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The Book of Songs 詩經

小雅‧節南山之什‧小弁 Minor odes of the kingdom - Jie Nan Shan Zhi Shen - Xiao Bian

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With flapping wings the crows,
Come back, flying all in a flock.
Other people all are happy,
And I only am full of misery.
What is my offence against Heaven?
What is my crime?
My heart is sad; -
What is to be done?


The way to Zhou should be level and easy,
But it is all overgrown with rank grass.
My heart is wounded with sorrow,
And I think till I feel as if pounded [all over].
I lie down undressed, and sigh continually;
Through my grief I am growing old.
My heart is sad; -
It puts me in pain like a headache.


Even the mulberry trees and the Zi,
Must be regarded with reverence :
But no one is to be looked up to like a father;
No one is to be depended on like a mother.
Have I not a connection with the hairs [of my father]?
Did I not dwell in the womb [of my mother]?
O Heaven who gave me birth!
How was it at such an inauspicious time?


Luxuriant grow those willows,
And the cicadas [on them] go hui-hui.
Deep looks the pool,
And abundantly grow the rushes and reeds [about it],
[But] I am like a boat adrift, -
Where it will go you know not.
My heart is sad; -
I have not leisure to lie down [even] undressed.


The stag is running away,
But his legs move slowly.
The pheasant crows in the morning,
Seeking his mate.
I am like a ruined tree,
Stript by disease of all its branches.
My heart is sad; -
How is it that no one knows me?


Look at the hare seeking protection; -
Some one will step in before and save it.
One the road there is a dead man;
Some one will bury him.
[But] such is the heart of our sovereign,
That there is nothing he cannot bear to do.
My heart is sad,
So that my tears are falling down.


Our sovereign believes slanders,
As readily as he joins in the pledge cup.
Our sovereign is unkind,
And does not leisurely examine into things.
The tree-fellers follow the lean of the tree;
The faggot-cleavers follow the direction of the grain;
[But] he lets alone the guilty,
And imputes guilt to me.


There is nothing higher than a mountain;
There is nothing deeper than a [great] spring.
Our sovereign should not lightly utter his words,
Lest an ear be laid close to the wall.
Do not approach my dam;
Do not remove my basket.
My person is rejected; -
Of what use is it to care for what may come after?



English translation: James Legge

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