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


The Hsiao Yüan; narrative and allusive. Some officer, in a time of disorder and misgovernment, urges on his brothers the duty of maintaining their own virtue, and of observing the greatest caution.

1The dove coos gently in the bush,
  Then wings to heaven its flight.
My heart that broods o’er sorrow's wound,
  Thinks of our fathers bright.
When early dawn unseals my eyes,
Before my mind our parents rise. p. 253

2Men grave and wise a cup may take,
  And reason hold her sway.
But men benighted taste, and grow
  More set on drink each day.
Let all deportment good maintain;
Heaven's gift once lost we ne’er regain.

3All o’er the plain they gather beans,
  Which they will sow again.
The grubs hatched on the mulberry tree
  The sphex bears off to train.
Teach carefully your sons at home,
And good as you they will become.

4Look at the wagtails! Quick they leap,
  And twitter as they fly.
Let us as active be, for days
  And months go swiftly by.
Rise early, and go late to sleep;
The name you bear in honor keep.

5The green peaks, driven by pinching want,
  Frequent the yards for grain. p. 254
Alas for poor and lonely folks,
  Whom prison walls restrain!
I sprinkle rice around my door,
And to be good, Heaven's aid implore.

6We must be meek, and cautious move,
  As we were perched on trees.
We must be anxious, and take care,
  As near a precipice.
We must put down our feet as nice,
As if we trod on thinnest ice.

Next: III. Hsiao Pien