See the preliminary note on p. 433.
THIS piece, it is said, was made by Kung Kiang, the widow of Kung-po, son of the marquis Hsî of Wei (B.C. 855-814). Kung-po having died an early death, her parents (who must have been the marquis of Khî and his wife or one of the ladies of his harem) wanted to force her to a second marriage, against which she protests. The ode was preserved, no doubt, as an example of
what the Chinese have always considered a great virtue,--the refusal of a, widow to marry again.
It floats about, that boat of cypress wood, There in the middle of the Ho 1. With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead 2, He was my mate; And I swear that till death I will have no other. O mother, O Heavens 3, Why will you not understand me?
It floats about, that boat of cypress wood, There by the side of the Ho. With his two tufts of hair falling over his forehead, He was my only one; And I swear that till death I will not do the evil thing. O mother, O Heaven, Why will you not understand me?
435:1 These allusive lines, probably, indicate the speaker's widowhood, Which left her like 'a boat floating about on the water.'
435:2 Such was the mode in which the hair was kept, while a boy or young man's parents were alive, parted into two tufts from the pia mater, and brought down as low as the eyebrows on either side of the forehead.
435:3 Mâo, thought that the lady intended her father by 'Heaven;' while Kû held that her father may have been dead, and that the mother is called Heaven, with reference to the kindness and protection that she ought to show. There seems rather to be in the term a wild, and not very intelligent, appeal to the supreme Power in heaven.