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Shi Jing Table of content – The Book of Odes

The oldest collection of Chinese poetry, more than three hundred songs, odes and hymns. Tr. Legge (en) and Granet (fr, incomplete).

I. — Lessons from the states

The odes of P n Zhou and the South, l n Shao and the South, Bei, Yong, Wei, Wang, G Zheng, Qi, Q Wei, Tang, Qin, Chen, Kuai, Cao, Bin,

II. — p Minor odes of the kingdom

Decade of Lu Ming, Baihua, } Tong Gong, Qi Fu, p Xiao Min, _ s Bei Shan, Sand Hu, H h Du Ren Shi,

III. — j Greater odes of the kingdom

Decade of Wen Wang, Sheng Min, Dang,

IV. — | Odes of the temple and the Altar

Sacrificial odes of Zhou, decade of P | M q Qing Miao, P | u Chen Gong, P | { p l Min You Xiao Zi, | | Praise-songs of Lu, | Sacrificial odes of Shang,

Random samples

(Shijing 14)
Yao-yao went the grass-insects,
And the hoppers sprang about.
While I do not see my lord,
My sorrowful heart is agitated. [...]

(Shijing 27)
Green is the upper robe,
Green with a yellow lining !
The sorrow of my heart, –
How can it cease ? [...]

_ (Shijing 40)
I go out at the north gate,
With my heart full of sorrow.
Straitened am I and poor,
And no one takes knowledge of my distress. [...]

Presentation

Chinese literature begins with Shi jing (Book of Odes), an anthology of songs, poems, and hymns. It consists of 311 poems (6 without text) dating from the Zhou Dynasty (1027-771 BC) to the Spring & Autumn Period (770-476 BC). Geographically, these poems were collected from the area which is now central China and the lower HuangHe (Yellow River) Valley of north China where Chinese civilization began and flourished. The area covers what are today's ShanXi, Shan3Xi, ShanDong , HeNan, and HuBei provinces. (Cf. this introduction.)

Confer

Sources
  • Chinese original text and Legge translation found in the Chinese Text Initiative.
  • Traductions françaises de Marcel Granet extraites de Fêtes et chansons anciennes de la Chine, 1re éd. 1919, rééd. 1929, Paris, E. Leroux.
Other translations / autres traductions
  • French, Séraphin Couvreur, Le Cheu king, Ho-kien-fou, 1896, rééd. Sien-hien, 1926. Le texte est disponible en ligne dans la collection Chine ancienne, réalisée par Pierre Palpant.
  • English, Arthur Waley, The Book of Songs, New York, Grove Press, 1996.
  • English, William Jennings, the Shi King, New York, Paragon Book, 1969.
  • English, Ezra Pound, The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius, Cambridge: Harvard U Press, 1954.
  • English, Bernhard Karlgren, The Book of Odes, Stockholm, The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1950.
Links / liens
Monday, August 20, 2007
Shi Jing 08 Plantains (Chant)

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Section: Songs of Zhou State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.20)

Let’s gather and gather the plantains;
Come, let’s pick them up.
Let’s gather and gather the plantains;
Come, We must have them.

Let’s gather and gather the plantains;
Come, let’s pluck them up.
Let’s gather and gather the plantains;
Come, let’s rub off their seeds.

Let’s gather and gather the plantains;
Come, let’s carry them with our skirts.
Let’s gather and gather the plantains;
Come, let’s bring them back.

Note:
This might be a working chant that song by woman. There is no one really understands why people put this chant into Shi Jing, Odes. And To some “literature masters” that the poem is lack of value to learn or study from, just a labor chant.
1. No one understand why these people feel so happy and eager to pick all the plantains, some Ancient Chinese believed the plantains could cure sterility or prevent premature labor, some said it is source of food. Jeez, no wonder we’ve got a big population! :-) Just joking!
2. No one likes repetitions, especially the literary editors, to them, “same word again?!” it is like the writer is very uneducated and readers would yawn, and get sleepy, so your poetry book won’t sell. Remember, “Writing is about Quality, but Publishing is just about Quantity.” But Thank God that Confucius and some great ancient editors kept this poem in the Book of Odes. Why?

