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The fourth Decade of Kieh Nan Shan

Jié nánshān zhī shén: Jié nánshān, zhēngyuè, shí yuè zhī jiāo, yǔ wú zhèng, xiǎo mín, xiǎo wǎn, xiǎo biàn, qiǎo yán, hérén sī, xiàng bó


THERE South Hill rears high its summit, Crag on crag, a frowning pile. So, dread Chancellor Yin, thou standest, All men's eyes on thee the while. Like consuming fire their trouble ; Fear they even converse light ; Fast the land to ruin vergeth ; Why dost thou avoid the sight ? 

There South Hill rears high its summit, Yet its slopes have verdure fair. So, dread Chancellor Yin, thou standest, Yet thy faults who shall declare ? Heaven is sending trouble on trouble ; Wreck and ruin far have ranged ; People hint their disaffection : Thou, alas ! remain' st unchanged. 

Yin, the Chancellor of the Kingdom, Might be Chow's chief corner-stone, Hold the balances of empire, Weld the various parts in one, Be the Son of Heaven's supporter, Make men all wrong ways forego ; Ah, great Heaven hath no compassion ! 'Tis not meet to plunge us all in woe. 

Thou thyself dost nought in person, So men trust not to thy word. None consult'st thou, nor employest : Yet betray not thou thy lord ; Be straightforward, make an end o't, Risk not on mean men our fate, Nor give good-for-nought relations Best appointments in the State. 

Not in justice doth high Heaven Send disorders dire as these ; Not in kindness doth high Heaven Send us these great miseries. If our rulers did their duty f They would ease the nation's heart ; If our rulers were straightforward Hate and anger would depart. 

Ah, great Heaven hath no compassion ! For the tumults never cease ; Month by month they grow, depriving All the people of their peace. O, my heart is drunk with sorrow ! Who will guide the land aright ? He who rules it not in person Leaves the folk in weary plight. 

I had put my team in harness, Aye, my nobly-crested four ; Everywhere I looked, but always Found distress. No place to flee to more ! Now the evil in you rages, And we see you wield the spear ; 

Now you are appeased, contented, And like pledging host and guest appear. But high Heaven is not made tranquil ; And our King is not content. While a heart is uncorrected Its corrector it will still resent Kia-fu wrote this song, exposing f The disorders of the reign. J that change of heart thou showedst, And wouldst thus the thousand States sustain ! 


HARD frost 'neath a summer moon ! With its sorrow my heart is sore. The scandal the people spread Is increasing more and more. Methinks how I stand alone, And the trouble grows hard to bear ; Ah me for my anxious thought ! Smothered grief will my health impair. 

Ye parents, who gave me life, Why thus was I born for pain ? Not thus was it ere my time, Not thus will it be again.Words, now, both, of praise and blame, From the lips (not the heart) proceed ; And though deeper my sorrow grows, Contempt is my (only) meed.

My soul is oppressed with grief As I muse on our hapless fate. The innocent people all Are reduced to the serf 's estate ; And alas for our worthies here. They may seek for place but where ? Watch a crow when about to rest ; To whose roof will the bird repair ? 

Look there in the forest's depths ; Fine logs and poor twigs we find. The people, now jeopardized, See in Heaven no discerning mind. Yet, once be its purpose fixed, There is none can against it fight ; For there is the Most High God ! Ah, on whom shall His hate alight ? 

As if calling a mountain low, That has ridges and lofty crest, So false are the people's tales ; Are they never to be repressed ? Go summon those ancient men, Ask the tellers of dreams as well --They claim to be sages all--"Who the male from the female crow can tell?"

There's a saying, " Though Heaven be high, Yet we dare not but bow the head " ; And, " Though solid the earth may be, Yet we dare not but softly tread." Be these sayings proclaimed aloud ; Truth and reason are there discerned. Ah me ! how the men of this time Into adders and efts are turned ! 

Look there at the rough hill-fields, Giving promise of wealth of grain. Ah ! Heaven is rough-handling me, As though battling with me in vain ! These sought me once as their guide, As though I were hard to gain ; Now they have me they hate me sore, And my service and help disdain. 

My heart in its trouble frets As if held in some tight embrace. How full is this present reign Of tyrannous deeds and base ! the fire that rages round ! Will not some one quench the blaze ? Our illustrious House of Chow Pau-sze to the ground will raze ! 

This end is my constant fear. Thou, as harassed by gloom and rain, Art driving, thy waggon full, And dost brakes to thy wheels disdain. Let thy load be but once upset, 'Twill be, " Lend me your help, sirs," then ! 

