Shih King, the Book of Odes/Part III/The First Decade/Ode 3

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Shih King, the Book of Odes The Second Decade, or that of Shăng Min
Various, translated by James Legge
Ode 237. The Mien.

綿綿瓜瓞
民之初生自土沮漆
古公亶父陶父陶穴
未有家室
古公亶父來朝走馬
率西水滸至于岐下
爰及姜女聿來胥宇
周原膴膴菫茶如飴
爰始爰謀爰契我龜
曰止曰時築室于茲
迺慰迺止迺左迺右
迺疆迺理迺宣迺畝
自西徂東周爰執事

乃召司空乃召司徒俾立室家
其繩則直縮版以載作廟翼翼
捄之陾陾度之薨薨
築之登登削屢馮馮
百堵皆興鼛鼓弗勝
迺立皋門皋門有伉
迺立應門應門將將
迺立冢土戎醜攸行
肆不殄厥慍亦不隕厥問
柞棫拔矣行道兌矣
混夷駾矣維其喙矣
虞芮質厥成文王蹶厥生
予曰有疏附予曰有先後
予曰有奔奏予曰有禦侮

In long trains ever increasing grow the gourds.
When [our] people first sprang
From the country about the Ju and the Qi,
The ancient duke Tan-fu
Made for them kiln-like huts and caves
Ere they had yet any houses.

The ancient duke Tan-fu
Came in the morning, galloping his horses,
Along the banks of the western rivers,
To the foot of [Mount] Qi;
And there, he and the lady Jiang,
Came and together looked out for a site on which to settle.

The plain of Zhou looked beautiful and rich,
With its violets and sowthistles [sweet] as dumplings.
There he began with consulting [his followers];
There he singed the tortoise-shell, [and divined].
The responses were - there to stay, and then;
And they proceeded there to build their houses.

He encouraged the people and settled them;
Here on the left, there on the right.
He divided the ground into larger tracts and smaller portions;
He dug the ditches; he defined the acres;
From the west to the east,
There was nothing which he did not take in hand.

He called his superintendent of works;
He called his minister of instruction;
And charged them with the building of the houses.
With the line they made everything straight;
They bound the frame-boards tight, so that they should rise regularly.
Up rose the ancestral temple in its solemn grandeur.

Crowds brought the earth in baskets;
They threw it with shouts into the frames;
They beat it with responsive blows;
They pared the walls repeatedly, and they sounded strong.
Five thousand cubits[1] of them arose together,
So that the roll of the great drum did not overpower [the noise of the builders].

They set up the gate of the enceinte;
And the gate of the enceinte stood high.
They set up the court gate;
And the court gate stood grand.
They reared the great altar [to the Spirits of the land],
From which all great movements should proceed.

Thus though he could not prevent the rage [of his foes],
He did not let fall his own fame.
The oaks and the yu were [gradually] thinned,
And roads for travelling were opened.
The hordes of the Hun[2] disappeared,
Startled and panting.

[The chiefs of] Yu and Rui were brought to an agreement
By King Wen's stimulating their natural virtue.
Then, I may say, some came to him, previously not knowing him:
And some, drawn the last by the first;
And some, drawn by his rapid success;
And some, by his defense [of the weak] from insult.

Notes[edit]

  1. Actually , "100 walls".
  2. Actually, , the "Hunyi" or "Mixed barbarians". However, Sima Qian and others conflated them with the Xunyu, who were then identified with the Han-era Xiongnu who were in fact the European "Huns".