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


The Hsiao Pien; allusive and narrative. The eldest son and heir apparent of King Yu bewails his degradation, and the ease with which the king was led away by slanderers.

1To the trees that are their home,
Flying slow, the crows all come.
Other men can happy be;
Ne’er am I from misery free. p. 255
Have I Heaven offended sore?
Surely guilt lies at my door.
Homeless thus, oppressed with grief,
Nowhere can I find relief.

2Once the road was clear to Chou,
O’er it the rank grass grows now.
On my heart is sorrow's blight;
Ache my limbs as after fight.
Through the night, still dressed, I sigh;
Ere its time, old age comes nigh.
Homeless thus, I find no rest,
Head and heart alike distressed.

3Men with reverence always view
Trees that round their homesteads grew.
On their fathers all depend,
In their mothers have a friend.
From my father's loins I sprung,
On my mother's breast I hung;
Yet did Heaven my being give,
’Neath a baleful star to live. p. 256

4Where cicadas’ voices ring,
Willow trees luxuriant spring.
Deep the waters of that pool,
Fringed with reeds and rushes cool!
But like boat adrift I'm borne,
Aimless, tossed about, forlorn.
Sad my heart! I try in vain
Briefest rest from thought to gain.

5Mark the stag's reluctant feet
Slowly from the herd retreat.
Crows the pheasant at the dawn,
And his mate is to him drawn.
Stript of branch and lea, that tree
Is the image true of me.
Sad my heart! I'm left alone,
Unbefriended and unknown.

6See the hare for mercy crave!
One steps in its life to save.
When a corpse unburied lies,
Some one straight a grave supplies. p. 257
Callous monarch, all our woes
Ne’er wake thy compunction's throes.
Sad my heart beneath thy frown,
And my tears fall ceaseless down!

7Slanders vile the king believes;
Them as pledge cup he receives.
Truthful judgment he denies,
And to stifle kindness tries.
Trees are felled where helps the strain,
Fagots cleft along the grain.
Leaves our king the guilty free,
While he guilt imputes to me.

8Men will climb the greatest height;
Deepest springs their search invite.
O’er his words the king should watch;
Ears are set each word to catch.
Leave my dam, ye slanderers base;
Move not basket from its place.
Vainly thus, despised, I moan;
Dark my future, though unknown!

Next: IV. Ch‘iao Yen