Fling never thy brakes away ; To thy wheels they be useful yet. Oft look to thy driver, too, And thy load thou wilt ne'er upset ; And the worst will at length be passed. But this dost thou aye forget. 

When a fish is placed in a pond, Little there doth it find to please ; Deep down it may dive and lie, Yet is seen with the greatest ease. Ah, deep in my heart lies grief, As I think of my country's tyrannies. 

They, there, have the choicest wines, They, there, have the daintiest foods. And their neighbours sit down with them, And their kinsfolk, in multitudes. I think how I stand alone, And my soul in deep sorrow broods. 

There, the men of no mark are housed ; There, the worthless great riches own ; While the people lack daily bread, And 'neath Heaven's dire judgments groan. With the wealthy ones all is well ! Woe worth the deserted and lone ! 


IN the tenth month met sun and moon, When the calends were sin-mdu ; Then the sun became eclipsed ; Worst of omens was it now ! There the moon was, yet in shade ; There the sun was, shaded too ; Tenants of this lower earth, Worst of woes now threatened you ! 

Sun and moon dire things portend When their proper paths they void. And no State is rightly ruled Where the good are unemployed. Yonder moon may be eclipsed, That is no uncommon thing ; For the sun to be so too, What but evil could it bring ? 

Thunders crash, and lightnings flash ; Nought is restful, nought delights ; Hundred torrents leap and foam ; Mountain-crags fall from their heights ; Where were lofty cliffs are chasms, Where were deep ravines are hills. Ah, these men (in power) to-day ! Will they now not curb their wills ? 

With her Counsellor Hwang-fu, Minister of Instruction Fan, The First Minister Kia-pih, The Court Caterer Chung-yun, Household Secretary Tsau, Kwai the Master of the Horse, Kiu the Captain of the Guards, Was the handsome wife, the incendiary ! in force. 

Doth not he, this same Hwang-fu, Speak of "times inopportune " ? Why then so ignore our plans, Calling us away (so soon) ? Gone are all our walls and roofs, Fields are very swamps and wastes ; Yet quoth he, "I hurt you not : These are but the laws' behests." 

Ah, deep-witted is Hwang-fu : Builds in Hiang his residence, Chooses three as Ministers Who, i' faith, have wealth immense, Must not leave one man of worth Who might save our king his crown, And selects the richest men There in Hiang to settle down. 

I, hard struggling with my work, Must my hardships never name. Sland'rous tongues make clamour loud, Though in nought am I to blame. Of the people's miseries Heaven is not indeed the source ; Fawning words, with hate behind, Owe to men such power and force. 

Long-enduring grief is mine, And acute, distressing pain. Men all round me are content, Downcast I alone remain. None but may retire (betimes) ; I alone to ease must not aspire. All-impenetrable Will of Heaven ! Like my friends must not venture to retire. 


GREAT is Heaven, and far-extending, Yet its kindness is not great ; Death and dearth and famine sending, 'Tis destroying every State, Bounteous Heaven ! now clothed in terror ! Hath it then no thought, no care ? Not to speak of those in error Who their punishment now bear- Here are others, free from error, All in ruin, everywhere. 

Honoured Chow is extirpated ! Nought avails to end its woes. Leaders have their posts vacated ; Of my own toils no one knows. None of the three Chiefs evinces Willing service, soon or late ; Here the feudal lords and princes Morn or eve reluctant wait. Make reforms, some one commences All yet ends in deeds of hate. 

How, Great Heaven, compare such doing, Treating weightiest words as air ? 'Tis like travellers pursuing Ways that end they know not where. All ye magnates, one and other, Let your self-respect appear. Why reveres not each his brother ? Ah ! ye do not Heaven revere. 

War is rife, no retractation ! Famine, yet no movement made ! Day by day grows my vexation, Though I be of humble grade ; Te, the men of high position, All are slow to mention facts : Each replies on requisition But when scandalized retracts. 

Woe the speech that is unskilful ! He whose words have deeper so

urce Than his tongue, but fares the worse Well for him whose speech is skilful ! Stream-like flow of smart address Brings a man all good success. 

It is said, " To be in office Means sore trial and jeopardy”. If one say, “'This should not be. 'Tis to offend the Son of Heaven;” If one say, “This ought to be, Then offence to friends is given." 

Yet return, say I, unto the royal city. Ah, but there, say you, we are unhoused. Tears of blood I weep in secret for the pity, Never speaking but hard thoughts are roused. Once, yet, when ye left to live elsewhere, Who, then, built the houses for you there ? 


