Click on any word to see more details.《月令》 Proceedings of Government in the Different Months
In the first month of spring the sun is in Shi, the star culminating at dusk being Shen, and that culminating at dawn Wei. Its days are jia and yi. Its divine ruler is Dai Hao, and the (attending) spirit is Gou-mang. Its creatures are the scaly. Its musical note is Jiao, and its pitch-tube is the Dai Cu. Its number is eight; its take is sour; its smell is rank. Its sacrifice is that at the door, and of the parts of the victim the spleen has the foremost place.
The east winds resolve the cold. Creatures that have been torpid during the winter begin to move. The fishes rise up to the ice. Otters sacrifice fish. The wild geese make their appearance.
The son of Heaven occupies the apartment on the left of the Qing Yang (Fane); rides in the carriage with the phoenix (bells), drawn by the azure-dragon (horses), and carrying the green flag; wears the green robes, and the (pieces of) green jade (on his cap and at his girdle pendant). He eats wheat and mutton. The vessels which he uses are slightly carved, (to resemble) the shooting forth (of plants).
In this month there takes place the inauguration of spring. Three days before this ceremony, the Grand recorder informs the son of Heaven, saying, 'On such and such a day is the inauguration of the spring. The energies of the season are fully seen in wood. On this the son of Heaven devotes himself to self-purification, and on the day he leads in person the three ducal ministers, his nine high ministers, the feudal princes (who are at court), and his Great officers, to meet the spring in the eastern suburb; and on their return, he rewards them all in the court. He charges his assistants to disseminate (lessons of) virtue, and harmonise the governmental orders, to give effect to the expressions of his satisfaction and bestow his favours; down to the millions of the people. Those expressions and gifts thereupon proceed, every one in proper (degree and direction). He also orders the Grand recorder to guard the statutes and maintain the laws, and (especially) to observe the motions in the heavens of the sun and moon, and of the zodiacal stars in which the conjunctions of these bodies take place, so that there should be no error as to where they rest and what they pass over; that there should be no failure in the record of all these things, according to the regular practice of early times.
In this month the son of Heaven on the first (hsin) day prays to God for a good year; and afterwards, the day of the first conjunction of the sun and moon having been chosen, with the handle and share of the plough in the carriage, placed between the man-at-arms who is its third occupant and the driver, he conducts his three ducal ministers, his nine high ministers, the feudal princes and his Great officers, all with their own hands to plough the field of God. The son of Heaven turns up three furrows, each of the ducal ministers five, and the other ministers and feudal princes nine. When they return, he takes in his hand a cup in the great chamber, all the others being in attendance on him and the Great officers, and says, 'Drink this cup of comfort after your toil.'
In this month the vapours of heaven descend and those of the earth ascend. Heaven and earth are in harmonious co-operation. All plants bud and grow. The king gives orders to set forward the business of husbandry. The inspectors of the fields are ordered to reside in the lands having an eastward exposure, and (see that) all repair the marches and divisions (of the o-round), and mark out clearly the paths and ditches. They must skilfully survey the mounds and rising grounds, the slopes and defiles, the plains and marshes, determining what the different lands are suitable for, and where the different grains will grow best. They must thus instruct and lead on the people, themselves also engaging in the tasks. The business of the fields being thus ordered, the guiding line is first put in requisition, and the husbandry is carried on without error.
In this month orders are given to the chief director of Music to enter the college, and practise the dances (with his pupils). The canons of sacrifice are examined and set forth, and orders are given to sacrifice to the hills and forests, the streams and meres, care being taken not to use any female victims. Prohibitions are issued against cutting down trees. Nests should not be thrown down; unformed insects should not be killed, nor creatures in the Womb, nor very young creatures, nor birds just taking to the wing, nor fawns, nor should eggs be destroyed. No congregating of multitudes should be allowed, and no setting about the rearing of fortifications and walls. Skeletons should be covered up, and bones with the flesh attached to them buried.
In this month no warlike operations should be undertaken; the undertaking of such is sure to be followed by calamities from Heaven. The not undertaking warlike operations means that they should not commence on our side. No change in the ways of heaven is allowed; nor any extinction of the principles of earth; nor any confounding of the bonds of men.
If in the first month of spring the governmental proceedings proper to summer were carried out, the rain would fall unseasonably, plants and trees would decay prematurely, and the states would be kept in continual fear. If the proceedings proper to autumn were carried out, there would be great pestilence among the people; boisterous winds would work their violence; rain would descend in torrents; orach, fescue, darnel, and southernwood would grow up together. If the proceedings proper to winter were carried out, pools of water would produce their destructive effects, snow and frost would prove very injurious, and the first sown seeds would not enter the ground.
In the second month of spring, the sun is in Kui, the star culminating at dusk being Hu, and that culminating at dawn Jian-xing. Its days are jia and yi. Its divine ruler is Dai Hao, the attending spirit is Gou-mang. Its creatures are the scaly. Its musical note is Jiao, and its pitch-tube is the Jia Zhong. Its number is eight; its taste is sour; its smell is rank. Its sacrifice is that at the door, and of the parts of the victim the spleen has the foremost place.
The rain begins to fall. The peach tree begins to blossom. The oriole sings. Hawks are transformed into doves.
The son of Heaven occupies the Qing Yang Grand Fane; rides in the carriage with the phoenix bells, drawn by the azure dragon-(horses), and bearing the green flag. He is dressed in the green robes, and wears the azure gems. He eats wheat and mutton. The vessels which he uses are slightly carved, (to resemble) the bursting forth (of nature).