Let’s get start it.
Life is in the process of repetition.
Sun rises and Sun sets and no one seems to get bored of her.
Singer or Rappers:
Yo, Yo, Yo, What’s happening? What’s happened, it will happen again. So what’s happening? Say Hey! Say Hey!…
Sport Fans chants all night long without get tired even just one-line song or the name of their club or country.
And religions chanting sometimes are just one phrase but still make people feel peaceful all night.

And a lady in love would reply: “Yes! Yes! Yes!” to answer her lover’s marriage proposal, and after that she never gets bored to hear her husband telling her “I love You.” And as many times as she wants to hear from him, not as some other repeated words or actions of her husband that she dislikes, or even fakes a headache to get pass it.

One of simple and gracious writing style is perfect repetition of word use to show condition, emotion and passion. Coz good and enjoyable things we never get tired to do it and do it again. And this poem is a great example to inspire a passionate writing.

My samples:

1.
Let’s Kiss
By Laijon Liu (2007.08.20)

O, my sweet babe,
Let me kiss your cheek;
Kiss, kiss, and kiss,
Don’t be shy,
Let me kiss your apple-like cheek!

O, my honey pie,
Let me kiss your lips;
Kiss, kiss, and kiss,
Don’t be shy,
Let me kiss your rose-like lips!

O, my charming darling,
Let me hold you and kiss;
Kiss, kiss, and kiss,
Don’t be shy,
Let me hug your shoulders and kiss!

O, my beautiful lady,
Let us sit here and kiss;
Kiss, kiss, and kiss,
Don’t be shy,
Let’s do nothing but kiss!

2.
A beautiful lady is passing by
By Laijon Liu (2007.08.20)

A lovely lady is passing by.
Get her number; get her number;
Hurry, hurry, and hurry up;
Don’t hesitate! Get her number!

A hot lady is passing by.
Ask her out; ask her out;
Quick, quick, don’t be shy!
Stop waiting! Ask her out!

A gorgeous lady is passing by.
Pick her up; pick her up;
Come on; come on;
Go to her, and pick her up!

What a nice lady you’re seeing!
Take her hand. Take her hands!
Be brave; be kind. And be brave!
Stretch your hand, and hold her hand!

What a beautiful lady you’re dating!
Kiss her cheek; kiss her lips.
Be brave; be kind. And be brave!
Stop wondering! Start kissing!

What a great lady you’re marrying!
Be with her; be with her;
Stay with her, walk with her.
Don’t jerk off!* Just please her and love her!

*Does not sound like Mainstream, or replace it with “Don’t be a jerk!”
It can be funny, witted, a little silly, and down-to-earth.:-)

Or other Example:
A good Singer, Akon’s “Sorry, Blame on me” that every repetition shows his emotion and thoughts, thus his song speaks to people’s heart. “I am sorry… I am sorry… Blame on me… Blame on me…”
Anon. – Shijing 8 – 2006/12/08
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Dynasty: Eastern Zhou
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.14)

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
Your great lights shining upon earth.
But I have never seen such man,
Who forgot his home and course.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
And why he refuses to come into my room?

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
Your great lights shining upon earth.
But I have never seen such man,
Who forgot my love and grace.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
Why he leaves me alone in my empty room?

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
Your great lights shining upon earth.
But I have never seen such man,
Who lost his honor and Heaven’s bliss.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
And I should forget him, away with sorrow.

Sun and moon, listen to my grievance!
You rise from east with shining rays.
Ah- my daddy and my mommy,
My husband loves me no more.
He keeps not vow of husband and wife,
And I will not suffer in sorrow any more!

Note:
The poet may be a young and just married wife lived in State of Wei. She complained about her husband that stopped loving her. And she eventually thinks wisely that “Anyway he does not keep his vow, so she gives up her sorrow, or maybe seeks a new beginning.”

From:
http://laijonliu.blogspot.com/
Anon. – Shijing 29 – 2006/12/08
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Banging the Drum

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Dynasty: Eastern Zhou
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.16)

Banging the drum, dang, dang, dang,
Eager soldiers raise their arms.
They all fortify our citadel and canals,
But I follow my regiment to the south.

