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The Book of Songs 詩經

小雅‧南有嘉魚之什‧六月 Minor odes of the kingdom - Nan You Jia Yu Zhi Shen - Liu Yue

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In the sixth month all was bustle and excitement.
The war carriages had been made ready,
With the four steeds [of each], strong and eager;
And the regular accountrements had been placed in the carriages.
The Xian-yun were in blazing force,
And thence was the urgency.
The king had ordered the expedition,
To deliver the royal kingdom.


Matched in strength were the four black steeds,
Well trained to observe every rule.
On this sixth month,
We completed our accountrements.
Our accountrements were completed,
And we marched thirty li [every day].
The king had ordered the expedition,
To help the son of Heaven.


The four steeds were long, and stout,
And large-headed.
We smote the Xian-yun,
And achieved great merit.
Severely strict and careful [was our leader],
Discharging his military service, -
Discharging his military service,
And settling thereby the royal kingdom.


Badly reckoned the Xian-yun,
When they confidently occupied Jiao and Huo,
And overran Hao and Fang,
As far as to the north of the Jing.
On our flags was their blazonry of birds,
While their white streamers fluttered brightly.
Ten large war chariots,
Led the way in front.


The war carriages were well made.
Nicely balanced, before and behind.
Their four steeds were strong,
Both strong and well trained.
We smote the Xian-yun,
As far as Tai-yuan.
For peace or for war fit is Ji-fu,
A pattern to all the States.


Ji-fu feasts and is glad;
Great happiness is his.
In returning from Hao,
Distant and long had been our march.
He entertains and feasts his friends,
With roast turtle and minced carp.
And who are there?
There is Zhang Zhong, the filial and brotherly.


English translation: James Legge

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