I was gathering and gathering the mouse-ear , But could not fill my shallow basket . With a sigh for the man of my heart , I placed it there on the highway .
I was ascending that rock-covered height , But my horses were too tired to breast it . I will now pour a cup from that gilded vase , Hoping I may not have to think of him long .
I was ascending that lofty ridge , But my horses turned of a dark yellow . I will now take a cup from that rhinoceros' horn , Hoping I may not have long to sorrow .
I was ascending that flat-topped height , But my horses became quite disabled , And my servants were [also] disabled . Oh ! how great is my sorrow !
Ode3. Lamenting the absence of a cherished friend.
Referring this song to T'ae-sz', Choo thinks it made by herself. However that was, we must read it as if it were from the pencil of its subject.
St. 1. L.1. 采, both by Maou and Choo, is taken as in I. 8; the repetition of the verb denoting the repetition of the work; Tae Chin explains 采采 as ='numerous, were many;' which also is allowable. There are many names for 卷 (2d tone) 耳. Maou calls it the 荅耳; Choo, the 枲耳, adding that leaves are like mouse's ears, and that it grows in bunchy patches. The Pun-ts'aou calls it 蒼耳, which, acc. to Medhurst, is the 'Lappa minor.' The Urh-ya yih (爾雅翼) says its seed-vessels are like mouse's ears, and prickly sticking to people's clothes.
L.2. The 頃筐 was a shallow basket, of bamboo or straw，depressed at the sides, so that it could be easily filled. L3. 我懷人 -- 我之所懷者，'the man (or men) of whom I think, whom I cherish in my mind.' Who this was has variously determined; --see on the interpretation. L.4. 寘(now written置) = 舍, 'to set aside.' 周行, --this phrase occurs thrice in the she. Here and in II. v. Ode IX., Choo explains it by 大道, 'the great or high way,' while Maou and his school make it = 周之列位, 'the official ranks of Chow.' In II.i.Ode I., they agree in making it =大道 or 至道, meaning 'the way of righteousness.' Tae Chin takes 周=偏, and the whole line = 'I would place them everywhere in the official ranks.' Choo's explanation is the best here. There was anciently no difference in the sound of 行, however it might be applied. It would rhyme with 筐 in all its significations.
St.2 L.1. Choo, after Maou, gives 崔嵬 as 'a hill of earth, with rocks on its top,' whereas the Urh-ya gives just the opposite account of the phrase. The Shwo-wăn explains 崔 by 'large and lofty,' and 嵬 by 'rocks on a hill'; and I have translated accordingly. L2. 虺隤 is, with Maou, simply = 病, 'diseased.' Choo takes the phrase as in the translation, after Sun Yen (孙炎) of the Wei dyn. L.3. 姑 = 且, and 姑且 together, indicate a purpose to do something in the meantime, = 'now', 'temporarily'. The 罍 was of wood, carved so as to represent clouds, and variously gilt and ornamented. L.4. 維 has here a degree of force, = 'only.' Followed by 以, they together express a wish or hope, = 庶幾. 永 = 長, 'for long.'
St. 3. L.2. 玄黃 is descriptive of the colour of the horse, 'so very ill that they changed colour.' L.3. The 兕 is the rhinoceros, 'a wild ox, with one horn, or a greenish colour, and 1000 catties in weight;' and the 觥 was a cup made of the horn, very large, sometimes requiring, we are told, 3 men to lift it. L.4. 傷, 'to be wounded,' --here, to be pained by one's own thoughts.
St.4. L.1.砠 (Shwoh-wan, with 山, instead of 石, at the side) is the opposite of 崔嵬, in st. 1, 'a rocky hill, topped with earth.' Here, again, the Urh-ya and the critics are in collision. L1.2,3.瘏 and 痡 are both explained in the Urh-ya 病, 'to be ill', 'sickness.' Horses and servants all fail the speaker. His case is desperate. L.4. 云 must be taken here, and in many other places, a simply as an initial particle. Wang Yin-che calls it 發語詞. Choo explain 吁 -- 'so sigh sorrowfully.' Maou makes it simply --'to be sorrowful,' as if it were formed from 心 and 于. The Urh-ya quotes the passage - 云何吁矣, which Wang T'aou would still explain in the same way as Maou does his reading.
The rhymes are --in st. 1, 筐, 行*, cat.10; in 2, 嵬, 隤, 罍, cat. 15. t.1: in 3, 岡, 黃, 觥, 傷, cat. 10; in 4, 砠, 瘏, 痡, 吁, cat.5, t.1.
Interpretation; and Class. The old interpreters thought that this ode celebrated T'ae-sze for being earnestly bent on getting the court of Chow filled with worthy ministers; for sympathizing with faithful officers in their toils on distant expeditions; and for suggesting to king Wang to feast them on their return. The 1st St. might be interpreted in this way, taking the 2d and 3d lines as = 'I sigh for the men I think of, and would place them in the official ranks of Chow.' They are quoted in the Tso Chuen (after IX. xv.2), with something like this meaning, and by Seun K'ing (解蔽篇); though without any reference to T'ae-sze. To make the other stanzas harmonize with this, however, 我 must be taken, now as equal to 我君, 'my prince or husband,' and now equal to 我使臣, 'my officers abroad on their commissions,' than which no interpretation could be more licentious. It is astonishing that the imperial editors should learn to this view: --on which the piece belongs to the allusive class.
Choo ascribes the ode to T'ae-sze. Her husband, 'the man of her heart,' is absent on some toilsome expedition; and she sets forth her anxiety for his return, by representing herself, first as a gatherer of vegetables, unable to fill her basket through the preoccupation of her mind; and then as trying to drive to a height from which she might see her husband returning, but always baffled. All this is told in her own person, so that the piece is narrative. The who representation is, however unnatural; and when the baffled rider proceeds to console herself with a cup of spirits, I must drop the idea of T'ae-sze altogether, and can make nothing more of the piece than that someone is lamenting in it the absence of a cherished friend, -- in strange fashion.