Sacred Books of the East/Volume 3/The Shu/Part 4/Conquest of Li

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Book X.
the Chief of the West's Conquest of Li


The reigns of seven more kings of Yin or Shang have passed, and this Book brings us to the time of Kâu-hsin or Shâu, its last sovereign, B.C. 1154–1123. The House of Kâu begins to come to the front, for 'the Chief of the West' was one of the acknowledged founders of the Kâu dynasty;—whether Khang, known as king Wăn, or his son Fâ, known as king Wû, is uncertain. Khang's father, the duke of Kâu in the present department of Făng-hsiang, Shen-hsî, had been appointed Chief of the West, that is, of all the western portion of the kingdom, embracing Yü's provinces of Yung, Liang, and King. The same jurisdiction descended to his son and grandson. The state of Lî, the conquest of which is mentioned, was in the present department of Lû-an, Shan-hsî, within the royal domain, so that the Chief of the West was no longer confining himself to the west, but threatening the king himself.

ℨû Î, a loyal officer, hears of the conquest of Lî, and hurries away to inform the king and warn him of the danger threatening the dynasty through his evil conduct. The king gives no heed to his remonstrances, and ℨû Î retires, sighing over the ruin, which he sees is not to be averted.

The Book is classed, it would be hard to tell why, among the 'Announcements.'

The Chief of the West having subdued Lî, ℨû Î was afraid, and hastened to report it to the king.

He said, 'Son of Heaven, Heaven is bringing to an end the dynasty of Yin;* the wisest men and the shell of the great tortoise do not presume to know anything fortunate for it.* It is not that the former kings do not aid us, the men of this later time;* but by your dissoluteness and sport you are bringing on the end yourself. On this account Heaven has cast us off, and there are no good harvests to supply us with food.* Men have no regard to their heavenly nature, and pay no obedience to the statutes (of the kingdom). (Yea), our people now all wish (the dynasty) to perish, saying, "Why does not Heaven send down its indignation? Why does not (some one with) its great appointment make his appearance? What has the present king to do with us?"'

The king said, 'Oh! was not my birth in accordance with the appointment of Heaven (in favour of my House)?' (On this) ℨû Î returned (to his own city), and said, 'Your crimes, which are many, are registered above, and can you still appeal to the appointment of Heaven in your favour?* Yin will perish very shortly. As to all your deeds, can they but bring ruin on your country?'