Sacred Texts  Confucianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 312


The Chio Kung; allusive, narrative, and metaphorical. Against the king's cold treatment of his relatives by consanguinity and affinity; the extensive and baneful influence of his example; the encouragement given by him to calumniators.

1Whene’er we strongly bend a bow,
  Both string and ends we near us bring;
And when we let the tension go,
  From us with quick recoil they spring.
So when we show affection deep,
  Our kith and kin to us we draw;
But when from them aloof we keep,
  They shrink from us by nature's law.

2When you, O king, to kin are cold,
  Such coldness rules throughout the land.
You for their teacher all men hold;
  To learn your ways needs no command.

3Brethren whose virtue stands the test,
  By bad example still unchanged,
Their generous feelings manifest,
  Nor grow among themselves estranged.
But if their virtue weakly fails
  The evil influence to withstand,
Then selfishness o’er love prevails,
  And troubles rise on every hand. p. 313

4When men in disputations fine
  To hear their consciences refuse,
Then ’gainst each other they repine,
  And each maintains his special views.
If one a place of rank obtain,
  And scorn humility to show,
The others view him with disdain,
  And, wrangling, all to ruin go.

5A colt the old horse deems himself,
  And vainly hastens to the race;
So thinks the mean man, bent on pelf,
  Himself fit for the highest place:
Stuffed to the full, he still shall feed,
  Nor own that he has had enough.
He drinks, and with insatiate greed,
  Knows not the time for leaving off.

6The monkeys by their nature know
  The way to climb a tree, untaught.
We need no mud on him to throw,
  Whom lying in the mud we've caught.
The nature of all meaner men
  Leads them to follow and obey.
Nor right, nor wrong the millions ken,
  But imitate the sovereign's way.

7The snow falls fast, and all the ground
  Hides with its masses, white and clear;
But when the sunbeams play around,
  It soon will melt and disappear. p. 314
This fact, O king, you don't perceive;
  Those men who calumnies diffuse,
Not heeding, to themselves you leave,
  And your indulgence they abuse.

8Yes, though the snow lie drifted deep,
  Away before the heat ’twill flow.
I for the king's neglect must weep;—
  Like Man or Mao those men will grow.

Next: X. Yü Liu