Five Classics‎ > ‎Shu Jing‎ > ‎1 THE BOOKS OF YÜ‎ > ‎


1. Examining into antiquity, we find that the Tî Shun was styled Khung-hwâ. His character was entirely conformed to that of the former Tî. he was profound, wise, accomplished, and intelligent. He was mild and courteous, and truly sincere. The report of his mysterious virtue was heard on high, and he was appointed to office.

2. Shun carefully set forth the beauty of the five cardinal duties, and they came to be universally observed. Being appointed to be General Regulator, the affairs of every official department were arranged in their proper seasons. Being charged to receive the princes from the four quarters of the land, they were all docilely submissive. Being sent to the great plains at the foot of the mountains, notwithstanding the tempests of wind, thunder, and rain, he did not go astray.

The Tî said, ‘Come, you Shun. I have consulted you on all affairs, and examined your words, and found that they can be carried into practice;---now for three years. Do you ascend the seat of the Tî.’ Shun wished to decline in favour of some one more virtuous, and not to consent to be Yâo's successor. On the first day of the first month, however, he received Yâo's retirement from his duties in the temple of the Accomplished Ancestor.

3. He examined the pearl-adorned turning sphere, with its transverse tube of jade, and reduced to a harmonious system the movements of the Seven Directors.

Thereafter, he sacrificed specially, but with the ordinary forms, to God; sacrificed with reverent purity to the Six Honoured Ones; offered their appropriate sacrifices to the hills and rivers; and extended his worship to the host of spirits.

He called in all the five jade-symbols of rank; and when the month was over, he gave daily audience to the President of the Four Mountains, and all the Pastors, finally returning their symbols to the various princes.

In the second month of the year he made a tour of inspection eastwards, as far as Thâi-tsung, where he presented a burnt-offering to Heaven, and sacrificed in order to the hills and rivers. Thereafter he gave audience to the princes of the east. He set in accord their seasons and months, and regulated the days; he made uniform the standard-tubes, with the measures of length and of capacity, and the steelyards, he regulated the five classes of ceremonies, with the various articles of introduction,--the five symbols of jade, the three kinds of silk, the two living animals and the one dead one. As to the five instruments of rank, when all was over, he returned them. In the fifth month he made a similar tour southwards, as far as the mountain of the south, where he observed the same ceremonies as at Thâi. In the eighth month he made a tour westwards, as far as the mountain of the west, where he did as before. In the eleventh month he made a tour northwards, as far as the mountain of the north, where he observed the same ceremonies as in the west. He then returned to the capital, went to the temple of the Cultivated Ancestor, and sacrificed a single bull.

In five years there was one tour of inspection, and there were four appearances of the princes at court. They gave a report of their government in words, which was clearly tested by their works. They received chariots and robes according to their merits.

He instituted the division of the land into twelve provinces, raising altars upon twelve hills in them. He also deepened the rivers.

He exhibited to the people the statutory punishments, enacting banishment as a mitigation of the five great inflictions; with the whip to be employed in the magistrates' courts, the stick to be employed in schools, and money to be received for redeemable offences. Inadvertent offences and those which could be ascribed to misfortune were to be pardoned, but those who transgressed presumptuously and repeatedly were to be punished with death. ‘Let me be reverent! Let me be reverent!’ he said to himself. ‘Let compassion rule in punishment!’

He banished the Minister of Works to Yû island; confined Hwan-tâu on mount Khung; drove the chief of San-miâo and his people into San-wei, and kept them there; and held Khwan a prisoner till death on mount Yü. These four criminals being thus dealt with, all under heaven acknowledged the justice of Shun's administration.

4. After twenty-eight years the Tî deceased, when the people mourned for him as for a parent for three years. Within the four seas all the eight kinds of instruments of music were stopped and hushed. On the first day of the first month of the next year, Shun went to the temple of the Accomplished Ancestor.

5. He deliberated with the President of the Four Mountains how to throw open the doors of communication between himself and the four quarters of the land, and how he could see with the eyes, and hear with the ears of all.