BOUNTEOUS Heaven its stern displeasure Vents upon this lower earth. When shall we have done with counsels And with schemes devoid of worth ? Be a counsel good, 'tis slighted, Be it ill, 'tis entertained. When I see them at such tactics I am sore distressed and pained. 

In their concord and their discord There is much to be deplored. Be a policy a good one, 'Tis by all of them ignored ; Let an ill one be brought forward, Upon that they all depend. When I see them at such tactics, What, methinks, will be the end ? 

Our divining-shells, exhausted, Tell no more what plan is right. Counsellors are far too many, So can never all unite. Though the Court is filled with speakers, Who himself dare implicate? Like men planning routes and never moving, Thus it is they never get a-gate. 

O the pity ! in their counsels Not the ancients are their guides, Nor great policies their standards : The last word they hear decides ! The last word their sole contention ! Like men planning to erect Homes to live in while on travel ! 

Nothing can they thus effect. Though the country be unsettled, There are wise men, and unwise ; Though the inhabitants be dwindling, Some have sense, some can advise. Some are grave, and some methodic. Yet, meseems, are one and all Like the waters from a fountain Verging to a fatal fall ! 

Who will dare to rouse a tiger ? Who will dare to wade the Ho ? Sirs, ye know but one way only ; Not another do ye know. Act as from a sense of danger, With precaution and with care, - As a yawning gulf o'erlooking, As on ice that scarce will bear ! 


THOUGH small be the turtle-dove, It will high in the welkin soar. My heart is wrung, as I muse On our sires in the days of yore. At the earliest dawn two forms Haunt my soul, and I sleep no more. 

Sedate, shrewd men o'er their cups Are sober and self-restrained ; More sottish from day to day Grow these witless and cloudy-brained. Give heed to decorum, all ! Heaven's gifts are not twice obtained. 

Wild beans that on commons grow Are the people's common quest. The mulberry-insect's brood By the sphex is borne (to her nest). Instruct, then, and train your sons ; You will make them good as the best. 

Take note how the wagtail sings As she nutters from place to place. The days of our life speed on, And the months are marching apace ; Up early, and late repose ; So bring to your parents no disgrace. 

The green-beaks, hovering round, Come pecking the grain in the yards. Alas for our needy and lone Thought meet for prisons and wards ! With handfuls of grain I divine Whether fortune aught better accords. Our humble, respectful men Are on tops of trees, as it were ; Or, as peering into a gulf, Shrink nervously back with care ; Or softly and fearfully tread As on ice that will scarcely bear. 


THERE go the rooks, all flying homeward, Flock after flock, in bustling glee; Around me there is none unhappy, I am alone in misery! Wherein have I offended Heaven ? My guilt whence doth it then accrue ? My soul is full of heaviness : Alas, I know not what to do. 

Once trodden smooth was Chow's great highway, All o'er it now rank grasses grow. It grieves, it pains my heart to see it : Each thought comes like a stunning blow. Sleep without comfort, sighs continual, My sorrow brings on age amain ; My heart is full of heaviness, And throbs as throbs an aching brain. 

The trees around his native village A man with fond regard must view. I looked to none as to my father, None than my mother found more true. Are not these very hairs my father's ? Hung I not once on a mother's breast ? O that, when Heaven thus gave me being, My time had been in time of rest ! 

Amid the green luxuriant willows With clamour the cicadas grind ; And o'er the deep dark standing water Bend rash and reed before the wind. Myself am like a drifting vessel, And whither destined do not know ; My soul is full of heaviness ; E'en roughest rest must I forego. 

The stag, with all his wild careering, Still runs reluctant (from the herd). The pheasant, crowing in the morning, Crows but for his companion bird. Myself am like a tree death-stricken, Reft of its branches by disease ; My soul is full of heaviness ; How is it none my trouble sees ?

See the chased hare when seeking refuge ; Some, sure, will interpose to save. Lies a dead man upon the highway, Some, sure, will dig for him a grave. And should a king suppress all feeling, And bear unmoved the sight of woe ? My soul is full of heaviness : My tears run down in ceaseless flow. 

The king lends ear to the maligner, Responding, aye, as to a pledge. He lacks the charitable spirit, Stays not to test what men allege. In felling trees men note their leanings, In cleaving wood they note its grain ; (Not so with him) ; he clears the guilty, And I, the guiltless, bear the pain. 