In this month, they keep both the young buds and those more advanced from being disturbed; they nourish both the young animals and those not fully grown; they especially watch over all orphans. The fortunate day is chosen, and orders are given to the people to sacrifice at their altars to the spirits of the ground. Orders are given to the (proper) officers to examine the prisons; to remove fetters and handcuffs; that there shall be no unregulated infliction of the bastinado; and that efforts shall be made to stop criminal actions and litigations.
In this month the swallow makes its appearance. On the day of its arrival, the son of Heaven sacrifices to the first match-maker with a bull, a ram, and a boar. He goes to do so in person, with his queen and help-mates, attended by his nine ladies of honour. Peculiar courtesy is shown to those whom he has (lately) approached. Bow-cases have been brought, and a bow and arrows are given to each before (the altar of) the first match-maker.
In this month day and night are equal. Thunder utters its voice, and the lightning begins to be seen. Insects in their burrows are all in motion, opening their doors and beginning to come forth. Three days before the thunder, a bell with a wooden tongue is sounded, to give notice to all the people. 'The thunder,' it is said, 'is about to utter its voice. If any of you be not careful of your behaviour, you shall bring forth children incomplete; there are sure to be evils and calamities.' At the equinox they make uniform the measures of length and capacity; the weight of 30 catties, the steelyard, and the weight of 120 catties. They correct the peck and bushel, the steelyard weights and the bushel-scraper.
In this month few of the husbandmen remain in their houses in the towns. They repair, however, their gates and doors, both of wood and wattles; and put their sleeping apartments and temples all in good repair. No great labours, which would interfere with the work of husbandry, should be undertaken.
In this month (the fishermen) should not let the streams and meres run dry, nor drain off all the water from the dams and ponds, (in order to catch all the fish), nor should (the hunters) fire the hills and forests. The son of Heaven at this time offers a lamb (to the ruler of cold), and opens the (reservoirs of) ice. Before (using it generally), they offer some in their principal apartment or in the ancestral temple. On the first ting day orders are given to the chief director of Music to exhibit the civil dances and unfold the offerings of vegetables (to the inventor of music). The son of Heaven, at the head of the three ducal ministers, his nine high ministers, the feudal princes (at court), and his Great officers, goes in person to see the ceremony. On the second ting day orders are given again to the same chief to enter the college, and practise music (with his pupils).
In this month at the (smaller) services of supplication they do not use victims. They use offerings of jade, square and round, and instead (of victims) skins and pieces of silk.
If in this second month of spring the governmental proceedings proper to autumn were observed, there would be great floods, in the states; cold airs would be constantly coming; and plundering attacks would be frequent. If those of winter were observed, the warm and genial airs would be insufficient; the wheat would not ripen; and raids and strifes would be rife among the people. If those of summer were observed, there would be great droughts among the people; the hot airs would come too early; and caterpillars and other insects would harm the grain.
In the last month of spring, the sun is in Wei, the constellation culminating at dusk being Qi xing, and that culminating at dawn Qian-niu. Its days are jia and yi. Its divine ruler is Dai Hao, and the attending spirit is Gou-mang. Its creatures are the scaly. Its musical note is the Jiao, and its pitch-tube is the Gu Xian. Its number is eight. Its taste is sour. Its smell is rank. Its sacrifice is that at the door, and of the parts of the victim the spleen has the foremost place.
The Elaeococca begins to flower. Moles are transformed into quails. Rainbows begin to appear. Duckweed begins to grow.
The son of Heaven occupies the apartment on the right of the Qing Yang (Fane); rides in the carriage with the phoenix bells, drawn by the azure dragon-(horses), and bearing the green flag. He is dressed in the green robes, and wears the azure gems. He eats wheat and mutton. The vessels which he uses are slightly carved, (to resemble) the bursting forth (of nature).
In this month the son of Heaven presents robes yellow as the young leaves of the mulberry tree to the ancient divine ruler (and his queen). Orders are given to the officer in charge of the boats to turn a boat bottom up. Five times he does so, and five times he turns it back again, after which he reports that it is ready for the son of Heaven, who then gets into it for the first time (this spring). He offers a snouted sturgeon (which he has caught) in the rear apartment of the ancestral temple, and also prays that the wheat may yield its produce.
In this month the influences of life and growth are fully developed; and the warm and genial airs diffuse themselves. The crooked shoots are all put forth, and the buds are unfolded. Things do not admit of being restrained. The son of Heaven spreads his goodness abroad, and carries out his kindly promptings. He gives orders to the proper officers to distribute from his granaries and vaults, giving their contents to the poor and friendless, and to relieve the needy and destitute; and to open his treasuries and storehouses, and to send abroad through all the nation the silks and other articles for presents, thus stimulating the princes of states to encourage the resort to them of famous scholars and show courtesy to men of ability and virtue.
In this month, he charges the superintendents of works, saying, 'The rains of the season will be coming down, and the waters beneath will be swelling up. Go in order over the states and visit the towns, inspecting everywhere the low and level grounds. Put the dykes and dams in good repair, clear the ditches and larger channels, and open all paths, allowing no obstruction to exist.' The nets used in hunting animals and birds, hand nets, archers' disguises, and injurious baits should not (in this month) issue from (any of) the nine gates.
