02. 葛覃 Koh t’an

posted 24 Apr 2016, 17:54 by Jim Sheng   [ updated 3 May 2016, 13:18 ]

2.  葛覃  Koh t’an

葛之覃兮、施于中谷。 維葉萋萋、黃鳥于飛。 集于灌木、其鳴喈喈。

葛之覃兮、施于中谷。 維葉莫莫、是刈是濩。 為絺為綌、服之無斁。

言告師氏、言告言歸。 薄污我私、薄澣我衣。 害澣害否、歸寧父母 。

How the dolichos spread itself out, Extending to the middle of the valley!  Its leaves were luxuriant; The yellow birds flew about, And collected on the thickly growing trees, Their pleasant notes resounding far.

How the dolichos spread itself out, Extending to the middle of the valley!  Its leaves were luxuriant and dense.  I cut it and I boiled it, And made both fine cloth and coarse, Which I will wear without getting tired of it.

I have told the matron, Who will announce that I am going to see my parents.  I will wash my private clothes clean, And I will rinse my robes.  Which need to be rinsed, which do not?  I am going back to visit my parents.

Ode 2. Celebrating the industry and dutifulness of King Wan's queen.

It is supposed to have been made, and, however that was, it is to be read as if it had been made, by the queen herself.

St. 1. 葛之覃兮, 葛 is the general name for the dolichos tribe; here the D. tuberosus, of whose fibres a kind of cloth is make. 覃 = 延, 'to stretch out.' 兮 is of very frequent occurrence in She; a particle of song (歌辭). According to the Shwoh-wăn and the gloss of Seu in it, it denotes an affection of the mind, over and above what has been expressed in words. 施(read e, =移)于中谷, --中谷,'mid-valley,' = 谷中, 'the middle of the valley'. Ying-tah says that such inversion of the characters was customary with the ancients, especially in poetry. 維葉萋萋, --維 here, and nearly everywhere else in the she, is simply an initial character which it is not possible to translate.萋萋 expresses 'the appearance of luxuriant growth.' This repetition of the character is constantly found, giving intensity and vividness to the idea. Often, the characters are different, but of cognate meaning. The compound seems to picture the subject of the sentence to the eye in the colours of its own signification. This is one of the characters of the style of the she, which the student must carefully attend to. 黃鳥于飛--'the yellow bird is probably, an oriole. It has many names, --博黍, 黃麗, 黃鶯, &c. Twice in this st., 于 occurs as a preposition. = in, on; but in this line, we can only take it as a particle which we need not try to translate. So Wang Yin-che(王引之); the Urh-ya also, defining it by 曰=聿=欥. Ying-tah erroneously explains it by 往, 'to go.' L.5. 灌木 = 'trees growing together,' 'shrubs'. L.6. 喈喈 is explained as 'their harmonious notes heard far off.' The characters are probably like 關關 in the last Ode, onomatopoetic. -- I translate the verbs here in the past tense, because the things referred to all belong to the season of the spring, and the speaker is looking back to them.

St.2. L.3. 莫莫 (read moo or moh) adds the idea of denseness to ts'e ts'e above. L.4. 濩 = 煮, 'to boil.' The boiling was necessary in order to the separation of the fibres, which could afterwards be woven, the finer to the form the 絺, and the coarser to form the 綌.

L.5. K'ang shing takes 服=整 'to make,' 'to work at', giving not a bad meaning. --'T'ae-sz' worked at this cloth-making without weariness.' 斁 is interchanged with 射, both = 厭 'to be satiated with,' and then 'to conceive a distaste for,' 'to dislike.'

St. 3. LI.1,2. Choo He takes 言 here as a particle, untranslateable (言, 辭也); Maou and K'ang-shing make it = 我 'I,' 'me,' which is a meaning the Urh-ya gives for the term. Wang Ying-che coincides with Choo-He. Wang T'aou would take it in the 1st line as = 我, and as a particle in the 2nd. I regard it as a particle in both. The 師氏 here is difft. from the officer so styled in the Chow Le, Books Viii. and XIII. That was a teacher of morals attached to the emperor and the youths of the State; this was a matron, or duenna, whose business it was to instruct in 'woman's virtue, woman's words, woman's deportment, and woman's work.' Childless widows over 50 were acc. to Ying-tah, employed for the office. There would be not a few such matrons in the harem, and the one intended in the text would be the mistress of them all. The 1st 告 is to be understood of the lady's announcement to the matron; the 2nd of the matron's announcement to the king. Maou is led by his interpretation of the whole Ode to understand 歸 as = 'to be married,' but we must take it as synonymous with the same term, in the concluding line.

LI.3,4. 薄, acc. to Choo He, = 少, 'slightly. It is better to take it, as a particle, with Maou, and Wang Yin-che, who calls it 發聲, 'an initial sound.' 污, 'dirty,' is used for 'to cleanse,' just as we have 亂, 'disorder,' in the sense of 治, 'good order,' 'to govern.' This cleansing was effected by hard rubbing, whereas 澣 denotes a gentler operation, simply rinsing. The 私, as opposed to 衣, is understood of the private or ordinary dress, whereas the other term refers to the robes in which T'ae-sze assisted at sacrificial and other services, or in which she went in to the king. All this and what follows, is to be taken as a soliloquy, and not what T'ae-sz' told the matron (乃后妃自審之詞, 非告師氏也) L.5. 害(read hoh) = 何, 'what.' 否 simply = 不, the negative. L.6. 寧=安, i.e., 問安, 'to inquire after their wellbeing.'

The rhymes are --in Stt. 1,2, 谷,木, cat. 3, t. 3: in 1, 萋,飛,喈, cat. 15.t.1:in 2, 莫,濩,綌*,斁*, cat. 5, t.1: in 3, 歸,私,衣, cat. 15,5.1; 否*,母*, cat. 1, t.2

Interpretation; and Class.

The old interpreters held that the ode was of T'ae-sze in her virgin prime, bent on all woman's work; and thus interpreted, it is placed among the allusive pieces. The first two stanzas might be so explained; but the third requires too much straining to admit of a proleptical interpretation as to what the virgin would do in the future, when a married wife.

Choo He make it a narrative piece(賦), in which the queen tells first of her diligent labours, and then how, when they were concluded, she was going to pay a visit of duty and affection to her parents. If we accept the traditional reference to T'ae-sze, this, no doubt, is the only admissible interpretation. The imperial editors prefer Choo He's view in this instance, and add: -- 'The Le of T'ae only speaks of the personal tendance of the silkworms by the queen and other ladies of the harem; but here we see that there was no department of woman's work, in which they did not exert themselves. Well might they did transform all below them. Anciently, the rules to be observed between husband and wife required the greatest circumspection. They did not speak directly to each other, but employed internuncios, thus showing how strictly reserved should be intercourse between men and women, and preventing all disrespectful familiarity. When the wife was about to lie in, the husband took up his quarters in a side apartment, and sent to inquire about her twice a day. When the wife wished to visit her parents, she intimated her purpose through the matron. Inside the door of the harem, no liberty could be taken any more than with a reverend guest. Thus was the instruction of the people made to commence from the smallest matters, with a wonderful depth of wisdom!'