SHÂO was the name of a territory within the royal domain, corresponding to the present district of Hwan-khü, Kiang Kâu, Shan-hsî. It was the appanage of Shih, one of the ablest of the men who lent their aid to the establishment of the dynasty of Kâu. He appears in this Book as the Grand-Guardian at the court of king Khăng, and we have met with him before in
the Hounds of Lü and the Metal-bound Coffer. He is introduced here in connexion with one of the most important enterprises of the duke of Kâu, the building of the city of Lo, not very far from the present city of Lo-yang, in Ho-nan, as a new and central capital of the kingdom. King Wû had conceived the idea of such a city; but it was not carried into effect till the reign of his son, and is commonly assigned to Khăng's seventh year, in B.C. 1109.
Shih belonged to the royal House, and of course had the surname Kî. He is styled the duke of Shâo, as being one of the 'three dukes,' or three highest officers of the court, and also the chief of Shâo, all the country west of Shen being under him, as all the east of it was under the duke of Kâu. He was invested by Wû with the principality of 'the Northern Yen,' corresponding to the present department of Shun-thien, Kih-lî, which was held by his descendants fully nine hundred years. It was in Lo--while the building of it was proceeding--that he composed this Book, and sent it by the hands of the duke of Kâu to their young sovereign.
The whole may be divided into three chapters. The first contains various information about the arrangements for the building of Lo, first by the duke of Shâo, and then by the duke of Kâu; and about the particular occasion when the former recited the counsels which he had composed, that they might be made known to the king. These form the second chapter. First, it sets forth the uncertainty of the favour of Heaven, and urges the king to cultivate the 'virtue of reverence,' in order to secure its permanence, and that he should not neglect his aged and experienced ministers. It speaks next of the importance and difficulty of the royal duties, and enforces the same virtue of reverence by reference to the rise and fall of the previous dynasties. Lastly, it sets forth the importance, at this early period of his reign, of the king's at once setting about the reverence which was thus described. There is a concluding chapter, where the duke gives expression to his loyal and personal feelings for the king, and the purpose to be served by the offerings, which he was then sending to the court.
The burden of the Announcement is 'the virtue of reverence.' Let the king only feel how much depended on his attending reverently to his duties, and all would be well. The people would love and support the dynasty of Kâu, and Heaven would smile upon and sustain it.
1. In the second month, on the day Yî-wei, six n the second month, on the days after full moon, the king proceeded in the morning from Kâu to Făng 1. (Thence) the Grand Guardian went before the duke of Kâu to survey the locality (of the new capital); and in the third month, on the day Wû-shan, the third day after the first appearance of the moon on Ping-wû, he came in the morning to Lo. He divined by the tortoiseshell about the (several) localities, and having obtained favourable indications, he set about laying out the plan (of the city).* On Kăng-hsü, the third day after, he led the people of Yin to prepare the various sites on the north of the Lo; and this work was completed on Kiâ-yin, the fifth day after.
On Yî-mâo, the day following, the duke of Kâu came in the. morning to Lo, and thoroughly inspected the plan of the new city. On Ting-sze, the third day after, he offered two bulls as victims in the (northern and southern) suburbs 2; and on the morrow, Wû-wû, at the altar to the spirit of the land in the new city, he sacrificed a bull, a ram, and a boar.* After seven days, on Kiâ-ȝze, in the morning, from his written (specifications) he gave their several orders to the people of Yin, and to the presiding chiefs of the princes from the Hâu, Tien, and Nan domains. When the people of Yin had thus received their orders, they arose and entered with vigour on their work.
('When the work was drawing to a completion),
the Grand-Guardian went out with the hereditary princes of the various states to bring their offerings (for the king) 1; and when he entered again, he gave them to the duke of Kâu, saying, 'With my hands to my head and my head to the ground, I present these to his Majesty and your Grace 2. Announcements for the information of the multitudes of Yin must come from you, with whom is the management of affairs.'
2. 'Oh! God (dwelling in) the great heavens has changed his decree respecting his great son and the great dynasty of Yin. Our king has received that decree. Unbounded is the happiness connected with it, and unbounded is the anxiety:--Oh! how can he be other than reverent?*
'When Heaven rejected and made an end of the decree in favour of the great dynasty of Yin, there were many of its former wise kings in heaven.* The king, however, who had succeeded to them, the last of his race, from the time of his entering into their appointment, proceeded in such a way as at last to keep the wise in obscurity and the vicious in office. The poor people in such a case, carrying their children and leading their wives, made their moan to Heaven. They even fled away, but were apprehended again. Oh! Heaven had compassion on the people of the four quarters; its favouring
decree lighted on our earnest (founders). Let the king sedulously cultivate the virtue of reverence.*
Examining the men of antiquity, there was the (founder of the) Hsiâ dynasty. Heaven guided (his mind), allowed his descendants (to succeed him), and protected them.* He acquainted himself with Heaven, and was obedient to it. But in process of time the decree in his favour fell to the ground.* So also is it now when we examine the case of Yin. There was the same guiding (of its founder), who corrected (the errors of Hsiâ), and (whose descendants) enjoyed the protection (of Heaven). He (also) acquainted himself with Heaven, and was obedient to it.* But now the decree in favour of him has fallen to the ground. Our king has' now come to the throne in his youth;--let him not slight the aged and experienced, for it may be said of them that they have studied the virtuous conduct of the ancients, and have matured their counsels in the sight of Heaven.
