〈小雅〉

“The Minor Odes” (Xiao ya) marks a transition away from the quo­tidian concerns of the Zhou feudal countryside, so prominent in “The Airs of the States,” toward a more aristocratic and courtly level of that society. To be sure, there is still a good measure of romantic desire and everyday distress in this section of seventy-four poems—witness the lover’s complaint of being treated like slop-water in “Valley Wind” (201) or the soldiers’ lament against war in “Tall Pear-Tree” (169). Yet there is a difference. Throughout “The Minor Odes” we find frequent mentions of the palace chamber, the feasting table, and the general’s chariot. Moreover, these poems often specify historical terms: naming the Xian-yun enemy of the north and the Chinese general Nan-zhong who opposed them, dating poems with astronomical and calendrical precision, and lamenting the ill-advised actions of King You and his consort. These events are apparently unfolding at the same time and in coordination with the comings and goings described in “The Airs of the States,” yet they often seem to be two steps removed from each other: as “The Greater East” (203) says, “Ways that are for gentle­man to walk / And for commoners to behold.”

Most important, “The Minor Odes” is pervaded by clan alle­giances and other mechanisms for the maintenance of political and social power. Men (and it is almost exclusively men) come and go, are wel­comed and sent off, plot wars together, and (perhaps most noticeably) eat and drink at clan gatherings. Wine flows through these poems, lubricating their negotiations of power—wine is mentioned four times more often in “The Minor Odes” than in the rest of the collection. And rather than the somber libations of the ancestral rituals that were in the last part of the collection, it is boisterous drinking that celebrates the here and now: “Set out your dishes and meat-stands, / Drink wine to your fill; / All you brothers are here together, / Peaceful, happy, and mild.” (164) Perhaps not coincidentally, “The Minor Odes” also has the most references to the “king’s business,” which was inevitably war. That feudal obligation to the royal house engendered some of the most powerful political laments in the collection, such as in “Bringing Out the Carts” (168) and “Diminutive” (196).

Traditionally, “The Minor Odes” and “The Major Odes” have been divided into decades (shi), which I have marked with section breaks.

161〈小雅・鹿鳴〉

Legge

With pleased sounds the deer call to one another,
Eating the celery of the fields.
I have here admirable guests;
The lutes are struck, and the organ is blown [for them];
The organ is blown till its tongues are all moving.
The baskets of offerings [also] are presented to them.
The men love me,
And will show me the perfect path.

With pleased sounds the deer call to one another,
Eating the southernwood of the fields.
I have here admirable guests;
Whose virtuous fame is grandly brilliant.
They show the people not to be mean;
The officers have in them a pattern and model.
I have good wine,
Which my admirable guests drink, enjoying themselves.

With pleased sounds the deer call to one another,
Eating the salsola of the fields.
I have here admirable guests;
For whom are struck the lutes, large and small.
The lutes, large and small, are struck,
And our harmonious joy is long-continued.
I have good wine,
To feast and make glad the hearts of my admirable guests.

Waley

The Deer Cry

You, you, cry the deer
Nibbling the black southernwood in the fields.
I have a lucky guest.
Let me play my zither, blow my reed-organ,
Blow my reed-organ, trill their tongues,
Take up the baskets of offerings.
Here is a man that loves me
And will teach me the ways of Zhou.

You, you, cry the deer
Nibbling the white southernwood of the fields.
I have a lucky guest,
Whose fair fame is very bright.
He sees to it that the common people do not waver,
Of all gentlemen he is the pattern and example.
I have good wine;
Let my lucky guest now feast and play.

You, you, cry the deer
Nibbling the wild garlic of the fields.
I have a lucky guest.
I play my zithers, small and big,
Play my zithers, small and big.
Let us make music together, let us be merry,
For I have good wine
To comfort and delight the heart of a lucky guest.

For the “luckiness” of guests, compare the Odyssey, book 6, line 207, “All guests and beggars are envoys of Zeus.”

Karlgren

1. Iôg-iôg cry the deer, they eat the Artemisia of the open grounds;
I have a fine guest, we play the lute and blow the reed-organ;
we blow the reed-organ and vibrate its tongues; the baskets presented, them we take*;
the man who loves me*, he shows me the (ways:) manners of Chou.
* We serve each other the picnic delicacies in the baskets.
* 人之好我 — for the construction cf. ode 49 人之無良 »a man who has no goodness», ode 196 人之齊聖 »men who are quick-witted and wise».

2. Iôg-iôg cry the deer, they eat the southern-wood of the open grounds;
I have a fine guest, his reputation is very brilliant;
he does not regard people in a (slighting:) mean way*; the noblemen take him for a pattern, they imitate him;
I have good wine, my fine guest feasts and amuses himself.
* He is not proud, though he is a prominent courtier.

3. Iôg-iôg cry the deer, they eat the k'in plants of the open grounds;
I have a fine guest, we play the lute, we play the guitar;
we play the lute, we play the guitar, together we rejoice and are steeped in pleasure;
I have good wine, with it I feast and rejoice the heart of my fine guest.

162〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・四牡〉

Legge

My four steeds advanced without stopping;
The way from Zhou was winding and tedious.
Did I not have the wish to return?
But the king’s business was not to be slackly performed;
And my heart was wounded with sadness.

My four steeds advanced without stopping;
They panted and snorted, the white steeds black-maned.
Did I not have the wish to return?
But the king’s business was not to be slackly performed;
And I had not leisure to kneel or to sit.

The Filial doves keep flying about,
Now soaring aloft, and now descending,
Collecting on the bushy oaks;
But the king’s business was not to be slackly performed;
And I had not leisure to nourish my father.

The Filial doves keep flying about,
Now flying, now stopping,
Collecting on the bushy medlars;
But the king’s business was not to be slackly performed;
And I had not leisure to nourish my mother.

I yoked my four white steeds, black-maned;
They hurried away with speed.
[But] did I not wish to return?
Therefore I make this song,
Announcing my wish to nourish my mother.

Waley

Four Steeds

My four steeds are weary,
The high road is very far.
Indeed, I long to come home;
But the king’s business never ends.
My heart is sick and sad.

My four steeds are weary,
They pant, those white steeds with black manes.
Indeed, I long to come home,
But the king’s business never ends;
I have no time to tarry or stay.

See how they fluttered, those doves,1
Now rising, now dropping;
Yet they settled on the bushy oaks.
But the king’s business never ends;
I have no time to feed my father.

See how they fluttered, those doves,
Now rising, now hovering.
Yet they settled on the bushy boxthorn.
But the king’s business never ends;
I have no time to feed my mother.

I must yoke my white horses with black manes,
I must gallop at top speed.
Indeed, I long to come home.
That is why I made this song,
To tell how I long to feed my mother.

1. The ancient Chinese believed the turtle dove was very assiduous in feeding its parents. But I think
the meaning here is simply that the dove rests at last; whereas the soldier gets no rest.

163〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・皇皇者華〉

Legge

Brilliant are the flowers,
On those level heights and the low grounds.
Complete and alert is the messenger, with his suite,
Ever anxious lest he should not succeed.

My horses are young;
The six reins look as if they were moistened.
I gallop them, and urge them on,
Everywhere pushing my inquiries.

My horses are piebald;
The six reins are like silk.
I gallop them, and urge them on,
Everywhere seeking information and counsel.

My horses are white and black-maned;
The six reins look glossy.
I gallop them, and urge them on,
Everywhere seeking information and advice.

My horses are grey;
The six reins are well in hand.
I gallop them, and urge them on,
Everywhere seeking information and suggestions.

Waley

Bright Are the Flowers

Bright are the flowers
On those plains and lowlands.
In a great host go the travelers,
Each bent on keeping his place.

“My horses are colts,
My six reins are glossy;
I will speed, I will gallop,
Everywhere asking for counsel.”

“My horses are dappled,
My six reins are like the threads of a loom.
I will speed, I will gallop,
Everywhere asking for instructions.”

“My horses are white with black manes,
My six reins are all greased.
I will speed, I will gallop,
Everywhere asking for good plans.”

“My horses are brindled,
The six reins very level.
I will speed, I will gallop,
Everywhere asking for advice.”

