Sacred Texts  Confucianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

Book III. The Odes of P‘ei


The Pai Chou; mostly narrative. An officer of worth bewails the neglect and contempt with which he was treated.

1It floats about, that boat of cypress wood,
  Now here, now there, as by the current borne.
Nor rest nor sleep comes in my troubled mood;
  I suffer as when painful wound has torn
  The shrinking body. Thus I dwell forlorn, p. 24
  And aimless muse, my thoughts of sorrow full.
    I might with wine refresh my spirit worn;
  I might go forth, and, sauntering try to cool
The fever of my heart; but grief holds sullen rule.

2My mind resembles not a mirror plate,
  Reflecting all th’ impressions it receives.
The good I love, the bad regard with hate;
  I only cherish whom my heart believes.
  Colleagues I have, but yet my spirit grieves,
That on their honor I cannot depend.
    I speak, but my complaint no influence leaves
  Upon their hearts; with mine no feelings blend;
With me in anger they, and fierce disdain contend.

3My mind is fixed, and cannot, like a stone,
  Be turned at will indifferently about;
And what I think, to that, and that alone,
  I utterance give, alike within, without;
  Nor can like mat be rolled and carried out.
With dignity, in presence of them all,
    My conduct marked, my goodness who shall scout?
  My foes I boldly challenge, great and small,
If there be aught in me they can in question call. p. 25

4How full of trouble is my anxious heart!
  With hate the blatant herd of creatures mean
Ceaseless pursue. Of their attacks the smart
  Keeps my mind in distress. Their venomed spleen
  Aye vents itself; and with insulting mien
They vex my soul; and no one on my side
    A word will speak. Silent, alone, unseen,
  I think of my sad case; then opening wide
My eyes, as if from sleep, I beat my breast, sore-tried.

5Thy disk, O sun, should ever be complete,
  While thine, O changing moon, doth wax and wane.
But now our sun hath waned, weak and effete,
  And moons are ever full. My heart with pain
  Is firmly bound, and held in sorrow's chain,
As to the body cleaves an unwashed dress.
    Silent I think of my sad case; in vain
  I try to find relief from my distress.
Would I had wings to fly where ills no longer press!

Next: II. Lü I