Look into the middle of the forest; There are (only) large faggots and small branches in it 1. The people now amidst their perils Look to Heaven, all dark; But let its determination be fixed, And there is no one whom it will not overcome. There is the great God,--Does he hate any one?
If one say of a hill that it is low, There are its ridges and its large masses. The false calumnies of the people,--How is it that you do not repress them 2? You call those experienced ancients, You consult the diviner of dreams. They all say, 'We are very wise, But who can distinguish the male and female crow 3?'
Look at the rugged and stony field;--Luxuriantly rises in it the springing grain. (But) Heaven moves and shakes me, As if it could not overcome me 4.
[paragraph continues] They sought me (at first) to be a pattern (to them), (Eagerly) as if they could not get me; (Now) they regard me with great animosity, And will not use my strength.
354:1 By introducing the word 'only,' I have followed the view of the older interpreters, who consider the forest, with merely some faggots and twigs left in it, to be emblematic of the ravages of oppressive government in the court and kingdom. Ka Hsî takes a different view of them:--'In a forest you can easily distinguish the large faggots from the small branches, while Heaven appears unable to distinguish between the good and bad.'
354:2 The calumnies that were abroad were as absurd as the assertion in line 1, and yet the king could not, or would not, see through them and repress them.
354:3 This reference to the diviners of dreams is in derision of their pretensions.
354:4 That is, the productive energy of nature manifests itself in the most unlikely places; how was it that 'the great God, who hates no one,' was contending so with the writer?