That the king who appears in this piece was king Hsüan is sufficiently established. He appears in it commissioning 'his great uncle,' an elder brother, that is, of his mother, to go and rule, as marquis of Shăn, and chief or president of the states in the south of the kingdom, to defend the borders against the encroaching hordes of the south, headed by the princes of Khû, whose lords bad been rebellious against the middle states even in the time of the Shang dynasty;--see the last of the Sacrificial Odes of Shang.
Grandly lofty are the mountains, With their large masses reaching to the heavens. From those mountains was sent down a spirit, Who produced the birth of (the princes of) Fû and Shăn 1. Fû and
[paragraph continues] Shăn Are the support of Kâu, Screens to all the states, Diffusing (their influence) over the four quarters of the kingdom.
Full of activity is the chief of Shăn, And the king would employ him to continue the services (of his fathers), With his capital in Hsieh 1, Where he should be a pattern to the states of the south. The king gave charge to the earl of Shâo, To arrange all about the residence of the chief of Shăn, Where he should do what was necessary for the regions of the south, And where his posterity might maintain his merit.
Of the services of the chief of Shăn The foundation was laid by the earl of Shâo, Who first built the walls (of his city), And then completed his ancestral temple 2. When the temple was completed, wide and grand, The king conferred on the chief of Shâo Four noble steeds, With the hooks for the trappings of the breast-bands, glittering bright 3.
423:1 Shăn was a small marquisate, a part of what is the present department of Nan-yang, Ho-nan. Fû, which was also called Lü, was another small territory, not far from Shan. The princes of both were Kiangs, descended from the chief minister of Yâo, called in the first Book of the Shû, 'the Four Mountains.' Other states were ruled by his descendants, particularly the great state of Khî. When it is said here that a spirit was sent down from the great mountains, and produced the birth of (the princes of) Fû and Shăn, we have, probably, a legendary tradition concerning the birth of Yâo's minister, which was current among all his descendants; and with which we may compare the legends that have come under our notice about the supernatural births of the ancestors of the founders of the Houses of Shang and Kâu. The character for p. 424 'mountains' in lines 1 and 3 is the same that occurs in the title of Yâo's minister. On the statement about the mountains sending 'down a spirit, Hwang Hsün, a critic of the Sung dynasty, says that it is merely a personification of the poet, to show how high Heaven had a mind to revive the fortunes of Kâu, and that we need not trouble ourselves about whether there was such a spirit or not!
424:1 Hsieh was in the present Făng Kâu of the department of Nan-yang.
424:2 Compare with this the account given, in ode 3 of the first decade, of the settling of 'the ancient duke Than-fû' in the plain of Kâu. Here, as there, the great religious edifice, the ancestral temple, takes precedence of all other buildings in the new city.
424:3 The steeds with their equipments were tokens of the royal favour, usually granted on occasions of investiture. The. conferring of them was followed immediately by the departure of the newly-invested prince to his charge.