This song is nominally a song of envoys, about to embark on a diplomatic mission. I have a feeling,
however, that the words may be those of the “visiting” movement in a dance or dance-game.

164〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・常棣〉

Legge

The flowers of the cherry tree
Are they not gorgeously displayed?
Of all the men in the world,
There are none equal to brothers.

On the dreaded occasions of death and burial,
It is brothers who greatly sympathize.
When fugitives are collected on the heights and low grounds,
They are brothers who will seek one another out.

There is the wagtail on the level height;
When brothers are in urgent difficulties,
Friends, though they may be good,
Will [only] heave long sighs.

Brothers may quarrel inside the walls,
But they will oppose insult from without,
When friends, however good they may be,
Will not afford help.

When death and disorder are past,
And there are tranquillity and rest;
Although they have brothers,
[Some] reckon them not equal to friends.

Your dishes may be set in array,
And you may drink to satiety;
But it is when your brothers are all present,
That you are harmonious and happy, with child-like joy.

Loving union with wife and children,
Is like the music of lutes;
But it is the accord of brothers,
Which makes the harmony and happiness lasting.

For the ordering of your family,
For your joy in yor wife and children,
Examine this and study it;
Will you not find that it is truly so?

Waley

Cherry-Tree

The flowers of the cherry-tree,
Are they not truly splendid?
Of men that now are,
None equals a brother.

When death and mourning affright us
Brothers are very dear;
As “upland” and “lowland” form a pair,
So “elder brother” and “younger brother” go together.

There are wagtails1 on the plain;
When brothers are hard pressed
Even good friends
At the most do but heave a sigh.

Brothers may quarrel within the walls,
But outside they defend one another from insult;
Whereas even good friends
Pay but short heed.

But when the times of mourning or violence are over,
When all is calm and still,
Even brothers
Are not the equal of friends.

Set out your dishes and meat-stands,
Drink wine to your fill;
All you brothers are here together,
Peaceful, happy, and mild.

Your wives and children chime as well
As little zither with big zither.
You brothers are in concord,
Peaceful, merry, in great glee.

Thus you bring good to house and home,
Joy to wife and child.
I have deeply studied, I have pondered,
And truly it is so.

1. Symbols of agitation.

165〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・伐木〉

Legge

On the trees go the blows ding-ding;
And the birds cry out ying-ying.
One issues from the dark valley,
And removes to the lofty tree,
While ying goes its cry,
Seeking with its voice its companion.
Look at the bird,
Bird as it is, seeking with its voice its companion;
And shall a man,
Not seek to have his friends?
Spiritual beings will then hearken to him;
He shall have harmony and peace.

Xu-xu they go, as they fell the trees.
I have strained off my spirits, till they are fine,
And the fatted lambs are provided,
To which to invite my paternal uncles.
It is better that something should keep them from coming,
Than that I should not have regarded them.
Oh! brightly I have sprinkled and swept my courtyard,
And arranged my viands, with eight dishes of grain, along with my fatted meat,
To which to invite my maternal uncles.
It is better that something should keep them from coming,
Than that there should be blame attaching to me.

They fell down the trees along the hill-side.
I have strained off my spirits in abundance;
The dishes stand in rows,
And none of my brethren are absent.
The loss of kindly feeling among people,
May arise from faults in the matter of dry provisions.
If I have spirits I strain them, do I;
If I have no spirits, I buy them, do I;
I make the drums beat, do I;
I lead on the dance, do I.
Whenever we have leisure,
Let us drink the sparkling spirits.

Waley

The Woodman’s Axe

Ding, ding goes the woodman’s axe;
Ying, ying cry the birds,
Leave the dark valley,
Mount to the high tree.
“Ying” they cry,
Each searching its mate’s voice.

Seeing then that even a bird
Searches for its mate’s voice,
How much the more must man
Needs search out friends and kin.
For the spirits are listening
Whether we are all friendly and at peace.

“Heave ho,” cry the woodcutters.
I have strained my wine so clear,
I have got a fatted lamb
To which I invite all my fathers.1
Even if they choose not to come
They cannot say I have neglected them.

Spick and span I have sprinkled and swept,
I have set out the meats, the eight dishes of grain.
I have got a fatted ox,
To which I invite all my uncles,
And even if they choose not to come
They cannot hold me to blame.

They are cutting wood on the bank.
Of strained wine I have good store;
The dishes and trays are all in rows.
Elder brothers and younger brothers, do not stay afar!
If people lose the virtue that is in them,
It is a dry throat that has led them astray.

When we have got wine we strain it, we!
When we have none, we buy it, we!
Bang, bang we drum, do we!
Nimbly step the dance, do we!
And take this opportunity
Of drinking clear wine.

1. Paternal uncles.

166〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・天保〉

Legge

Heaven protects and establishes thee,
With the greatest securtiy;
Makes thee entirely virtuous,
That thou mayest enjoy every happiness;
Grants thee much increase,
So that thou hast all in abundance.

Heaven protects and establishes thee,
It grants thee all excellence,
So that thine every matter is right,
And thou receivest every heavenly favour.
It sends down to thee long-during happiness,
Which the days are not sufficient to enjoy.

Heaven protects and establishes thee,
So that in every thing thou dost prosper,
Like the high hills, and the mountain masses,
Like the topmost ridges, and the greatest bulks;
That, as the stream ever coming on,
Such is thine increase.

With happy auspices and purifications, thou bringest the offerings,
And dost filially present them;
In spring, summer, autumn, and winter,
To the dukes and former kings,
Who says, ‘We give to thee,
Myriad of years of duration unlimited.’

The spirits come,
And confer on thee many blessings.
The people are simple and honest,
Daily enjoying their meat and drink.
All the black-haired race, in all their surnames,
Universally practise your virtue.

Like the moon advancing to the full,
Like the sun ascending the heavens,
Like the age of the southern hills,
Never waning, never falling,
Like the luxuriance of the fir and the cypress;
May such be thy succeeding line!

Waley

May Heaven Guard

May Heaven guard and keep you
In great security,
Make you staunch and hale;
What blessing not vouchsafed?
Give you much increase,
Send nothing but abundance.

May Heaven guard and keep you,
Cause your grain to prosper,
Send you nothing that is not good.
May you receive from Heaven a hundred boons,
May Heaven send down to you blessings so many
That the day is not long enough for them all.

May Heaven guard and keep you,
Cause there to be nothing in which you do not rise higher,
Like the mountains, like the uplands,
Like the ridges, the great ranges,
Like a stream coming down in flood;
In nothing not increased.

Lucky and pure are your viands of sacrifice
That you use in filial offering,
Offerings of invocation, gift-offerings, offering in dishes and offering of first-fruits
To dukes and former kings.
Those sovereigns say: “We give you
Myriad years of life, days unending.”

The Spirits are good,
They will give you many blessings.
The common people are contented,
For daily they have their drink and food.
The thronging herd, the many clans1
All side with you in deeds of power.

To be like the moon advancing to its full,
Like the sun climbing the sky,
Like the everlastingness of the southern hills,
Without failing or falling,
Like the pine-tree, the cypress in their verdun
All these blessings may you receive!

1. Into which the Zhou overlords were divided.

167〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・采薇〉

Legge

Let us gather the thorn-ferns, let us gather the thorn-ferns;
The thorn-ferns are now springing up.
When shall we return? When shall we return?
It will be late in the [next] year.
Wife and husband will be separated,
Because of the Xian-yun.
We shall have no leisure to rest,
Because of the Xian-yun.

Let us gather the thorn-ferns, let us gather the thorn-ferns;
The thorn-ferns are now tender.
When shall we return? When shall we return?
Our hearts are sorrowful;
Our hearts are sad and sorrowful;
We shall hunger, we shall thirst.
While our service on guard is not finished,
We can send no one home to enquire about our families.

Let us gather the thorn-ferns, let us gather the thorn-ferns;
The thorn-ferns are now hard.
When shall we return? When shall we return?
The year will be in the tenth month.
But the king’s business must not be slackly performed;
We shall have no leisure to rest.
Our sorrowing hearts are in great distress;
But we shall not return from our expedition.

