5. 螽斯 V. Chung-sze.
Ye locusts, winged tribes, How harmoniously you collect together! Right is it that your descendants Should be multitudinous!
Ye locusts, winged tribes, How sound your wings in flight! Right is it that your descendants Should be as in unbroken strings!
Ye locusts, winged tribes, How you cluster together! Right is it that your descendants Should be in swarms!
Ode 5. The Fruitfulness of the Locust; Supposed to Celebrate T'ae-sze's Freedom from Jealousy.
The piece is purely metaphorical (比), T'ae-sze not being mentioned in it. The reference to her only exists in the writer's mind. This often distinguishes such pieces from those which are allusive. The Locusts cluster together in harmony, it is supposed, without quarrelling, and consequently they increase at a wonderful rate; each female laying, some say 81 eggs, others 99, and other 100.
L.1. in all stanzas. The 斯 in 螽斯 is by many disregarded, as being merely one of the poetical particles. We shall meet with it as such beyond dispute, and we find 螽 alone, frequently in the Ch'un Ts'ew. Here however, it would seem to be a part of the name, the insect intended being the same probably, as the 斯螽, in xv., Ode I.5. Maou gives for it the synonym of 蚣蝑, and Choo calls it 'one of the locusts(蝗屬).' but 蝗 will include crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts. We cannot as yet do more than approximate to an identification of the insects in the She. Williams calls the Chung-sze one of the truxalis locusts; but in descriptions and plates the length of the antennae is probably to be found among the achetidae. 羽 is to be taken as in the translation, = 羽蟲, and not as meaning 'wing.' So Ying-tah. The 'Complete Digest' says, 勿作翅說.
L.3. Maou and his school make 爾 to be addressed to T'ae-sze; Choo refers it, better, simply to the locusts. Those who refer it to the lady try to find some moral meaning, in addition to that of multitude, in the concluding lines. The three second lines are all descriptive of the harmonious clustering of the insects. 詵詵 is explained by Choo as the appearance of their 'collecting harmoniously,' and by Maou as meaning 'numerous'. The Shwoh-wan gives it as 辛 with duo at the side. We have the character in the text, the form of the Shwoh-wan, 辛 with 羽 at the side, 先 with 馬 at the side, and 生 with another 生 at the side; --all in binomial form with the same meaning. 薨薨 is 'the sound of a crowd of lucusts flying.' The bottom of the char. should be 羽, and not 死.
The last lines. 振振, is the 'appearance of their multitude;' Maou makes it = 'benevolent and generous.' 繩繩, -- 'the appearance of uninterrupted continuance;' Maou makes it = 'cautious,' or 'careful.' 蟄蟄 is the appearance of their being 'clustered together like insects in their burrows.' Maou makes it = harmonously collected.'
The rhymes are -- in st. 1, 詵*, 孫, 振*, cat. 13: in 2, 薨, 繩, cat. 6: in 3, 揖, 蟄, cat. 7, t.3.
The idea of all the critics is that Wan's queen lived harmoniously with all the other ladies of the harem, so that all had their share in his favours, and there was no mre quarrelling among them than among a bunch of locusts. All children born in the palace would be the queen's; and it was right they should increase as they did. -- Surely this is a sad stuff.