Separation’s lament



L (James Legge): A descendant am I of the Ti Kâo-yang, My excellent deceased father was called Po-yung.

D (David Hawkes): Scion of the High Lord Kao Yang, Po Yung was my father’s name.

Y (Yang Hsien-yi): A prince am I of ancestry renowned, Illustrious name my royal sire hath found.

Z (Monica Eileen Mclellan Zikpi): Divine Gao Yang's progeny, - My exalted father called Bo Yong.


L: When Sheh-tî (=the planet Jupiter) culminated in the first month of spring, On Kăng-yin (= the 27th cycle-day) I was born.

D: When She T’i pointed to the first month of the year, On the day of Geng Yin, I passed from the womb.

Y: When Sirius did in spring its light display, A child was born, and Tiger marked the day.

Z: Sheti configuration, in spring's first month, - On the day gengyin I descended.


L: My father, in his first auspice at the inspection of me, Commenced by giving me an auspicious name;

D: My father, seeing the aspect of my nativity, Took omens to give me an auspicious name.

Y: When first upon my face my lord's eye glanced, For me auspicious names he straight advanced,

Z: The exalted appraised my first aspect —— Began conferring me with auspicious names.


L: He named me "Correct Pattern," And afterwards styled me "Efficient Adjuster."

D: The name he gave me was True Exemplar; The title he gave me was Divine Balance.

Y: Denoting that in me Heaven's marks divine Should with the virtues of the earth combine.

Z: [He] named me: True Standard —— [He] called me: Spirit Balance


L: Largely gifted with those inward excellences, I proceeded to add to them far-reaching ability.

D: Having from birth this inward beauty, I added to it fair outward adornment:

Y: With lavished innate qualities indued, By art and skill my talents I renewed;

Z: Abundantly I already had this inner beauty —— Moreover [I] paired it with cultivated bearing


L: I gathered and wore the angelicas of the streams, and those of the hidden values; I strung together the autumn orchids to wear at my girdle.

D: I dressed in selinea and shady angelica, And twined autumn orchids to make a garland.

Y: Angelic herbs and sweet selineas too, And orchids late that by the water grew,

Z: Wrapped with river cladophora and remote angelica ——Stitched autumn eupatorium into a sash.


L: I hurried myself as if I could not reach the goal; I was afraid the years would not wait for me.

D: Swiftly I sped, as in fearful pursuit, Afraid Time would race on and leave me behind.

Y: I wove for ornament; till creeping time, Like water flowing, stole away my prime.

Z: Rushing, I, as if unable to keep up —— Fearing the years don’t for me wait.


L: In the morning I plucked the magnolias of Pî; In the evening I gathered the evergreen herbage of the islands.

D: In the morning I gathered the angelica on the mountains; In the evening I plucked the sedges of the islets.

Y: Magnolias of the glade I plucked at dawn, At eve beside the stream took winter-thorn.

Z: Mornings plucking the hills’ magnolia —— Evenings picking the islets’ beckmannia.


L: The days and months passed hastily on without delaying; Spring and autumn succeeded to each other.

D: The days and months hurried on, never delaying; Springs and autumns sped by in endless alternation.

Y: Without delay the sun and moon sped fast, In swift succession spring and autumn passed;

Z: Suns, moons, quick in their unlasting —— Springs and falls, in their succession.


L: Considering how the grass and trees withered and lost their leaves, I feared that the object of my admiration would be late in arriving.

D: And I thought how the trees and flowers were fading and falling, And feared that my Fairest’s beauty would fade too.

Y: The fallen flowers lay scattered on the ground, The dusk might fall before my dream was found.

Z: Thinking of the herbs’ and trees’ decay (scatter and fall) —— Fearing for the beautiful one’s dusk.


L: He did not in his time of vigour put away his bad advisers. Why did he not change his erroneous measures?

D: Gather the flower of youth and cast out the impure! Why will you not change the error of your ways?

Y: Had I not loved my prime and spurned the vile, Why should I not have changed my former style?

Z: Not maintaining the robust and discarding the waste —— Why not change this course.


L: Why did he not yoke his grand steeds, and dash along, And come to me to lead him in the way of the ancient (kings)?

D: I have harnessed brave coursers for you to gallop forth with: Come, let me go before and show you the way!

Y: My chariot drawn by steeds of race divine I urged; to guide the king my sole design.

Z: Ride a fine steed at a gallop —— Come, I will guide [you] on the former road (leading the way).


L: Anciently, the purity and agreement of the three Sovereigns Was owing to their having all the perfumes around them.

D: The three kings of old were most pure and perfect: Then indeed fragrant flowers had their proper place.

Y: Three ancient kings there were so pure and true That round them every fragrant flower grew;

Z: The ancient Three Sovereigns’ purity —— Ensured the assembled fragrances’ presence


L: They brought together the pepper-plant of Shăn, and the finest cassia; Their wreaths were not only of the Hûi orchids, and the ch'ih.

D: They brought together pepper and cinnamon; All the most prized blossoms were woven in their garlands.

Y: Cassia and pepper of the mountain-side With melilotus white in clusters vied.

Z: Varied zanthoxylum and cinnamomum —— Could [you] only stitch the ocimum and angelica?


L: And the glorious greatness of Yâo and Shun Arose from their following the (right)way, and getting the (right) path.

D: Glorious and great were those two, Yao and Shun, Because they had kept their feet on the right path.

Y: Two monarchs then, who high renown received, Followed the kingly way, their goal achieved.

Z: There is Yao and Shun’s magnificence —— [They] esteemed the Way and attained to the road.


L: How did Chieh and Chau wear their clothes so ungirt? Because, hurrying along their devious paths, their steps were all-distressed.

D: And how great was the folly of Chieh and Chou, Who hastened by crooked paths, and so came to grief.

Y: Two princes proud by lust their reign abused, Sought easier path, and their own steps confused.

Z: Why Jie and Zhòu’s disarray —— That was only shortcuts with hasty steps


L: Those partizans, in their reckless pleasing of themselves, Were leading on by darksome paths to a dangerous defile.

D: The fools enjoy their careless pleasure, But their way is dark and leads to danger.

Y: The faction for illict pleasure longed; Dreadful their way where hidden perils thronged.

Z: Think of the clique-men’s stolen ease —— The road is deep dark, dangerously narrow


L: Did I dread the consequent suffering that would befall myself? I feared a fatal injury to the royal car and load.

D: I have no fear for the peril of my own person, But only lest the chariot of my lord should be dashed.

Y: Danger against myself could not appal, But feared I lest my sovereign's scepter fall.

Z: Could I [my] body’s disaster fear? —— [I] dread the imperial chariot’s overturning.


L: I hurried on, now before and now behind, That the ruler might be kept in the footprints of the former kings.

D: I hurried about your chariot in attendance, Leading you in the tracks of the kings of old.

Y: Forward and back I hastened in my quest, Followed the former kings, and took no rest.

Z: Quickly running before and behind —— Pursuing the former kings’ footprints.


L: His Majesty would not consider the loyal feelings of my heart; He believed the slanderers, and burned with anger (against me).

D: But the Fragrant One refused to examine my true feelings: He lent ear, instead, to slander, and raged against me.

Y: The prince my true integrity defamed, Gave ear to slander, high his anger flamed;

Z: Acorus does not perceive my inner affection —— Rather believes in slander and ignites rage.


L: I well knew that straight-forward words would bring calamity, But I could not repress myself, and forbear them.

D: How well I know that loyalty brings disaster; Yet I will endure: I cannot give it up.

Y: Integrity I knew could not avail, Yet still endured; my lord I would not fail.

Z: I surely know ingenuousness means disaster —— Enduring and/but unable to relinquish it.


L: I pointed to the nine Heavens in confirmation of my truth;-- All for the sake of His Majesty's intelligence.

D: I called on the nine-fold heaven to be my witness, And all for the sake of the Fair One, and no other.

Y: Celestial spheres my witness be on high, I strove but for His Sacred Majesty.

Z: [I] point to the nine heavens that it be true —— That only Spirit Perfection’s cause it is.


L: At first he had given me this promise, But afterwards he repented, avoided me, and took other counsellors.

D: There once was a time when he spoke with me in frankness; But then he repented and was of another mind.

Y: 'Twas first to me he gave his plighted word, But soon repenting other counsel heard.

Z: Firstly [he/she] with me made words — Later repented, fled, and had others


L: I don't think it hard to be separated from him; I am grieved that, intelligent as he is, he should be subject to so many changes.

D: I do not care, on my own count, about this divorcement, But it grieves me to find the Fair One so inconstant.

Y: For me departure could arouse no pain; I grieved to see his royal purpose vain.

Z: I have not [thought] it hard, this separation — [But have] pained for Spirit Perfection’s many changes


L: I had planted nine large fields of orchids; I had sown a hundred acres of the Hûi orchid.

D: I had tended many an acre of orchids, And planted a hundred rods of melilotus;

Y: Nine fields of orchids at one time I grew, For melilot a hundred acres too,

Z: I have cultivated eupatorium by nines of hectares — Again planted ocimum by hundreds of acres.