I serve my general Sun Zi Zhong,
To make peace for State of Chen and Song.
For our engagement that I cannot return,
So I am in worry and anxiety.

Where I shall look for shelters?
Where I will find my horse?
And how I should search?
Maybe the answer is hiding in the woods.

“Our vow is beyond death and life”,
I and you are together I always remembered.
I will hold your hand,
And together we grow old.

Too pitiful we are faraway apart,
The distance separates us to meet again!
Too miserable this takes forever,
And it does not let us fulfill our vow!

Note:
The poet may be an elite soldier of State of Wei.
He followed his general Sun Zi Zhong served near the border of State of Chen and Song (two states were in conflict), and stayed there. He was anxiously waiting for the order to return to his home there his wife was. And during the operation, he lost his horse, which was a desperate situation (horses in ancient time carried soldier supply and weapons, are life companion for soldiers in advance or retreat), he lost his horse, his supply, maybe his armor and weapons, and the road he was facing that we may lose his life so he may never go back. In all these mess, he started searching, and somehow at this hopeless moment he started to revisit his happiest moment, when he together vowed in marriage ceremony with his wife, and he was even afraid that he might never see his love again.
The end of our life, reminds us the true happy moment, experience, value... Confucius said:" At the end of man's life, his words are graceful; At the death of a bird, his song is in grievous tone.

It is unfair to put anyone in such situation: "To kill or to be killed".
The poet's questions are common for everyone in desperate time, when we cannot run away and our future is in other people's decision. When nations or states look for honour, justice, righteousness, peace... their actions and methods often fall into violence. So common's life, happiness and value are at stake, become sacrifice of their leaders' faith and belief. So the poet asked "Where I shall look for shelters? Where I will find my horse(his life companion)? How I should find?" And "Maybe the answer is hiding in the woods." He might be seek a way out, that to hide in the forest, away from society?

And His last statement for his true value is his home, his love, his fulfillment of his vow is his true duty. Hero's duty is to pursue love.

From:
http://laijonliu.blogspot.com/
Anon. – Shijing 31 – 2006/12/08
Other Contemporary English Translation:

Sunday, August 19, 2007
Streaming Wind

From: Book of Ode
Period: Spring and Autumn
Section: Songs of Wei State
(Collected by Confucius)
Translated by Laijon Liu (2007.08.19)

Screaming, screeching, the streaming wind,
It is cloudy, rainy, and gloomy sky.
Husband and wife shall encourage each other,
They should not have any angers and blame.
As if we gather cabbages and radishes,
That we shall not throw away their roots.
Let us not forget our graceful words:
“Be with you together until our death!”

As I walked on my road slowly,
But my feet and heart are in disagreeing.
I do not wish you to go with me for long,
But I never expected you just stopped by the door.
Who said the edible plant is so bitter?
But to me it is sweet as shepherd's purse.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
And you two are so close and brotherly.

River Wei joins into river Jing, defiled her surface,
But the bottom of river Jing is still very clear.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
But please stop saying that I am unclean.
Please do not come to my fishing dam,
Please do not lift up my fishing baskets.
Even you do not respect my faithfulness,
Who would care about my name and family?

Marriage is river where is too deep,
Then we shall cross it in a boat.
Marriage is river where is shallow,
Then we shall swim to across it.
If we really lack or need anything,
Then we shall seek it in strength and heart.
Even our neighbor meet any disaster,
We offer our hands in crawling or running.

If you really do not love me I understand,
But why you look at me as if I’m your enemy.
All my love and grace you never accepted,
As if I’m junk that no one is willing to bid.
Our past life were in suffering of poverty,
We supported each other to overcome all troubles.
Now your life is in a good and easy shape,
But you compare me to a venomous insect.

I am like a preserved dry vegetable you stored,
That just for you to get pass the winter season.
Your new marriage is feasting in happiness,
But please do not use me to prevent poverty,
Please stop venting and ranting at me.
Please do not force me into any heavy labor.
All our past love and goodwill are forgotten,
And your grace and my love are gone and vanished.

