This piece is referred to-the time of king Yû (B.C. 781, to 771), the unworthy son of king Hsüan. The 'Grand-Master' Yin must have been one of the 'three Kung,' the highest ministers at the court of Kâu, and was, probably, the chief of the three, and administrator of the government under Yû.
Lofty is that southern hill 2, With its masses of rocks! Awe-inspiring are you, O (Grand-)Master
[paragraph continues] Yin, And the people all look to you! A fire burns in their grieving hearts; They do not dare to speak of you even in jest. The kingdom is verging to extinction;--How is it that you do not consider the state of things?
Lofty is that southern hill, And vigorously grows the vegetation on it! Awe-inspiring are you,--O (Grand-)Master Yin, But how is it that you are so unjust? Heaven is continually redoubling its inflictions; Deaths and disorder increase and multiply; No words of satisfaction come from the people; And yet you do not correct nor bemoan yourself
The Grand-Master Yin Is the foundation of our Kâu, And the balance of the kingdom is in his hands. He should be keeping its four quarters together; He should be aiding the Son of Heaven, So as to preserve the people from going astray. O unpitying great Heaven, It is not right he should reduce us all to such misery!
He does nothing himself personally, And the people have no confidence in him. Making no enquiry about them, and no trial of their services, He should not deal deceitfully with superior men. If he dismissed them on the requirement of justice, Mean men would not be endangering (the commonweal); And his mean relatives Would not be in offices of importance.
Great Heaven, unjust, Is sending down these exhausting disorders. Great Heaven, unkind, Is sending down these great miseries. Let superior men come (into office), And that would bring rest to the people's hearts. Let superior men execute
their justice, And the animosities and angers would disappear 1.
O unpitying great Heaven, There is no end to the disorder! With every month it continues to grow, So that the people have no repose. I am as if intoxicated with the grief of my heart. Who holds the ordering of the kingdom? He attends not himself to the government, And the result is toil and pain to the people.
I yoke my four steeds, My four steeds, long-necked. I look to the four quarters (of the kingdom); Distress is everywhere; there is no place I can drive to.
Now your evil is rampant 2, And I can see your spears. Anon you are pacified and friendly as if you were pledging one another.
From great Heaven is the injustice, And our king has no repose. (Yet) he will not correct his heart, And goes on to resent endeavours to rectify him,
I, Kiâ-fû, have made this poem, To lay bare a the king's disorders. If you would but change your heart, Then would the myriad regions be nourished.
351:2 'The southern hill' was also called the Kung-nan, and rose right to the south of the western capital of Kâu.
353:1 In this stanza, as in the next and the last but one, the writer complains of Heaven, and charges it foolishly. He does so by way of appeal, however, and indicates the true causes of the misery of the kingdom,--the reckless conduct, namely, of the king and his minister.
353:2 The parties spoken of here are the followers of the minister, 'mean men,' however high in place and great in power, now friendly, now hostile to one another.