L: The dykes of my fields showed the Liû-i and Chieh-che, Mixed with asarums and fragrant angelicas.

D: I had raised sweet lichens and the cart‑halting flower, And asarums mingled with fragrant angelica,

Y: And fifty acres for the azalea bright, The rumex fragrant and the lichen white.

Z: Farming paeonia and lysimachia —— Varied asarum and fragrant angelicas


L: I hoped that their branches and leaves would be long and luxuriant! And wished to wait for the time when I should cut them down.

D: And hoped that when leaf and stem were in fullest bloom, When the time had come, I could reap a fine harvest.

Y: I longed to see them yielding blossoms rare, And thought in season due the spoil to share.

Z: Hoping for stalks’ and leaves’ flourishing — Wishing, awaiting the time when I would reap.


L: Though they wither and pass away, why should that grieve me? I lament that, with all their perfume, they were regarded as useless weeds.

D: Though famine should pinch me, it is small matter: But I grieve that all my blossoms should waste in rank weeds.

Y: I did not grieve to see them die away, But grieved because midst weeds they did decay.

Z: Though withering away, still what’s to pain — Grieve for the assembled fragrances’ fallow waste


L: They all emulously strove for advancement through their greed of money and their gluttony; Though full, they never wearied of seeking for more.

D: All others press forward in greed and gluttony, No surfeit satiating their demands:

Y: Insatiable in lust and greediness, The faction strove, and tired not of excess;

Z: The assembled all vie for advancement avariciously — Full insatiable in their pursuits


L: Ah!  they took the measure of others from themselves; Each one excited himself to hatred and jealousy.

D: Forgiving themselves, but harshly judging others; Each fretting his heart away in envy and malice.

Y: Themselves condoning, others they’d decry, And steep their hearts in envious jealousy.

Z: Ah, inwardly overlooking oneself to weigh [other] men —— Each arouses [his] mind and is envious.


L: Reckless they drove along in pursuit (of their objects), Which were quite unimportant to me.

D: Madly they rush in the covetous chase, But not after that which my heart sets store by.

Y: Insatiably they seized what they desired, It was not that to which my heart aspired.

Z: Quickly galloping about to follow the chase —— Not my heart’s urgency.


L: Old age will gradually come on me, and I fear that the cultivation of my name will not have been accomplished.

D: For old age comes creeping and soon will be upon me, And I fear I shall not leave behind an enduring name.

Y: As old age unrelenting hurried near, Lest my fair name should fail was all my fear.

Z: Old age gradually is coming on —— [I] fear a cultivated name will not stand.


L: In the morning I drank the dew that had fallen from the magnolia trees; In the evening I ate the flowers that had fallen from the autumn asters.

D: In the mornings I drank the dew that fell from the magnolia: At evening ate the petals that dropped from chrysanthemums.

Y: Dew from magnolia leaves I drank at dawn, At eve for food were aster petals borne;

Z: Mornings drinking magnolia’s pendant dew ——Evenings eating autumn chrysanthemums’ falling petals


L: Thus sincerely devoted to, and believing in, what is good, and practising what is most important, What did I care for the meagre and emaciated visage?

D: If only my mind can be truly beautiful, It matters nothing that I often faint for famine.

Y: And loving thus the simple and the fair, How should I for my sallow features care?

Z: If my affection is sincerely fair in devotion —— Long pale and gaunt, still what’s to pain


L: I grasped the roots of trees to bind with them the ch'ih; I strung together the flowers dropt from the fig trees;

D: I pulled up roots to bind the valerian And thread the fallen clusters of the castor plant;

Y: With gathered vines I strung valeria white, And mixed with blue wistaria petals bright,

Z: [I] gather tree roots and knot angelica —— String ficus’ fallen pistils


L: I straightened (the branches of) the finest cassia to the thread the orchids on them;

I bound with the hû-shâng beautiful bouquets.

D: I trimmed sprays of cassia for plaiting melilotus, And knotted the lithe, light trails of ivy.

Y: And melilotus matched with cassia sweet, With ivy green and tendrils long to meet.

Z: Take up cinnamomum and stitch osimum —— Bind allium’s entasselled ropes (To bind cap-ribbons’ tassels)


L: It is hard, but I strive to imitate the culture of the former time, Though it is not what the manners of this age approve.

D: I take my fashion from the good men of old, A garb unlike that which the rude world cares for:

Y: Life I adapted to the ancient way, Leaving the manners of the present day;

Z: Oh, my rule is those former cultivators —— Not this age’s custom’s habit {Not the habit that is customary to this age}


L: Though it is not conformed to the (views of the) men of to-day, I wish to imitate the pattern handed down by Păng Hsien.

D: Though it may not accord with present‑day manners, I will follow the pattern that P’eng Hsien has left.

Y: Thus unconforming to the modern age, The path I followed of a bygone sage.

Z: Although it does not fit with today’s people —— [I] wish to adhere to Peng Xian’s legacy (Peng and Xian’s legacy)


L: I have deep sighs, whilst I endeavour to hide my tears; Lamenting the many afflictions to which men are born.

D: Heaving a long sigh, I brush away my tears, Grieving for man’s life, so beset with hardships.

Y: Long did I sigh and wipe away my tears, To see my people bowed by griefs and fears.

Z: Long sighing to cover [my] tears ——Grieving that the common people’s lives have many troubles (Grieving that a person’s life has many troubles)


L: Though I love to cultivate what is good and pure, it serves to me as a bit and bridle. Faithfully in the morning I remonstrated, and in the evening I was dismissed.

D: I have always loved pretty things to bind myself about with, And so mornings I plaited and evenings I twined.

Y: Though I my gifts enhanced and curbed my pride, At morn they'd mock me, would at eve deride;

Z: I, although loving to cultivate fairness as bridle and reigns —— Oh, morning remonstrating but evening replaced (I, however, love to cultivate fairness as bridle and reigns ——Oh, Morning remonstrating and evening another [remonstrance]; I although loving to cultivate fairness am bridled and reigned ——Oh, [they are] morning berating and evening detracting)

There is a general consensus that hǎo /hào is a mistaken interpoltation.


L: Though dismissed, I still wore the cincture of hûi orchids; And added to it a garland which I made of angelicas.

D: When I had finished twining my girdle of orchids, I plucked some angelica to add to its beauty.

Y: First cursed that I angelica should wear, Then cursed me for my melilotus fair.

Z: Already replaced me with an ocimum sachet ——And [I] extended (expanded) it with gathered angelica.


L: The character so emblemed was what my heart approved. Even nine deaths would not make me regret my course.

D: It is this that my heart takes most delight in, And though I died nine times, I should not regret it.

Y: But since my heart did love such purity, I'd not regret a thousand deaths to die.

Z:  This is my heart’s goodness —— Despite nine deaths, even so without regret {This is that which my heart holds to be good}


L: I was indignant that our Intelligent Ruler should be so greatly indifferent, And never examine the minds of the people.

D: What I do resent is the Fair One’s waywardness: Because he will never look to see what is in men’s hearts.

Y: I marvel at the folly of the king, So heedless of his people's suffering.

Z: Begrudging (Complaining of) Spirit Perfection’s loftiness ——To the end [she/he] does not perceive the common people’s (this person’s) heart


L: (The courtiers, like) the ladies (of a harem), all hated my silk-worm eyebrows, And vilified me, saying I was given to licentiousness.

D: All your ladies were jealous of my delicate beauty; They chattered spitefully, saying I loved wantonness.

Y: They envied me my mothlike eyebrows fine, And so my name his damsels did malign.

Z: The assembled women envy my moth [-wing] eyebrows ——Sing slander about my wantoness.


L: Yes, stupid are the skilful builders of to-day! They turn the back on the compass and square; they lay them aside for other measures;

D: Truly, this generation are cunning artificers! From square and compass they turn their eyes and change the true measurement,

Y: Truly to craft alone their praise they paid, The square in measuring they disobeyed;

Z: Surely this time’s custom’s craftiness ——[Is to] turn face from compass and square and change methods.


L: They reject the line marked by the plummet, and try a crooked one instead; They strive to get themselves borne with: this is their constant rule.

D: They disregard the ruled line to follow their crooked fancies: To emulate in flattery is their only rule.

Y: The use of common rules they held debased; With confidence their crooked lines they traced.

Z: Turn back on the levelling line to follow curves ——Vying for complaisance is the standard.


L: Sad and disappointed, I am irresolute; I am now solitary, and reduced to the greatest straits.

D: But I am sick and sad at heart and stand irresolute: I alone am at a loss in this generation.

Y: In sadness plunged and sunk in deepest gloom, Alone I drove on to my dreary doom.

Z: Brooding gloomily, I am despondent —— I am alone exhausted and trapped by this era.


L: But sudden death and banishment would be more welcome to me That to act in such a way as they do.

D: Yet I would rather quickly die and meet dissolution Before I ever would consent to ape their behavior.

Y: In exile rather would I meet my end, Than to the baseness of their ways descend.

