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The Book of Songs 《詩經》

大雅‧蕩之什‧烝民 Greater odes of the kingdom - Decade Of Dang - Zheng Min



Heaven, in giving birth to the multitudes of the people,
To every faculty and relationship annexed its law.
The people possess this normal nature,
And they [consequently] love its normal virtue.
Heaven beheld the ruler of Zhou,
Brilliantly affecting it by his conduct below;
And to maintain him, its Son,
Gave birth to Zhong Shan-fu.


The virtue of Zhong Shan-fu,
Is mild and admirable, according as it ought to be.
Good is his deportment; good his looks;
The lessons of antiquity are his law;
He is strenuously attentive to his deportment.
In full accord with the Son of Heaven,
He is employed to spread abroad his bright decrees.


The king gave charge to Zhong Shan-fu:
'Be a pattern to all the princes;
Continue [the services of] your ancestors.
You have to protect the royal person;
Give out the royal decrees, and report on them.
Be the king's throat and tongue;
Spread his government abroad,
So that in all quarters it shall be responded to. '


Most dignified was the king's charge,
And Zhong Shan-fu carries it into execution.
In the States, the princes, be they good or bad,
Are clearly distinguished by Zhong Shan-fu.
Intelligent is he and wise,
Protecting his own person;
Never idle, day or night,
In the service of the One man.

The people have a saying:
'The soft is devoured,
And the hard is ejected from the mouth. '
But Zhong Shan-fu,
Does not devour the soft,
Nor eject the powerful.
He does not insult the poor or the widow;
He does not fear the strong or the oppressive.

The people have a saying:
'Virtue is light as a hair,
But few are able to lift it. '
When I think of the matter,
It is only Zhong Shan-fu that can lift it.
I love him, but can do nothing to help him.
Any defects in the king's duties,
Are supplied by Zhong Shan-fu.


Zhong Shan-fu went forth, having sacrificed to the Spirit of the road.
His four steeds were strong;
His men were alert;
He was always anxious lest he should not be equal to his commission;
His steeds went on without stopping,
To the tinkling of their eight bells.
The king had given charge to Zhong Shan-fu,
To fortify the city there in the east.


With his four steeds so strong,
And their eight bells, all tinkling,
Zhong Shan-fu proceeded to Qi; -
And he will soon return.
I, Yin Ji-fu, have made this song:
May it enter like a quiet wind,
Among the constant anxieties of Zhong Shan-fu,
To soothe his mind!


English translation: James Legge

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