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虞書 堯典 Yu Shu - Canon of Yao

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[p. 15] Examining into antiquity, we find that the emperor Yaou was called Fang-heun. He was reverential, inteUigent, accomplished, and thoughtful, — naturally and without-effprt. He was sincerely cour- te-Qus, and_ capable of all complaisance. The. display of these quali- ties rea,ched totlie four extremities of the empire^ and extended from

[p. 17] earth to heaven. He was able to make the able and virtuous distinguished, and thence proceeded to the love of the nine classes of his kindred, who all became harmonious. He also regulated and polished the people of his domain who all became brightly intelligent. Finally, he united and harmonized the myriad States of the empire; and lo ! the black-liaired people were transformed. The result was universal concord.

[p. 18] Thereupon Yaou commanded He and Ho, in reverent accordance with their observation of the wide heavens, to calculate and delineate the movements and appearances of the sun, the moon, the stars, and the zodiacal spaces; and so to deliver respectfully the seasons to the people.
He separately commanded the second brother He to reside at Yu-e, in what was called the Bright Valley, and there respectfully to

[p. 19] receive as a guest the rising sun, and to adjust and arrange the labours of the spring. 'The day,' (said he), 'is of the medium length, and the star is in Niao - you may thus exactly determine mid-spring. The people are dispersed (in the fields), and birds and beasts breed and copulate.'
He further commanded the third brother Xi to reside at Nan-jiao, (in what was called the Brilliant Capital). to adjust and arrange the transformations of the summer, and respectfully-to observe the exact limit (of the shadow). 'The day,' (said he),

[p. 20] 'is at its longest, and the star is in Huo - you may thus exactly determine mid-summer. The people are more dispersed; and birds and beasts have their feathers and hair thin, and change their coats.'
He separately commanded the second brother He to reside at the west, in what was called the Dark Valley, and (there) respectfully to convoy the setting sun, and to adjust and arrange the completing labours of the autumn. 'The night' (said he), 'is of the medium length, and the star is in Xu - you may thus exactly determine mid-autumn. The people feel at ease, and birds and beasts have their coats in good condition.'

[p. 21] He further commanded the third brother He to reside in the northern region, in what was called the Sombre Capital, and (there) to adjust and examine the changes of the winter. 'The day,' (said he), 'is at its shortest, and the star is in Mao - you may thus exactly determine mid-winter. The people, keep in their houses, and the coats of birds and beasts are downy and thick.'
The Di said, 'Ah! you, Xis and Hes, a round year consists of three hundred, sixty, and six days. Do you, by means of the intercalary
[p. 22] month, fix the four seasons, and complete (the period of) the year. (Thereafter), the various officers being regulated, in accordance with this, all the works (of the year) will be fully performed.'

[p. 23] The emperor said, " Who will search out for me a man according to the times, whom I may raise and employ? " Fang-ts'e said, " There is your heir-son Choo, who is highly intelligent." The emperor said, "Alas! he is insincere and quarrelsome:— can he do."

The emperor said, " Who will search out for me a man equal to the exigency of my affairs?" Hwan-tow said, "Oh! there is the minister of Works, whose merits have just been displayed in various

[p. 24] ways." The emperor said, "Alas I when unemployed, he can talk; but when employed, his actions turn out differently. He is respectful only in appearance. See I the floods assail the heavens."

The emperor said, "Oh! Chief of the four mountains, destructive in their overflow are the waters of the inundation. In their vast extent they embrace the mountains and overtop the hills, threatening the heavens with their floods,

so that the inferior people groan and murmur. Is there a capable man, to whom 1 can assign the correction of this calamity ? All in the court said, "Oh! there is

[p. 25] Kwan. The emperor said, " Alas! no, by no means ! He is disobedient to orders, and tries to injure his peers." His Eminence said," Well but -. Try him, and then you can have done with him."

The emperor said to Kwan, "Go; and be reverent." For nine years he laboured, but the work was unaccomplished.

The emperor said, 'Oh! you chief of the four mountains, I have been on the throne for seventy years. You can carry out my appointments; — I will resign mv throne to you." His Eminence said,"

I have not the virtue; I should only disgrace the imperial seat.

[p. 26] The emperor said, "Point out some one among the illustrious, or set forth one from among the poor and mean." All in the court said to the emperor, "There is an unmarried man among the lower people, called Shun of Yu." The emperor said, " Yes, I have heard of him. What is his character?" His Eminence said, "He is the son of a blind man. His father was obstinately unprincipled; his step-mother was insincere; his half brother Seang was arrogant. He has been able, howvever, by his filial piety to live in harmony with them, and to lead them gradually to self-government, so that they no longer proceed to great wickedness." The emperor said, " I will try him!
[p. 27] I will wive him, and then see his behaviour with my two daughters." On this he gave orders, and sent down his two daughters to the north of the Kwei, to be wives in the family of Yu. The emperor said to them^ "Be reverent! "

English translation: James Legge

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