It is difficult to say who the 'I' in the piece is, but evidently he and the 'distant descendant' are different persons. I suppose he may have been an officer, who had charge of the farms, as we may call them, in the royal domain.
Bright are those extensive fields, A tenth of whose produce is annually levied 3. I take the old
stores, And with them feed the husbandmen. From of old we have had good years; And now I go to the south-lying acres, Where some are weeding, and some gather the earth about the roots. The millets look luxuriant; And in a spacious resting place, I collect and encourage the men of greater promise 1.
With my vessels full of bright millet, And my pure victim-rams, we sacrificed at the altar of the spirits of the land, and at (the altars of those of the four) quarters 2. That my fields are in such good condition is matter of joy to the husbandmen. With lutes, and with drums beating, We will invoke the Father of Husbandry 3 And pray for sweet rain, To increase the produce of our millets, And to bless my men and their wives.
The distant descendant comes, When their wives and children Are bringing food to those (at work) in the south-lying acres. The surveyor of the fields (also) comes and is glad. He takes (of the food) on the left and the right, And tastes whether
it be good or not. The grain is well cultivated, all, the acres over; Good will it be and abundant. The distant descendant has no displacency; The husbandmen are encouraged to diligence.
The crops of the distant descendant Look (thick) as thatch, and (swelling) like a carriage-cover. His stacks will stand like islands and mounds. He will seek for thousands of granaries; He will seek for tens of thousands of carts. The millets, the paddy, and the maize Will awake the joy of the husbandmen; (And they will say),'May he be rewarded with great happiness, With myriads of years, life without end!'
370:3 This line, literally, is, 'Yearly are taken ten (and a) thousand meaning the produce of ten acres in every hundred, and of a thousand in every ten thousand.
371:1 The general rule was that the sons of husbandmen should continue husbandmen; but their superior might select those among them in whom he saw promising abilities, and facilitate their advancement to the higher grade of officers.
371:2 The sacrifices here mentioned were of thanksgiving at the end of the harvest of the preceding year. The one was to 'sovereign Earth,' supposed to be the supreme Power in correlation with Heaven, or, possibly, to the spirits supposed to preside over the productive energies of the land; the other to the spirits presiding over the four quarters of the sky, and ruling all atmospherical influences.
371:3 This was the sacrifice that had been, or was about to be, offered in spring to 'the Father of Husbandry,'--probably the ancient mythical Tî, Shăn Năng.