In this month orders are given to the foresters throughout the country not to allow the cutting down of the mulberry trees and silk-worm oaks. About these the cooing doves clap their wings, and the crested birds light on them . The trays and baskets with the stands (for the worms and cocoons) are got ready. The queen, after vigil and fasting, goes in person to the eastern fields to work on the mulberry trees. She orders the wives and younger women (of the palace) not to wear their ornamental dresses, and to suspend their woman's-work, thus stimulating them to attend to their business with the worms. When this has been completed, she apportions the cocoons, weighs out (afterwards) the silk, on which they go to work, to supply the robes for the solstitial and other great religious services, and for use in the ancestral temple. Not one is allowed to be idle.
In this month orders are given to the chiefs of works, to charge the workmen of their various departments to inspect the materials in the five storehouses: those of iron and other metals; of skins and hides and sinews; of horn and ivory; of feathers, arrows and wood (for bows); and of grease, glue, cinnabar, and varnish. (They are to see) that all these things be good. The workmen then labour at their several tasks. (The chiefs) inspect their work, and daily give them their orders. They must not produce anything contrary to what the time requires; nor can they practise a licentious ingenuity, which would dissipate the minds of their superiors.
In the end of this month a fortunate day is chosen for a grand concert of music. The son of Heaven, at the head of the three ducal ministers, the nine high ministers, the feudal princes (at court), and his great officers, goes in person to witness it.
In this month they collect the large, heavy bulls, and fiery stallions, and send them forth to the females in the pasture grounds. They number and make a list of the animals fit for victims, with the foals and calves. Orders are given for the ceremonies against pestilence throughout the city; at the nine gates (also) animals are torn in pieces in deprecation (of the danger): to secure the full development of the (healthy) airs of the spring.
If, in this last month of spring, the governmental proceedings proper to winter were observed, cold airs would constantly be prevailing; all plants and trees would decay; and in the states there would be great terrors. If those proper to summer were observed, many of the people would suffer from pestilential diseases; the seasonable rains would not fall; and no produce would be derived from the mountains and heights. If those proper to autumn were observed, the sky would be full of moisture and gloom; excessive rains would fall early; and warlike movements would be everywhere arising.
In the first month of summer, the sun is in Bi; the constellation culminating at dusk being Yi, and that culminating at dawn Wu-nu. Its days are bing and ding. Its divine ruler is Yan Di, and the (attending) spirit is Gu-rong. Its creatures are the feathered. Its musical note is Zhi, and its pitch-tube is the Zhong Lu. Its number is seven. Its taste is acrid. Its smell is that of things burning. Its sacrifice is that at the furnace; and of the parts of the victim the lungs have the foremost place.
The green frogs croak. Earth-worms come forth. The royal melons grow. The sow-thistle is in seed.
The son of Heaven occupies the apartment on the left of the Ming Tang (Grand Fane); rides in the vermilion carriage, drawn by the red horses with black tails, and bearing the red flag. He is dressed in the red robes, and wears the carnation jade. He eats beans and fowls. The vessels which he uses are tall, (to resemble) the large growth (of things).
In this month there takes place the inauguration of summer. Three days before this ceremony, the Grand recorder informs the son of Heaven, saying, 'On such-and-such a day is the inauguration of summer. The energies of the season are most fully seen in fire.' On this the son of Heaven devotes himself to self-purification; and on the day, at the head of the three ducal ministers, the nine high ministers, and his Great officers, he proceeds to meet the summer in the southern suburbs. On their return, rewards are distributed. He grants to the feudal princes (an increase of) territory. Congratulations and gifts proceed, and all are joyful and pleased. Orders are also given to the chief master of music to teach the practice of ceremonies and music together. Orders are given to the Grand Peace-maintainer to recommend men of eminence, allow the worthy and good to have free course and bring forward the tall and large. His conferring of rank and regulation of emolument must be in accordance with the position (of the individual).
In this month what is long should be encouraged to grow longer, and what is high to grow higher. There should be no injuring or overthrowing of anything; no commencing of works in earth; no sending forth of great multitudes (on expeditions); no cutting down of large trees.
In this month the son of Heaven begins to wear thin dolichos cloth. Orders are given to the foresters throughout the country to go forth over the fields and plains, and, for the son of Heaven, to encourage the husbandmen, and stimulate them to work, and not let the season slip by unimproved. Orders are (also) given to the minister of Instruction to travel in order through the districts to the borders, charging the husbandmen to work vigorously, and not to rest in the towns.
In this month they chase away wild animals to prevent them from doing harm to any of the (growing) grain; but they should not have a great hunting. When the husbandmen present (the first-fruits of) their wheat, the son of Heaven tastes it along with some pork, first offering a portion in the apartment behind (the hall of the) ancestral temple.
In this month they collect and store up the various medicinal herbs. Delicate herbs (now) die; it is the harvest time (even) of the wheat. They decide cases for which the punishments are light; they make short work of small crimes, and liberate those who are in prison for slight offences. When the work with the silk-worms is over, the queen presents her cocoons; and the tithe-tax of cocoons generally is collected, according to the number of mulberry trees; for noble and mean, for old and young there is one law. The object is with such cocoons to provide materials for the robes to be used at the sacrifices in the suburbs and in the ancestral temple.
In this month the son of Heaven (entertains his ministers and princes) with strong drink and with (much) observance of ceremony and with music.
