The piece is referred to the time of king Hsüan (B.C. 827 to 782).
Level and smooth is the courtyard, And lofty are the pillars around it. Pleasant is the exposure of the chamber to the light, And deep and wide are its recesses. Here will our noble lord repose.
On the rush-mat below and that of fine bamboos above it, May he repose in slumber! May he sleep
and awake, (Saying), 'Divine for me my dreams 1. What dreams are lucky? They have been of bears and grisly bears; They have been of cobras and (other) snakes.'
The chief diviner will divine them. 'The bears and grisly bears Are the auspicious intimations of sons; The cobras and (other) snakes Are the auspicious intimations of daughters 2.'
Sons shall be born to him:--They will be put to sleep on couches; They will be clothed in robes; They will have sceptres to play with; Their cry will be loud. They will be (hereafter) resplendent with red knee-covers, The (future) king, the princes of the land.
Daughters shall be born to him:--They will be put to sleep on the ground; They will be clothed with wrappers; They will have tiles to play with 3. It will be theirs neither to do wrong nor to do good 4. Only about the spirits and the food will
they have to think, And to cause no sorrow to their parents.
350:1 In the Official Book of Kâu, ch. 24, mention is made of the Diviner of Dreams and his duties:--He had to consider the season of the year when a dream occurred, the day of the cycle, and the then predominant influence of the two powers of nature. By the positions of the sun, moon, and planets in the zodiacal spaces he could determine whether any one of the six classes of dreams was lucky or unlucky. Those six classes were ordinary and regular dreams, terrible dreams, dreams of thought, dreams in waking, dreams of joy, and dreams of fear.
350:2 The boy would have a sceptre, a symbol of dignity, to play with; the girl, a tile, the symbol of woman's work, as, sitting with a tile on her knee, she twists the threads of hemp.
350:3 That is, the red apron of a king and of the prince of a state.
350:4 The woman has only to be obedient. That is her whole duty, The line does not mean, as it has been said, that 'she is incapable of good or evil;' but it is not her part to take the initiative even in what is good.