We gather and gather the plantains; Now we may gather them. We gather and gather the plantains; Now we have got them.
We gather and gather the plantains; Now we pluck the ears. We gather and gather the plantains; Now we rub out the seeds.
We gather and gather the plantains; Now we place the seeds in our skirts. We gather and gather the plantains; Now we tuck out skirts under our girdles.
Ode 8. Narrative. The Song of the Plantain-Gatherers.
We are supposed to have here a happy instance of the tranquillity of the times of Wan, so that the women, the loom and other household labours over, could go out and gather the seeds of plantain in cheerful concert. Why they gathered those seeds does not appear. From the Preface it appears that they were thought to be favourable to childbearing. They are still thought in China to be helpful in difficult labours. Among ourselves, a mucilage is got from the seeds of some species of the plant, which is used in stiffening muslins.
St.1. L.1. 采采, -- see on Ode III. The 芣苢 is one of the plantaginaceae; probably our common ribgrass, as in the line of Tennyson, 'The hedgehog underneath the plantain bores.'
L.2. 薄言, -- both of these terms have been noticed, on Ode II., as untranslateable particles. Nothing more can be said of them, when they are found, as here, in combination.
L1.2,4. 采之 = 'let us go and gather them;' 有之, --'we have got them,' here they are. Maou, strangely, take 有=藏, 'to collect,' 'to deposit.'
St.2. L1.2,4. 掇 = 拾, 'to gather.' ==meaning the ears. 捋 = 取, ' to take,' -- meaning the seeds.
St.3. 袺 -- 執衽, 'to hold up the skirt,' -- meaning as in the translation. 襭 = 扱衽, 'to tuck the skirt under the girdle;' Medhurst says, 'round the waist.'
The rhymes are -- in st.1, 苢, 采, 苢, 有*. in 2, 掇, 捋; in 3, 袺, 襭.