Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 3.djvu/53
��at the beginning of the Chinese monarchy. Their wisdom and benevolence appeared in him, combined with a prac- tical devotion to the duties of his position, in which all sovereigns would have a model, to win them from indolence and self-indulgence, and stimulate them to a painstaking discharge of their responsibilities.
In the nineteenth of the Books of Part V, the duke of Ka.u counsels his young sovereign, king Khang (B.C. 1115- 1077), to have his armies in a good state of preparation, so that he might go forth \ beyond the footsteps of Yu,' and travel over all beneath the sky, everywhere meeting with submission. The duke's reference to 'the footsteps of Yii' does not prove that Yii really travelled and toiled as the Tribute of Yu reports, but only that such was the current belief at the commencement of the Kau dynasty, while it affords at the same time a presumption that our document was then among the archives of the kingdom. It may have been compiled before the end of the Hsia dynasty, or under that of Shang. From Shang it passed to K&u, and came under the care of the recorders of the Exterior. Then subsequently it was very properly incorporated in the collection of the Shu.
5. While we are thus unable to receive the six earliest documents in our classic as contemporaneous in their pre- sent form with the events which they relate, it is not meant to throw doubt on the existence of Yao,
Ynd Yi?are Shun, and Yu as historical personages. More
all historical especially does Yu stand forth as the first sovereign of the dynasty of Hsia, the man who laid the foundation of the hereditary monarchy in China, its feudal sovereign who 'conferred surnames and lands.' The documents which follow the Tribute of Yu, commencing with the Speech at Kan, delivered in B.C. 2197 by Yii's son and successor, may all be received as veritable monuments of antiquity.