The Book of Poetry, tr. by James Legge, , at sacred-texts.com
The earlier lines of kings had practiced ill,
And ruling, ruled not after God's just will.
He therefore ’mong the states was searching still.
Searching for one in whom He could confide.
From the great states He westward turned aside,
And there a place did for our house provide.
He felled and dressed the bosky clumps and rows;
He drained the marshes where the willow grows;
He thinned the mulberries, rising thick and close.
When this wise chieftain God to Chou had given,
The Kwan hordes fled away, by terror driven;
And sons came from the wife Ta got from Heaven.
3God looked upon the hills where Ta the oak
And thorny shrubs had thinned, and lo! there broke
Paths through the firs, that human feet bespoke.
The state thus founded, God prepared the king,
And he through Ta-pai's flight from Chi shall spring.
Ta's son was Chi, whose praises now I sing.
A younger brother's heart within him glowed;
He to his elder rendered all he owed,
And when he fled, a patriot's heart Chi showed.
So through his course his brother's flight appeared
With glory crowned. Head of the name, Chi reared
The throne to which Chou's way erelong was cleared. p. 349
4Gifted was Chi by God with wisdom high.
His judgments true drew on him every eye;
With silent growth his fame spread far and nigh.
Most ken, most wise, to yield or to command,
And sway to exercise throughout the land,
He was ’twixt king and chief a powerful band.
His son, King Wên, could all his honors claim,
With virtue pure, beyond the reach of blame.
On him and on his sons God's blessing came.
5God spake to Wên, "Be thou not like to those,
Whose aim now flies to this, to that now goes,
Whose facile wills obey each wind that blows."
So grandly clomb he to fair virtue's height.
When rebel Mi dared to dispute his might,
And dared to challenge this great land to fight;
They entered Yüan, and against Kung conspire.
Then rose the king, majestic in his ire,
And sent his troops to make the foe retire; p. 350
His power, as all expected, to display,
And, strength’ning Chou, a deep foundation lay,
On which might rise an universal sway.
6Calm in his capital, the king abode.
His troops from utmost Yüan held on their road;
O’er lofty hills right valiantly they strode.
The foe could plant no forces on our hills,
Or high or low, nor drink our springs and rills,
Nor touch the pools that trickling brooklet fills.
South of the Chi, and near the Wei, Wên saw
Large plains, to which the masses he could draw.
There now he dwelt, and to the states gave law.
All unpremeditate, and free from art,
It leads you to enact the noblest part,
A pattern king,—according to God's heart."
God spake to Wên, "Straight with your brethren go;
And ladders take, and engines to bring low
The walls of Ch‘ung, and there defeat the foe."
8The warlike engines gently first they ply,
Against the walls of Ch‘ung, walls broad and high,
Hoping the foe would not their power defy.
Captives for question, one by one, were brought;
The left ears of the slain were slowly sought:—
So would they wake the foe's relenting thought.
With the same object,—human life to spare,
To God, and to war's sire, Wên sought by prayer
And sacrifice. Who should resistance dare?
But Ch‘ung held out. The engines moved along
With all their force against its bulwarks strong,
At which the troops were hurled, one eager throng.
Wên razed its walls, and quenched its rites in blood.
The eye could scarcely tell where once it stood.
Throughout the land, all feared his wrathful mood.