What is that so gorgeous?
It is the flowers of the cherry tree.
What carriage is that?
It is the carriage of our general.
His war carriage is yoked;
The four steeds are strong.
Dare we remain inactive?
In one month we shall have three victories.

The four steeds are yoked,
The four steeds, eager and strong;
The confidence of the general,
The protection of the men.
The four steeds move regularly, like wings;
There are the bow with its ivory ends, and the seal-skin quiver.
Shall we not daily warn one another?
The business of the Xian-yun is very urgent.

At first, when we set out,
The willows were fresh and green;
Now, when we shall be returning,
The snow will be falling in clouds.
Long and tedious will be our marching;
We shall hunger; we shall thirst.
Our hearts are wounded with grief,
And no one knows our sadness.

Waley

The next two poems (along with no. 177 and no. 178) deal with or mention the campaigns of the Zhou people against the fierce Xian-yun 獫狁 tribes. The two Chinese generals, Nan-zhong, in no. 168, and Ji-fu, in no. 177, are both traditionally placed in King Xuan’s reign (827-782 BC). Of the Xian-yun we know very little. All that we can be certain of is that they were a dreaded foe who invaded Shaanxi, the home-country of the Zhou, and were driven back in a series of campaigns, some of which took place round about 800 BC.

Plucking Bracken

We plucked the bracken, plucked the bracken
While the young shoots were springing up.
Oh, to go back, go back!
The year is ending.
We have no house, no home
Because of the Xian-yun.1
We cannot rest or bide
Because of the Xian-yun.

We plucked the bracken, plucked the bracken
While the shoots were soft.
Oh, to go back, go back!
Our hearts are sad,
Our sad hearts burn,
We are hungry and thirsty,
But our campaign is not over,
Nor is any of us sent home with news.

We plucked the bracken, plucked the bracken;
But the shoots were hard.
Oh, to go back, go back!
The year is running out.
But the king’s business never ends;
We cannot rest or bide.
Our sad hearts are very bitter;
We went, but do not come.

What splendid thing is that?
It is the flower of the cherry-tree.
What great carriage is that?
It is our lord’s chariot,
His war-chariot ready yoked,
With its four steeds so eager.
How should we dare stop or tarry?
In one month we have had three alarms.

We yoke the teams of four,
Those steeds so strong,
That our lord rides behind,
That lesser men protect.
The four steeds so grand,
The ivory bow-ends, the fish-skin quiver.
Yes, we must be always on our guard;
The Xian-yun are very swift.

Long ago, when we started,
The willows spread their shade.
Now that we turn back
The snowflakes fly.
The march before us is long,
We are thirsty and hungry,
Our hearts are stricken with sorrow,
But no one listens to our plaint.

1. Xian-yun 玁狁 are also mentioned in several bronze inscriptions (e.g. Karlgren, B. 107, B. 133, B. 205). The only placename in those inscriptions which can be identified with certainty is “north side of the Luo” (B. 71), which can only mean north of the Northern Luo River in Eastern Shaanxi. Similarly, the only place-name in our songs with a certain identification is the “north side of the Jing” in no. 177. The Jing (cf. no. 188) is the next great Shaanxi river west of the Luo.

168〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・出車〉

Legge

We proceeded with our carriage,
To those pasture grounds.
‘From the place of the son of Heaven,
Came an order to me to march,’ [said the general].
So he called his carriage-officers,
And told them to get the carriages all ready.
‘The king’s business,’ [said he], ‘is surrounded with difficulties;
We must use despatch.’

We proceeded with our carriage,
To that suburban region.
The banner with tortoises and serpents was raised,
And the ox-tails set up at the top of its staff;
Did not it and the falcon banner,
Fly about grandly?
The [general’s] heart was anxious and sad,
And the carriage-officers appeared full of care.

The king charged Nan Zhong,
To go and build a wall in the [disturbed] region.
How numerous were his chariots!
How splendid his dragon, his tortoise and serpent flags!
The son of Heaven had charged us,
To build a wall in that northern region.
Awe-inspiring was Nan Zhong;
The Xian-yun were sure to be swept away!

When we were marching at first,
The millets were in flower.
Now that we are returning,
The snow falls, and the roads are all mire.
The king’s business was not to be slackly performed,
And we had not leisure to rest.
Did we not long to return?
But we were in awe of the orders in the tablets.

‘Yao-yao go the grass-insects,
And the hoppers leap about.
While we do not see our husbands,
Our hearts must be full of grief.
Let us but see our husbands,
And our hearts will be at rest.’
The awe-inspiring Nan Zhong,
Is smiting the Rong of the west.

The spring-days are lengthening out;
The plants and trees grow full of verdure;
The oriole’s cry comes jie-jie;
[Our wives] go in crowds to gather the white southernwood.
With our prisoners for the question and our captive crowd,
We return.
Awe-inspiring is Nan zhong;
The Xian-yun are pacified.

Waley

Bringing Out the Carts

We bring out our carts
On to those pasture-grounds.
From where the Son of Heaven is
Orders have come that we are to be here.
The grooms are told
To get the carts loaded up.
The king’s service brings many hardships;
It makes swift calls upon us.

We bring out our carts
On to those outskirts.
Here we set up the standards,
There we raise the ox-tail banners,
The falcon-banner, and the standards
That flutter, flutter.
Our sad hearts are very anxious;
The grooms are worn out.

The king has ordered Nan-zhong
To go and build a fort on the frontier.
To bring out the great concourse of chariots,
With dragon banners and standards so bright.
The Son of Heaven has ordered us
To build a fort on that frontier.
Terrible is Nan-zhong;
The Xian-yun are undone.

Long ago, when we started,
The wine-millet and cooking-millet were in flower.
Now that we are on the march again
Snow falls upon the mire.
The king’s service brings many hardships.
We have no time to rest or bide.
We do indeed long to return;
But we fear the writing on the tablets.1

“Dolefully cry the cicadas,
Hop and skip go the grasshoppers.
Before I saw my lord
My heart was full of grief.
But now that I have seen my lord
My heart is still.”2
Terrible is Nan-zhong;
Lo, he has stricken the warriors of the West!

The spring days are drawn out;
All plants and trees are in leaf.
Tuneful is the oriole’s song.
The women gather aster3 in crowds.
We have bound the culprits;4 we have captured the chieftains,
And here we are home again!
Terrible is Nan-zhong;
The Xian-yun are leveled low.

1. The king’s command.
2. Bridal-hymn formula, spoken by the wives.
3. For use in the ancestral temple.
4. For trial. Enemies are criminals and their instigators must be tried at law, like criminals. For an example of “trying” a defeated chieftain, see the inscription in Karlgren, B. 19. The defendant’s plea is that he had been maltreated by a certain Zhou lord and had therefore thrown in his lot with the Shang. The farce of interrogation having been accomplished, the rebel chieftain was, of course, beheaded.

Karlgren

1. We bring out our carriages on that pasture-ground; from the place of the Son of Heaven, they tell us to come; we call those grooms, and tell them to load; the service to the king has many difficulties, but it is urgent.

2. We bring out our carriages to that suburb; raise this tortoise-and-snake banner, we set up that oxtail flag; that falcon flag and that tortoise-and-snake banner, do they not flutter!

3. grieved hearts are pained; the grooms are distressed and exhausted. The king has ordered Nan-chung to go and build a wall in Fang*; the out-going carriages go pwâng-pwâng, the dragon banner and tortoise-and-snake banner are brilliant; the Son of Heaven ordered us to build a wall in that Shuo-fang*; awe-inspiring is Nan-chung; the Hien-yün are expelled.
* Mao thinks this Fang (»the region») is equal to the Shuo-fang (»the northern region», cf. Shu: Yao tien) which follows later in the stanza; But, as Ma Juei-ch'en points out, the Yi Chou shu: Shī fu kie mentions an attack on the three cities Yue, Hi and Fang, so our simple Fang here is not necessarily an abbreviation of Shuo-fang. The ancient geography of the northern frontier regions is very little known. The place Fang recurs in ode 177.

4. Long ago, when we marched, the millets were just in flower; now when we come (back), the falling snow settles on the mud; the service to the king has many difficulties, we have no leisure to kneel down or sit at rest; do we not long to go home? But we fear these bamboo-slip documents.