Z: Rather sudden death and flowing loss —— I won’t endure [it] to be in this manner.


L: The birds of prey do not collect in flocks; So it has been in all generations.

D: Eagles do not flock like birds of lesser species; So it has ever been since the olden time.

Y: Remote the eagle spurns the common range, Nor deigns since time began its way to change;

Z: Raptors’ not [flocking] together —— Since former eras it has been surely so.

[ Raptors are hunting birds, such as eagles, falcons, and hawks.]


L: How can the square and the round fit in together? How can those who pursue different ways agree together?

D: How can the round and square ever fit together? How can different ways of life ever be reconciled?

Y: A circle fits not with a square design; Their different ways could not be merged with mine.

Z: How could square and circle possibly fit ——So who with different way(s) [could] yet meet peaceably

[Qu Yuan is a square peg; his place and time were a round hole. Perhaps he is a square peg to any place and time.]


L: I bent my mind and controlled my will, To bear the charges against me, and cast from me the shame of them.

D: Yet humbling one's spirit and curbing one's pride, Bearing blame humbly and enduring insults,

Y: Yet still my heart I checked and curbed my pride, Their blame endured and their reproach beside.

Z: Bending my heart and suppressing my aspiration —— Enduring blame and withstanding insults


L: I would keep pure and unstained, and even die in maintenance of the right; Pursuing the course which the earlier sages approved.

D: But keeping pure and spotless and dying in righteousness: Such conduct was greatly prized by the wise men of old.

Y: To die for righteousness alone I sought, For this was what the ancient sages taught.

Z: To uphold clear whiteness by dying straightly —— Surely the former sages’ reverence (Surely is that which the former sages revered).


L: I regretted that I had not examined more my course, And long stood considering whether I should go back;

D: Repenting, therefore, that I had not conned the way more closely, I halted, intending to turn back again –

Y: I failed my former errors to discern; I tarried long, but now I would return.

Z: [I] regret assistance and leadership are not investigated —— Wait—I will turn back ([I] regret that the marks of the way are not investigated ——)


L: Turning my carriage round, and retracing my way, While yet I had not gone far astray.

D: To turn about my chariot and retrace my road Be I had advanced too far along the path of folly.

Y: My steeds I wheeled back to their former way, Lest all too long down the wrong path I stray.

Z: [I] return my chariot to recover the road —— To the path lost it is not far.


L: I walked my horses through the orchid fields along the lake; Then I galloped them to the mound of pepper trees, and there stopt.

D: I walked my horses through the marsh's orchid-covered margin; I galloped to the hill of pepper-trees and rested there.

Y: On orchid-covered bank I loosed my steed, And let him gallop by the flow'ry mead

Z: [I] walk my horses by the eupatorium bank ——Gallop to the zanthoxylum hill then here stop and rest.


L: My advance was ineffectual to lead (the King) from his errors, And I retired to cultivate again my former habits.

D: I could not go in to him for fear of meeting trouble, And so, retired, I would once more fashion my former raiment.

Y: At will. Rejected now and in disgrace, I would retire to cultivate my grace.

Z: [I] advance without entrance for encountering blame —— Retire to renew the cultivation of my first habit.


L: I fashioned the (flowers of the) water-caltrops and lotus to (adorn) my upper garment; I collected those of the hibiscus for my lower one.

D: I made a coat of lotus and water-chestnut leaves, And gathered lotus peatals to make myself a skirt.

Y: With cress leaves green my simple gown I made, With lilies white my rustic garb did braid.

Z: Making nelumbo to be a robe —— Collecting lotuses to be a skirt.

[芰荷 refers the leaves of the lotus plant, while芙蓉refers to the blossoms of the same plant]


L: If he acknowledged me not, I would give up my efforts; My own wishes were to realize a similar fragrancy.

D: I will no longer care that no one understands me, As long as I can keep the sweet fragrance of my mind.

Y: Why should I grieve to go unrecognized, Since in my heart fragrance was truly prized?

Z: None me knowing, this is still complete —— If my affection is sincerely fragrant


L: How loftily rose the top of my cap! How many and various were the ornaments of my girdle!

D: Higher still the hat now that towered on my head, And longer the girdle that dangled from my waist.

Y: My headdress then high-pinnacled I raised, Lengthened my pendents, where bright jewels blazed.

Z: High my cap’s steepness —— Long my sash’s assortment


L: How did their fragrance and soft beauty blend together; Showing that my brightness and ability had not failed!

D: Fragrant and foul migle in confusion, But my inner brightness has remained undimmed.

Y: Others may smirch their fragrance and bright hues, My innocence is proof against abuse.

Z: Fragrant and lustrous (swampy) are intermingled —— Only shining substance is still without loss.


L: Suddenly I turned round, to let my eyes look all about; I would go and see the most distant regions of the four quarters.

D: Suddenly I turned back and let my eyes wander. I resolved to go and visit all the world's quarters.

Y: Oft I looked back, gazed to the distance still, Longed in the wilderness to roam at will.

Z: Suddenly [I] turn [my] head to allover gaze —— [I] will go to survey the four frontiers


L: The rich appurtenances of my girdle and its many ornaments (would be seen), Their exuberant fragrance would be more displayed!

D: My garland's crowded blossoms, mixed in fair confusion, Wafted the sweetness of their fragrance far and wide.

Y: Splendid my ornaments together vied, With all the fragrance of the flowers beside;

Z: Sash profuse, such numerous ornaments ——Fragrance aromatic, such increasing radiance


L: Every man born has that in which he delights, But I alone wish to cultivate what is good as my constant work;

D: All men have something in their lives that gives them pleasure: With me the love of beauty is my constant joy.

Y: All men had pleasures in their various ways, My pleasure was to cultivate my grace.

Z: Common people’s lives each have their pleasures ——I alone love cultivation as [my] constant


L: Though my body were torn in pieces, I would not change. Is there anything in my mind to reprove?

D: I could not change this, even if my body were dismembered; For how could dismemberment ever hurt my mind?

Y: I would not change, though they my body rend; How could my heart be wrested from its end?

 Z: Though body be undone I still will not change —— How could my heart be punishable?


L: (My sister,) Nü-hsü, drawn by her affection, Would gently say to me, while blaming me,

D: My Nu Xu was fearful and clung to me imploringly, Lifting her voice up in expostulation:

Y: My handmaid fair, with countenance demure, Entreated me allegiance to abjure:

Z: The woman’s sweet sympathy —— Spread softly, her scolding me (The woman’s bewitching allure —— Again and again she rebukes me.)


L: "Kwăn, obstinate and unbending, brought upon him his death, Coming at last to a premature end in the wild of Yü.

D: "Gun in his stubbornness took no thought for his life, And perished, as result, on the moor of Feather Mountain.

Y: "A hero perished in the plain ill-starred, Where pigmies stayed their plumage to discard.

Z: Saying: Gun in forthrightness so lost his body (stubbornly persisted, forgetting his body) —— Finally perished on Mt. Yu’s wilds.


L: "Why do you so fully speak out your mind, and indulge your love of culture, Standing out alone in the possession of your admirable qualities?

D: Why be so lofty, with your passion for purity? Why must you alone have such delicate adornment?

Y: Why lovest thou thy grace and purity, Alone dost hold thy splendid virtue high?

Z: You why so broadly candid (gathering) and loving cultivation —— Abundantly [you] alone keep this fair measure.


L: Like the tribulus, the king-grass, and the burr-weed, your enemies fill the court, While you stand separate with quite another mind."

D: Thorns, king-grass, curly-ear hold the place of power: But you must needs stand apart and not speak them fair.

Y: Lentils and weeds the prince's chamber fill: Why holdest thou aloof with stubborn will?

Z: Amassing arthraxon and xanthium to fill rooms —— Separately [you] alone distance [it] and don’t make [it into your] habit.


L: (I replied,) "How can all men be talked with from house to house? Who would examine the real facts of my case?

D: "You cannot go from door to door convincing everybody; No one can say, 'See, look into my mind!'

Y: Thou canst not one by one the crowd persuade, And who the purpose of our heart hath weighed?

Z: The crowd can’t at [each] door be persuaded ——Who is it can percieve my inner affection.


L: In the world they all put one another forward, and love partizanship; How should they regard a poor solitary like me, and listen to me?"

D: Others band together and like to have companions: Why must you be so aloof? Why not heed my counsel?"

Y: Faction and strife the world hath ever loved; Heeding me not, why standest thou removed?"

 Z: The world joins for promotion and loves to make factions ——Then why solitary and not me hearing


L: I would test the correctness of my views by those of the former sages, And mournfully in my excitement unfold all my mind.

D: But I look to the wise men of old for my guidance. So singing, with a full heart, I bore her upbraidings

Y: I sought th' ancestral voice to ease my woe. Alas, how one so proud could sink so low!

Z: Rely on the former sages to moderate within —— Sigh, full heart, and undergo this.


L: I crossed the Yüan and Hsiang on my way to the south, And by the grave of Ch'ung-hwâ set forth my plaint.

