Book of Odes
  • Book of Odes
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  • How Pure and Still

  • How pure and still are the solemn temples,
  • In their strong solidity and minute completeness!
  • Highly distinguished was Jiang Yuan,
  • Of virtue undeflected.
  • God regarded her with favour;
  • And without injury or hurt,
  • Immediately, when her months were fulfilled,
  • She gave birth to Hou-ji.
  • On him were conferred all blessings, -
  • [To know] how the millet ripened early, and the sacrificial millet late,
  • How first to sow pulse, and then wheat.
  • Anon he was invested with an inferior State,
  • And taught the people how to sow and to reap,
  • The millet and the sacrificial millet,
  • Rice and the black millet;
  • Ere long all over the whole country;
  • [Thus] continuing the work of Yu.
  • Among the Descendants

  • Among the descendants of Hou-ji,
  • There was king Da,
  • Dwelling on the south of [mount] Qi,
  • Where the clipping of Shang began.
  • In process of time Wen and Wu,
  • Continued the work of king Da,
  • And [the purpose of] Heaven was carried out in its time,
  • In the plain of Mu.
  • “Have no doubts, no anxieties,” [it was said];
  • “God is with you.”
  • [Wu] disposed of the troops of Shang;
  • He and his men shared equally in the achievement.
  • [Then] king [Cheng] said, “My uncle,
  • I will set up your eldest son,
  • And make him marquis of Lu.
  • I will greatly enlarge your territory there,
  • To be a help and support to the House of Zhou.”

Shi Jing, also known as “The Book of Odes,” is the oldest compendium of Chinese poetry, including works between the 11th and 7th century BC. It includes 305 poems, and Chinese tradition attributes its composition to the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Subdivided into six parts, it includes poems written for altar sacrifice to ancestors as part of the ancestral worship common to Chinese culture at the time.

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