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The Book of Songs 詩經

小雅‧鹿鳴之什‧出車 Minor odes of the kingdom - Decade Of Lu Ming - Chu Che

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We proceeded with our carriage,
To those pasture grounds.
' From the place of the son of Heaven,
Came an order to me to march, ' [said the general].
So he called his carriage-officers,
And told them to get the carriages all ready.
' The king's business, ' [said he], ' is surrounded with difficulties;
We must use despatch. '


We proceeded with our carriage,
To that suburban region.
The banner with tortoises and serpents was raised,
And the ox-tails set up at the top of its staff;
Did not it and the falcon banner,
Fly about grandly?
The [general's] heart was anxious and sad,
And the carriage-officers appeared full of care.


The king charged Nan Zhong,
To go and build a wall in the [disturbed] region.
How numerous were his chariots!
How splendid his dragon, his tortoise and serpent flags!
The son of Heaven had charged us,
To build a wall in that northern region.
Awe-inspiring was Nan Zhong;
The Xian-yun were sure to be swept away!


When we were marching at first,
The millets were in flower.
Now that we are returning,
The snow falls, and the roads are all mire.
The king's business was not to be slackly performed,
And we had not leisure to rest.
Did we not long to return?
But we were in awe of the orders in the tablets.


' Yao-yao go the grass-insects,
And the hoppers leap about.
While we do not see our husbands,
Our hearts must be full of grief.
Let us but see our husbands,
And our hearts will be at rest. '
The awe-inspiring Nan Zhong,
Is smiting the Rong of the west.


The spring-days are lengthening out;
The plants and trees grow full of verdure;
The oriole's cry comes jie-jie;
[Our wives] go in crowds to gather the white southernwood.
With our prisoners for the question and our captive crowd,
We return.
Awe-inspiring is Nan zhong;
The Xian-yun are pacified.


English translation: James Legge

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