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


The Pi Kung; narrative. In praise of Duke Hsi, and auguring for him a magnificent career of success, which would make Lu all that it had ever been:—written probably on an occasion when Hsi had repaired on a grand scale the temples of the state, of which pious act his success would be the reward.

1Solemn the temples stand, and still,
Strong, built throughout with nicest skill.
From them our thoughts to Chiang Yuan go,
The mother of our Chou and Lu.
She grandly shone with virtue rare
That nought could bend. So did she share
God's favor, and Hou-chi she bore,
Without a pang, or labor sore,
Just when her carrying days were o’er.
On Hou-chi then all blessings came. p. 471
That millets’ times were not the same,
This ripening quickly, and that slow,
He knew, and first the pulse to sow,
And then the wheat, where each should grow.
Soon called a state, though small, to rule,
It under him became a school,
Where husbandry men learned to know,
To sow, to reap, to weed, to hoe.
Millets,—the early, black, and red,
And rice that loves the watery bed;—
All these through all the land were known,
And of Yin's toils the worth was shown.

2Long after Hou-chi, in his line,
King Ta arose, quick to divine
Heaven's will, who eastward came and dwelt
South of Mount Ch‘i. There first was felt
The power of Chou, and Shang's fierce sway
Began to dwindle and decay.
From him we pass to Wên and Wu,
Continuing Ta's great work to do,
Till in the plain of Mu ’twas given
To see th’ accomplished will of Heaven. p. 472
There met the hosts, both well arrayed,
And when Wu feared, his general said,
"Let not a doubt your mind possess!
With you is God, your arms to bless."
The troops of Shang defeat sustained;
Wu's men, all fire, grand victory gained.
His son, King Ch‘êng, next wore the crown,
And said to Tan of wide renown,
Still as the duke of Chou well known,
"Your eldest son, O uncle great,
I will appoint to rule the state
Of Lu, and there on your bestow
A territory that shall grow,
And help afford our house of Chou."

3Thus first did Lu a ruler get,
Who marquis in the east was set.
The lands and fields, each stream and hill,
Were granted to him, at his will
To hold, and many states attached,
Whose fealty jealously he watched. p. 473
From him derived, our present chief,
Son of Duke Chuang, now holds the fief.
With dragon banner raised aloft,
Grasping the pliant reins and soft,
Here comes he sacrifice to pay.
In spring and autumn, no delay
He makes; but soon as dawns the day,
Correct his offerings appear;—
The victims, red and pure, are here:—
First for the great and sovereign Lord,
Then for Hou-chi, our sire adored.
The victims these enjoy and own,
And send abundant blessings down.
Nor they alone, O prince, do so,
But from the duke of Chou gifts flow,
And all your sires their grace bestow.

4In autumn comes th’ autumnal rite,
With bulls, whose horns in summer bright
Were capped with care:—one of them white,
For the great duke of Chou designed;
One red, for all our princes shrined. p. 474
And see! they set the goblet full,
In figure fashioned like a bull;
The dishes of bamboo and wood;
Sliced meat, roast pig, and pottage good;
And the large stand. Below the hall
There wheel and move the dancers all.
O filial prince, your sires will bless,
And grant you glorious success.
Long life and goodness they'll bestow
On you, to hold the state of Lu,
And all the eastern land secure,
Like moon complete, like mountain sure.
No earthquake's shock, no flood's wild rage,
Shall e’er disturb your happy age.
And with your aged nobles three
Unbroken shall your friendship be,
In long and firm security.

5A thousand are the cars of war.
Aloft on each, seen from afar,
Rise the two spears, with tassels red.
In each two bows in case are laid, p. 475
To frames with green strings firmly bound.
Guarding those cars, and all around,
March thirty thousand footmen bold,
And on their helmets can be told
The shells, strung on vermilion string:—
Such is the force our state can bring.
We'll quell the tribes both west and north,
And against King and Shoo go forth.
O prince, the spirits of your dead
With blaze of glory crown your head!
Give you long life, and riches great,
And round you trusty helpers set,
Of wrinkled back and hoary hair,
With counsel wise for every care!
You may those spirits prosper thus,
And make your old age vigorous,
For thousands, myriads of years,
With bushy eyebrows, free from fears!

6To us belongs T‘ai’s frowning height,
For all in Lu the grandest sight.
Both Kuei and Mêng we safely keep;
To farthest east our sway shall sweep, p. 476
Till all the states along the sea
To Lu obedient shall be.
The tribes of Huai will own our might,
Proud to our prince their faith to plight.
Such the memorial he shall leave!
Such deeds our marquis shall achieve!

7Both Fu and Yi he shall maintain,
And victory over Seu shall gain,
Till all the states along the sea
To him obedient shall be.
The tribes of Huai, the Mih whose home
Is in the north, the Man who roam
The south, and tribes more southern still
Shall bow, submissive to his will.
Prompt they shall answer to his call,
And homage pay, his subjects all.

8Oh! Heaven our prince will greatly bless,
And he the eyebrows shall possess,
That show long life, and Lu maintain;
Both Ch‘ang and Hsü he shall regain.
Whatever land belonged of yore
To Tan, our prince shall soon restore. p. 477
Then shall his joy at feast be told
To his good wife, and mother old.
There, too, his chiefs, of virtue rare,
Each in his place, the joy shall share.
He thus shall all our region rule;
His cup of blessing shall be full.
Like child's his teeth shall still be seen,
With hoary hair,—and old age green!

9The pines from Ch‘u-lai’s hill were brought,
And cypresses on Hsin-fu sought.
The trees were felled, and hewn exact,
The workmen, with the nicest tact,
Using of various lengths the line,
Projected far the beams of pine.
While rose the inner chambers great.
Grand are those temples of the state,
New built, the work of Hsi-ssŭ skilled,
So wide, so deep, that all are filled
With admiration of his art!
How well has Hsi-ssŭ done his part!

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