The Book of Poetry, tr. by James Legge, , at sacred-texts.com
2Calamities Heaven now is sending down;—
Be not complacent, but the crisis own.
Such movements now does angry Heaven produce;—
Be not indifferent and your trust abuse.
If in your counsels harmony were found,
The people's hearts in union would be bound.
If to speak kind and gentle words you chose,
How soon would these their restless minds compose!
3You have your duties; mine are not the same.
King's servants all,—such is our common name.
I come your comrade, with you to advise,
But you resent it, and my words despise.
Urgent the matters I would fain submit!
O think them not for laughter matters fit!
Remember what in days of old they spake:—
"With grass and fuel gatherers counsel take." p. 384
4Heaven now exerts a fierce and cruel sway;—
Is this a time your mockeries to display?
I'm old, but speak with tongue that never lied,
While you, my juniors, are puffed up with pride.
Never a word of age have I expressed,
But saddest themes you make a theme for jest.
The troubles soon like blazing fires shall rage,
Beyond our power to lessen or assuage.
5Heaven now regards us with its blackest scowl;—
Boast not yourselves, nor try men to cajole.
Good men who see your reason thus o’ercome,
Like those who personate the dead, are dumb.
The land with sighs and groans the people fill,
Yet we dare not attempt to probe their ill.
The wild disorder all their means devours,
But they know not one kindly act of ours.
6You hear the whistle; straight the flute you hear;—
Heaven's slightest touch the people quick revere.
As one half mace you on the other lay;
As something light you touch and bring away; p. 385
An easier task you could not undertake:—
Think it not hard the people good to make.
Perversities they have, and not a few;—
Perversity of yours let them not view.
7Men of great virtue like a fence are found;
The multitudes, as walls, the king surround.
Great states the kingdom from barbarians shield;
Great families, as bulwarks, safety yield.
The cherishing of virtue gives repose;
The king, by brethren guarded, laughs at foes.
Let not the strong wall crumble in the dust;
Let not our king have none in whom to trust.
8The wrath of Heaven revere with trembling awe;—
From it let no vain sport your thoughts withdraw.
Revere Heaven's changing moods with fear profound,
And, thoughtful, fly from pleasure's whirling round.
Great Heaven on you its clearest glance directs,
And all your doings carefully inspects.
Far sees great Heaven with its all-piercing eye;—
And watches you amid your revelry.