He consulted with the twelve Pastors, and said to them, 'The food!--it depends on observing the seasons. Be kind to the distant, and cultivate the ability of the near. Give honour to the virtuous, and your confidence to the good, while you discountenance the artful;---so shall the barbarous tribes lead on one another to make their submission.’

Shun said, ‘Ho! President of the Four Mountains, is there any one who can with vigorous service attend to all the affairs of the Tî whom I may appoint to be General Regulator, to assist me in all affairs, managing each department according to its nature?’ All in the court replied, ‘There is Po-yü, the Minister of Works.’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Yü you have regulated the water and the land. In this new office exert yourself.’ Yü did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of the Minister of Agriculture, or Hsieh, or Kâo-yâo. The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go and undertake the duties.’

The Tî said, ‘Khî, the black-haired people are still suffering from famine. Do you, O prince, as Minister of Agriculture, continue to sow for them the various kinds of grain.’

The Tî said, ‘Hsieh, the people are still wanting in affection for one another, and do not docilely, observe the five orders of relationship. It is yours, as the Minister of Instruction, reverently, to set forth the lessons of duty belonging to those five orders. Do so with gentleness.’

The Tî said, ‘Kâo-yâo, the barbarous tribes trouble our great land. There are also robbers, murderers, insurgents, and traitors. It is yours, as the Minister of Crime, to use the five punishments to deal with their offences. For the infliction of these there are the three appointed places. There are the five cases in which banishment in the appropriate places is to be resorted to, to which places, though five, three localities are assigned. Perform your duties with intelligence, and you will secure a sincere submission.’

The Tî said, ‘Who can superintend my works, as they severally require?’ All in the court replied, ‘Is there not Zui?’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Zui, you must be Minister of Works.’ Zui did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of Shü Khiang, or Po-yü. The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go and undertake the duties. Effect a harmony in all the departments.’ The Tî said, ‘Who can superintend, as the nature of the charge requires, the grass and trees, with the birds and beasts on my hills and in my marshes?’ All in the court replied, 'Is there not Yî?’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Yî do you be my Forester.’ Yî did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of Kû, Hû, Hsiung, or Pî. The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go and undertake the duties. You must manage them harmoniously.’

The Tî said, ‘Ho! President of the Four Mountains, is there any one able to direct my three religious ceremonies?’ All In the court answered, ‘Is there not Po-î ?’ The Tî said, ‘Yes. Ho! Po, you must be the Arranger in the Ancestral Temple. Morning and night be reverent. Be upright, be pure.’ Po did obeisance with his head to the ground, and wished to decline in favour of Khwei or Lung. The Tî said, ‘Yes, but do you go and undertake the duties. Be reverential!’

The Tî said, ‘Khwei, I appoint you to be Director of Music, and to teach our sons, so that the straightforward shall yet be mild; the gentle, dignified: the strong, not tyrannical: and the impetuous, not arrogant. Poetry is the expression of earnest thought; singing is the prolonged utterance of that expression; the notes accompany that utterance, and they are harmonized themselves by the standard tubes. In this way the eight different kinds of musical instruments can be adjusted so that one shall not take from or interfere with another; and spirits and men are brought into harmony.’ Khwei said, ‘I smite the sounding-stone, I gently strike it, and the various animals lead on one another to dance.’

The Tî said, ‘Lung, I abominate slanderous speakers and destroyers of the right ways, who agitate and alarm my people. I appoint you to be the Minister of Communication. Early and late give forth my orders and report to me, seeing that everything is true.’

The Tî said, ‘Ho! you, twenty and two men, be reverent; so shall you be helpful to the business entrusted to me by Heaven.’

Every three years there was an examination of merits, and after three examinations the undeserving were degraded, and the deserving advanced. By this arrangement the duties of all the departments were fully discharged; the people of San-miâo also were discriminated and separated.

6. In the thirtieth year of his age, Shun was called to employment. Thirty years he was on the throne with Yâo. Fifty years afterwards he went on high and died.