5. »Iôg-iôg sound the insects in the grass; jumping are the grasshoppers; when I have not yet seen my lord, my grieved heart is agitated; but when I have seen my lord, my heart calms down»*; awe-inspiring is Nan-chung, he attacks the Western Jung.
* This is the plaint of the ladies at home, waiting for their husbands; very nearly the same as ode 14, st. 1 above.

6. The spring-days are lengthening out, the plants and trees are luxuriant; the orioles sing in unison; in crowds they gather the southernwood; we have seized prisoners for the question and caught a crowd; and now we return home; awe-inspiring is Nan-chung, the Hien-yün are pacified.

169〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・杕杜〉

Legge

Solitary stands the russet pear tree,
With its fruit so bright.
The king’s business must not be slackly performed,
And the days are prolonged with us one after another.
The sun and moon are in the tenth month.
My woman’s heart is wounded;
My soldier might have leisure [to return]!

Solitary stands the russet pear tree,
With its leaves so luxuriant.
The king’s business must not be slackly performed,
And my heart is wounded and sad.
The plants and trees are luxuriant,
But my heart is sad.
O that my soldier might return!

I ascended that hill in the north,
To gather the medlars.
The king’s business must not be slackly performed,
And our parents are made sorrowful.
His chariot of sandal wood must be damaged;
His four horses must be worn out;
My soldier cannot be far off.

They have not packed up, they do not come;
My sorrowing heart is greatly distressed.
The time is past, and he is not here,
To the multiplication of my sorrows.
Both by the tortoise shell and the reeds have I divined,
And they unite in saying he is near.
My soldier is at hand!

Waley

Tall Pear-Tree

WIFE: Tall grows that pear-tree,
Its fruit so fair to see.1
The king’s business never ends;
Day in, day out it claims us.
CHORUS: In spring-time, on a day so sunny—
Yet your heart full of grief?
The soldiers have leave!

WIFE: Tall grows that pear-tree,
Its leaves so thick.
The king’s business never ends;
My heart is sick and sad.
CHORUS: Every plant and tree so leafy,
Yet your heart sad?
The soldiers are coming home!

SOLDIER: I climb that northern hill
To pluck the boxthorn.
The king’s business never ends;
What will become of my father, of my mother?
CHORUS: Their wickered chariots drag painfully along,
Their horses are tired out.
But the soldiers have not far to go.

WIFE: If he were not expected and did not come
My heart would still be sad.
But he named a day, and that day is passed,
So that my torment is great indeed.
CHORUS: The tortoise and the yarrow-stalks agree;
Both tell glad news.
Your soldier is close at hand.

1. “The tree flowers in its season; but the soldiers cannot lead a natural existence” (earliest commentator). This use of contrast was completely misunderstood by later interpreters.

The tortoise and the yarrow-stalks represent two methods of divination. The first consisted of heating the carapace of a tortoise and “reading” the cracks that appeared; the second, of shuffling stalks of the Siberian milfoil. (For a reference on tortoise-shell oracles see my note 5 to poem no. 237. Ed.)

170〈小雅・鹿鳴之什・魚麗〉

Legge

The fish pass into the basket,
Yellow-jaws and sand-blowers.
Our host has spirits,
Good and abundance of them.

The fish pass into the basket,
Bream and tench.
Our host has spirits,
Abundance of them and good.

The fish pass into the basket,
Mud-fish and carp.
Our host has spirits,
Good and in quantities.

The viands are abundant,
And they are admirable.

The viands are excellent,
Both from the land and the sea.

The viands are in quantities,
And all in season.

Waley

Fish in the Trap

The fish caught in the trap
Were yellow-jaws and sand-eels.
Our lords have wine
Good and plentiful.

The fish caught in the trap
Were bream and tench.
Our lords have wine
Plentiful and good.

The fish caught in the trap
Were mud-fish and carp.
Our lords have wine
Good and to spare.

Things they have in plenty,
Only because their ways are blessed.
Things they have that are good,
Only because they are at peace with one another.
Things they have enough and to spare,
Only because their ways are lovely.

The interpretation of the last stanza is mere guess-work.

171〈小雅・南有嘉魚〉

Legge

In the south is the barbel,
And, in multitudes, they are taken under baskets.
The host has spirits,
On which his admirable quests feast with him joyfully.

In the south is the barbel,
And, in multitudes, they are taken with wicker nets.
The host has spirits,
On which his admirable quests feast with him, delighted.

In the south are trees with curved drooping branches,
And the sweet gourds cling to them.
The host has spirits,
On which his admirable quests feast with him cheerfully.

The Filial doves keep flying about,
Coming in multitudes.
The host has spirits,
On which his admirable quests feast with him again and again.

Waley

In the South There Are Lucky Fish

In the south there are lucky fish,
In their multitudes they leap.
Our lord has wine;
His lucky guests shall feast and rejoice.

In the south there are lucky fish,
In their multitudes they glide.
Our lord has wine;
His lucky guests shall feast and be merry.

In the south there is a tree with drooping boughs;
The sweet gourds cling to it.
Our lord has wine;
His lucky guests shall be feasted and comforted.

Winging, winging, the doves
In their flocks they come.1
Our lord has wine;
His lucky guests shall be feasted, shall be surfeited.

1. Birds are the messengers of Heaven; when they come in flocks, it means that Heaven will send many blessings.

172〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・南山有臺〉

Legge

On the hills of the south is the Tai plant,
On those of the north is the Lai.
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men,
The foundations of the State.
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men;
May your years be myriads and without end!

On the hills of the south are the mulberry trees,
On those of the north are willows.
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men,
The light of the State.
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men;
May your years be myriads, unlimited!

On the hills of the south are medlars;
On those of the north are plum trees.
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men,
Parents of the people.
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men;
May your virtuous fame have no end!

On the hills of the south is the Kao;
On those of the north is the Niu.
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men,
Have ye not the eyebrows of longevity?
To be rejoiced in are ye, noble men;
May your virtuous fame be abundant!

On the hills of the south is the Ju;
On those of the north is the Yu.
To be rejoiced in are ye, gentlemen;
Will ye not have the grey hair and wrinkled face?
To be rejoiced in are ye, gentlemen;
May ye preserve and maintain your posterity!

Waley

Nutgrass Grows on the Southern Hills

On the southern hills grows the nutgrass;
On the northern hills the goosefoot.
Happiness to our lord
That is the groundwork of land and home!
Happiness to our lord!
May he live for evermore.

On the southern hills the mulberry;
On the northern hills the willow.
Happiness to our lord,
That is the light of land and home.
Happiness to our lord!
May he live for ever and ever.

On the southern hills the aspen;
On the northern hills the plum-tree.
Happiness to our lord
That is the father and mother of his people.
Happiness to our lord!
May his fair fame be for ever.

On the southern hills the cedrela;
On the northern hills the privet.
Happiness to our lord,
Yes, and life long-lasting!
Happiness to our lord!
May his fair fame never droop.

On the southern hills the boxthorn;
On the northern hills the catalpa.
Happiness to our lord,
Yes, till locks are seer and face is gray!
Happiness to you, our lord!
To your descendants, safety and peace!

173〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・蓼蕭〉

Legge

How long grows the southernwood,
With the dew lying on it so bright!
Now that I see my noble men,
My heart is entirely satisfied.
As we feast, we laugh and talk;
It is right they should have fame and prosperity!

How long grows the southernwood,
With the dew lying on it so abundantly!
Now that I see my noble men,
I appreciate their favour and their brightness.
Their virtue is without taint of error;
May they live long, and not be forgotten!

How high is the southernwood,
All wet with the fallen dew!
Now that I see my noble men,
Grandly we feast, delighted and complacent.
May their relations with their brothers be right!
May they be happy in their excellent virtue to old age!

How high is the southernwood,
With the dew lying on it so richly!
I have seen my noble men,
With the ends of their reins hanging down,
With the bells tinkling on their cross-boards and bits.
May all happiness gather upon them.

Waley

Thick Southernwood

Thick grows that southernwood;
The falling dew drenches it.1
Now that I have seen my lord
My heart is eased.
So peaceably he laughs and talks
That I am happy and at rest.