D: And crossing the Yuan and Xiang, I journeyed southwards, Till I came to where Chong Hua was and made my plaint to him.

Y: To barbarous south I went across the stream; Before the ancient I began my theme:

Z: Cross the Yuan and Xiang to southward go —— Arrive at Chonghua and state the case.


L: Ch'î (received) the Nine Accounts (of the provinces of the kingdom) and Nine Songs about them. (His son), K'ang of Hsiâ, found his pleasure in self-indulgence,

D: "Singing the Nine Songs and dancing the Nine Changes, Qi of Xia made revelry and knew no restraint,

Y: "With odes divine there came a monarch's son, Whose revels unrestrained were never done;

Z: Qi [had] the Nine Pieces and Nine Songs —— Greatly [he] delighted to himself indulge (Xia Kang played in self-indulgence).


L: Without thinking of the troubles (arising from it), or any consideration of the future; And (his brothers), "the Five Sons," thereby lost their possessions.

D: Taking no thought for the troubles that would follow: And so his five sons fell out, brother against brother.

Y: In antics wild, to coming perils blind, He fought his brother, and his sway declined.

Z: Not regarding difficulty and planning for later ——Wu the Younger thus made household [struggle].


L: Î, given to vicious indulgence, found his pleasure in hunting, And was fond of shooting the great foxes,

D: Yih loved idle roaming and hunting to distraction, And took delight in shooting at the mighty foxes.

Y: The royal archer, in his wanton chase For foxes huge, his kingdom did disgrace.

Z: Yi wantonly roamed in wild hunting —— Again loved to shoot the great fox [boar].


L: But seldom is it that one abandoned to disorder and idleness comes to a (good) end; And Cho, (î's minister), was coveting his wife.

D: But foolish dissipation has seldom a good end, and Han Zhuo covetously took his master's wife.

Y: Such wantonness predicts no happy end; His queen was stolen by his loyal friend.

Z: Surely wildness to the current (against the flow) has its rare end —— Zhuo then lusted for his family.


L: (Cho's son) Âo was possessed of immense strength. Abandoned to his lusts, he put no restraint on himself,

D: "Zhuo's son, Jiao, put on his strong armor, And wreaked his wild will without any restraint.

Y: The traitor's son, clad in prodigious might, In incest sinned and cared not what was right.

Z: Jiao’s body was clothed in strong fortitude ——[He] indulged desires and did not forbear


L: Daily devoted to pleasure, he forgot all restraints, Till his head in consequence fell from his body.

D: The days passed in pleasure; far he forgot himself, Till his head came tumbling down from his shoulders.

Y: He reveled all his days, forgetting all; His head at last in treachery did fall.

Z: Daily delighting and himself forgetting —— So his head by this fell severed


L: Chieh of Hsiâ was a constant rebel (against right), Taking his own way, and meeting with calamity.

D: Jie of Xia all his days was a king most unnatural, And so he came finally to meet with calamity.

Y: And then the prince, who counsels disobeyed, Did court disaster, and his kingdom fade.

Z: Xia Jie’s constant transgression —— Then followed like such and met disaster


L: King Hsin cut up and pickled (the flesh of the Earl of Mei), And in consequence the temple of (the kings of) Yin did not last long.

D: Zhou cut up and salted the bodies of his ministers; And so the days were numbered of the House of Yin.

Y: A prince his sage in burning cauldrons tossed; His glorious dynasty ere long was lost.

Z: Lord Xin’s mincing and saucing —— The Yin lineage thusly could not last.


L: T'ang and Yü, in their dignified awe, were reverent and respectful; (The founders of) Châu weighed well the Path, and erred not in regard to it.

D: "Tang of Shang and Yu of Xia were reverent and respectful; The House of Zhou chose the true way without error,

Y: But stern and pious was their ancient sire, And his successor too did faith inspire;

Z: Tang and Yu were solemn and respectfully venerated ——Zhōu theorized the Way and made no error


L: They employed the wise and talented, and gave power to the able; They kept to the straight line, without deviation from it.

D: Raising up the virtuous and able men to government. Following the straight line without fear or favor.

Y: Exalted were the wise, the able used, The rule was kept and never was abused.

Z: [They] raised up worthies and received the skilled ——Obeyed the inked line and didn’t break [from] it


L: August Heaven has no private partialities; It observes the qualities of men, and disowns or helps accordingly.

D: High god in Heaven knows no partiality; He looks for the virtuous and makes them his ministers.

Y: The august heaven, with unbiased grace, All men discerns, and helps the virtuous race;

Z: Exalted Heaven is without selfishness ——Appraising the common people’s Virtue to thus arrange aid


L: It is only the conduct fully ordered by sage wisdom That can obtain rule on this earth below.

D: For only the wise and good can ever flourish If it is given them to possess the earth.

Y: Sagacious princes through their virtuous deed The earth inherit, and their reigns succeed.

Z: It’s only sagely wisdom and flourishing activity ——By which can be had this underlying earth (Easily attained thereby this underlying earth)


L: Looking back to the earlier and round on the later times, We obtain a complete view of (Heaven's)dealings with men.

D: "I have looked back into the past and forward to later ages, Examining the outcomes of men's different designs.

Y: The past I probed, the future so to scan, And found these rules that guide the life of man:

Z: Gaze up ahead and turn to look behind —— Observe the common people’s counted end

(schemed outcome/ultimate principles)


L: Who without righteousness was ever fit to be employed? Who without goodness was ever fit to direct affairs?

D: Where is the unrighteous man who could be trusted? Where is the wicked man whose service could be used?

Y: A man unjust in deed who would engage? Whom should men take as guide except the sage?

Z: O who is unprincipled yet could be relied on —— Who is unkind and yet could serve


L: As on a precipice I exposed my person to danger, and nearly met with death; But looking on my course from the first, I still feel no regret.

D: Though I stand at the pit's mouth and death yawns before me, I still feel no regret at the course I have chosen.

Y: In mortal dangers death I have defied, Yet could look back, and cast regret aside.

Z: Embrinking my body and risking death ——Appraise my beginning; it is suchly without regrets


L: It was by not measuring their chisel, and fashioning the handle for it. The former worthies caused themselves to be killed and kept in pickle.

D: Straightening the handle, regardless of the socket's shape: For that crime the good men of old were hacked in pieces."

Y: Who strove, their tool's defects accounting nought, Like ancient sages were to cauldrons brought"

Z: An unmeasured mortise and a correct tenon ——Surely former cultivators were minced and sauced


L: Sighing and sobbing because of my distressful sorrow, I bewailed that the time is so unsuitable for me.

D: Many a heavy sigh I heaved in my despair, Grieving that I was born in such an unlucky time.

Y: Thus I despaired, my face with sad tears marred, Mourning with bitterness my years ill-starred;

Z: More choking sobs, I’m full of gloom —— Grieving that my time’s not right.


L: I took the soft hûi orchids to wipe the tears, The torrents of which wet the lapel of my gown.

D: I plucked soft lotus petals to wipe my welling tears That fell down in rivers and wet my coat front.

Y: And melilotus leaves I took to stem The tears that streamed down to my garment's hem.

Z: [I] gather soft ocimum to cover [my] tears —— Soaking my clothes, their waves.


L: Kneeling on my outspread skirt, I set forth my complaint; And had a clear conviction that my views were true and correct.

D: I kelt on my outspread skirts and poured my plaint out, And the righteousness within me was clearly manifest.

Y: Soiling my gown, to plead my case I kneeled; Th' ancestral voice the path to me revealed.

Z: Kneeling [I] arrange [my] robe to state the case ——Brightly I already have obtained this integrity (inner uprightness)


L: In car drawn by four unhorned dragons, smooth as jade, and mounted on a phoenix, It was for me at once, through dust and wind, to travel on high.

D: I yoked a team of jade dragons to a phoenix-figured car And waited for the wind to come, to soar up on my journey.

Y: Swift jade-green dragons, birds with plumage gold, I harnessed to the whirlwind, and behold,

Z: [I] team four jade dragonets and ride the yi [bird] ——Suddenly in dust and wind I upward go

(Suddenly awaited wind me upraises to go)


L: In the morning I started from Ts'ang-wu, And in the evening I came to Hsuan-pu.

D: In the morning I started on my way from Ts'ang-wu;(burial ground) In the evening I came to the Garden of Paradise. (God's seat)

Y: At daybreak from the land of plane-trees grey, I came to paradise ere close of day.

Z: Morning release the brakes at Cangwu —— Evening I arrive at Xuanpu


L: I wished to delay a little at the sculptured gate (of this abode) of the Immortals, But the day seemed hastening to the evening.

D: I wanted to stay a while in those fairy precincts, But the swift-moving sun was dipping to the west.

Y: I wished within the sacred grove to stay, The sun had sunk, and darkness wrapped the way;

Z: [I] want to briefly stay at this Spirit Engraving —— The sun swiftly is nearing sunset.


L: I commanded Hsi and Ho to delay the stages of their course, And not to hurry on as they made for Yen-tsze.

