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The Book of Songs 詩經

小雅‧谷風之什‧北山 Minor odes of the kingdom - Gu Feng Zhi Shen - Bei Shan

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I ascend that northern hill,
And gather the medlars.
An officer, strong and vigorous,
Morning and evening I am engaged in service.
The king's business is not to be slackly performed;
And my parents are left in sorrow.


Under the wide heaven,
All is the king's land.
Within the sea-boundaries of the land,
All are the king's servants.
His great officers are unfair, -
Making me serve thus as if I alone were worthy.


My four horses never halt;
The king's business allows no rest.
They praise me as not yet old;
They think few like me in vigour.
While the backbone retains its strength,
I must plan and labour in all parts of the kingdom.


Some enjoy their ease and rest,
And some are worn out in the service of the State;
Some rest and loll upon their couches,
And some never cease marching about.


Some never hear a sound,
And some are cruelly toiled;
Some lazily roost, on their backs looking up,
And some are all-bustled in the service of the king.


Some indulge long in pleasure and drinking,
And some are miserable, in apprehension of blame;
Some, at home and abroad, pass critical remarks,
And some have everything to do.


English translation: James Legge

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