Thick grows that southernwood;
The falling dew lies heavy upon it.
Now I have seen my lord,
He has become my protector, my light.2
May his power3 have no flaw,
May he live for evermore!

Thick grows that southernwood;
The falling dew dabbles it.
Now that I have seen my lord
I am happy and at peace.
May he bring good to his elder brothers, his younger brothers,
May he have magic power and great longevity!

Thick grows that southernwood;
The falling dew soaks it.
Now I have seen my lord,
His rein-ends jingling,
His chariot-bells and bridle-bells chiming,
In whom all blessings meet.

1. A symbol of the bride’s tears.
2. Reading very doubtful.
3. Wherever the word “power” occurs in the translations it represents the Chinese word de. (But de does not always translate as “power.” Ed.)

174〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・湛露〉

Legge

Heavy lies the dew;
Nothing but the sun can dry it.
Happily and long into the night we drink;
Till all are drunk, there is no retiring.

Heavy lies the dew;
On that luxuriant grass.
Happily and long into the night we drink.
In the honoured apartment we complete our carousal.

Heavy lies the dew;
On those willows and jujube trees.
Distinguished and true are my noble quests,
Every one of excellent virtue.

From the Tong and the Yi,
Their fruit hangs down.
Happy and self-possessed are my noble quests,
Every one of them of excellent deportment.

Waley

Sopping Dew

Sopping lies the dew;
Not till the sun comes will it dry.
Deep we quaff at our night-drinking;
Not till we are drunk shall we go home.

Sopping lies the dew
On that thick grass.
Deep we quaff at our night-drinking,
Here at the clan-gathering we will carry it through.1

Sopping lies the dew
On those boxthorns and brambles.
Renowned are you, our guests,
None of you failing in noble power.

Those oil-trees, those paulownias,
Their fruits hang thick.
Blessed and happy are you, my lords,
None failing in noble ways.

1. Meaning doubtful.

175〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・彤弓〉

Legge

The red bows unbent,
Were received and deposited.
I have here an admirable quest,
And with all my heart I bestow one on him.
The bells and drums have been arranged in order,
And all morning will I feast him.

The red bows unbent,
Were received and fitted on their frames.
I have here an admirable quest,
And with all my heart I rejoice in him.
The bells and drums have been arranged in order,
And all morning will I honour him.

The red bows unbent,
Were received and placed in their cases.
I have here an admirable quest,
And with all my heart I love him.
The bells and drums have been arranged in order,
And all morning will I pledge him.

Waley

The Red Bow

The red bow is unstrung,
When one is given it, one puts it away.
I have a lucky guest;
To the depths of my heart I honor him.
The bells and drums are all set;
The whole morning I feast him.

The red bow is unstrung,
When one is given it, one stores it.
I have a lucky guest;
To the depths of my heart I delight in him.
The bells and drums are all set;
The whole morning I ply him.

The red bow is unstrung,
When one is given it, one puts it in its press.
I have a lucky guest;
To the depths of my heart I love him.
The bells and drums are all set;
The whole morning I drink pledges with him.

The next piece is a marriage song adapted to celebrate not the meeting between bride and bridegroom but an audience given by a feudal superior to his vassal. No doubt most of the other marriage songs in this book were often used in the same way; but this is the only one in which the wording has manifesdy been altered to fit the new purpose. The line which has been changed is the last in verse 3: “He gave me a hundred strings of cowries.” Vast numbers of inscriptions record the giving of cowries by feudal lords to their vassals, as a reward for faithful services. There is not the slightest reason to suppose that a bridegroom ever gave his bride a gift of cowry shells. “A hundred” probably only means “a great many.” A good account of the use of cowries as currency in ancient China is given by H. G. Creel in The Birth of China, p. 92. Judging by the analogy of numerous similar songs, the line must originally have run, “My spirits rise” (wo xin ze xing), or something to that effect.

176〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・菁菁者莪〉

Legge

Luxuriantly grows the aster-southernwood,
In the midst of that large mound.
Since we see our noble lord,
We rejoice, and he shows us all courtesy.

Luxuriantly grows the aster-southernwood,
In the midst of that islet.
Since we see our noble lord,
Our hearts are full of joy.

Luxuriantly grows the aster-southernwood,
In the midst of that great height.
We see our noble lord,
And he gives us a hundred sets of cowries.

It floats about, the willow boat,
Now sinking, now rising again.
Since we see our noble lord,
Our hearts are at rest.

Waley

Grows the Tarragon

Thick grows the tarragon
In the center of that slope.
I have seen my lord;
He was pleased and courteous to boot.

Thick grows the tarragon
In the middle of that island.
I have seen my lord,
And my heart is glad.

Thick grows the tarragon
In the center of that mound.
I have seen my lord;
He gave me a hundred strings of cowries.

Unsteady is that osier boat;
It plunges, it bobs.1
But now that I have seen my lord
My heart is at rest.

1. I was uneasy about what sort of reception I should get.

177〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・六月〉

Legge

In the sixth month all was bustle and excitement.
The war carriages had been made ready,
With the four steeds [of each], strong and eager;
And the regular accountrements had been placed in the carriages.
The Xian-yun were in blazing force,
And thence was the urgency.
The king had ordered ther expedition,
To deliver the royal kingdom.

Matched in strength were the four black steeds,
Well trained to observe every rule.
On this sixth month,
We completed our accountrements.
Our accountrements were completed,
And we marched thirty Li [every day].
The king had ordered ther expedition,
To help the son of Heaven.

The four steeds were long, and stout,
And large-headed.
We smote the Xian-yun,
And achieved great merit.
Severely strict and careful [was our leader],
Discharging his military service,
Discharging his military service,
And settling thereby the royal kingdom.

Badly reckoned the Xian-yun,
When they confidently occupied Jiao and Huo,
And overran Hao and Fang,
As far as to the north of the Jing.
On our flags was their blazonry of birds,
While their white streamers fluttered brightly.
Ten large war chariots,
Led the way in front.

The war carriages were well made.
Nicely balanced, before and behind.
Their four steeds were strong,
Both strong and well trained.
We smote the Xian-yun,
As far as Tai-yuan.
For peace or for war fit is Ji-fu,
A pattern to all the States.

Ji-fu feasts and is glad;
Great happiness is his.
In returning from Hao,
Distant and long had been our march.
He entertains and feasts his friends,
With roast turtle and minced carp.
And who are there?
There is Zhang Zhong, the filial and brotherly.

Waley

The Sixth Month

In the sixth month all is bustle,
We put our war-chariots in order,
Our four steeds are in good fettle,
We load our bow-cases and quivers.
The Xian-yun are ablaze,
We have no time to lose.
We are going out to batde,
To set aright the king’s lands.

Our team of blacks is well-matched,
A pattern of perfect training.
It is the sixth month;
We have finished all our field-work,
We have finished all our field-work
Throughout the thirty leagues.1
We are going out to battle
To help the Son of Heaven.

Our four steeds are tall and broad,
Hugely high they stand.
We fall upon the Xian-yun,
We do great deeds,
So stern, so grim
We fulfill the tasks of war,
Fulfill the tasks of war
That the king’s lands may be at rest.

The Xian-yun were scornful of us,
They encamped at Jiao-huo.2
They invaded Hao and Fang.
As far as the north banks of the Jing.
With woven pattern of bird blazonry
Our silken banners brightly shone.
Big chariots, ten of them,
Went first, to open up a path.

Those war-chariots were well balanced
As though held from below, hung from above.
Our four steeds were unswerving,
Unswerving and obedient.
We smote the Xian-yun
As far as the great plain.3
Mighty warrior4 is Ji-fu,
A pattern to all the peoples.

Ji-fu feasts and is happy;
He has received many blessings from Heaven:
“Here I am, back from Hao;
I have been away a long time
And must give a drinking-party to my friends,
With roast turtle and minced carp.”
And who was with him?
Zhang Zhong, pious5 and friendly.

