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Book of Documents 尚書

周書 洛誥 Zhou Shu - Announcement concerning Luo

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The duke of Zhou did obeisance with his hands to his head and his head to the ground, saying 'Herewith I report (the execution of my commission) to my son my intelligent sovereign. The king appeared as if he would not presume to be present at Heaven's founding here the appointment (of our dynasty), and fixing it, whereupon I followed the (Grand-)Guardian, and made a great survey of this eastern region, hoping to found the place where he should become the intelligent sovereign of the people. On the day Yi-mao, I came in the morning to this capital of Luo. I (first) divined by the shell concerning (the ground about) the li-water on the north of the He. I then divined concerning the east of the Jian-water, and the west of the Chan, when the (ground near the) Luo was indicated. Again I divined concerning the east of the Chan-water when the (ground near the) Luo was also indicated. I (now) send a messenger with a map, and to present the (result of the) divinations.'


The king did obeisance with his hands to his head and his head to the ground, saying, 'The duke did not presume not to acknowledge reverently the favour of Heaven, and has surveyed the locality where our Zhou may respond to that favour. Having settled the locality, he has sent his messenger to show me the divinations, favourable and always auspicious. We two must together sustain the responsibility. He has made provision for me (and my successors), for myriads and tens of myriads of years, there reverently to acknowledge the favour of Heaven. With my hands, to my head and my head to the ground, (I receive) his instructive words.'


The duke of Zhou said, 'Let the king at first employ the ceremonies of Yin, and sacrifice in the new city, doing everything in an orderly way, but without display. I will marshal all the officers to attend you from Zhou, merely saying that probably there will be business to be done (in sacrificing). Let the king instantly issue an order to the effect that the most meritorious (ministers) shall have the first place in the sacrifices; and let him also say in an order, "You, in whose behalf the above order is issued, must give me your assistance with sincere earnestness." Truly display the record of merits, for it is you who must in everything teach the officers.


My young son, can you indulge partiality? Eschew it, my young son. (If you do not), the consequence hereafter will be like a fire, which, a spark at first, blazes up, and by and by cannot be extinguished. Let your observance of the constant rules of right, and your soothing measures be like mine. Take only the officers that are in Zhou with you to the new city, and make them there join their (old) associates, with intelligent vigour establishing their merit, and with a generous largeness (of soul) completing (the public manners); so shall you obtain an endless fame.'


The duke said, 'Yes, young as you are, be it yours to complete (the work of your predecessors). Cultivate (the spirit of) reverence, and you will know who among the princes (sincerely) present their offerings to you, and who do not. In connexion with those offerings there are many observances. If the observances are not equal to the articles, it must be held that there is no offering. When there is no service of the will in the offerings (of the princes), all the people will then say, "We need not (be troubled about) our offerings," and affairs will be disturbed by errors and usurpations. Do you, my young son, manifest everywhere my unwearied diligence.


And listen to my instructions to you how to help the people to observe the constant rules of right. If you do not bestir yourself in these things, you will not be of long continuance. If you sincerely and fully carry out the course of your Directing father, and follow exactly my example, there will be no venturing to disregard your orders. Go, and be reverent. Henceforth I will study husbandry. There do you generously rule our people, and there is no distance from which they will not come to you.'


The king spoke to this effect: 'O duke, you are the enlightener and sustainer of my youth. You have set forth the great and illustrious virtues, that I, notwithstanding my youth, may display a brilliant merit like that of Wen and Wu, reverently responding to the favouring decree of Heaven; and harmonize and long preserve the people of all the regions, settling the multitudes (in Luo); and that I may give due honour to the great ceremony (of recording) the most distinguished (for their merits), regulating the order for the first places at the sacrifices, and doing everything in an orderly manner without display. But your virtue, O duke, shines brightly above and beneath, and is displayed actively throughout the four quarters. On every hand appears the deep reverence (of your virtue) in securing the establishment of order, so that you fail in nothing of the earnest lessons of Wen and Wu. It is for me, the youth, (only) to attend reverently, early and late, to the sacrifices.' The king said, 'Great, O duke, has been your merit in helping and guiding me; let it ever continue so.'


The king said, 'O duke, let me, the little child, return to my sovereignty in Zhou, and I charge you, O duke, to remain behind (here). Order has been initiated throughout the four quarters of the kingdom, but the ceremonies to be honoured (by general observance) have not yet been settled, and I cannot look on your service as completed. Commence on a great scale what is to be done by your remaining here, setting an example to my officers and greatly preserving the people whom Wen and Wu received; by your good government you will be a help to the whole kingdom.'
The king said, 'Remain, O duke. I will certainly go. Your services are devoutly acknowledged and reverently rejoiced in. Do not, O duke, occasion me this difficulty. I on my part will not be weary in seeking the tranquillity (of the people); do not let the example which you have afforded me be intermitted. So shall the kingdom enjoy for generations (the benefit of your virtue).'


The duke of Zhou did obeisance with his hands to his head and his head to the ground, saying, 'You have charged me, O king, to come here. I undertake (the charge), and will protect the people whom your accomplished grandfather, and your glorious and meritorious father, king Wu, received by the decree (of Heaven). I will enlarge the reverence which I cherish for you. (But), my son, come (frequently), and inspect this settlement. Pay great honour to (old) statutes, and to the good and wise men of Yin. Good government (here) will make you (indeed) the new sovereign of the kingdom, and an example of (royal) respectfulness to all your successors of Zhou.' (The duke) proceeded to say, 'From this time, by the government administered in this central spot, all the states will be conducted to repose; and this will be the completion of your merit, O king. I, Tan, with the numerous officers and managers of affairs, will consolidate the achievements of our predecessors, in response to (the hopes of) the people. I will afford an example of sincerity to (future ministers of) Zhou, seeking to render complete the pattern intended for the enlightenment of you, my son, and thus to carry fully out the virtue of your accomplished grandfather.'


(Afterwards, on the arrival of a message and gifts from the king, the duke said), '(The king) has sent messengers to admonish (the people of) Yin, and with a soothing charge to me, along with two flagons of the black-millet herb-flavoured spirits, saying, "Here is a pure sacrificial gift, which with my hands to my head and my head to the ground I offer for you to enjoy its excellence!" I dare not keep this by me, but offer it in sacrifice to king Wen and king Wu.' (In doing so, he prayed), 'May he be obedient to, and observant of your course! Let him not bring on himself any evil or illness! Let him satisfy his descendants for myriads of years with your virtue! Let (the people of) Yin enjoy prolonged (prosperity)!' (He also said to the messengers), 'The king has sent you to Yin, and we have received his well-ordered charges, (sufficient to direct us) for myriads of years, but let (the people) ever (be able to) observe the virtue cherished by my son.'


On the day Wu-chen, the king, being in the new city, performed the annual winter sacrifice, offering (moreover) one red bull to king Wen and another to king Wu. He then ordered a declaration to be prepared, which was done by Yi in the form of a prayer, and it simply announced the remaining behind of the duke of Zhou.


The king's guests, on occasion of the killing of the victims and offering the sacrifice, were all present. The king entered the grand apartment, and poured out the libation. He gave a charge to the duke of Zhou to remain, and Yi, the preparer of the document, made the announcement - in the twelfth month. (Thus) the duke of Zhou grandly sustained the decree which Wen and Wu had received through the space of seven years.

English translation: James Legge

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