D: I order Hsi-ho (sun-Charioteer) to stay the sun-steed's gallop, To stand over Yen-tzu mountain not go in.

Y: The driver of the sun I bade to stay, Ere with the setting rays we haste away.

Z: I command Xihe to halt —— Look to Yanzi and hurry [my] approach


L: The way was long, and distant far was my goal; I would ascend and descend, pursuing my search.

D: Long, long had been my road and far, far was the journey; I would go up and down to seek my heart's desire.

Y: The way was long, and wrapped in gloom did seem, As I urged on to seek my vanished dream.

Z: The road long, long, such vast distance —— I will go above and below in pursuit


L: I watered my horses at the pool of Hsien; I gathered up and tied my reins to a Fu-sang (tree);

D: I watered my dragon steeds at the Pool of Heaven, And tied their reins up to the Fusang tree.

Y: The dragons quenched their thirst beside the lake Where bathed the sun, whilst I upon the brake

Z: Water my horses at the Xian pool —— Tie (gather) my reigns at the Fusang [tree]


L: I broke off a branch from a Zo tree to defend myself from the sun: Thus did I enjoy myself, aimlessly wandering.

D: I broke a sprig of Ruo tree to strike the sun with: First I would roam a little for my enjoyment.

Y: Fastened my reins; a golden bough I sought To brush the sun, and tarred there in sport.

Z: Break the Ruo tree to whip (block, beat back) the sun —— For now unconstrained and lingering.


L: Before me I sent Wang-shu, (the charioteer of the Moon), as my precursor, And behind me Fei-lien, (the Baron of the Wind), hurried on in attendance;

D: I sent Wang Shu ahead to ride before me; The Wind God went behind as my outrider;

Y: The pale moon's charioteer I then bade lead, The master of the winds swiftly succeed;

Z: Ahead Wangshu [I] make to lead the advance ——Behind Feilian [I] make to run in the following.

[ Wangshu is the charioteer of the moon]


L: A lwan and a phoenix went before with guardian care; The master of Thunder told of anything that had not been prepared.

D: The Bird of Heaven gave notice of my comings; The Thunder God warned me when all was not ready.

Y: Before, the royal blue bird cleared the way; The lord of thunder urged me to delay.

Z: Luan-phoenix is my fore-guard (gives me advance warning)—— Thunder Master tells me it is not yet complete.


L: I ordered the phoenix to fly aloft, And continue its flight day and night.

D: I caused my phoenixes to mount on their pinions And fly ever onward by night and by day.

Y: I bade the phoenix scan the heaven wide; But vainly day and night its course it tried;

Z: I command the phoenix-bird to soar —— Continuing it by day and night


L: But a whirlwind brought together my opponents;-- Clouds and rainbows were led to meet and oppose me.

D: The whirlwinds gathered and came out to meet me, Leading clouds and rainbows, to give me welcome.

Y: The gathering whirlwinds drove it from my sight, Rushing with lowering clouds to check my flight;

Z: Whirling wind assembling, separating (assembles this gathering) —— Leading cloud rainbows to come welcome (to come defend, and approaching chariots)


L: In multitudes they came together, now dividing, now collecting. In confusion they separated, some going above, and others beneath.

D: In wild confusion, now joined and now parted, Upwards and downwards rushed the glittering train.

Y: Sifting and merging in the firmament, Above, below, in various hues they went.

Z: Abundantly collected in their joinedness —— Speckledly variegated in their rise and fall


L: I ordered the porter of God to open the gate, But, leaning against it, he only stared at me.

D: I asked Heaven's porter to open up for me; But he leant across heaven's gate and eyed me churlishly.

Y: The gate-keeper of heaven I bade give place, But leaning on his door he scanned my face;

Z: I command the Emperor’s door guard to open the gate —— Leaning on Heaven’s Gate, [he] looks at me (so [he may] look at me).


L: The time was dark and obscure, and I was nearly wearied out; I tied (to my girdle) the secluded orchids, and remained long as if not heeding anything.

D: The day was getting dark and drawing to its close. Knotting orchids, I waited in indecision.

Y: The day grew dark, and now was nearly spent; Idly my orchids into wreaths I bent.

Z: Time dimly is coming to the end —— Tie orchidacaea and prolong the wait


L: The age was one of confusion and greed, where no notice was taken of the different characters of men; The good were kept in obscurity, and viewed with hatred and jealousy.

D: The muddy, impure world, so undiscriminating, Seeks always to hide beauty, out of jealousy.

Y: The virtuous and the vile in darkness merged; They veiled my virtue, by their envy urged.

Z: The world is foul muddy and not distinguished —— Loving to block beauty and to envy


L: On the morrow, being about to cross the White-water, I ascended to the top of Lang-fâng, and there halted my horses.

D: I decided when morning came to cross the White Water, and climbed the peak of Langfeng, and there tied up my steeds.

Y: At dawn the waters white I left behind; My steed stayed by the portals of the wind;

Z: Morning I go to ford the White Water —— Climb Langfeng and tether the horses


L: Suddenly I looked back and shed tears, Lamenting that on the lofty height there was no lady (for me).

D: Then I looked about me and suddenly burst out weeping, because on that high hill there was no fair lady.

Y: Yet, gazing back, a bitter grief I felt That in the lofty crag no damsel dwelt.

Z: Suddenly [I] turn [my] head with flowing tears ——Grieving for the high hill’s absence of women


L: Forthwith I rambled to this palace of the Spring And broke off a branch of the ch'iung tree to add to my girdle.

D: "Here I am, suddenly, in this House of Spring. I have broken off a jasper branch to add to my girdle.

Y: I wandered eastward to the palace green, And pendents sought where jasper boughs were seen,

Z: Swiftly I roam (Suddenly I’m roaming) in this spring palace —— [I] break nephrite branch to lengthen [my] sash.


L: Before the glorious flower (of my years) had fallen, I would see the attendant of the lady to transmit an offering (for me).

D: Before the jasper flowers have shed their bright petals, I shall look for a maiden below to give it to."

Y: And vowed that they, before their splendor fade, As gift should go to grace the loveliest maid.

Z: While flowers and blossoms are yet unfallen ——Mark the lower women’s bequeathable [ones] (Observe among the women below those to whom it could be bequeathed)


L: I ordered Făng-lung (=the Master of Thunder) to mount on a cloud, And search for the palace where the lady Fû was.

D: So I made Feng Long ride off on a cloud, To seek out the dwelling-place of the lady Fufei.

Y: The lord of clouds I then bade mount the sky To seek the steam where once the nymph did lie;

Z: I command Fenglong, riding the clouds —— [I] seek Fufei’s abode

[Fenglong is the Master of Clouds or the God of Thunder.]


L: I unloosed the string of my girdle to serve as the gage of my truth, And ordered Ch'ien-hsiu to transact the affair for me.

D: I took off my girdle as a pledge of my suit to her, And ordered Lame Beauty to be the go-between.

Y: As pledge I gave my belt of splendid sheen, My councilor appointed go-between.

Z: Untie my sash cloth as a promise (to tie/knot/bind words) —— I command Jianxiu to be (music of drum and bell for) the matchmaker

[Wangyi says Jianxiu is a minister of Lord Fuxi.]


L: In multitudes (he and others) came together, now dividing, now collecting. suddenly misunderstandings arose, difficult to change.

D: Many were the hurried meetings and  partings: All wills and caprices, she was hard to woo.

Y: Fleeting and wilful like capricious cloud, Her obstinacy swift no change allowed.

Z: Abundantly collected in their joinedness (Disordered throughout is their scatteredness) ——

Suddenly unreasonable (weaving inklines/boundaries) in her difficulty to acquiesce.


L: In the evening I returned and halted at Ch'iung-shih; In the morning I washed my hair in the water of Wêi-p'an.

D: In the evenings she went to lodge in the Qiongshi mountain; In the mornings she washed her hair in the Weipan stream.

Y: At dusk retired she to the crag withdrawn, Her hair beside the stream she washed at dawn.

Z: Evening returning to pass at the Last Rock ——Morning washing [my/her] hair in the Weipan


L:  She guarded her beauty with a haughty arrogance; She daily sought her pleasure in licentious abandonment.

D: With proud disdain she guarded her beauty, Passing each day in idle, wanton pleasures.

Y: Exulting in her beauty and her pride, Pleasure she worshipped, and no whim denied;

Z: Guarding (depending on/conserving) her beauty in arrogance —— Daily revelry in wanton roaming (Guarding one’s beauty with pride —— Daily delighting in wandering travel)


L: Truly beautiful she was, but had no regard to propriety; Therefore, I abandoned her, and sought elsewhere.

D: Though fair she may be; she lacks all seemliness: Come! I'll have none of her; let us search elsewhere!

Y: So fair of form, so careless of all grace, I turned to take another in her place.

Z: Though surely beautiful yet without propriety ——Come, abandon [her] and change the pursuit.


L: In my inspection I surveyed (the earth) to its four extreme points; I travelled all over the sky, and then descended (to the earth).

D: I looked all around over the earth's four quarters, Circling the heavens till at last I alighted.

