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The Book of Songs 詩經

大雅‧蕩之什‧常武 Greater odes of the kingdom - Decade Of Dang - Chang Wu

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Grandly and clearly,
The king gave charge to his minister,
A descendant of Nan Zhong,
The Grand-master Huang-fu:
'Put my six armies in order,
And get ready all my apparatus of war.
Be reverent, be cautious,
That we may give comfort to the States of the south. '


The king said to the Head of the Yin clan,
'Give a charge to Xiu-fu, earl of Cheng,
To undertake the arrangement of the ranks,
And to warn all my troops.
Along the bank of the Huai,
[We go] to see the land of Xu,
Not delaying [our march], not occupying [the territory],
That the threefold labours [of husbandry ] may proceed in order. '


Full of grandeur and strength,
The Son of Heaven looked majestic.
Leisurely and calmly the king advanced,
Not with his troops in masses, nor in broken lines.
The region of Xu from stage to stage was moved;
It shook and was terrified, - the region of Xu.
As by the roll of thunder or its sudden crash,
The region of Xu shook and was terrified.

The king aroused his warlike energy,
As if he were moved with anger.
He advanced his tiger-like officers.
Looking fierce like raging tigers.
He displayed his masses along the bank of the Huai,
And forthwith seized a crowd of captives.
Securely kept was the country about the bank of the Huai,
Occupied by the royal armies.


The royal legions were numerous;
[Swift] as if they flew on wings,
[Imposing] as the current of the Jiang and the Han;
Firm as a mountain;
Rolling on like a stream;
Continuous and orderly;
Inscrutable, invincible;
Grandly proceeding to set in order the States of Xu.


The king's plans were directed in truth and sincerity,
And the region of Xu came [at once to terms];
Its [chiefs] were all collected together; -
Through the merit of the Son of Heaven.
The country was all reduced to order;
Its [chiefs] appeared before the king.
They would not again change their minds,
And the kings said, ' Let us return. '


English translation: James Legge

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