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周書 召誥 Zhou Shu - Announcement of the Duke of Shao

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In the second month, on the day Yi-wei, six in the second month, on the days after full moon, the king proceeded in the morning from Zhou to Feng.


(Thence) the Grand Guardian went before the duke of Zhou to survey the locality (of the new capital); and in the third month, on the day Wu-shen, the third day after the first appearance of the moon on Bing-wu, he came in the morning to Luo. He divined by the tortoiseshell about the (several) localities, and having obtained favourable indications, he set about laying out the plan (of the city). On Geng-xu, the third day after, he led the people of Yin to prepare the various sites on the north of the Luo; and this work was completed on Jia-yin, the fifth day after.


On Yi-mao, the day following, the duke of Zhou came in the morning to Luo, and thoroughly inspected the plan of the new city. On Ding-si, the third day after, he offered two bulls as victims in the (northern and southern) suburbs; and on the morrow, Wu-wu, at the altar to the spirit of the land in the new city, he sacrificed a bull, a ram, and a boar.


After seven days, on Jia-zi, in the morning, from his written (specifications) he gave their several orders to the people of Yin, and to the presiding chiefs of the princes from the Hou, Dian, and Nan domains. When the people of Yin had thus received their orders, they arose and entered with vigour on their work.



('When the work was drawing to a completion), the Grand-Guardian went out with the hereditary princes of the various states to bring their offerings (for the king); and when he entered again, he gave them to the duke of Zhou, saying, 'With my hands to my head and my head to the ground, I present these to his Majesty and your Grace. Announcements for the information of the multitudes of Yin must come from you, with whom is the management of affairs.' 'Oh! God (dwelling in) the great heavens has changed his decree respecting his great son and the great dynasty of Yin. Our king has received that decree. Unbounded is the happiness connected with it, and unbounded is the anxiety: Oh! how can he be other than reverent?



When Heaven rejected and made an end of the decree in favour of the great dynasty of Yin, there were many of its former wise kings in heaven. The king, however, who had succeeded to them, the last of his race, from the time of his entering into their appointment, proceeded in such a way as at last to keep the wise in obscurity and the vicious in office. The poor people in such a case, carrying their children and leading their wives, made their moan to Heaven. They even fled away, but were apprehended again. Oh! Heaven had compassion on the people of the four quarters; its favouring decree lighted on our earnest (founders). Let the king sedulously cultivate the virtue of reverence.


Examining the men of antiquity, there was the (founder of the) Xia dynasty. Heaven guided (his mind), allowed his descendants (to succeed him), and protected them. He acquainted himself with Heaven, and was obedient to it. But in process of time the decree in his favour fell to the ground. So also is it now when we examine the case of Yin. There was the same guiding (of its founder), who corrected (the errors of Xia), and (whose descendants) enjoyed the protection (of Heaven). He (also) acquainted himself with Heaven, and was obedient to it. But now the decree in favour of him has fallen to the ground. Our king has' now come to the throne in his youth; let him not slight the aged and experienced, for it may be said of them that they have studied the virtuous conduct of the ancients, and have matured their counsels in the sight of Heaven.


'Oh! although the king is young, yet he is the great son (of God). Let him effect a great harmony with the lower people, and that will be the blessing of the present time. Let not the king presume to be remiss in this, but continually regard and stand in awe of the perilous (uncertainty) of the people's (attachment). Let the king come here as the vice-gerent of God, and undertake (the duties of government) in this centre of the land. Dan said, "Now that this great city has been built, from henceforth he may be the mate of great Heaven, and reverently sacrifice to (the spirits) above and beneath; from henceforth he may from this central spot administer successful government." Thus shall the king enjoy the favouring regard (of Heaven) all-complete, and the government of the people will now be prosperous. Let the king first subdue to himself those who were the managers of affairs under Yin, associating them with the managers of affairs for our Zhou. This will regulate their (perverse) natures, and they will make daily advancement. Let the king make reverence the resting-place (of his mind); he must maintain the virtue of reverence.


'We should by all means survey the dynasties of Xia and Yin. I do not presume to know and say, "The dynasty of Xia was to enjoy the favouring decree of Heaven just for (so many) years," nor do I presume to know and say, "It could not continue longer." The fact simply was, that, for want of the virtue of reverence, the decree in its favour prematurely fell to the ground. (Similarly), I do not presume to know and say, "The dynasty of Yin was to enjoy the favouring decree of Heaven just for (so many) years," nor do I presume to know and say, "It could not continue longer." The fact simply was, that, for want of the virtue of reverence, the decree in its favour fell prematurely to the ground. The king has now inherited the decree - the same decree, I consider, which belonged to those two dynasties. Let him seek to inherit (the virtues of) their meritorious (sovereigns).


'(Let him do this especially) at this commencement of his duties. Oh! it is as on the birth of a son, when all depends on (the training of) his early life, through which he may secure his wisdom, in the future, as if it were decreed to him. Now Heaven may have decreed wisdom (to the king); it may have decreed good fortune or bad; it may have decreed a (long) course of years; we only know that now is with him the commencement of his duties. Dwelling in this new city, let the king now sedulously cultivate the virtue of reverence. When he is all-devoted to this virtue, he may pray to Heaven for a long-abiding decree in his favour.


'In the position of king, let him not, because of the excesses of the people in violation of the laws, presume also to rule by the violent infliction of death; when the people are regulated gently, the merit (of government) is seen. It is for him who is in the position of king to overtop all with his virtue. In this case the people will imitate him throughout the kingdom, and he will become still more illustrious. Let the king and his ministers labour with a mutual sympathy, saying, "We have received the decree of Heaven, and it shall be great as the long-continued years of Xia; yea, it shall not fail of the long-continued years of Yin." I wish the king, through (the attachment of) the lower people, to receive the long-abiding decree of Heaven.'


(The duke of Shao) then did obeisance with his hands to his head and his head to the ground, and said, 'I, a small minister, presume, with the king's (heretofore) hostile people and all their officers, and with his (loyal) friendly people, to maintain and receive his majesty's dread command and brilliant virtue. That the king should finally obtain the decree all-complete, and that he should become illustrious' - this I do not presume to labour for. I only bring respectfully these offerings to present to his majesty, to be used in his prayers to Heaven for its long-abiding decree.'

English translation: James Legge

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