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Again there is a difficulty in determining to what sacrifice this piece should be referred. The Preface says it was sung on the occasions of sacrifice by the king to God, in spring and summer, for a good year. But the note on the first two lines will show that this view cannot be accepted without modification.

Oh! yes, king Khăng 2 Brightly brought himself near 2. Lead your husbandmen To sow their various kinds of grain, Going vigorously to work

p. 322

on your private fields 1, All over the thirty lî 2. Attend to your ploughing, With your ten thousand men all in pairs.


321:2 These first two lines are all but unmanageable. The old critics held that there was no mention of king Khăng in them; but the text is definite on this point. We must suppose that a special service had been performed at his shrine, asking him to intimate the day when the sacrifice after which the instructions were given should be performed; and that a directing oracle had been received.

322:1 The mention of 'the private fields' implies that there were also 'the public fields,' cultivated by the husbandmen in common, in behalf of the government. As the people are elsewhere introduced, wishing that the rain might first fall on 'the public fields,' to show their loyalty, so the king here mentions only 'the private fields,' to show his sympathy and consideration for the people.

322:2 For the cultivation of the ground, the allotments of single families were separated by a small ditch; ten allotments, by a larger; a hundred, by what we may call a brook; a thousand, by a small stream; and ten thousand, by a river. The space occupied by 10,000 families formed a square of a little more than thirty-two lî. We may suppose that this space was intended by the round number of thirty lî in the text. So at least Kăng Khang-khăng explained it.

Next: Ode 3. The Kâu Lû