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The Book of Poetry, tr. by James Legge, [1876], at


The Shih Yüeh Chih Chiao; narrative. Lamentation of an officer over prodigies, celestial and terrestrial, betokening the ruin of Chou. He expounds the true causes of these and the abounding misery; names the chief culprits, and declares his own determination to remain at his post of duty.

1The sun and moon met in the upper sphere,
The day Hsin-mao, the tenth month of the year.
The moon was new, as she should reappear,
And then the sun, eclipsed, showed evils near.
The moon eclipsed before, and now the sun!
Alas! we men below shall be undone. p. 245

2These bodies, erring, what is bad make known;—
Good men neglected; order all o’erthrown.
The moon eclipsed was what full oft takes place;
The sun's eclipse portends a sadder case.

3And flashing levin shows the want of rest.
With troubled streams, and tumbling mountain's crest.
Large heights subside to vales; deep vales grow hills.
Alas! how does the king not stop these ills?

4Among the ministers great Huang presides;
In all their duties Fan the people guides;
Chia-pai administers; Chung-yün is cook;
The king's decrees Tsou enters in his book;
Chüeh regulates the stud; the guards Yü's sphere;
The wife, in beauty blazing, has no fear. p. 246

5Great Huang, determined his own course pursues,
Demands our service, nor inquires our views;
Unroofs our homes; our fields makes moor or marsh;
And "’Tis the law," he says, "I am not harsh."

6Farseeing Huang has built himself a town.
Three ministers are there of wealth o’ergrown.
No single chief he left to guard our king,
While all its streets with hoof and chariot ring.

7I dare not my own services report;
But slanderous tongues my blameless life distort.
Our ills come not from Heaven, but fawning words
And hidden hate, which schemers wield like swords.

8Far off my village, great my lack of peace,
And elsewhere I might go to seek for ease.
Others retire, but I shall not be driven
From this my post, though dark the way of Heaven.

Next: X. Yü Wu Chêng