This piece has been considered by some critics as the conclusion of the council in the ancestral temple, with which the previous two also are thought to be connected. The Preface says that the king asks in it for the assistance of his ministers, but no such request is expressed. I seem myself to see in it, with Sû Kheh and others, a reference to the suspicions which Khăng at one time, we know, entertained of the fidelity of the duke of Kâu, when he was inclined to believe the rumours spread against him by his other uncles, who joined in rebellion with the son of the last king of Shang.
I condemn myself (for the past), And will be on my guard against future calamity. I will have nothing to do with a wasp, To seek for myself its painful sting. At first indeed it seemed to be
[paragraph continues] (but) a wren 1. But it took wing, and became a large bird. I am unequal to the many difficulties of the kingdom, And am placed in the midst of bitter experiences.
331:1 The Chinese characters here mean, literally, 'peach-tree insect,' or, as Dr. Williams has it, 'peach-bug.' Another name for the bird is 'the clever wife,' from the artistic character of its nest, which would point it out as the small 'tailor bird.' But the name is applied to various small birds.