Sacred Books of the East/Volume 3

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Sacred Books of the East  (1879) , translated by James Legge
Volume 3: The Sacred Books of China—The Texts of Confucianism


Preface xiii


I. The Nature and History of the Shû 1
Meaning of the name Shû King. The Shû existed as a collection of documents before Confucius. Number of documents in it in his time. The Preface ascribed to him. The sources of the Shû. Destruction of the classical literature by the emperor of Khin. Recovery of the Shû.
II. The Credibility of the Records of the Shû 12
Are the records reliable or not? The Books of Kâu; of Shang; of Hsiâ. The Books of Thang and Yü; are professedly later compilations; legendary; based on ancient documents. The Tribute of Yü. Yâo, Shun, and Yü are all historical personages.
III. On the Chronology of China, and the Principal Eras in the Shû 20
No detailed chronological system can be made out from Shû. Attempts at systematic chronology began in the Han period. Ancient method of determining the length of Chinese history. The period of the Kâu dynasty; of the Shang; of the Hsiâ; of the Yâo and Shun.
A Chart by the Rev. Professor Pritchard, representing the principal zodiacal stars above the horizon of any place in central China, about the year B. C. 2300; with note, and table of the apparent positions of the principal stars in B. C. 2300, B. C. 1500, A. D. 1, A. D. 1000, and A. D. 1878

Part I. The Book of Thang

The Canon of Yâo 31

Part II. The Books of Yü

1. The Canon of Shun 37
2. The Counsels of the Great Yü 46
3. The Counsels of Kâo-yâo 53
4. The Yî and Kî 56

Part III. The Books of Hsiâ

1. The Tribute of Yü. Section i 64
The Tribute of Yü. Section ii 74
2. The Speech at Kan 76
3. The Songs of the Five Sons 78
4. The Punitive Expedition of Yin 81

Part IV. The Books of Shang.

1. The Speech of Thang 84
2. The Announcement of Kung-hui 86
3. The Announcement of Thang 89
4. The Instructions of Î 92
5. The Thâi Kiâ. Section i 95
The Thai Kai. Section ii 97
The Thai Kai. Section iii 99
6. The Common Possession of Pure Virtue 100
7. The Pan-kǎng. Section i 104
The Pan-kǎng. Section ii 108
The Pan-kǎng. Section iii 111
8. The Charge to Yüeh. Section i 113
The Charge to Yüeh. Section ii 115
The Charge to Yüeh. Section iii 116
9. The Day of the Supplementary Sacrifice to Kâo ℨung 118
10. The Chief of the West's Conquest of Lî 120
11. The Count of Wei 121

Part V. The Books of Kâu

1. The Great Declaration. Section i 125
The Great Declaration. Section ii 127
The Great Declaration. Section iii 129
2. The Speech at Mû 131
3. The Successful Completion of the War 133
4. The Great Plan 137
5. The Hounds of Lü 149
6. The Metal-bound Coffer 151
7. The Great Announcement 156
8. The Charge to the Count of Wei 161
9. The Announcement of the Prince of Khang 164
10. The Announcement about Drunkenness 171
11. The Timber of the Rottlera 179
12. The Announcement of the Duke of Shâo 181
13. The Announcement concerning Lo 188
14. The Numerous Officers 196
15. Against Luxurious Ease 200
16. The Prince Shih 205
17. The Charge to Kung of ℨhai 211
18. The Numerous Regions 213
19. The Establishment of Government 219
20. The Officers of Kâu 226
21. The Kün-khăn 231
22. The Testamentary Charge 234
23. The Announcement of King Khang 243
24. The Charge to the Duke of Pî 245
25. The Kün-yâ 250
26. The Charge to Khiung 252
27. The Marquis of Lü on Punishments 254
28. The Charge to the Marquis Wăn 265
29. The Speech at Pî 267
30. The Speech of the Marquis of Khin 270


