Great is God, Beholding this lower world in majesty. He surveyed the four quarters (of the kingdom), Seeking for some one to give establishment to the people. Those two earlier dynasties 1 Had failed to satisfy him with their government; So, throughout the various states, He sought and considered For one on whom he might confer the rule. Hating all the great states, He turned his kind regards on the west, And there gave a settlement (to king Thâi).
(King Thâi) raised up and removed The dead trunks and the fallen trees. He dressed and regulated The bushy clumps and the (tangled) rows. He opened up and cleared The tamarisk trees and the stave trees. He hewed and thinned The mountain mulberry trees. God having brought about the removal thither of this intelligent ruler, The Kwan hordes fled away 2. Heaven had raised up a helpmeet for him, And the appointment he had received was made sure.
God surveyed the hills, Where the oaks and the buckthorn were thinned, And paths made through the firs and cypresses. God, who had raised the
state, raised up a proper ruler 1 for it,--From the time of Thâi-po and king Kî (this was done) 1. Now this king Kî In his heart was full of brotherly duty. Full of duty to his elder brother, He gave himself the more to promote the prosperity (of the country), And secured to him the glory (of his act) 2. He accepted his dignity and did not lose it, And (ere long his family) possessed the whole kingdom.
This king Kî Was gifted by God with the power of judgment, So that the fame of his virtue silently grew. His virtue was highly intelligent,--Highly intelligent, and of rare discrimination; Able to lead, able to rule, To rule over this great country; Rendering a cordial submission, effecting a cordial union 3. When (the sway) came to king Wăn, His
virtue left nothing to be dissatisfied with, He received the blessing of God, And it was extended to his descendants.
God said to king Wăn 1, 'Be not like those who reject this and cling to that; Be not like those who are ruled by their likings and desires;' So he grandly ascended before others to the height (of virtue). The people of Mî 2 were disobedient, Daring to oppose our great country, And invaded Yüan, marching to Kung 3. The king rose, majestic in his wrath; He marshalled his troops, To stop the invading foes; To consolidate the prosperity of Kâu; To meet the expectations of all under heaven.
He remained quietly in the capital, But (his troops) went on from the borders of Yüan. They ascended our lofty ridges, And (the enemy) arrayed no forces on our hills, On our hills, small or large, Nor drank at our springs, Our springs or our pools. He then determined the finest of the plains, And settled on the south of Khî 4, On the banks of
the Wei, The centre of all the states, The resort of the lower people.
God said to king Wăn, 'I am pleased with your intelligent virtue, Not loudly proclaimed nor pourtrayed, Without extravagance or changeableness, Without consciousness of effort on your part, In accordance with the pattern of God.' God said to king Wăn, 'Take measures against the country of your foes. Along with your brethren, Get ready your scaling ladders, And your engines of onfall and assault, To attack the walls of Khung 1.'
The engines of onfall and assault were (at first) gently plied, Against the walls of Khung high and great; Captives for the question were brought in, one after another; The left ears (of the slain) were taken leisurely 2. He had sacrificed to God and to the Father of War 3, Thus seeking to induce
submission, And throughout the region none had dared to insult him. The engines of onfall and assault were (then) vigorously plied, Against the walls of Khung very strong. He attacked it, and let loose all his forces; He extinguished (its sacrifices) 1, and made an end of its existence; And throughout the kingdom none dared to oppose him.
389:1 Those of Hsiâ and Shang.
389:2 The same as 'the hordes of the Khwăn' in ode 3. Mr. T. W. Kingsmill says that 'Kwan' here should be 'Chun,' and charges the transliteration Kwan with error (journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for April, 1878). He had not consulted his dictionary for the proper pronunciation of the Chinese character.
390:1 King Wăn is 'the proper ruler' intended here, and the next line intimates that this was determined before there was any likelihood of his becoming the ruler even of the territory of Kâu;--another instance of the foreseeing providence ascribed to God. Thâi-po was the eldest son of king Thai, and king Kî was, perhaps, only the third. The succession ought to have come to Thai-po; but he, seeing the sage virtues of Khang (afterwards king Wăn), the son of Kî, and seeing also that king Thai was anxious that this boy should ultimately become ruler of Kâu, voluntarily withdrew from Kâu altogether, and left the state to Kî and his son. See the remark of Confucius on Thâi-po's conduct, in the Analects, VIII, i.
390:2 The lines from six to ten speak of king Kî in his relation to his elder brother. He accepted Thâi-po's act without any failure of his own duty to him, and by his own improvement of it, made his brother more glorious through it. His feeling of brotherly duty was simply the natural instinct of his heart. Having accepted the act, it only made him the more anxious to promote the good of the state, and thus he made his brother more glorious by showing what advantages accrued from his resignation and withdrawal from Kâu.
390:3 This line refers to Kî's maintenance of his own loyal duty p. 391 to the dynasty of Shang, and his making all the states under his presidency loyal also.
391:1 The statement that 'God spake to king Wăn,' repeated in stanza 7, vexes the Chinese critics, and they find in it simply an intimation that Wăn's conduct was 'in accordance with the will of Heaven.' I am not prepared to object to that view of the meaning; but it is plain that the writer, in giving such a form to his meaning, must have conceived of God as a personal Being, knowing men's hearts, and able to influence them.
391:2 Mî or Mî-hsü was a state in the present King-ning Kâu, of Phing-liang department, Kan-sû.
391:3 Yüan was a state adjacent to Mî,--the present King Kâu, and Kung must have been a place or district in it.
391:4 Wăn, it appears, made now a small change in the site of his capital, but did not move to Făng, where he finally settled.
392:1 Khung was a state, in the present district of Hû, department Hsî-an, Shen-hsî. His conquest of Khung was an important event in the history of king Wăn. He moved his capital to it, advancing so much farther towards the east, nearer to the domain of-Shang. According to Sze-mâ Khien the marquis of Khung had slandered the lord of Kâu, who was president of the states of the west, to Kâu-hsin, the king of Shang, and our hero was put in prison. His friends succeeded in effecting his deliverance by means of various gifts to the tyrant, and he was reinstated In the west with more than his former power. Three years afterwards he attacked the marquis of Khung.
392:2 So far the siege was prosecuted slowly and, so to say, tenderly, Wan hoping that the enemy would be induced to surrender without great sacrifice of life.
392:3 The sacrifice to God had been offered in ,Kâu, at the commencement of the expedition; that to the Father of War, on the army's arriving at the borders of ,Khung. We can hardly tell who is intended by the Father of War. Kû Hsî and others would require the plural 'Fathers,' saying the sacrifice was to Hwang Tî and Khih Yû, who are found engaged in hostilities far back in the p. 393 mythical period of Chinese history. But Khih Yû appears as a rebel, or opposed to the One man in all the country who was then fit to rule. It is difficult to imagine how they could be associated, and sacrificed to together.
393:1 The extinction of its sacrifices was the final act in the extinction of a state. Any members of its ruling House who might survive could no longer sacrifice to their ancestors as having been men of princely dignity. The family was reduced to the ranks of the people.