Neither can we tell by which of the kings of Shang this ode was first used. Kû Hsî says that the object of the sacrifice was Thang. The Preface assigns it to Thâi Mâu, the Kung Ȝung, or second of the three 'honoured Ones.' But there is not a
word in praise of Kung Ȝung, and the 'meritorious ancestor' of the first line is not to be got over. Still more clearly than in the case of the former ode does this appear to have been made by some one who had taken part in the service, for in line 4 he addresses the sacrificing king as 'you.'
Ah! ah! our meritorious ancestor! Permanent are the blessings coming from him, Repeatedly conferred without end;--They have come to you in this place.
The clear spirits are in our vessels, And there is granted to us the realization of our thoughts. There are also the well-tempered soups, Prepared beforehand, with the ingredients rightly proportioned. By these offerings we invite his presence, without a word, Without (unseemly) contention (among the worshippers). He will bless us with the eyebrows of longevity, With the grey hair and wrinkled face in unlimited degree.
With the naves of their wheels bound with leather, and their ornamented yokes, With the eight bells at their horses' bits all tinkling, (The princes) come to assist at the offerings 1. We have received the appointment in all its greatness, And from Heaven is our prosperity sent down, Fruitful years of great abundance. (Our ancestor) will come and enjoy (our offerings), And confer on us happiness without limit.
May he regard our sacrifices of winter and autumn, (Thus) offered by the descendant of Thang!
306:1 These lines are descriptive of the feudal princes, who were present and assisted at the sacrificial service. The chariot of each was drawn by four horses yoked abreast, two insides and two outsides, on each side of the bits of which small bells were attached.