I. The Name and Contents of the Shih 275
The meaning of the character Shih. The contents. Only the pieces of the fourth Part have professedly a religious character. Classification of the pieces from their form and style.
II. The Shih before Confucius, and what, if any, where his Labours Upon it 280
Statement of the Sze-mâ Khien; in the Records of the Sui Dynasty; of Kû Hsî. View of the author. Groundlessness of Khien's statement. What Confucius did for the Shih.
III. The Shih from the time of Confucius till the General Acknowledgment of the Present Text 285
From Confucius to the rise of the Khin dynasty. The Shih was all recovered after the fires of Khin. Three different texts:- of Lu; of Khi; of Han Ying. The text of Mao.
IV. The Formation of the Collection of the Shih; how it came to be so Small and Incomplete; the interpretation and Authors of the Pieces; one Point of Time certainly indicated in it; and the Confucian Preface 290
The theory of the Chinese scholars about a collection of poems for governmental purposes. The music-master of the king got the odes of each sate from its music-master; and the collected poems were dissembinated throughout the states. How the Shih is so small and incomplete. The authors of the pieces. The year B.C. 776 clearly indicted. The Preface to the Shih.

Odes of the Temple and the Alter.

1. The Sacrificial Odes of Shang 303
2. The Sacrificial Odes of Kau. Decade i 313
The Sacrificial Odes of Kau. Decade ii 320
The Sacrificial Odes of Kau. Decade iii 328
3. The Sacrificial Odes of Lû 336

The Minor Odes of the Kingdom.

Decade i. Odes 5, 6, 9 347
Decade iv. Odes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 349
Decade v. Odes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 358
Decade vi. Odes 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 364
Decade vii. Odes 1, 6 373
Decade viii. Odes 5 376

The Major Odes of the Kingdom.

Decade i. Odes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 377
Decade ii. Odes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 396
Decade iii. Odes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 410

Lessons from the States.

Book 2. Odes 2, 4 430
Book 3. Odes 4, 15 410
Book 4. Odes 1, 3, 6 434
Book 5. Odes 4 437
Book 6. Odes 1, 9 438
Book 10. Odes 8, 11 440
Book 11. Odes 6 442
Book 15. Odes 1 444


I. The Name of the Classic; its Existence before the Han Dynasty; its Contents, and by whom it was written 449
Meaning of the character Hsiâo. Was the treatise called the Hsiâo King by Confucius? It existed before the Han dynasty during the time of the Kâu. It came, probably, from the school of ℨăng-𝔷ze.
II. The Recovery of the Hsiâo under the Han Dynasty, and its Preservation down to the Publication of the Commentary of the Thang Emporer Hsüan ℨung 452
Recovery of the Hsiâo. The shorter or modern text. The older or long text. Was another copy in the old text discovered? Can we fully rely on the copies catalogued by Liû Hin? From Khung An-kwo to the emperor Hsüan ℨung. The emporer's work. Hsing Ping's work.
III. Criticism of the Hsiâo since the Thang Dynasty 458
Works on the old text by Sze-mâ Kwang and Fan ℨû-yü. Sceptical criticism; — views of Kû Hsî and Wû Khăng. Conclusion regarding the genuineness and integrity of the Hsiâo. Note on the translation.
1. The Scope and Meaning of the Treatise 465
2. Filial Piety in the Son of Heaven 467
3. Filial Piety in the Princes of States 468
4. Filial Piety in High Ministers and Great Officers 469
5. Filial Piety in Inferior Officers 470
6. Filial Piety in Common People 471
7. Filial Piety in Relation to the Three Powers 472
8. Filial Piety in Government 474
9. The Government of the Sages 476
10. An Orderly Description of the Acts of Filial Piety 480
11. Filial Piety in Relation to the Five Punishments 481
12. Amplification of 'the All-embracing Rule of Conduct' in Chapter 1 481
13. Amplification of 'the Perfect Virtue' in Chapter 1 482
14. Amplification of 'Making our Name Famous' in Chapter 1 483
15. Filial Piety in Relation to Reproof and Remonstrance 483
16. The Influence of Filial Piety and the Response to it 484
17. The Service of the Ruler 486
18. Filial Piety in Mourning for Parents 487

Transliteration of Oriental Alphabets adopted for the Translations of the Sacred Books of the East