If, in this first month of summer, the proceedings proper to autumn were observed, pitiless rains would be frequent; the five esculent plants would not grow large, and in all the borders people would have to enter the places of shelter. If those proper to winter were observed, all plants and trees would wither early, and afterwards, there would be great floods, destroying city and suburban walls. If those proper to spring were observed, there would be the calamity of locusts, violent winds would come, and plants in flower would not go on to seed.
In the second month of summer the sun is in the eastern Jing, the constellation culminating at dusk being Kang, and that culminating at dawn Wei. Its days are ping and ting. Its divine ruler is Yan Di, and the (attending) spirit is Gu-rong. Its creatures are the feathered. Its musical note is Zhi, and its pitch-tube is Rui Bin. Its number is seven. Its taste is acrid. Its smell is that of things burning. Its sacrifice is that at the furnace; and of the parts of the victim the lungs have the foremost place.
The (period of) slighter heat arrives; the praying mantis is produced; the shrike begins to give its notes; the mocking-bird ceases to sing.
The son of Heaven occupies the Ming Tang Grand Fane; rides in the vermilion carriage, drawn by the red horses with black tails, and bearing the red flag. He is dressed in the red robes, and wears the carnation gems. He eats beans and fowls. The vessels which he uses are tall, (to resemble) the large growth (of things). They encourage the (continued) growth of what is strong and beautiful.
In this month orders are given to the music-masters to put in repair the hand-drums, smaller drums, and large drums; to adjust the lutes, large and small, the double flutes, and the pan-pipes; to teach the holding of the shields, pole-axes, lances, and plumes; to tune the organs, large and small, with their pipes and tongues; and to put in order the bells, sonorous stones, the instrument to give the symbol for commencing, and the stopper. Orders are given to the (proper) officers to pray for the people and offer sacrifice to the (spirits of the) hills, streams, and all springs. (After that) comes the great summer sacrifice for rain to God, when all the instruments of music are employed. Then orders are given throughout all the districts to sacrifice to the various princes, high ministers, and officers who benefited the people; praying that there may be a good harvest of grain. The husbandmen present (the first-fruits of) their millet.
In this month the son of Heaven partakes of it along with pullets, and with cherries set forth beside them, first offering a portion in the apartment behind the ancestral temple. The people are forbidden to cut down the indigo plant to use it in dyeing, or to burn wood for charcoal, or to bleach cloth in the sun. The gates of cities and villages should not be shut, nor should vexatious inquiries be instituted at the barrier gates or in the markets. Leniency should be shown to prisoners charged (even) with great crimes, and their allowance of food be increased. Impregnated mares are collected in herds by themselves, and the fiery stallions are tied up. The rules for the rearing of horses are given out.
In this month the longest day arrives. The influences in nature of darkness and decay and those 'Of brightness and growth struggle together; the tendencies to death and life are divided. Superior men give themselves to vigil and fasting. They keep retired in their houses, avoid all violent exercise, restrain their indulgence in music and beautiful sights, eschew the society of their wives, make their diet spare, use no piquant condiments, keep their desires under rule, and maintain their spirits free from excitement. The various magistrates keep things quiet and inflict no punishments - to bring about that state of settled quiet in which the influence of darkness and decay shall obtain its full development. Deer shed their horns. Cicadas begin to sing. The midsummer herb is produced. The tree hibiscus flowers.
In this month fires should not be lighted (out of doors) in the southern regions (of the country). People may live in buildings high and bright. They may enjoy distant prospects. They may ascend hills and heights. They may occupy towers and lofty pavilions.
If, in the second month of summer, the governmental proceedings of winter were observed, hail and told would injure the grain; the roads would not be passable; and violent assaults of war would come. If the proceedings proper to spring were observed, the grains would be late in ripening; all kinds of locusts would continually be appearing; and there would be famine in the states. If those proper to autumn were observed, herbs and plants would drop their leaves; fruits would ripen prematurely; and the people would be consumed by pestilence.
In the third month of summer the sun is in Liu, the constellation culminating at dusk being huo, and that culminating at dawn Kui. Its days are bing and ding. Its divine ruler is Yan Di, and the (assisting) spirit is Gu-rong. Its creatures are the feathered. Its musical note is Zhi, and its pitch-tube is Lin Zhong. Its number is seven. Its taste is acrid. Its smell is that of things burning. Its sacrifice is that at the furnace; and of the parts of the victim the lungs have the foremost place.
Gentle winds begin to blow. The cricket takes its place in the walls. (Young) hawks learn to practise (the ways of their parents). Decaying grass becomes fire-flies.
The son of Heaven occupies the apartment on the right of the Ming Thang (Fane); rides in the vermilion carriage, drawn by the red horses with black tails, and bearing the red flag. He is dressed in the red robes, and wears the carnation gems. He eats beans and fowls. The vessels which he uses are tall, (to resemble) the large growth (of things). Orders are given to the master of the Fishermen to attack the alligator, to take the gavial, to present the tortoise, and to take the great turtle. Orders are given to the superintendent of the Meres to collect and send in the rushes available for use.
In this month orders are given to the four inspectors to make a great collection over all the districts of the different kinds of fodder to nourish the sacrificial victims; and to require all the people to do their utmost towards this end - to supply what is necessary for (the worship of) God (who dwells in) the great Heaven, and for the spirits of the famous hills, great streams, and four quarters, and for the sacrifices to the Intelligences of the ancestral temple, and at the altars to the spirits of the land and grain; that prayer may be made for blessing to the people.
