Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 3.djvu/316

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282
THE SHIH KING

Confucius' time had been more than 3000, the quotations of poems now lost in these two works should have been ten times as numerous as the quotations from the 305 pieces said to have been preserved by him, whereas they are only between a twenty-first and twenty-second part of the existing pieces. This is sufficient to show that Khien's statement is not worthy of credit.'

ii. Of the existence of the Book of Poetry before Confucius, digested in four Parts, and much in the same order as at present, there may be advanced the following proofs:—

First. There is the passage in the Official Book of Kâu, quoted and discussed in the last paragraph of the preceding chapter. We have in it a distinct reference to poems, many centuries before the sage, arranged and classified in the same way as those of the existing Shih. Our Shih, no doubt, was then in the process of formation.

Second. Lî the ninth piece of the sixth decade of the Shih, Part II, an ode assigned to the time of king Yû, B.C. 78, to 771, we. have the words,

'They sing the Yâ and the Nan,
Dancing to their flutes without error.'

So early, therefore, as the eighth century B.C. there was a collection of poems, of which some bore the name of the Nan, which there is much reason to suppose were the Kâu Nan and the Shâo Nan, forming the first two Books of the first Part of the present Shih; and of which others bore the name of the Yâ, being, probably, the earlier pieces that now compose a large portion of the second and third Parts.

Third. In the narratives of ℨo Khiû-ming, under the twenty-ninth year of duke Hsiang, B.C. 544, when Confucius was only seven or eight years old, we have an account of a visit to the court of Lû by an envoy from Wû, an eminent statesman of the time, and a man of great learning. We are told that as he wished to hear the music of Kâu, which he could do better in Lû than in any other state, they sang to him the odes of the Kâu Nan and the Shâo Nan; those of Phei, Yung, and Wei; of the Royal Domain; of Kang; of Khî; of Pin; of Khin; of Wei; of