1. Compare no. 277. A league (li) was three hundred paces.
2. Generally supposed to have been near modern Fu-feng, west of the Zhou capital. The meaning of Hao and Fang is very uncertain. It would be rash to build
geographical theories on the order in which the places are mentioned, for this may
be dictated by the necessities of rhyme.
3. Probably not the modern Tai-yuan in Shanxi.
4. Or “mighty in peace and war.”
5. To his ancestors. But the “pious and friendly” may easily be a corruption of another personal name.

178〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・采芑〉

Legge

They were gathering the white millet,
In those new fields,
And in these acres brought only one year under cultivation,
When Fang Shu came to take the command.
His chariots were three thousand,
With a host of well-disciplined warriors.
Fang Shu led them on,
In his carriage drawn by four piebalds,
Four piebalds orderly moving.
Red shone his grand carriage,
With its chequered bamboo screen, and seal-skin quivers,
With the hooks for the trappings of the breast-bands, and the rein-ends.

They were gathering the white millet,
In those new fields,
And all about these villages,
When Fang Shu came to take the command.
His chariots were three thousand;
His banners, with their blazonry of dragons, and of serpents and tortoises, fluttered gaily.
Fang Shu led them on,
The naves of his wheels bound with leather, and his yoke ornamented.
Tinkle-tinkle went the eight bells at the horses’ bits.
He wore the robes conferred [by the king];
His red knee-covers were resplendent,
And the gems of his girdle-pendant sounding.

Rapid is the flight of the hawk,
Soaring to the heavens,
And again descending and settling in its place.
Fang Shu came to take the command.
His chariots were three thousand,
With a host of well disciplined warriors.
Fang Shu led them on.
With his jinglers and drummers,
He marshalled his hosts and addressed them.
Intelligent and true is Fang Shu,
Deep rolled the sound of his drums;
With a lighter sound he led the troops back.

Foolish were the savage tribes of King,
Presuming to oppose our great region.
Fang Shu is of great age,
But full of vigour were his plans.
He led his army on,
Seized [the chiefs] for the question, and made captives of a crowd [besides].
Numerous were his war chariots,
Numerous and in grand array,
Like the clap or the roll of thunder their onset.
Intelligent and true is Fang Shu.
He had gone and smitten the Xian-yun,
And the tribes of King came, awed by his majesty.

Waley

Plucking White Millet

Lo, we were plucking the white millet
In that new field,
In this fresh-cleared acre,
When Fang-shu arrived
With three thousand chariots
And a host of guards well-trained.
Yes, Fang-shu came
Driving his four dappled grays,
Those dappled grays so obedient,
In his big chariot painted red,
With his awning of lacquered bamboo and his fish-skin quiver,
His breast-buffers1 and metal-headed reins.

Lo, we were plucking the white millet
In that new field,
In this middle patch,
When Fang-shu arrived
With three thousand chariots,
With banners shining bright.
Yes, Fang-shu came
With leather-bound nave and metal-studded yoke,
His eight bells jingling,
Wearing his insignia—
The red greaves so splendid,
The tinkling onion-stones at his belt.

Swoop flew that hawk
Straight up into the sky,
Yet it came here to roost.
Fang-shu has come
With three thousand chariots
And a host of guards well-trained.
Yes, Fang-shu has come
With his bandsmen beating the drums,
Marshaling his armies, haranguing his hosts.
Illustrious truly is Fang-shu,
Deep is the roll of the drums,
Shaking the hosts with its din.

Foolish were you, tribes of Jing,2
Who made a great nation into your foe.
Fang-shu is old in years,
But in strategy he is at his prime.
Fang-shu has come,
He has bound culprits, captured chieftains.
His war-chariots rumble,
They rumble and crash
Like the clap of thunder, like the roll of thunder.
Illustrious truly is Fang-shu,
It was he who smote the Xian-yun,
Who made the tribes of Jing afraid.

1. Pear-shaped buffers which hung from the horse’s shoulder-girth.
2. The people later called Chu. At this period they were between the Han River
and the Yangtze, in northern Hubei.

179〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・車攻〉

Legge

Our chariots were strong,
Our horses were well matched,
And with four steeds [for each], sleek and large,
We yoked and proceeded to the east.

Our hunting carriages were good,
And their four steeds in fine condition.
Eastwards were the grassy plains of Fu;
We yoked and went there to hunt.

Of the officers in charge of the hunt,
The voices resounded as they told off the men.
They set up the banners, with ox-tails displayed,
And we proceeded to pursue the chase in Ao.

With their four-horsed chariots [they came],
Forming a long train,
In their red knee-covers and gold-adorned slippers,
Like the crowd of an occasional or a general audience.

The bowstring thimbles and armlets were fitted on;
The bows and arrows were adjusted to one another;
The archers acted in unison,
Helping us to rear a pile of game.

Of the four yellow horses of each chariot,
The two outsiders inclined not to either side.
No error in driving was committed,
And the arrows went forth like downright blows.

As if at their ease, the horses neighed,
Long and slow moved the line of pennons and banners;
The footmen and charioteers created no alarms;
The great kitchen did not claim its full complement.

So did the officers conduct this expedition,
Without any clamour in the noise of it.
Truly a princely man is [the king];
Great indeed are his achievements!

Waley

Chariots Are Strong

Our chariots are strong,
Our horses well matched.
Team of stallions lusty
We yoke and go to the east.

Our hunting chariots are splendid,
Our teams very sturdy.
In the east are wide grasslands;
We yoke, and a-hunting we go.

My lord follows the chase
With picked footmen so noisy,
Sets up his banners, his standards,
Far afield he hunts in Ao.

We yoke those four steeds,
The four steeds so big.
Red greaves, gilded slippers—
The meet has great glamour.

Thimbles and armlets are fitted,
Bows and arrows all adjusted,
The bowmen assembled
Help us to lift the game.

A team of bays we drive;
The two helpers do not get crossways,
Faultlessly are they driven,
While our arrows shower like chaff.

Subdued, the horses whinny;
Gently the banners wave.
“If footmen and riders are not orderly
The great kitchen will not be filled.”

My lord on his journeys
Without clamor wins fame.
Truly, a gentleman he;
In very truth, a great achievement.

180〈小雅・南有嘉魚之什・吉日〉

Legge

A lucky day was wu,
And we sacrificed on it to the Ruler [of horses], and prayed.
Our hunting carriages were good;
The team for each was in fine condition.
We would ascend the greatest heights,
And pursue the herds [of the game].

A lucky day was geng-wu.
We had selected our horses;
The haunts of the animals,
Where the does and stags lay numerous,
The grounds by the Qi and the Ju,
That was the place for the son of Heaven [to hunt].

We looked to the midst of the plain,
Where the animals were large and abundant,
Now rushing about, now waiting together,
Here in threes, there in twos.
We led on all our attendants,
To give pleasure to the son of Heaven.

We have bent our bows;
We have our arrows on the string.
Here is a small boar transifixed;
There is a large rhinoceros killed.
The spoil will be presented to the visitors and guests,
Along with the cup of sweet wine.

Waley

Lucky Day

A lucky day, fifth of the week,1
We have made the sacrifice of propitiation,2 we have prayed.
Our hunting chariots so lovely,
Our four steeds so strong,
We climb that high hill
Chasing the herds of game.

A lucky day, seventh of the cycle;3
We have picked our steeds.
Here the beasts congregate,
Doe and stag abound,
Along the Qi and Ju,4
The Son of Heaven’s domain.

Look there, in the midst of the plain,
Those big ones, very many!
Scampering, sheltering,
Some in herds, some two by two.
We lead hither all our followers,
Anxious to please the Son of Heaven.

We have drawn our bows;
Our arrows are on the bowstring.
We shoot that little boar,
We fell that great wild ox.
So that we have something to offer, for guest, for stranger,
To go with the heavy wine.

1. The ten-day week.
2. Compare no. 241, verse 8.
3. Sixty-day cycle.
4. Northeast of the Zhou capital.

181〈小雅・鴻鴈〉

Legge

The wild geese are flying about;
Su-su goes the rustle of their wings.
[There were] those officers engaged on the commission.
Pained were we and toiled in the open fields;
All were objects of pity,
But alas for those wifeless and widows!