In this month orders are given by the officers of women's (work), on the subject of dyeing. (They are to see) that the white and black, the black and green, the green and carnation, the carnation and white be all according to the ancient rules, without error or change; and that their black, yellow, azure, and carnation be all genuine and good, without any presumptuous attempts at imposition. These furnish the materials for the robes used at the sacrifices in the suburbs and the ancestral temple; for flags and their ornaments; and for marking the different degrees of rank as high or low.
In this month the trees are luxuriant; and orders are given to the foresters to go among the hills and examine the trees, and see that the people do not cut any down or lop their branches. There should not be any work in earth, (now) undertaken; nor any assembling of the princes of the states; nor any military movements, causing general excitement. There should be no undertaking of (such) great affairs, which will disturb the nourishing growth that is proceeding, nor any issuing of orders to be hereafter carried into effect. All these things will interfere with the business of husbandry, (which is specially dear to) the Spirits. The floods are now great and overflow the roads; husbandry (dear to) the Spirits has to take in hand its various tasks. The curse of Heaven will come on the undertaking of great affairs (at this time).
In this month the ground lies steaming and wet beneath the heats, for great rains are (also) continually coming. They burn the grass lying cut upon the ground and bring the water over it. This is as effectual to kill the roots as hot water would be; and the grass thus serves to manure the fields of grain and hemp, and to fatten the ground which has been but just marked out for cultivation.
If, in the last month of summer, the governmental proceedings proper to spring were observed, the produce of grain would be scanty and fail; in the states there would be many colds and coughs; and the people would remove to other places. If the proceedings proper to autumn were observed, even the high grounds would be flooded; the grain that had been sown would not ripen; and there would be many miscarriages among women. If those proper to winter were observed, the winds and cold would come out of season; the hawks and falcons would prematurely attack their prey; and all along the four borders people would enter their places of shelter.
Right in the middle (between. Heaven and Earth, and the other elements) is earth. Its days are Wu and ji. Its divine ruler is Huang Di, and the (attending) spirit is Hou-tu. Its creature is that without any natural covering but the skin. Its musical note is Gong, and its pitch-tube gives the gong note from the tube Huang Zhong. Its number is five. Its taste is sweet. Its smell is fragrant. Its sacrifice is that of the middle court; and of the parts of the victim the heart has the foremost place.
The son of Heaven occupies the Grand apartment of the Grand fane; rides in the great carriage drawn by the yellow horses with black tails, and bearing the yellow flag; is clothed in the yellow robes, and wears the yellow gems. He eats panicled millet and beef. The vessels which he uses are round, (and made to resemble) the capacity (of the earth).
In the first month of autumn, the sun is in Yi the constellation culminating at dusk being Jian-xing, and that culminating at dawn Bi. Its days are geng and xin. Its divine ruler is Shao Hao, and the (attending) spirit is Ru-shou. Its creatures are the hairy. Its musical note is Shang; its pitch-tube is Yi Ze. Its number is nine. Its taste is bitter. Its smell is rank. Its sacrifice is that at the gate; and of the parts of the victim the liver has the foremost place.
Cool winds come; the white dew descends the cicada of the cold chirps. (Young) hawks at this time sacrifice birds, as the first step they take to killing (and eating) them.
The son of Heaven occupies the apartment on the left of the Zong-zhang (Fane); rides in the war chariot, drawn by the white horses with black manes, and bearing the white flag. He is clothed in the white robes, and wears the white jade. He eats hemp-seeds and dog's flesh. The vessels which he uses are rectangular, and going on to be deep.
In this month there takes place the inauguration of autumn. Three days before the ceremony) the Grand recorder informs the son of Heaven, saying, 'On such-and-such a day is the inauguration of the autumn. The character of the season is fully seen in metal.' On this the son of Heaven devotes himself to self-adjustment; and on the day he leads in person the three ducal ministers, the nine high ministers, the princes of states (at court), and his Great officers, to meet the autumn in the western suburb, and on their return he rewards the general-in-chief, and the military officers in the court. The son of Heaven also orders the leaders and commanders to choose men and sharpen weapons, to select and exercise those of distinguished merit, and to give their entire trust only to men whose services have been proved - thereby to correct all unrighteousness. (He instructs them also) to make enquiries about and punish the oppressive and insolent - thereby making it clear whom he loves and whom he hates, and giving effect to (the wishes of) the people, even the most distant from court.
In this month orders are given to the proper officers to revise the laws and ordinances, to put the prisons in good repair, to provide handcuffs and fetters, to repress and stop villainy, to maintain a watch against crime and wickedness, and to do their endeavour to capture criminals. Orders are (also) given to the managers (of prisons) to look at wounds, examine sores, inspect broken members, and judge particularly of dislocations. The determination of cases, both criminal and civil, must be correct and just. Heaven and earth now begin to be severe; there should be no excess in copying that severity, or in the opposite indulgence.
In this month the husbandmen present their grain. The son of Heaven tastes it, while still new, first offering some in the apartment at the back of the ancestral temple. Orders are given to all the officers to begin their collecting and storing the contributions (from the husbandmen); to finish the embankments and dykes; to look to the dams and fillings up in preparation for the floods, and also to refit all houses; to strengthen walls and enclosures; and to repair city and suburban walls.
In this month there should be no investing of princes, and no appointment of great ministers. There should be no dismemberment of any territory, no sending out on any great commission, and no issuing of great presents.
