Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 3.djvu/364

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330
DECADE III.
THE SHIH KING.

is not easily preserved[1]. Let me not say that it is high aloft above me. It ascends and descends about our doings; It daily inspects us wherever we are.

I am a little child, Without intelligence to be reverently (attentive to my duties); But by daily progress and monthly advance, I will learn to hold fast the gleams (of knowledge), till I arrive at bright intelligence. Assist me to bear the burden (of my position), And show me how to display a virtuous conduct.

Ode 4. The Hsiâo Pî

KING KHĂNG ACKNOWLEDGES THAT HE HAD ERRED, AND STATES HIS PURPOSE TO BE CAREFUL IN THE FUTURE; HE WILL GUARD AGAINST THE SLIGHT BEGINNINGS OF EVIL; AND IS PENETRATED WITH A SENSE OF HIS OWN INCOMPETENCIES.

This piece has been considered by some critics as the conclusion of the council in the ancestral temple, with which the previous two also are thought to be connected. The Preface says that the king asks in it for the assistance of his ministers, but no such request is expressed. I seem myself to see in it, with Sû Kheh and others, a reference to the suspicions which Khăng at one time, we know, entertained of the fidelity of the duke of Kâu, when he was inclined to believe the rumours spread against him by his other uncles, who joined in rebellion with the son of the last king of Shang.

I condemn myself (for the past), And will be on my guard against future calamity. I will have nothing to do with a wasp, To seek for myself its painful sting. At first indeed it seemed to be


  1. The meaning is this: 'The way of Heaven is very clear, to bless the good, namely, and punish the bad. But its favour is thus dependent on men themselves, and hard to preserve.'