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The Book of Songs 詩經

小雅‧南有嘉魚之什‧車攻 Minor odes of the kingdom - Nan You Jia Yu Zhi Shen - Che Gong

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Our chariots were strong,
Our horses were well matched,
And with four steeds [for each], sleek and large,
We yoked and proceeded to the east.


Our hunting carriages were good,
And their four steeds in fine condition.
Eastwards were the grassy plains of Fu; -
We yoked and went there to hunt.

Of the officers in charge of the hunt,
The voices resounded as they told off the men.
They set up the banners, with ox-tails displayed,
And we proceeded to pursue the chase in Ao.


With their four-horsed chariots [they came],
Forming a long train,
In their red knee-covers and gold-adorned slippers,
Like the crowd of an occasional or a general audience.


The bowstring thimbles and armlets were fitted on;
The bows and arrows were adjusted to one another;
The archers acted in unison,
Helping us to rear a pile of game.

Of the four yellow horses of each chariot,
The two outsiders inclined not to either side.
No error in driving was committed,
And the arrows went forth like downright blows.


As if at their ease, the horses neighed,
Long and slow moved the line of pennons and banners;
The footmen and charioteers created no alarms;
The great kitchen did not claim its full complement.


So did the officers conduct this expedition,
Without any clamour in the noise of it.
Truly a princely man is [the king];
Great indeed are his achievements!


English translation: James Legge

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