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The Book of Songs 詩經

大雅‧文王之什‧大明 Greater odes of the kingdom - Decade Of Wen Wang - Da Ming

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The illustration of illustrious [virtue] is required below,
And the dread majesty is on high.
Heaven is not readily to be relied on;
It is not easy to be king.
Yin's rightful heir to the heavenly seat,
Was not permitted to possess the kingdom.


Ren, the second of the princesses of Zhi,
From [the domain of] Yin-shang,
Came to be married to the prince of Zhou,
And because his wife in his capital,
Both she and king Ji,
Were entirely virtuous.
[Then] Da-ren became pregnant,
And gave birth to our king Wen.


This king Wen,
Watchfully and reverently,
With entire intelligence served God,
And so secured the great blessing.
His virtue was without deflection;
And in consequence he received [the allegiance of] the States from all quarters.


Heaven surveyed this lower world;
And its appointment lighted [on king Wen].
In his early years,
It made for him a mate; -
On the north of the Qia;
On the banks of the Wei.
When king Wen would wive,
There was the lady in a large State.


In a large State was the lady,
Like a fair denizen of Heaven.
The ceremonies determined the auspiciousness [of the union].
And in person he met her on the Wei.
Over it he made a bridge of boats; -
The glory [of the occasion] was illustrious.


The favouring appointment was from Heaven,
Giving the throne to our king Wen,
In the capital of Zhou.
The lady-successor was from Xin,
Its eldest daughter, who came to marry him.
She was blessed to give birth to king Wu,
Who was preserved, and helped, and received also the appointment,
And in accordance with it smote the great Shang.


The troops of Yin-shang,
Were collected like a forest,
And marshalled in the wilderness of Mu.
We rose [to the crisis]; -
'God is with you, ' [said Shang-fu to the king],
'Have no doubts in your heart. '


The wilderness of Mu spread out extensive;
Bright shone the chariots of sandal;
The teams of bays, black-maned and white-bellied, galloped along;
The grand-master Shang-fu,
Was like an eagle on the wing,
Assisting king Wu,
Who at one onset smote the great Shang.
That morning's encounter was followed by a clear bright [day].



English translation: James Legge

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