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The Book of Songs 詩經

小雅‧谷風之什‧楚茨 Minor odes of the kingdom - Gu Feng Zhi Shen - Chhu Ci

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Thick grew the tribulus [on the ground],
But they cleared away its thorny bushes.
Why did they this of old?
That we might plant our millet and sacrificial millet;
That our millet might be abundant,
And our sacrificial millet luxuriant.
When our barns are full,
And our stacks can be counted by tens of myriads,
We proceed to make spirits and prepare viands,
For offerings and sacrifice;
We seat the representatives of the dead, and urge them to eat:
Thus seeking to increase our bright happiness.


With correct and reverent deportment,
The oxen and sheep all pure,
We proceed to the winter and autumnal sacrifices.
Some flay [the victims]; some boil [their flesh];
Some arrange [the meat]; some adjust [the pieces of it].
The priest sacrifices inside the temple gate,
And all the service is complete and brilliant.
Grandly come our progenitors;
Their Spirits happily enjoy the offerings;
Their filial descendent receives blessing:
They will reward him with great happiness,
With myriads of years, life without end.



They attend to the furnaces with reverence;
They prepare the trays, which are very large; -
Some for the roast meat; some for the broiled.
Wives presiding are still and reverent,
Preparing the numerous [smaller] dishes.
The guests and visitors,
Present the cup, and drink all round.
Every form is according to rule;
Every smile and word are as they should be.
The Spirits quietly come,
And respond with great blessings; -
Myriads of years as the [fitting] reward.


We are very much exhausted,
And have performed every ceremony without error.
The able priest announces [the will of the Spirits],
And goes to the filial descendent to convey it.
' Fragrant has been your filial sacrifice,
And the Spirits have enjoyed your spirits and viands.
They confer upon you a hundred blessings;
Each as it is desired, each as sure as law.
You have been exact and expeditious;
You have been correct and careful :
They will ever confer on you the choicest favours,
In myriads and tens of myriads. '



The ceremonies having thus been completed,
And the bells and drums having given their warning,
The filial descendent goes to his place,
And the able priest makes his announcement,
' The Spirits have drunk to the full. '
The great representative of the dead then rises,
And the bells and drums escort his withdrawal,
[On which] the Spirits tranquilly return [to their place].
All the servants, and the presiding wives,
Remove [the trays and dishes] without delay.
The [descendant's] uncles and cousins,
All repair to the private feast.


The musicians all go in to perform,
And give their soothing aid at the second blessing.
Your viands are set forth;
There is no dissatisfaction, but all feel happy.
They drink to the full, and eat to the full;
Great and small, they bow their heads, (saying),
'The Spirits enjoyed your spirits and viands,
And will cause you to live long.
Your sacrifices, all in their seasons,
Are completely discharged by you.
May your sons and your grandsons
Never fail to perpetuate these services!'



English translation: James Legge

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