Book: The Book Of Poetry
Author: James Legge

The Book Of Poetry By James Legge

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 321
Publication Date: 1879

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This is the unabridged translation of the Book of Odes (the Shih Ching) by James Legge. Legge translated the Chinese Book of Odes, one of the Five Chinese Classics, in 1876. This edition, from a reprint published in Shanghai in 1931, includes all of the English translations, but omits the Chinese text found in the original publications.

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The Kuan Chü; mainly allusive. Celebrating the virtue of the bride of King Wên, his quest for her, and welcoming her to his palace.
1 Hark! from the islet in the stream the voice
Of the fish hawks that o’er their nest rejoice!
From them our thoughts to that young lady go,
Modest and virtuous, loth herself to show.
Where could be found, to share our prince's state
So fair, so virtuous, and so fit a mate?
2 See how the duckweed's stalks, or short or long,
Sway left and right, as moves the current strong!
So hard it was for him the maid to find!
By day, by night, our prince with constant mind
Sought for her long, but all his search was vain.
Awake, asleep, he ever felt the pain
Of longing thought, as when on restless bed,
Tossing about, one turns his fevered head.
3 Here long, there short, afloat the duckweed lies;
But caught at last, we seize the longed-for prize.
The maiden modest, virtuous, coy, is found;
Strike every lute, and joyous welcome sound.
Ours now, the duckweed from the stream we bear,
And cook to use with other viands rare.
He has the maiden, modest, virtuous, bright;
Let bells and drums proclaim our great delight.


The Ko T‘an; narrative. Celebrating the industry and dutifulness of King Wên's queen.
1 Sweet was the scene. The spreading dolichos
Extended far, down to the valley's depths,
With leaves luxuriant. The orioles
Fluttered around, and on the bushy trees
In throngs collected,—whence their pleasant notes
Resounded far in richest melody.
2 The spreading dolichos extended far,
Covering the valley's sides, down to its depths,
With leaves luxuriant and dense. I cut
It down, then boiled, and from the fibers span
Of cloth, both fine and coarse, large store,
To wear, unwearied of such simple dress.
3 Now back to my old home, my parents dear
To see, I go. The matron I have told,
Who will announcement make. Meanwhile my clothes,
My private clothes I wash, and rinse my robes.
Which of them need be rinsed? and which need not?
My parents dear to visit, back I go.