If, in this first month of autumn, the proceedings of government proper to winter were observed, then the dark and gloomy influence (of nature) would greatly prevail; the shelly insects would destroy the grain; and warlike operations would be called for. If the proceedings proper to spring were observed, there would be droughts in the states; the bright and growing influence would return; and the five kinds of grain would not yield their fruit. If the proceedings proper to summer were observed, there would be many calamities from fire in the states; the cold and the heat would be subject to no rule; and there would be many fevers among the people.
In the second month of autumn the sun is in Jiao, the constellation culminating at dusk being Qian-niu, and that culminating at dawn Zi-xi. Its days are geng and xin. Its divine ruler is Shao Hao, and the (attending) spirit is Ru-shou. Its insects are the hairy. Its musical note is Shang, and its pitch-tube is Nan Lu. Its number is nine. Its taste is bitter. Its smell is rank. Its sacrifice is that of the gate; and of the parts of the victim the liver has the foremost place.
Sudden and violent winds come. The wild geese arrive. The swallows return (whence they came). Tribes of birds store up provisions (for the future).
The son of Heaven occupies the Zong-zhang Grand Fane; rides in the war chariot, drawn by the white horses with black manes, and bearing the white flag. He is clothed in the white robes, and wears the white gems. He eats hemp-seed and dog's flesh. The vessels which he uses are rectangular or cornered, and rather deep.
In this month they take especial care of the decaying and old; give them stools and staves, and distribute supplies of congee for food. Orders are given to the superintendent of robes to have ready the upper and lower dresses with their various ornaments. For the figures and embroidery on them there are fixed patterns. Their size, length, and dimensions must all be according to the old examples. For the caps and girdles (also) there are regular rules. Orders are given to the proper officers to revise with strict accuracy (the laws about) the various punishments. Beheading and (the other) capital executions must be according to (the crimes) without excess or defect. Excess or defect out of such proportion will bring on itself the judgment (of Heaven).
In this month orders are given to the officers of slaughter and prayer to go round among the victims for sacrifice, seeing that they are entire and complete, examining their fodder and grain, inspecting their condition as fat or thin, and judging of their looks. They must arrange them according to their classes. In measuring their size, and looking at the length (of their horns), they must have them according to the (assigned) measures. When all these points are as they ought to be, God will accept the sacrifices. The son of Heaven performs the ceremonies against pestilence, to secure development for the (healthy) airs of autumn. He eats the hemp-seed (which is now presented) along with dog's flesh, first offering some in the apartment at the back of the ancestral temple.
In this month it is allowable to rear city and suburban walls, to establish cities and towns, to dig underground passages and grain-pits, and to repair granaries, round and square. Orders are given to the proper officers to be urgent with the people, and (to finish) receiving their contributions and storing them. They should do their best to accumulate (large) stores of vegetables and other things. They should (also) stimulate the wheat-sowing. (The husbandmen) should not be allowed to miss the proper time for the operation. Any who do so shall be punished without fail.
In this month day and night are equal. The thunder begins to restrain its voice. Insects stop up the entrances to their burrows. The influence to decay and death gradually increases. That of brightness and growth daily diminishes. The waters begin to dry up. At the equinox, they make uniform the measures of length and capacity; equalise the steel-yards and their weights; rectify the weights of 30 and 120 catties; and adjust the pecks and bushels.
In this month they regulate and reduce the charges at the frontier gates and in the markets, to encourage the resort of both regular and travelling traders, and the receipt of goods and money; for the convenience of the business of the people. When merchants and others collect from all quarters, and come from the most distant parts, then the resources (of the government) do not fail. There is no want of means for its use; and all things proceed prosperously. In commencing great undertakings, there should be no opposition to the great periods (for them) as defined (by the motion of the sun). They must be conformed to the times (as thereby marked out), and particular attention paid to the nature of each.
If in this second month of autumn the proceedings proper to spring were observed, the autumnal rains would not fall; plants and trees would blossom; and in the states there would be alarms. If those proper to summer were observed, there would be droughts in the states; insects would not retire to their burrows; and the five grains would begin to grow again. If those proper to winter were observed, calamities springing from (unseasonable) winds would be constantly arising; the thunder now silent would be heard before its time; and plants and trees would die prematurely.
In the last month of autumn the sun is in Fang, the constellation culminating at dusk being Xu, and that culminating at dawn Liu. Its days are geng and xin. Its divine ruler is Shao Hao, and the (attending) spirit is Ru-shou. Its creatures are the hairy. Its musical note is Shang, and its pitch-tube is Wu Yi. Its number is nine. Its taste is bitter. Its smell is rank. Its sacrifice is that at the gate; and of the parts of the victim the liver has the foremost place.
The wild geese come, (and abide) like guests. Small birds enter the great water and become mollusks. Chrysanthemums show their yellow flowers. The chai sacrifice larger animals, and kill (and devour) the smaller.
The son of Heaven occupies the apartment on the right of the Zong-zhang (Fane); rides in the war chariot, drawn by the white horses with black manes, and bearing the white flags; is dressed in the white robes, and wears the white jade. He eats hemp-seeds and dog's flesh. The vessels which he uses are rectangular, cornered, and rather deep.
In this month the orders are renewed and strictly enjoined, charging the various, officers (to see) that noble and mean all exert themselves in the work of ingathering, in harmony with the storing of heaven and earth. They must not allow anything to remain out in the fields. Orders are also given to the chief minister, after the fruits of husbandry have all been gathered in, to take in hand the registers of the produce of the different grains (from all the country), and to store up the produce that has been gathered from the acres of God in the granary of the spirits; doing this with the utmost reverence and correctness.