Y: To earth's extremities I sought my bride, And urged my train through all the heaven wide.

Z: See, observe the four extremes —— Circling around in heaven I then went down


L: (There,) looking to the lofty height of the Yâo-built tower, I saw the beautiful daughter of the prince of Sung.

D: I gazed on a jade tower's glittering splendor, And spied the lovely daughter of the Lord of Song.

Y: Upon a lofty crag of jasper green The beauteous princess of the west was seen.

Z: [I] look to the Polished Jade Platform’s dizzying height ——Catch sight of Yousong’s dusky (beautiful/wandering/lost/hidden/wanton/crowded) women


L: I ordered Chăn to make proposals of a union with her for me, But he told me that she was not good.

D: I sent off the magpie to pay my court to her, But the magpie told me that my suit had gone amiss.

Y: The falcon then I bade entreat the maid, But he, demurring, would my course dissuade;

Z: command the zhen [bird] to be go-between ——The zhen [bird] announces to me that it is not good

[Zhen bird’s feathers contain poison that can kill a man]


L: (Then) there passed by a jackdaw screaming; But I still hated the lightness and craft of them both.

D: The magpie flew off with noisy chatterings. I hate him for an idle, knavish fellow.

Y: The turtle-dove cooed soft and off did fly, But I mistrusted his frivolity.

Z: The male pigeon crying travels —— I so hate his frivolity


L: My mind full of doubt, and, mistrusting as a fox, I wished to go myself, but it was not proper for me to do so.

D: My mind was irresolute and havering; I wanted to go, and yet I could not.

Y: Like whelp in doubt, like timid fox in fear, I wished to go, but wandered ever near.

Z: Heart irresolute and doubtful —— [I] want to myself go and yet cannot.


L: The phoenix, (moreover,) had been employed by Kâo-hsin to negotiate a marriage with her, And I feared that (that sovereign) had anticipated me.

D: Already the phoenix had taken his present, And I feared that Gao Xin would get there before me.

Y: With nuptial gifts the phoenix swiftly went; I feared the prince had won her ere I sent.

Z: The phoenix has already been entrusted —— [I] fear Gao Xin’s before me


L: I wished to settle far off, but there was no place where I could rest; Perhaps I might wander aimlessly about and enjoy myself.

D: I wanted to go far away, but had nowhere to go to: Where could I wander to look for amusement?

Y: I longed to travel far, yet with no bourn, I could but wander aimless and forlorn.

Z: [I] want to distantly gather, but [there is] nowhere to stop ——For now [I] drift about in unconstraint


L: (Ah!) while Shâo-k'ang was yet unmarried, There would have been left for me the two yâos of the state of Yü!

D: Before they were married to Prince Shao Kang, Lord Yu's two daughters were there for the wooing,

Y: Before the young king was in marriage bound, The royal sisters twain might still be found;

Z: While Shao Kang’s yet unfamilied —— [I] stay with  (There remains) Youyu’s two Yao


L: My grounds of application were weak, and my go-between was stupid; I was afraid that the communication of my views would not be (sufficiently) firm.

D: But my pleader was weak and my matchmaker stupid, And I feared that this suit, too, would not be successful.

Y: My plea was weak, my mission was but frail; I knew that my demand could not avail.

Z: The matchmaker weak and the go-between stupid ——[I] fear the introduction’s not sure


L: The age is one of confusion and greed, and of hatred of the wise and good; All love to keep the excellent in obscurity, and to celebrate the praises of the bad.

D: For the world is impure and envious of the able, Eager to hide men's good and make much of their ill.

Y: The world is dark, and envious of my grace; They veil my virtue and the evil praise.

Z: The world is foul muddy and jealous of worth ——Loving to block beauty and praise evil


L: (Since) the female apartments inside are so deep and distant, and the wise king moreover does not awake,

D: Deep in the palace, unapproachable, The wise king slumbers and will not be awakened.

Y: Thy chamber dark lies in recesses deep, Sagacious prince, risest thou not from sleep?

Z: The cloister’s interior (What’s within the cloister gate) is already remote —— The wise king again does not awaken


L: I will keep my feelings in my breast, and not express them. How can I bear to abide with such people so long as the ages of the past?

D: That the thoughts in my breast should all go unuttered -- How can I endure this until I end my days?

Y: My zeal unknown the prince would not descry; How could I bear this harsh eternity?

Z: [I] embosom my affection and don’t express [it] ——I how could endure with this to the end


L: I searched for the hibiscus and the grass-ropes, to divine with the splinters of bamboo, And commanded Ling-făn to explain their indications for me.

D: I searched for the holy plant and twigs of bamboo, And ordered Ling Fen to make divination for me.

Y: With mistletoe and herbs of magic worth, I urged the witch the future to show forth.

Z: [I] gather calystegia (and imperata) stalks for divining sticks —— Order Spririt Aura for me to divine it


L: He said,"(It is,) The two Beauties are sure to act in union; But who (here) will believe in your culture, and desire it?

D: He said, "Beauty is always bound to find its mate: Who that was truly fair was ever without lovers?

Y: "If two attain perfection they must meet, But who is there that would thy virtue greet?

Z: [She] says: Two beauties must be joined —— Who trusts cultivation and adores it


L: "Consider the vast extent of the nine regions; Is it only here that the lady (whom you seek) is to be found?

D: Think of the vastness of the wide world, Here is not the only place where you can find your lady.

Y: Far the nine continents their realm display; Why here to seek thy bride doth thou delay?

Z: Ponder the nine lands’ broad vastness —— Could only here have women(you)?


L: I tell you, Strive to go away far, and allow no doubts to arise: Who will be seeking an admirable (partner), and neglect you?

D: "Go further afield," he said, " and do not be faint-hearted. What woman seeking handsome mate could ever refuse you?

Y: "Away!" she cried. "Set craven doubt aside, If beauty' s sought, there' s none hath with thee vied.

Z: [She] says: Exert for a distant voyage and have no doubts ——Who’d seek beauty yet let go of you?(women)?


L: "What place is there in which alone there are no fragrant plants? Why do you keep on thinking of your past abode?"

D: "What place on earth does not boast some fragrant flower? Why need you always cleave to your old home?

Y: What place is there where orchids flower not fair? Why is thy native land thy single care?

Z: What place is alone without fragrant herbs —— You why yearn for these old eves?


L: (But I rejoined,) "The age is dark, and dazzled by what is bright. Who will examine whether I am good or bad?

D: The world today is blinded with its own folly: You cannot make people see the virtue inside you.

Y: "Now darkly lies the world in twilight's glow, Who doth your defects and your virtue know?

Z: The world is dark dim and dazzling —— Who is such to percieve my/our good and evil


L: " People differ in their likings and dislikings; But those partizans (Ch'u) are peculiar, and differ from all others.

D: Most people's loathings and likings are different, Only these men here are not as others are;

Y: Evil and good herein are reconciled; The crowd alone hath nought but is defiled.

Z: People’s loves and hates are not the same (Common people’s loves and hates, are they not the same?) —— Only these clique-men are unique


L: In every house they carry at their waists bags full of moxa, And say that the secluded orchids are not fit for their girdles.

D: For they wear mugwort and cram their waistbands with it, But the lovely valley orchid they deem unfit to wear.

Y: With stinking mugwort girt upon their waist, They curse the others for their orchids chaste;

Z: Households wear artemisia to stuff at their waists ——Saying orchidaceae it can’t be sashed


L: "However they look at and examine plants and trees, They still cannot distinguish one from another; How much less can they estimate the value of the brilliant ch'ăng jade!

D: "Since beauty of flower, then, and of shrub escapes them, What chance has a rarest jewel of gaining recognition?

Y: Ignorant thus in choice of fragrance rare, Rich ornaments how could they fitly wear?

Z: See, perceive herbs and trees, what’s still unattained ——How could the jade pendant’s beauty not be right


L: They collect muck and earth to fill their perfume bags; And say that the pepper plant of Shăn has no fragrance."

D: They gather up muck to stuff their perfume bags with; The spicy pepper-plant they say has got no scent at all."

Y: With mud and filth they fill their pendent bag; Cursing the pepper sweet, they brawl and brag."

Z: Taking shit and dirt to fill their sachets —— Saying zanthoxylum is not fragrant


L: I wished to follow the auspicious oracle of Ling-făn, But my mind was undecided, and I was suspicious as a fox.

D: I wanted to follow Ling Fen's auspicious oracle, But I faltered and could not make my mind up.

Y: Although the witches counsel I held good, In foxlike indecision still I stood.

Z: [I] want to follow Spirit Aura’s auspicious divination ——[My] heart is irresolute and doubtful


L: The (old) sorcerer, Wû Hsien, was to descend that evening; I would take pepper and the finest rice, and constrain him (to divine by them for me).

D: I heard that Wu Xian was descending in the evening, so I lay in wait with offerings of peppered rice-balls.

Y: At night the wizard great made his descent, And meeting him spiced rice I did present.