Note:
The poet might be a wife who lived with her husband for some difficult and suffering time. And after their life got better, her husband found new love and abandoned her, married a young girl, and despised his old/first wife, and used his wife as his slave or servant or something. I really felt her paining. And I decided not to look or support for polygamy marriage. If I need to battle my wife for whole life, then to death I will fight with or against her like the TV show: “Everybody loves Raymond”. :-)
This poem is for every wife.

From:
http://laijonliu.blogspot.com/2007/08/streaming-wind.html
Anon. – Shijing 35 – 2006/12/08
[Xref] Lunyu II. 2. quotes Shijing IV. 4. (297)
gbog – Lunyu 18Shijing 297 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu III. 2. quotes Shijing IV. 2. (282)
gbog – Lunyu 42 Shijing 282 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu III. 8. quotes Shijing I. 5. (57)
gbog – Lunyu 48 Shijing 57 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu I.15. quotes Shijing I.v.1
gbog – Lunyu 15 Shijing 55 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu III. 20. quotes Shijing I. 1. (1)
gbog – Lunyu 60 Shijing 1 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu VIII. 3. quotes Shijing II. 5. (195)
gbog – Lunyu 191 Shijing 195 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu IX. 27. quotes Shijing I. 3. (33)
gbog – Lunyu 236 Shijing 33 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu XI. 6. quotes Shi Jing III. 3. (256)
gbog – Lunyu 273 Shijing 256 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu XII. 10. quotes Shi Jing II. 4. (188)
gbog – Lunyu 303 Shijing 188 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu XIII.5., XVII. 9. and XVII. 10. refers to Shi Jing
gbog – Shijing Lunyu 322 Lunyu 456 Lunyu 457 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Lunyu XIV. 39. quotes Shi Jing I. 3. (34)
gbog – Lunyu 386 Shijing 34 – 2005/12/02
Chop ,chop ,we cut down the elms
And pile the wood on the bank,
By the waters clear and rippling.
They neither sow nor reap;
How then have they three hundred sheaves of corn?
They neither hunt nor chase;
How then do we see badgers hanging in their courtyards?
Ah,those lords
They do not need to work for their food!

Chop, chop, we cut wood for wheel-spokes
And pile it on the shore,
By the waters clear and flowing.
They neither sow nor reap;
How then have they three hundred stacks of corn?
They neither hunt nor chase;
How then do we see bulls hanging in their courtyards?
Ah, those lords
They do not need to work to eat!

Chop, chop, we cut hard wood for wheels
And pile it at the river's brink,
By the waters clear and dimpling.
They neither sow nor reap;
How then have they three hundred ricks of corn?
They neither hunt nor chase;
How then do we see quails hanging in their courtyards?
Ah, those lords
They do not have to work to live!
Gregor Kneussel – Shijing 112 – 2004/12/04
Translation into Nonohai:

Settuman ionikin-hai bibijor moorooiin hai-chou?
Yii laoii uolon-kapaar!
SuperTranslator – Shijing 122 – 2003/12/04
Favorite one. She just cant understand...
User – Shijing 81 – 2003/12/04
Willem Smith,
you asked for a translation in Dutch of the term 'da lu'. I think a proper translation would be 'hoofdstraat'.

Harmen Mesker
I Tjing Centrum Nederland
http://www.i-tjingcentrum.nl
Harmen – Shijing 81 – 2003/12/04
Highway... Grande route... I'm puzzling 4 months about a proper translation in dutch; i don't see the street in which this lamention takes place. "Het grote boek van kleine sjang" eleanor frances lattimore; chapter two: "dorpsstraat". Dutch reader, please send me a suggestion for a good translation.
Thanks,
Willem
willem smith – Shijing 81 – 2002/12/07
Chinese landscape on plate (98)

The Book of Odes – Shi Jing – Chinese on/offFrançais/English
Alias Shijing, Shi Jing, Book of Odes, Book of Songs, Classic of Odes, Classic of Poetry, Livre des Odes, Canon des Poèmes.

The Book of Odes, The Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean, Three-characters book, The Book of Changes, The Way and its Power, 300 Tang Poems, The Art of War, Thirty-Six Strategies
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