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The Kojiki, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain, [1919], at

p. 407


On the day of this copious feast the Heavenly Sovereign, when Princess Wodo of Kasuga 1 presented to him the great august liquor, sang again, saying:

"Oh! the grandee's daughter holding the excellent flagon! [If] thou hold the excellent flagon, hold it firmly! Hold it quite firmly, more and more firmly, child holding the excellent flagon." 2

This is a Cup Song. 3 Then Princess Wodo presented [326] a Song. That Song said:

"Would that I were [thou,] the lower board of the arm-rest whereon our great lord who tranquilly carries on the government stands leaning at morn, stands leaning at eve! Oh! mine elder brother!" 4

This is a Quiet Song.


407:1 Kasuga no Wodo-hime. See Sect. CLIX. Note I.

407:2 This Song is simply a reiterated, and playful injunction to the maiden to hold firmly the flagon containing the intoxicating liquor; and Motowori is, as Moribe remarks, putting more into the words than they are really meant to convey, when he says that they imply praise on the Monarch's part,—The English words "grandee's daughter" represent the Japanese omi no omina, a somewhat remarkable expression, which is interpreted by Motowori to signify "attendant maiden." The translator prefers the view propounded in Moribe's comment on this Song, and has therefore adopted it. The expression is in the original preceded by the untranslatable Pillow-Word minasossoku (Moribe reads the last syllable with the nigori,—gu), The word rendered "excellent flagon" is ho-dari, the first element of the compound being explained by the commentators in the sense of "excellent," i.e., "big," while the second is the same as the modern word taru, "a cask." In ancient times, however, the signification of tari or taru was that of a vessel to pour liquor from, not p. 408 to store liquor in,—i.e., a flagon, not a cask. The words "quite firmly, more and more firmly" represent the Japanese shita-gataku ya-gataku according to Moribe's exegesis. Motowori's interpretation of them in the sense of "[take the] bottom firmly and the top firmly" is less acceptable.

407:3 Thus does the editor of 1687, who is followed by Moribe, understand the original expression uki-uta. Motowori's interpretation, "Floating Song," seems less good.

407:4 So enamoured is the maiden of the Sovereign that she would fain be even the board of the arm-rest on which he leans.—The expression "lower board "is misleading, for it refers simply to the self-evident fact that the board forming the top of the little low table used as an arm-rest by one squatting on his mat is below the arm, as whose support it serves. The words "stands leaning" must probably be understood to signify "sits" or "squats leaning." The expression "our great lord who tranquilly carries on the government" is a frequently recurring periphrasis for the word "Emperor," and has been explained in Sect. LXXXVII, Note 4. The words "at morn" and "at eve" are literally in the original "at morning doors" and "at evening doors," the reference being to the fact that the doors of a house are respectively opened and closed in the early morning and at nightfall. The exclamation "Oh! mine elder brother" is addressed to the board of the arm-rest. Conf. the first Song in Sect LXXXIX, where Yamato-take apostrophizes a pine-tree in the same terms.

Next: Section CLXII.—Emperor Yū-riyaku (Part XIII.—His Age and Place of Burial)