Z: Shaman Xian will by evening descend ——[I] fill my arms with zanthoxylum and sacrifical rice to attend her.


L: Hundreds of spirits overshadowed him as he descended in state; Multitudes also from (the hill of) Nine Doubts met him at the same time.

D: The spirits came like a dense cloud descending, And the host of Doubting Mountain came crowding to meet him.

Y: The angels came, shading with wings the sky; From mountains wild the deities drew nigh.

Z: A hundred deities canopied in preparation to descend ——Nine Doubts abounds in alignment to welcome


L: August (Heaven thus) gloriously displayed its power, so telling me that the issue (of Ling-făn's advice) would be good.

D: His godhead was manifested by a blaze of radiance, And he addressed me in these auspicious words:

Y: With regal splendor shone the solemn sight, And thus the wizard spake with omens bright:

Z: Exalted and glinting are the rising spirits ——[She] announces it to me with auspicious stories


L: (Wû Hsien) said, "Exert yourself, ascending above and descending beneath, and seek for those whose rules and measures shall agree with yours.

D: "To and fro in the earth you must everywhere wander, Seeking one whose thoughts are of your own measure.

Y: "Take office high or low as days afford, If one there be that could with thee accord;

Z: [She] says: Exert for going up and going down, above and below ——

Pursue the measure’s match (Pursue those who match the measure)


L: T'ang and Yü in their dignity sought such coadjutors; With Chih and Kâo Yâo all their measures were harmonious.

D: Tang and Yu sought sincerely for the right helpers; So Yi Yin and Gao Yao worked well with their princes.

Y: Like ancient kings austere who sought their mate, Finding the one who should fulfill their fate.

Z: Tang and Yu solemnly pursued a meeting ——Zhi and Jiuyao, then they could harmonize


L: "When one loves (as you do) his self-culture in his heart, What further need has he to employ go-between?

D: "As long as your soul within is beautiful, What need have you of a matchmaker?

Y: Now if thy heart doth cherish grace within, What need is there to choose a go-between?

Z: As long as inner affection has good cultivation ——[Then] why need [one] use these traveling matchmakers?


L: Yüeh was working as a builder in Fû-yen, When Wû-ting called him to office without misgiving.

D: Yue labored as a builder, pounding earth at Fuyan, Yet Wu Ding employed him without a second thought.

Y: A convict toiled on rocks to expiate His crime; his sovereign gave him great estate.

Z: Yue pounded walls in Fuyan —— Wu Ding made use [of him] and didn’t doubt


L: "When Lü Wang was reduced to tapping with his (butcher's) knife, He met with (king) Wăn of Châu, and was raised to office.

D: Lü Wang wielded the butcher's knife at Chaoge, But King Wen met him and raised him up on high.

Y: A butcher with his knife made roundelay; His king chanced there and happy proved the day.

Z: Lü Wang’s drumming of the blade ——Met with Zhou [King] Wen and attained promotion


L: When Ning Ch'i was singing his song, (Duke)Hwan of Ch'î heard him, and gave him all help.

D: Ning Qi sang as he fed his ox at evening; Duke Huan of Qi heard him and took him as his minister.

Y: A prince who heard a cowherd chanting late Raised him to be a councilor of state.

Z: Ning Qi’s chanting of a song —— Qi [Duke] Huan heard and accorded service


L: "While it is not yet too late in the years of your life, And your time is not yet come to its middle,

D: Gather the flower of youth before it is too late, While the good season is still not yet over.

Y: Before old age o' ertake thee on thy way, Life still is young; to profit turn thy day.

Z: While years’ age is not yet late —— Time is still not yet run out


L: (Look out) least the Tî-Chüeh have sounded its note, And made all plants lose their fragrance."

D: Beware lest the shrike sound his note before the equinox, Causing all the flowers to lose their fine fragrance.

Y: Spring is but brief, when cuckoos start to sing, And flowers will fade that once did spread and spring."

Z: [I] fear the tijue(shrike/cuckoo/magpie) [bird]’s early call —— Will make these hundred herbs to be unfragrant


L: How many are the precious ornaments of my girdle! But my numerous opponents secretly seek to hide them.

D: How splendid the glitter of my jasper girdle! But the crowd make a dark screen, masking its beauty.

Y: On high my jasper pendent proudly gleamed, Hid by the crowd with leaves that thickly teemed;

Z: What of nephrite sash’s magnificent length —— The crowd densely conceals it


L: All-insincere are those partizans; I fear that their hatred and jealousy will cause my ruin.

D: And I fear that my enemies, who never can be trusted, Will break it out of spiteful jealousy.

Y: Untiring they relentless means employed; I feared it would through envy be destroyed.

Z: Thinking of these clique-men’s intolerance ——[I] fear [they will] be envious and break it


L: The time is in confusion, and going on to changes; And how can I remain here long?

D: The age is disordered in a tumult of changing: How can I tarry much longer among them?

Y: This gaudy age so fickle proved its will, That to what purpose did I linger still?

Z: Time, profuse in its transformations —— Then how could [I] momentarily stay


L: The orchids and angelicas are changed, and no more fragrant; The ch'üan and the hûi orchids are transformed and become mere reeds.

D: Orchid and iris have lost all their fragrance; Flag and melilotus have changed into straw,

Y: E'en orchids changed, their fragrance quickly lost, And midst the weeds angelicas were tossed.

Z: Eupatorium, angelica, changed and not fragrant ——Acorus, ocimum, transformed and become reeds


L: How is it that the fragrant grasses of former days Are now only these plants of oxtail-southernwood and mugowrt?

D: Why have all the fragrant flowers of days gone by, Now all transformed themselves into worthless mugworts?

Y: How could these herbs, so fair in former day, Their hue have changed, and turned to mugworts grey?

Z: Why the ancient days’ fragrant herbs ——Today are valued as wormwood and mugwort are

[The scented wine used in ancient sacrifices was made with herbs: the fuedal lords used [the herb called] xun, the GrandMasters used eupatorium [orchid] and ganoderma lucidum [reishi mushroom], the servicemen used wormwood, and the commoners used mugwort; we can see the [low] rank of wormwood and mugwort.]


L: Is there any other reason for it, But the injury which the love of culture brings with it?

D: What other reason can there be for this, But that they all have no more care for beauty?

Y: The reason for their fall, not far to seek, Was that to tend their grace their will proved weak.

Z: Could this have its reason? —— Not loving cultivation’s harm this is (this is the harm that comes of not loving cultivation)

[Nothing [compares] to loving cultivation’s harmfulness]


L: I had thought that the orchids were to be relied on, But they had no reality, and were (only) in outward appearance good.

D: I thought that orchid was one to be trusted, But he proved a sham, bent only on pleasing his masters.

Y: I thought upon the orchids I might lean; No flowers appeared, but long bare leaves were seen;

Z: I took eupatorium to be trustworthy —— Ah, without substance yet in appearance grand


L: They have thrown away their excellence to follow the vulgar ways; It was rash (ever) to rank them among this fragrant.

D: He overcame his goodness and conformed to evil counsels; He no more deserves to rank with fragrant flowers.

Y: Their grace abandoned, vulgar taste to please, Content with lesser flowers to dwell at ease.

Z: Distorting its beauty to follow the common ——Ill-attaining lineup with the assembled fragrances


L: (Those who seemed to be as) pepper plants only use their glib tongues to promote negligence and dissoluteness, And want to fill the perfume bags at their girdles with the (fruit of the) Boymia.

D: Pepper is all wagging tongue and lives only for slander; And even stinking dogwood seeks to fill a perfume bag.

Y: To boasts and flattery the pepper turned; To fill the pendent bag the dogwood yearned;

Z: Zanthoxylum expert in flattery, arrogant and dissolute ——Cornus also wants to fill his/the sash sachet


L: Thus seeking for entrance and admission (to the court), How can they have reverence for their character as fragrant?

D: Since they only seek advancement and labor for position, What fragrance have they deserving our respect?

Y: Thus only upon higher stations bent, How could they long retain their former scent?

Z: [They’ve] already striven to enter and served to get in ——Then what fragrance can be respected (Then how can frangrance possibly be respected)


L: Yes, surely the manners of the time follow the current. Who, moreover, can avoid change and transformation?

D: Since, then, the world's way is to drift the way the tide runs, Who can stay the same and not change with all the rest?

Y: Since they pursued the fashion of the time, Small wonder they decayed e' en in their prime.

Z: Surely this time’s custom’s current flows ——Then who could be without transformation


L: When we see how it is thus with the pepper-plant and orchids, How much more will it be so with the chie-ch'ê and angelicas of the streams!

D: Seeing the behavior of orchid and pepper-flower, What can be expected of cart-half and selinea?

Y: Viewing the orchids' and the peppers' plight Why blame the rumex and selinea white?

Z: Worthy zanthoxylum and eupatorium are even like this ——Then what of lysimachia and cladophora


L: There were the pendants of my girdle more valuable than any others; But their beauty was rejected, and sad has been their fate.

D: They have cast off their beauty and come to this; Only my garland is left to treasure.

