From a reference in the Analects, III, ii, to an abuse of this ode in the time of Confucius, We learn that it was sung When the sacrificial vessels and their contents were being removed.
They come full of harmony; They are here in all gravity;--The princes assisting, While the Son of Heaven looks profound.
(He says), 'While I present (this) noble bull, And they assist me in setting forth the sacrifice, O great and august Father, Comfort me, your filial son.
With penetrating wisdom thou didst play the man. A sovereign with the gifts both of peace and war, Giving rest even to great Heaven 1, And ensuring prosperity to thy descendants.
'Thou comfortest me with the eyebrows of longevity; Thou makest me great with manifold blessings, I offer this sacrifice to my meritorious father, And to my accomplished mother 1.'
325:1 To explain this line one commentator refers to the seventh stanza of the first piece in the Major Odes of the Kingdom, where it is said, 'God surveyed the four quarters of the kingdom, seeking for some one to give settlement and rest to the people;' and adds, 'Thus what Heaven has at heart is the settlement of the people, When the), have rest given to them, then Heaven is at rest.'
326:1 At sacrifices to ancestors, the spirit tablets of wives were placed along with those of their husbands in their shrines, so that both shared in the honours of the service. So it is now in the imperial ancestral temple in Peking. The 'accomplished mother' here would be Thâi Sze, celebrated often in the pieces of the first Book of Part I, and elsewhere.