'Oh! although the king is young, yet he is the great son (of God).* Let him effect a great harmony with the lower people, and that will be the blessing of the present time. Let not the king presume to be remiss in this, but continually regard and stand in awe of the perilous (uncertainty) of the people's (attachment).
'Let the king come here as the vice-gerent of God, and undertake (the duties of government) in this centre of the land.* Tan 1 said, "Now that this great city has been built, from henceforth he may
be the mate of great Heaven, and reverently sacrifice to (the spirits) above and beneath; from henceforth he may from this central spot administer successful government." Thus shall the king enjoy the favouring regard (of Heaven) all-complete, and the government of the people will now be prosperous.*
'Let the king first subdue to himself those who were the managers of affairs under Yin, associating them with the managers of affairs for our Kâu. This will regulate their (perverse) natures, and they will make daily advancement. Let the king make reverence the resting-place (of his mind);--he must maintain the virtue of reverence.
'We should by all means survey the dynasties of Hsiâ and Yin. I do not presume to know and say, "The dynasty of Hsiâ was to enjoy the favouring decree of Heaven just for (so many) years," nor do I presume to know and say, "It could not continue longer."* The fact simply was, that, for want of the virtue of reverence, the decree in its favour prematurely fell to the ground. (Similarly), I do not presume to know and say, "The dynasty of Yin was to enjoy the favouring decree of Heaven just for (so many) years," nor do I presume to know and say, "It could not continue longer."* The fact simply was, that, for want of the virtue of reverence, the decree in its favour fell prematurely to the ground. The king has now inherited the decree,--the same decree, I consider, which belonged to those two dynasties. Let him seek to inherit (the virtues
of) their meritorious (sovereigns);--(let him do this especially) at this commencement of his duties.
'Oh! it is as on the birth of a son, when all depends on (the training of) his early life, through which he may secure his wisdom, in the future, as if it were decreed to him. Now Heaven may have decreed wisdom (to the king); it may have decreed good fortune or bad; it may have decreed a (long) course of years;--we only know that now is with him the commencement of his duties. Dwelling in this new city, let the king now sedulously cultivate the virtue of reverence. When he is all-devoted to this virtue, he may pray to Heaven for a long-abiding decree in his favour.*
'In the position of king, let him not, because of the excesses of the people in violation of the laws, presume also to rule by the violent infliction of death;--when the people are regulated gently, the merit (of government) is seen. It is for him who is in the position of king to overtop all with his virtue. In this case the people will imitate him throughout the kingdom, and he will become still more illustrious.
'Let the king and his ministers labour with a mutual sympathy, saying, "We have received the decree of Heaven, and it shall be great as the long-continued years of Hsiâ;--yea, it shall not fail of the long-continued years of Yin." I wish the king, through (the attachment of) the lower people, to receive the long-abiding decree of Heaven.'*
3. (The duke of Shâo) then did obeisance with his hands to his head and his head to the ground, and said, 'I, a small minister, presume, with the king's (heretofore) hostile people and all their officers,
and with his (loyal) friendly people, to maintain and receive his majesty's dread command and brilliant virtue. That the king should finally obtain the decree all-complete, and that he should become illustrious'--this I do not presume to labour for. I only bring respectfully these offerings to present to his majesty, to be used in his prayers to Heaven for its long-abiding decree.'*
183:1 That is, from Wû's capital of Hâo to king Wăn's at Făng.
183:2 By the addition to the text here of 'northern and southern,' I intimate my opinion that the duke of Kâu offered two sacrifices, one to one to Heaven at the altar in the southern suburb, and one to Earth in the northern suburb.
184:1 These 'offerings' were the 'presents of introduction,' which the feudal princes brought with them to court, when they, were to have audience of the king. This has led many critics to think that the king was now in Lo, which was not the case.
184:2 The original text here is difficult and remarkable;--intended probably to indicate that the king's majesty was revered in the person of the duke of Kâu, who was regent.
185:1 Tan was the name of the duke of Kâu, and his brother duke here refers to him by it, in accordance with the rule that 'ministers p. 186 should be called by their names in the presence of the sovereign.' King Khăng, indeed, was not now really present in Lo, but he was represented by his uncle, the regent.