In this month the hoar-frost begins to fall; and all labours cease (for a season). Orders are given to the proper officers, saying, 'The cold airs are all coming, and the people will not be able to endure them. Let all enter within their houses (for a time).' On the first ting day orders are given to the chief Director of music to enter the college, and to practise (with his pupils) on the wind instruments.
In this month an announcement is made to the son of Heaven that the victims for the great sacrifice to God, and the autumnal sacrifice in the ancestral temple' are fit and ready. The princes of the states are assembled, and orders given to the officers of the various districts (in the royal domain). They receive the first days of the months for the coming year, and the laws for the taxation of the people by the princes, both light and heavy, and the amount of the regular contribution to the government, which is determined by the distance of the territories and the nature of their several productions. The object of this is to provide what is necessary for the suburban sacrifices and those in the ancestral temple. No private considerations are allowed to have place in this.
In this month the son of Heaven, by means of hunting, teaches how to use the five weapons of war, and the rules for the management of horses. Orders are given to the charioteers and the seven (classes of) grooms to see to the yoking of the several teams, to set up in the carriages the flags and various banners, to assign the carriages according to the rank (of those who were to occupy them), and to arrange and set up the screens outside (the royal tent). The minister of Instruction, with his baton stuck in his girdle, addresses all before him with his face to the north. Then the son of Heaven, in his martial ornaments, with his bow in one hand, and the arrows under the armpit of the other, proceeds to hunt. (Finally), he gives orders to the superintendent of Sacrifices, to offer some of the captured game to (the spirits of) the four quarters.
In this month the plants and trees become yellow and their leaves fall, on which the branches are cut down to make charcoal. Insects in their burrows all try to push deeper, and from within plaster up the entrances. In accordance with (the season), they hurry on the decision and punishment of criminal cases, wishing not to leave them any longer undealt with. They call in emoluments that have been assigned incorrectly, and minister to those whose means are insufficient for their wants.
In this month the son of Heaven eats dog's flesh and rice, first presenting some in the apartment at the back of the ancestral temple.
If, in this last month of autumn, the proceedings proper to summer were observed, there would be great floods in the states; the winter stores would be injured and damaged; there would be many colds and catarrhs among the people. If those proper to winter were observed, there would be many thieves and robbers in the states; the borders would be unquiet; and portions of territory would be torn from the rest. If those proper to spring were observed, the warm airs would come; the energies of the people would be relaxed and languid; and the troops would be kept moving about.
In the first month of winter the sun is in Wei, the constellation culminating at dusk being Wei, and the constellation culminating at dawn Qi-xing. Its days are the ren and gui. Its divine ruler is Zhuan-xu, and the (attending) spirit is Xuan-ming. Its creatures are the shell-covered. Its musical note is Yu, and its pitch-tube is Ying Zhong. Its number is six. Its taste is salt. Its smell is that of things that are rotten. Its sacrifice is that at (the altar of) the path, and among the parts of the victim the kidneys have the foremost place.
Water begins to congeal. The earth begins to be penetrated by the cold. Pheasants enter the great water and become large mollusks. Rainbows are hidden and do not appear.
The son of Heaven occupies the apartment on the left of the Xuan Tang (Fane); rides in the dark-coloured carriage, drawn by the iron black horses, and bearing the dark-coloured flag; is dressed in the black robes, and wears the dark-coloured jade. He eats millet and sucking-pig. The vessels which he uses are large and rather deep.
In this month there takes place the inauguration of winter. Three days before this ceremony, the Grand recorder informs the son of Heaven, saying, 'On such-and-such a day is the inauguration of winter. The character of the season is fully seen in water.' On this the son of Heaven devotes himself to self-adjustment; and on the day of the inauguration he leads in person the three ducal ministers, the nine high ministers, and his Great officers to meet the winter in the northern suburbs. On his return he rewards (the descendants of) those who died in the service (of the kingdom), and shows his compassion to orphans and widows.
In this month orders are given to the Grand recorder to smear with blood the tortoise-shells and divining stalks', and by interpreting the indications of the former and examining the figures formed by the latter, to determine the good and evil of their intimations. (In this way) all flattery and partizanship in the interpretation of them (will become clear), and the crime of their operators be brought home. No concealment or deceit will be allowed.
In this month the son of Heaven sets the example of wearing furs. Orders are issued to the proper officers in the words: 'The airs of heaven are ascended on high, and those of earth have descended beneath. There is no intercommunion of heaven and earth. All is shut up and winter is completely formed.' Orders are given to all the officers to cover up carefully the stores (of their departments). The minister of Instruction is also ordered to go round (among the people and see) that they have formed their stores, and that nothing is left ungathered. The city and suburban walls are put in good repair; the gates of towns and villages are looked after; bolts and nuts are put to rights; locks and keys are carefully attended to; the field-boundaries are strengthened; the frontiers are well secured; important defiles are thoroughly defended; passes and bridges are carefully seen after; and narrow ways and cross-paths are shut up. The rules for mourning are revised; the distinctions of the upper and lower garments are defined; the thickness of the inner and outer coffins is decided on; with the size, height and other dimensions of graves. The measures for all these things are assigned, with the degrees and differences in them according to rank.
