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

p. 258


The Ch‘iao Yen; narrative, and allusive, with the metaphorical element perhaps here and there. Some one, suffering from the king through slander, appeals to Heaven, dwells on the nature and evil of slander, and expresses his detestation of and contempt for the slanderers.

1O vast and distant Heaven, whom we
Father and mother call, on thee
I cry. Say why these ills on me
        Excessive fall.
Oppressive, vast, my misery,
        Though guiltless all!

2The first small lie contains the rest.
When slanders fill our monarch's breast,
Ills grow, and never are redressed.
        Would he but trust
The good, wrongs soon must be redressed.
        I know they must. p. 259

3His frequent covenants show him weak.
Wrongs grow from cozening words they speak.
He trusts the rogues that lie and sneak,
        And make things worse.
Their duties shirked, their words so meek
        Prove but a curse.

4With the great work of some great mind;—
A temple by true king designed,
Or plans by sagest men outlined,
        I'm in a fog.
Round common schemes my way I wind,
        Like hare and dog.

5As timber soft in carver's hand
Assumes the shape he may command,
So common speech to understand,
        I well may claim.
Those talkers, flowing, artful, grand,
        Are sons of shame. p. 260

6And who are they? On yonder stream
They dwell; and void of strength they seem.
From men so bloated who would dream
        Of martial force?
Both they and theirs may madly scheme,
        And fare the worse!

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