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The Book of Songs 詩經

小雅‧鹿鳴之什‧常棣 Minor odes of the kingdom - Decade Of Lu Ming - Chang Di

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The flowers of the cherry tree -
Are they not gorgeously displayed?
Of all the men in the world,
There are none equal to brothers.


On the dreaded occasions of death and burial,
It is brothers who greatly sympathize.
When fugitives are collected on the heights and low grounds,
They are brothers who will seek one another out.


There is the wagtail on the level height; -
When brothers are in urgent difficulties,
Friends, though they may be good,
Will [only] heave long sighs.


Brothers may quarrel inside the walls,
But they will oppose insult from without,
When friends, however good they may be,
Will not afford help.


When death and disorder are past,
And there are tranquillity and rest;
Although they have brothers,
[Some] reckon them not equal to friends.


Your dishes may be set in array,
And you may drink to satiety;
But it is when your brothers are all present,
That you are harmonious and happy, with child-like joy.


Loving union with wife and children,
Is like the music of lutes;
But it is the accord of brothers,
Which makes the harmony and happiness lasting.


For the ordering of your family,
For your joy in your wife and children,
Examine this and study it; -
Will you not find that it is truly so?


English translation: James Legge

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