In this month orders are given to the chief Director of works to prepare a memorial on the work of the artificers; setting forth especially the sacrificial vessels with the measures and capacity (of them and all others), and seeing that there be no licentious ingenuity in the workmanship which might introduce an element of dissipation into the minds of superiors; and making the suitability of the article the first consideration. Every article should have its maker's name engraved on it, for the determination of its, genuineness. When the production is not what it ought to be, the artificer should be held guilty and an end be thus put to deception.
In this month there is the great festivity when they drink together, and each of the stands bears half its animal roasted. The son of Heaven prays for (a blessing on) the coming year to the Honoured ones of heaven; sacrifices with an ox, a ram, and a boar at the public altar to the spirits of the land, and at the gates of towns and villages; offers the sacrifice three days after the winter solstice with the spoils of the chase to all ancestors, and at the five (household) sacrifices; thus cheering the husbandmen and helping them to rest from their toils. The son of Heaven orders his leaders and commanders to give instruction on military operations, and to exercise (the soldiers) in archery and chariot-driving, and in trials of strength.
In this month orders are given to the superintendent of waters and the master of fishermen to collect the revenues from rivers, springs, ponds, and meres, taking care not to encroach in any way on any among the myriads of the people, so as to awaken a feeling of dissatisfaction in them against the son of Heaven. If they do this, they shall be punished for their guilt without forgiveness.
If, in the first month of winter, the proceedings of government proper to spring were observed, the cold that shuts up all beneath it would not do so tightly; the vapours of the earth would rise up and go abroad; many of the people would wander away and disappear. If those proper to summer were observed, there would be many violent winds in the states; winter itself would not be cold; and insects would come forth again from their burrows. If those proper to autumn were observed, the snow and hoarfrost would come unseasonably; small military affairs would constantly be arising; and incursions and loss of territory would occur.
In the second month of winter the sun is in Dou, the constellation culminating at dusk being the eastern Bi, and that culminating at dawn Zhen. Its days are ren and gui. Its divine ruler is Zhuan-xu, and the (attending) spirit is Xuan-ming. Its creatures are the shell-covered. Its musical note is Yu, and its pitch-tube is Huang Zhong. Its number is six. Its taste is salt. Its smell is that of things that are rotten. Its sacrifice is that at (the altar of) the path, and of the parts of the victim the kidneys have the foremost place.
The ice becomes more strong. The earth begins to crack or split. The night bird ceases to sing. Tigers begin to pair.
The son of Heaven occupies the Grand Fane Xuan Tang; rides in the dark-coloured carriage, drawn by the iron black horses, and bearing the dark-coloured flag. He is dressed in the black robes, and wears the dark-coloured gems of jade. He eats millet and sucking-pig. The vessels which he uses are large and rather deep. All things relating to the dead are revised and regulated. Orders are given to the proper officer to the following effect: 'There should nothing be done in works of earth; care should be taken not to expose anything that is covered, nor to throw open apartments and houses, and rouse the masses to action; that all may be kept securely shut up. (Otherwise) the genial influences of earth will find vent, which might be called a throwing open of the house of heaven and earth. In this case all insects would die; and the people be sure to fall ill from Pestilence, and various losses would ensue.' This charge is said to be giving full development to the (idea of the) month.
In this month orders are given to the Director of the eunuchs to issue afresh the orders for the palace, to examine all the doors, inner and outer, and look carefully after all the apartments. They must be kept strictly shut. All woman's-work must be diminished, and none of an extravagant nature permitted. Though noble and nearly related friends should come to visit the inmates, they must all be excluded. Orders are given to the Grand superintendent of the preparation of liquors to see that the rice and other glutinous grains are all complete; that the leaven-cakes are in season; that the soaking and heating are cleanly conducted; that the water be fragrant; that the vessels of pottery be good; and that the regulation of the fire be right. These six things have all to be attended to, and the Grand superintendent has the inspection of them, to secure that there be no error or mistake. The son of Heaven issues orders to the proper officers to pray and sacrifice to (the spirits presiding over) the four seas, the great rivers (with their) famous sources, the deep tarns, and the meres, (all) wells and springs.
In this month, if the husbandmen have any productions in the fields, which they have not stored or collected, or if there be any horses, oxen or other animals, which have been left at large, any one may take, them without its being inquired into. If there be those who are able to take from, the hills and forests, marshes and meres. edible fruits, or to capture game by hunting, the wardens and foresters should give them the necessary information and guidance. If there be among them those who encroach on or rob the others, they should be punished without fail.
In this month the shortest day arrives. The principle of darkness and decay (in nature) struggles with that of brightness and growth. The elements of life begin to move. Superior men give themselves to self-adjustment and fasting. They keep retired in their houses. They wish to be at rest in their persons; put away all indulgence in music and beautiful sights; repress their various desires; give repose to their bodies and all mental excitements. They wish all affairs to be quiet, while they wait for the settlement of those principles of darkness and decay, and brightness and growth. Rice begins to grow. The broom-sedge rises up vigorously. Worms curl. The moose-deer shed their horns. The springs of water are (all) in movement. When the shortest day has arrived, they fell trees, and carry away bamboos, (especially) the small species suitable for arrows.
In this month, offices in which there is no business may be closed, and vessels for which there is no use may be removed. They plaster (and repair) the pillars and gateways (of the palace), and the courtyard (within), and also doors and other gateways; rebuilding (also all) prisons, to co-operate with the tendency of nature to shut up and secure (the genial influences at this season).