Nought may be higher than a mountain, Nought may be deeper than a spring. Walls may have ears : let words not lightly Be uttered even by a king. "Yet leave alone my fishing dam ; My wicker-nets remove them not : Myself am spurned ; some vacant hour May bring compassion for my lot." 


FAR Great Heaven ! we call thee Our Father and our Mother ! Alas that on the blameless Such gross disorders gather ! I verily am guiltless, Yet stern is thy displeasure. I truly am offenceless, Thou harsh beyond all measure. 

Disorder first arises On falsehood's first receiving ; And gathers force when rulers Deem slanders worth believing. Showed but the king displeasure, Disorder soon had vanished ; And favoured he (the worthy), So too it soon were banished. 

When kings make frequent compacts, Disorder grows with vigour ; When faith they put in villains, Then cruel is its rigour. When villains' words are blandest, Disorder (most) progresses ; While failure in their duty The monarch but distresses. 

Grand is the ancestral temple ; A master mind designed it. Well framed was our Great Charter ; Good men and wise defined it. Whate'er be these men's motive, I'll weigh it well and watch it : Though sharp the hare, and cunning, The dog will round and catch it ! 

What woods are soft and supple, Our wiser men will grow them. What words are said at random, One's inner sense should know them. Ah, glib high-sounding language But to the tongue one traces, And artful dulcet speeches To men of brazen faces. 

And these who are they ? Dwellers On a river's swampy borders ! Yet these weak, nerveless creatures Give rise to such disorders ! Ye ulcered, swollen-shinned ones ! How should ye be so daring ? But though ye make grand schemes, and many, How few to follow you are caring ? 


AND who is this ? A man whose heart Is in great jeopardy. How comes he to approach my dam, And not come in to me ? Ah, who is he whose heels he dogs ? Pau, surely, it must be ! 

The two pursue the selfsame road ; But whether deals this blow ? How pass my dam, and not come in His sympathy to show ? I am beneath his notice now ; At first it was not so. 

Ay who is this ? Why comes he now Along my path, more near ? I fail to see himself as yet, Only his voice I hear. "Who cannot face a man for shame, Of Heaven hath he no fear ? 

Ay who is this ? The man is like A gusty whirling wind. Why blow not from the North, or South, (In front, or else behind) ? Why didst thou come so near my dam Only to vex my mind ? 

While driving leisurely along, Thou hast no time to stop ! E'en driving quickly, there are times Grease in thy wheels to drop. Cam'st thou but once ! Why am I left To look, and long, and hope ? 

If thou hadst turned and called on me, Then ease of heart were mine. To turn and not to call 'tis hard Such halting to divine, Cam'st thou but once ! Then come had peace : (No more should I repine). 

The whistle once the elder one, The flute the younger blew ; We both were strung upon one string. If now I seem untrue, I will bring forth my victims three, And swear to thee anew. 

Art thou a ghost, a watersprite ? That all approach is vain. Could face meet face and eye meet eye, All then were clear and plain. Here to thy tune of twist and turn I set this goodly strain. 

(I have made this goodly song to follow thee to the utmost through thy twistings and turnings.)

II. iv. 10. DEFAMATION. 

How finely wrought ! how exquisite ! You weave the perfectest brocade ! Ye scandal-weavers ! yet ye go Too far with your tirade. 

What gaping and wide-open mouths ! So many Southern Sieves (南箕), indeed ! Ye scandal-mongers ! Say, yet, who Takes in these plots the lead ? 

"With clitter-clatter, here and there, Ye plot, ye seek to vilify, Yet of the tales ye tell beware, For others say ye lie. 

Adroit and shifty so ye plot, All eager till the scandal spreads. True, 'tis believed ; yet even now Recoils on your own heads.

The haughty ones are overjoyed ; The men who toil are sore annoyed. O azure Heaven ! O azure Heaven ! Those haughty ones do Thou regard. And pity those whose toil is hard. 

The slanderers ! And yet I'd know By whose support these plottings grow. Seize the defamers ! banish them To wolves and tigers forth ! If wolves and tigers spurn such prey, Send them into the North. And if the North should spare them still, Give them to Heaven's own will. 

Up to the cultivated hill Through willow-patches lies a way.* And I, Mang-tse the Eunuch, am The author of this lay. All ye of higher grade, take heed And list to what I say. 

* The "Southern Sieve" is a Chinese constellation of four stars, two of which are near each other, and are called "The Heels," and two wide apart, called " The Mouth." 

* The meaning would seem to be that though the persons aimed at were in high places, and the writer in a lowly one, yet there was a way by which he could reach them, viz., by this song.