The Book of Poetry, tr. by James Legge, , at sacred-texts.com
2With reverent air, in dress correct,
With sheep and oxen pure, select,
When autumn comes, and winter cold,
Our temple services we hold,
And offer sacrifice.
The victims slain some haste to flay;
Some boil the flesh; on stands some lay
The pieces boiled, which some dispose
In order due, exact and close,
According to their size.
The while, the priest, inside the gate,
Lest elsewhere welcome be too late,
Our sires asks to descend.
Complete and brilliant are our rites;
They grandly come, as he invites.
Though hid from us in shadowy veil,
Our offerings with delight they hail,
And to our prayers attend.
Their filial son, our honored lord,
Great blessing gets. They will reward
With myriad years his duty shown,
And sure maintain upon the throne
His sons till time shall end. p. 283
3Before the fires some reverent stand;
Some take the mighty trays in hand;
These with the roasted flesh they fill,
Those with the livers broiled. Then still
And reverent, the queen presides,
And every smaller dish provides,
The pious feast to grace.
The guests and visitors draw near.
Divined for, now they all appear,
And take an honored place.
’Tween those who personate our sires,
Our lord, and them, as rule requires,
Once and again the cup goes round.
Each word and smile just that is found,
Which word and smile should be.
The spirits come in quiet state,
And answer give with blessings great.
Myriads of years—his due reward—
Shall show how they our lord regard,
And keep from evil free. p. 284
4Exhausted now we feel, but see
Our every rite from error free.
The able priest has learned the will
Of the great spirits. To fulfill
His part he hastes, and to our lord,
Standing before him, with grave word,
His message thus conveys:—
"Your sacrifice has filled the air
With fragrance. Both your spirits rare
And viands rich your sires enjoy.
Blessings not few, without alloy,
They give;—each all that you could hope,
Each sure as law's unerring scope,
Exact in form, without delay,
Due reverence you have striven to pay.
From error free, discharged with care,
Your ceremonies all declare
Your filial heart. Your sires henceforth
Will favors grant of greatest worth,
For myriad years, and myriads more,
Nor time exhaust the boundless store."
’Tis this the wise priest says. p. 285
5The rites thus all performed exact,
The drums and bells announce the fact.
Our lord withdraws, and takes his way
Where parting guests their homage pay.
Then comes the wise priest's voice:—
"The spirits all are satisfied."
No longer in their seats abide
Their representatives, but slow,
’Mid warning bells and drums, withdraw;—
So ends the sacrifice.
The spirits tranquilly ascend.
The queen and who the queen attend,
And all the servants, haste to clear
The hall, that nothing may appear
Left from the sacred rites.
Those who are of the royal kin,
The old and young, abide within,
The surname of the king they bear,
And to the special feast repair,
To which his grace invites. p. 286
6All the musicians follow fast,
Their special aid at this repast
The feasters shall not fail.
The mats the viands rich display;
No face looks sad, but all are gay.
They drink, they eat, with fullest zest;
Dish after dish, well pleased they taste;
Great love and joy prevail.
At last they rise, and to their lord
First bow their heads with one accord;
Then him they thus address:—
"Rich viands and your spirits rare,
All testified your pious care.
The spirits of our sires partook;
On you benignantly they look.
Your term of life they will extend,
And favors give that ne’er shall end.
As through the year the seasons move,
Your pious feelings equal prove
Fully each sacrifice to pay.
So may it be in future day,
And sons and grandsons of your line,
Observant of these rites divine,
The ceremony bless!"