The wild geese are flying about;
And they settle in the midst of the marsh.
[There were] those officers directing the rearing of the walls;
Five thousand cubits of them arose at once.
Though there was pain and toil,
In the end we had rest in our dwellings.

The wild geese are flying about,
And melancholy is their cry of ao-ao.
There were they, wise men,
Who recognized our pain and toil;
If they had been stupid men,
They would have said we were proclaiming our insolence.

Waley

Wild-Geese

The wild-geese are flying;
Suk, suk go their wings.
The soldiers are on the march;
Painfully they struggle through the wilds.
In dire extremity are the strong men;
Sad are their wives, left all alone.

The wild-geese are flying;
They have lighted in the middle of the marsh.
The soldiers are walling a fort;
The hundred cubits1 have all risen.
Though they struggle so painfully,
At last they are safely housed.

The wild-geese are flying;
Dolefully they cry their discontent.
But these were wise men
Who urged us in our toil,
And those were foolish men
Who urged us to make mischief and rebel.

1. Cubit-square frames held the earth in position when the walls were being built.

182〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・庭燎〉

Legge

How goes the night?
It is not yet midnight.
The torch is blazing in the court-yard.
My princely men are arriving;
There is the tinkling of their bells.

How goes the night?
The night is not yet through.
The torch is growing pale in the court-yard.
My princely men are arriving;
There is the sound of their bells, regular and near.

How goes the night?
It is getting towards morning.
The torch is smoking in the court-yard.
My princely men are arriving;
I see their banners.

Waley

What of the Night?

What of the night?
The night is not yet spent.
The torches in the courtyard are alight.
But my lord has come;
Tinkle, tinkle go his harness-bells.

What of the night?
The night is not yet old.
The torches in the courtyard are bright.
But my lord has come;
Twit, twit go the bells.

What of the night?
The night nears dawn.
The torches in the courtyard gleam.
My lord has come;
I can see his banners.

183〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・沔水〉

Legge

In large volume, those flowing waters,
Go to the court of the sea.
Rapid is that flying falcon,
Now soaring, now resting.
Alas! among my brethren,
My countrymen, my friends,
No one is willing to think of the prevailing disorder;
[But] who has not parents [to suffer from it]?

In large volume, those flowing waters,
Roll on their swollen flood.
Rapid is that flying falcon,
Now soaring, now rising higher.
When I think of those lawless men,
Now I rise up, now I walk about.
The sorrow of my heart,
Cannot be repressed nor forgotten.

Rapid is that flying falcon,
Yet he keeps along the middle of the height.
The talk of the people,
Is there no means of stopping it?
If my friends would reverently [watch over themselves],
Would slanderous speeches be made?

Waley

In Flood

In flood those running waters
Carry their tides to join the sea.
Swift that flying kite
Now flies, now lights.
Alas that of my brothers,
My countrymen and all my friends,
Though each has father, has mother,
None heeds the disorders of this land!

In flood those running waters
Spread out so wide, so wide.
Swift that flying kite;
Now flying, now soaring.
Thinking of those rebellious ones
I arise, I go.
The sorrows of my heart
I cannot banish or forget.

Swift that flying kite
Makes for that middle mound.
The false words of the people,
Why does no one stop them?
My friends, be on your guard;
Slanderous words are on the rise.

The meaning is: we are heading for rebellion swift as a kite or as a stream in flood.

184〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・鶴鳴〉

Legge

The crane cries in the ninth pool of the marsh,
And her voice is heard in the [distant] wilds.
The fish lies in the deep,
And now is by the islet.
Pleasant is that garden,
In which are the sandal trees;
But beneath them are only withered leaves.
The stones of those hills,
May be made into grind-stones.

The crane cries in the ninth pool of the marsh,
And her voice is heard in the sky.
The fish is by the islet,
And now it lies hid in the deep.
Pleasant is that garden,
In which are the sandal trees;
But beneath them is the paper-mulberry tree,
The stones of those hills,
May be used to polish gems.

Waley

A Crane Cries

When a crane cries at the Nine Swamps
Its voice is heard in the wild.
A fish can plunge deep into the pool
Or rest upon the shoals.
Pleasant is that man’s garden
Where the hardwood trees are planted;
But beneath1 them, only litter.
There are other hills whose stones
Are good for grinding tools.

When a crane cries at the Nine Swamps
Its voice is heard in Heaven.
A fish can rest upon the shoal
Or plunge deep into the pool.
Pleasant is that man’s garden
Where the hardwood trees are planted.
But beneath them are only husks.
There are other hills whose stones
Are good for working jade.

1. The “beneath” certainly has a double sense and hints that the lower classes are treated as of no account. The refrain is a cryptic threat to emigrate. Compare no. 113.

185〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・祈父〉

Legge

Minister of war,
We are the claws and teeth of the king.
Why have you rolled us into this sorrow,
So that we have no abiding place?

Minister of war,
We are the taloned soldiers of the king.
Why have you rolled us into this sorrow,
So that there is no end [of our toils]?

Minister of war,
You have indeed acted without discrimination.
Why have you rolled us into this sorrow,
So that our mothers have to do all the labour of cooking?

Waley

Minister of War

Minister of War,
We are the king’s claws and fangs.
Why should you roll us on from misery to misery,
Giving us no place to stop in or take rest?

Minister of War,
We are the king’s claws and teeth.
Why should you roll us from misery to misery,
Giving us no place to come to and stay?

Minister of War,
Truly you are not wise.
Why should you roll us from misery to misery?
We have mothers who lack food.

186〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・白駒〉

Legge

Let the brilliant white colt,
Feed on the young growth of my vegetable garden.
Tether it by the foot, tie it by the collar,
To prolong this morning.
So may its owner of whom I think,
Spend his time here at his ease!

Let the brilliant white colt,
Feed on the bean sprouts of my vegetable garden.
Tether it by the foot, tie it by the collar,
To prolong this evening.
So may its owner of whom I think,
Be here, an admired quest!

If [you with] the brilliant white colt,
Would brightly come to me,
You should be a duke, you should be a marquis,
Enjoying yourself without end.
Be on your guard against idly wandering;
Deal vigorously with your thoughts of retirement.

The brilliant white colt,
Is there in that empty valley,
With a bundle of fresh grass.
Its owner is like a gem.
Do not make the news of you rare as gold and gems,
Indulging your purpose to abandon me.

Waley

The White Colt

Unsullied the white colt
Eating the young shoots of my stack-yard.1
Keep it tethered, keep it tied
All day long.
The man whom I love
Here makes holiday.

Unsullied the white colt
Eating the bean leaves of my stack-yard.
Keep it tethered, keep it tied
All night long.
The man whom I love
Is here, a lucky guest.

Unsullied the white colt
That came so swiftly.
Like a duke, like a lord
Let your revels have no end.
Prolong your idle play,
Protract your leisure.

Unsullied the white colt
In that deserted valley,
With a bundle of fresh fodder.
“Though you, its master, are fair as jade
Do not let the news of you be rare as gold or jade,
Keeping your thoughts far away.”

1. Used as a vegetable garden when not required for stacking crops.

Karlgren

1. Bright is the white colt, he eats the shoots of my vegetable garden; tether him, bind him, so as to prolong this morning; he whom I call »that man» (rambles:) takes his ease here.

2. Bright is the white colt, he eats the bean shoots of my vegetable garden; tether him, bind him, so as to prolong this evening; he whom I call »that man», he is a fine guest here.

3. Bright is the white colt, ornate he comes; you are a duke, you are a prince, have leisurely joy without end; (be careful about =) take care to have your pleasant recreation; insist upon having your (escape =) leisure.

4. Bright is the white colt, he is in that deep valley; there is fresh fodder, one bundle; that man is like jade; do not let your communications (to me) be (rare like) gold and jade*, having a mind to keep away.
* Word for word: »do not treat like gold and jade your sounds».

187〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・黃鳥〉

Legge

Yellow bird, yellow bird,
Do not settle on the broussonetias,
Do not eat my paddy.
The people of this country,
Are not willing to treat me well.
I will return, I will go back,
Back to my country and kin.

Yellow bird, yellow bird,
Do not settle on the mulberry trees,
Do not eat my maize.
The people of this country,
Will not let me come to an understanding with them.
I will return, I will go back,
Back to my brethren.

