwood,
Ah me! I awake and sigh,
Thinking of that capital of Zhou.

Cold come the waters down from that spring,
And overflow the bushy divining plants,
Ah me! I awake and sigh,
Thinking of that capital-city.

Beautifully grew the fields of young millet,
Enriched by fertilizing rains.
The States had their sovereign,
And there was the chief of Xun to reward their princes.

Waley

The Falling Spring

Splash, that falling spring
Soaks that clustering henbane.
With a groan I start from my sleep
When I think of the city of Zhou.

Splash, that falling spring
Soaks that clustering southernwood.
With a groan I start from my sleep
When I think of Zhou and its city.

Splash, that falling spring
Soaks that clustering yarrow.
With a groan I start from my sleep
When I think of the city camp.

Strong grow the millet shoots;
Heavy rains have fattened them.
All the lands must march;
The Lord of Xun1 will reward them.

1. Duke Wen, of Jin, who was acclaimed as duke by the troops at Xun, in southern Shanxi, after his return from exile in 636. In 632 he organized a federation of states pledged to support the king of Zhou. The people of Cao belonged to the confederacy.

In the “Jin Sayings” of the Guo yu, Duke Wen of Jin is made to quote this poem while still in exile. That is to say, tradition associated him with the poem, though in a way different from that which I have assumed. The whole story of this ruler, both in the Guo yu and the Zuo zhuan, is interspersed with folklore elements: for example, his “ribs all in one piece,” an obvious “invulnerability-motif.” Certain facts about him (I think we may take them as such) facilitated the linking of his story with traditional folk-lore. His birth involved the breaking of a taboo, for his parents were of the same clan (xing), and this could be taken as putting him on a par with heroes whose parents were brother and sister, human and animal, or the like.