Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 3.djvu/65

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THE SHÛ KING.




PART I. THE BOOK OF THANG.

The Canon of Yâo.

Shû King, the name of the whole work, has been sufficiently explained in the Introduction. The name of this Part, the first of the five into which the whole is divided, is the Book of Thang, Thang being taken as the dynastic designation of Yâo, who before his elevation to the throne had been marquis of the small state of Thang, the name of which is supposed to be still retained in Thang, one of the districts of the department Pâo-ting, in Kih-lî. It is said that after his elevation he established his capital in Phing-yang, lat. 36° 06', long. 111° 33', in Shan-hsî. But all this is very uncertain. See on Part III, Book iii, ch. 2. The one Book, forming this Part, is called the Canon of Yâo. The character which we translate 'Canon' means a document of the most exalted nature, the contents of which are entitled to the greatest regard. The name is given expressly only to one other Book in the Shû. The Canons are the first of the six classes of documents which the Shû contains. Yâo is the subject of the Book:—In ch. 1, in his personal character and the general results of his government; in ch. 2, in his special care for the regulation of the calendar and the labours of agriculture; in ch. 3, in his anxiety to find one who could cope with the ravages of a terrible inundation, and take his place on the throne. The third chapter introduces to our notice Shun, the successor of Yâo.