Yellow bird, yellow bird,
Do not settle on the oaks,
Do not eat my grand millet.
The people of this country,
I cannot dwell with.
I will return, I will go back,
Back to my uncles.

Waley

The Oriole

O oriole, yellow bird,
Do not settle on the corn,
Do not peck at my millet.
The people of this land
Are not minded to nurture me.
I must go back, go home
To my own land and kin.

O oriole, yellow bird,
Do not settle on the mulberries,
Do not peck my sorghum.
With the people of this land
One can make no covenant.
I must go back, go home
To where my brothers are.

O oriole, yellow bird
Do not settle on the oaks,
Do not peck my wine-millet.
With the people of this land
One can come to no understanding.
I must go back, go home
To where my own men1 are.

1. Literally “fathers,” i.e., her adult kinsmen, whether father or father’s brothers.

188〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・我行其野〉

Legge

I travelled through the country,
Where the Fetid tree grew luxuriant.
Because of our affinity by marriage,
I went to reside with you.
But you do not entertain me;
And I go back to my country and clan.

I travelled through the country,
Gathering the sheep’s-foot.
Because of our affinity by marriage,
I came to lodge with you.
But you do not entertain me;
And I will return, I will go back.

I travelled through the country,
Gathering the pokeweed.
You do not think of our old affinity,
And seek to please your new relative.
If indeed you are not influenced by her riches,
You still are so by the difference [between the new and the old].

Waley

I Went into the Country

I went into the country;
Deep the shade of the ailanthus.
It was as bride and wife
That I came to your house.
But you did not provide for me-
Sent me back to land and home.

I went into the country;
I plucked the dockleaf.
It was as bride and wife
That I came to live with you.
But you did not provide for me—
Back to my home you sent me.

I went into the country;
I plucked the pokeweed.
You thought nothing of the old marriage—
Found for yourself a new mate.
Not for her wealth, oh no!
But merely for a change.

189〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・斯干〉

Legge

By the graceful sweep of these banks,
With the southern hill, so calm in the distance,
[Has the palace arisen], firm as the roots of a clump of bamboos,
[With its roof] like the luxuriant head of a pine tree.
May the brothers [here],
Be loving among themselves,
And have no schemings against one another!

Having entered into the inheritance of his ancestors,
He has built his chambers, five thousand cubits of walls,
With their doors to the west and to the south.
Here will he reside; here will he sit;
Here will he laugh; here will he talk.

They bound the frames for the earth, exactly over one another;
Tuo-tuo went on the pounding;
Impervious [the walls] to wind and rain,
Offering no cranny to bird or rat.
A grand dwelling is it for our noble lord.

Like a man on tip-toe, in reverent expectation;
Like an arrow, flying rapidly;
Like a bird which has changed its feathers;
Like a pheasant on flying wings;
Is the [hall] which our noble lord will ascend.

Level and smooth is the court-yard,
And lofty are the pillars around it.
Pleasant is the exposure of the chamber to the light,
And deep and wide are its recesses;
Here will our noble lord repose.

On the rush-mat below, and that of fine bamboos above it,
Here may he repose in slumber!
May he sleep and awake,
[Saying] ‘Divine for me my dreams.
What dreams are lucky?
They have been of bears and grisly bears;
They have been of cobras and [other] serpents.’

The chief diviner will divine them.
The bears and grisly bears,
Are the auspicious intimations of sons.
The cobras and [other] serpents,
Are the auspicious intimations of daughters.

Sons shall be born to him:
They will be put to sleep on couches;
They will be clothed in robes;
They will have sceptres to play with;
Their cry will be loud.
They will be [hereafter] resplendent with red knee-covers,
The [future] king, the princes of the land.

Daughters shall be born to him:
They will be put to sleep on the ground;
They will be clothed with wrappers;
They will have tiles to play with.
It will be theirs neither to do wrong nor to do good.
Only about the spirits and the food will they have to think,
And to cause no sorrow to their parents.

Waley

The Beck

Ceaseless flows that beck,
Far stretch the southern hills.
May you be sturdy as the bamboo,
May you flourish like the pine,
May elder brother and younger brother
Always love one another,
Never do evil to one another.

To give continuance to foremothers and forefathers
We build a house, many hundred cubits of wall;
To south and west its doors.
Here shall we live, here rest,
Here laugh, here talk.

We bind the frames, creak, creak;
We hammer the mud, tap, tap,
That it may be a place where wind and rain cannot enter,
Nor birds and rats get in,
But where our lord may dwell.

As a halberd, even so plumed,
As an arrow, even so sharp,
As a bird, even so soaring,
As wings, even so flying
Are the halls to which our lord ascends.1

Well leveled is the courtyard,
Firm are the pillars,
Cheerful are the rooms by day,
Softly gloaming by night,
A place where our lord can be at peace.

Below, the rush-mats; over them the bamboo-mats.
Comfortably he sleeps,
He sleeps and wakes
And interprets his dreams.
“Your lucky dreams, what were they?”
“They were of black bears and brown,
Of serpents and snakes.”
The diviner thus interprets it:
“Black bears and brown
Mean men-children.
Snakes and serpents
Mean girl-children.”

So he bears a son,
And puts him to sleep upon a bed,
Clothes him in robes,
Gives him a jade scepter to play with.
The child’s howling is very lusty;2
In red greaves shall he flare,
Be lord and king of house and home.
Then he bears a daughter,

And puts her upon the ground,
Clothes her in swaddling-clothes,
Gives her a loom-whorl to play with.
For her no decorations, no emblems;
Her only care, the wine and food,
And how to give no trouble to father and mother.

1. This verse is corrupt and not intelligible with any certainty.
2. Huang, “lusty,” suggests the huang, “flare,” of the red greaves. These could only be worn by the king’s command and constituted a decoration similar to the British
Garter. Women (see the next verse) received no such marks of distinction.

190〈小雅・鴻鴈之什・無羊〉

Legge

Who can say that you have no sheep?
There are three hundred in [each] herd.
Who says that you have no cattle?
There are ninety, which are black-lipped.
Your sheep come,
Horned, but all agreeing.
Your cattle come,
Flapping their ears.

Some are descending among the mounds;
Some are drinking at the pools;
Some are lying down, some are moving about.
Your herdsmen come,
Bearing their rain-coats and bamboo-hats,
Or carrying on their backs their provisions.
In thirties are the creatures arranged according to their colours;
For your victims there is abundant provision.

Your herdsmen come,
With their large faggots, and smaller branches,
And with their prey of birds and beasts.
Your sheep come,
Vigorous and strong,
None injured, no infection in the herd.
At the wave of the [herdsman’s] arm,
All come, all go up [into the fold].

Your herdsmen shall dream,
Of multitudes and then of fishes;
Of the tortoise-and serpent; and then of the falcon banners.
The chief diviner will divine the dreams,
How the multitudes dissolving into fishes,
Betoken plentiful years;
How the tortoise-and-serpent dissolving into falcon banners,
Betoken the increasing population of the kingdom.

Waley

No Sheep?

Who says you have no sheep?
Three hundred is the flock.
Who says you have no cattle?
Ninety are the black-lips.
Here your rams come,
Their horns thronging;
Here your cattle come,
Their ears flapping.

Some go down the slope,
Some are drinking in the pool,
Some are sleeping, some waking.
Here your herdsmen come
In rush-cloak and bamboo-hat,
Some shouldering their dinners.
Only thirty brindled1 beasts!
Your sacrifices will not go short.

Your herdsman comes,
Bringing faggots, bringing brushwood,
With the cock-game, with hen-game.
Your rams come,
Sturdy and sound;
None that limps, none that ails.
He beckons to them with raised arm;
All go up into the stall.

Your herdsman dreams,
Dreams of locusts and fish,
Of banners and flags.
A wise man explains the dreams:
“Locusts and fishes
Mean fat years.
Flags and banners
Mean a teeming house and home.” 2

1. I.e., the rest are whole-colored and therefore suitable for sacrifice.
2. This helps to explain why flag-waving plays such a prominent part in the fertility-rites of peasant Europe.