Y: My jasper pendent rare I was beguiled To leave, and to this depth then sank defiled.

Z: Only this sash is treasurable —— Distorting (Discarding) its beauty, and undergoing this


L: But their odoriferous fragrance it was difficult to lessen, And even now it is still not exhausted.

D: Its penetrating perfume does not easily desert it, And even to this day its fragrance has not faded.

Y: It blossomed still and never ceased to grow; Like water did its lovely fragrance flow:

Z: Fragrantly aromatic and difficult to damage ——The scent to this day is still not yet dispersed


L: I order my measures in harmony with my circumstances, and find pleasure in doing so; I will wander about and seek for the lady.

D: I will follow my natural bent and please myself; I will go off wandering to look for a lady.

Y: Pleasure I took to wear this bough in sport, As roaming wild the damsel fair I sought.

Z: [I] soften [my] style to myself please —— For now drifting about to pursue women


L: While still in possession of my (symbolic) ornaments, and in vigour, I will travel around, now ascending, now descending.

D: While my adornment is in its pristine beauty, I will travel around looking both high and low.

Y: Thus in my prime, with ornaments bedecked, I roved the earth and heaven to inspect.

Z: While my adornment is full robust —— [I] circle around regarding above and below


L: As Ling-făn, had told me in his auspicious oracle, I chose a fortunate day when I would go away.

D: Since Ling Fen had given me a favorable oracle, I picked an auspicious day to start my journey on.

Y: With omens bright the seer revealed the way, I then appointed an auspicious day.

Z: Spirit Aura already announced to me an auspicious divination —— Choosing an auspicious day, I will go


L: I broke off a branch of the ch’iung tree for my food; And boiled it as into the finest rice to be my nourishment.

D: I broke a branch of jasper to take for my meat, And ground fine jasper meal for my journey's provisions.

Y: As victuals rare some jasper twigs I bore, And some prepared, provision rich to store;

Z: [I] break nephrite branch to be dried meat —— Refine nephrite chips to be provisions


L: There was yoked for me a team of flying dragons; With the Yâo jade and ivory the carriage was adorned.

D: "Harness winged dragons to be my coursers; Let my chariot be of fine work of jade and ivory!

Y: Then winged horses (dragon? – note by editor) to my chariot brought, My carriage bright with jade and ivory wrought.

Z: For me drive flying dragons —— Varied (mixed) polished jade and elephant to be the chariot(s)


L: How could there be union with those who were estranged from me in heart? I would go far away, and keep myself apart.

D: How can I live with men whose hearts are strangers to me? I am going a far journey to be away from them.

Y: How might tow hearts at variance accord? I roamed till peace be to my mind restored.

Z: How can separated hearts possibly match ——I will distantly voyage to keep myself apart


L: I turned my course to K'wăn-lun; Long was the way, and far and wide did I wander.

D: I took the way that led towards the Kunlun mountain; A long, long road with many a turning in it.

Y: The pillar of the earth I stayed beside; The way was long, and winding far and wide.

Z: Winding my way now to Kunlun —— On the road a vast distance in circling about.


L: Amidst the dark shade were displayed the rainbows in the clouds, While there sounded the tinklings of the bells of jade about the equipage.

D: The cloud-embroidered banner flapped its great shade above us; And the jingling jade yoke-bells tinkled merrily.

Y: In twilight glowed the clouds with wondrous sheen, And chirping flew the birds of jasper green.

Z: Raising the cloud rainbow’s dark shade —— Sounding the jade luan-bird’s chirping.


L: I started in the morning from the Ford of Heaven (in the sky), And in evening I arrived at the extreme west.

D: I set off at morning from the Ford of Heaven; At evening I came to the world's western end.

Y: I went at dawn high heaven' s ford to leave; To earth' s extremity I came at eve.

Z: Morning [I] release the brakes at Heaven’s Ford ——Evening I arrive at the Western Limit.


L: The male and female phoenix greeted me from their supporting flags, One soaring on high, one floating along, in mutual harmony.

D: Phoenixes followed me, bearing up my pennants, Soaring high aloft with majestic wing-beats.

Y: On phoenix wings the dragon pennons lay; With plumage bright they flew to lead the way.

Z: Phoenixes winging their uplifted banners —— On high soaring, wing to wing (harmoniously, evenly, assisting).


L: All at once I was walking over the Moving Sands, And proceeded gaily along the course of the Red-river.

D: "See, I have come to the Desert of Moving Sands!" Warily I drove along the banks of the Red Water.

Y: I crossed the quicksand with its treacherous flood, Beside the burning river, red as blood;

Z: Quickly I traverse these flowing sands —— Following the Red Water and easing along.


L: I motioned with my hand to the dragons to bridge over the ford, And called the Western sovereign to carry me across.

D: Then, beckoning the water-dragon to make a bridge for me, I summoned the God of West to take me over.

Y: To bridge the stream my dragons huge I bade, Invoked the emperor of the west to aid.

Z: Flag river dragons to make a bridge crossing ——Decreeing the Western Emperor to wade me across.


L: The way was long and beset with many difficulties; I made all my carriages ascend (before me) and, going by by-ways, wait for one another.

D: So long the road had been and full of difficulties, I send word to my escort to take another route.

Y: The way was long, precipitous in view; I bade my train a different path pursue.

Z: The road a vast distance with many hardships ——Driving ahead assembled chariots, [I] make [them] on the path to wait [on me]


L: (I would go by) Pû-châu (hill), and turn to the left; And I appointed the Western sea for our general (rendezvous).

D: To wheel around leftwards, skirting Buzhou Mountain: ON the shore of the Western Sea we would reassemble.

Y: There where the heaven fell we turned a space, And marked the western sea as meeting-place.

Z: [I] pass the Unfitted by leftward turning —— Indicate the Western Sea to be the date.


L:  I collected my carriages, a thousand in number; Their linchpins were all of jade, and they raced on together,

D: When we had mustered there, all thousand chariots, Jade hub to jade hub we galloped on abreast.

Y: A thousand chariots gathered in my train, With axles full abreast we drove amain;

Z: [I] gather my chariots, their thousands of carriages ——Line up [their] jade hubs and together gallop


L: To each one were yoked eight dragons, which glided, snake-like, on; O'ver them floated with easy grace the cloud-like banners.

D: My eight dragon steeds flew on with writhing undulations; My cloud-embroidered banners flapped on the wind.

Y: Eight horses drew the carriages behind; The pennons shook like serpents in the wind.

Z: [I] drive eight dragons’ sinuousness —— Carry cloud-pennants’ winding twists


L: I repressed my emotion and moderated my haste, But my spirit was borne aloft very far.

D: [In vain] I tried to curb them, to slacken the swift pace; The spirits soared high up, far into the distance.

Y: I lowered flags, and from my whip refrained; My train of towering chariots I restrained.

Z: [I] suppress my aspiration (lower the flag) and halt the progress —— Spirits on high galloping, distantly


L: I sang the Nine Songs (of Yü), and danced the dance (of Shun), Borrowing a day for enjoyment and pleasure.

D: We played the Nine Songs and danced Shao Dances. Borrowing the time to make a holiday.

Y: I sang the odes. I trod a sacred dance, In revels wild my last hour to enhance.

Z: [I] perform the Nine Songs and Dance the Shao ——For now borrowing the day for joyful pleasure (For now a leisure day with joyful pleasure, For now borrowing the day for stolen music)


L: I ascended to the glorious brightness of great (sky), And suddenly looked down askance on my old neighbourhood.

D: But when I had ascended the splendor of the heavens, I suddenly caught a glimpse below of my old home.

Y: Ascending where celestial heaven blazed, On native earth for the last time we gazed;

Z: Upward, onward, to divinity’s brightness (Upward to the Ascending Divinity’s brightness)—— Suddenly [I] look down and glimpse the old country


L: My charioteer lamented; my horses longed for their old home. The game was over; I looked round, and went no farther.

D: My groom's heart was heavy and the horses for longing Arched their heads back and refused to go on.

Y: My slaves were sad, my steeds all neighed in grief, And, gazing back, the earth they would not leave.

Z: Servants grieve, my horses yearn —— Curling up, turning back, and not going


L: In conclusion I say, All over!

D: Enough!

Y: Epilogue,

Z: Coda (Pacification, resolution): Done —— ! (Enough is enough, It’s over)


L: There is no (good) man in the country, no man who knows me! Why should I still keep thinking of the old capital?

D: There are no true men in the state: no one to understand me. Why should I cleave to the city of my birth?

Y: Since in that kingdom all my virtue spurn, Why should I for the royal city yearn?

Z: In the kingdom not a man, none me knows —— Then why yearn for the old capital


L: Since I am not thought fit to aid in good government, I will follow Păng Hsien to the place where he is.

D: Since none is worthy to work with in making good government, I will go and join P’eng Hsien in the place where he abides.

Y: Wide though the world, no wisdom can be found. I'll seek the stream where once the sage was drowned.

Z: There’s no one adequate with whom to make fair governance —— I will follow Peng Xian to his abode (Peng and Xian to their abode).