01. 關雎 Gwan Ts’eu.

posted 24 Apr 2016, 16:01 by Jim Sheng   [ updated 3 May 2016, 13:18 ]

1. 關雎 Gwan Ts’eu.




Guan-guan go the ospreys, On the islet in the river.  The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady: -- For our prince a good mate she.

Here long, there short, is the duckweed, To the left, to the right, borne about by the current.  The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady: -- Waking and sleeping, he sought her.  He sought her and found her not, And waking and sleeping he thought about her.  Long he thought; oh! long and anxiously; On his side, on his back, he turned, and back again.

Here long, there short, is the duckweed; On the left, on the right, we gather it.  The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady: -- With lutes, small and large, let us give her friendly welcome.  Here long, there short, is the duckweed; On the left, on the right, we cook and present it.  The modest, retiring, virtuous, young lady: -- With bells and drums let us show our delight in her.


Title of the whole work.

Title of the whole work. -詩經, 'The Book of Poems,' or simply 詩, 'The Poems.' By poetry, according to the Great Preface and the views generally of Chinese scholars, is denoted the expression, in rhymed words, of thought impregnated with feeling; which, so far as it goes, is a good account of this species of composition. In the collection before us, there were originally 311 pieces; but of six of them there are only the titles remaining. They are generally short; not one of them, indeed, is a long poem. Father Larharme calls the Book -'Liber Carminum,' and with most English writers the ordinary designation of it has been 'The book of Odes,' I can think of no better name for the several pieces than Ode, understanding by that term a short lyric poem. Confucius himself is said to have 'fitted them to the string.'

The Title of the part

The Title of the part -國風-, 'Part I., Lessons from the State.' In the Chinese, -, 'Part I.,' stands last, while our Western idiom requires that it should be placed first. The translation of 國風 by 'Lessons from the States' has been vindicated in the notes on the Great Preface. Sir John Davis translates the characters by 'The Manners of the different States' (art. on the Poetry of the Chinese. Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society; May 1829). Similarly, the French Sinologues render them by 'Les Moeurs des royaumes.' But in 'Lessons' and 'Manners,' the metaphorical use of 風, 'wind,' is equally unapparent. Choo He says: --'The pieces are called fung, because they owe their origin to and are descriptive of the influence produced by superiors, and the exhibition of this is again sufficient to affect men, just as things give forth sound, when moved by the wind, and their sound is again sufficient to move [other] things (謂之風者,以其被上之化以有言,而其言又足以感人,如物因風之動以有聲,又足以動物也).' He goes on to say that the princes of States collected such compositions among their people, and presented them to the king, who delivered them to the Board of music for classification, so that he might examine from them the good and bad in the manners of the people, and ascertain the excellences and defects of his own government. 'Lessons from the States' seems, therefore, to come nearer to the force of the original terms than 'Manners of the States.' It will be found however, that the lesson has often to be drawn from the ode by a circuitous process.

The States are those of Chow, Shaou, P'ei, Yung, and the others, which give their names to the several Books.

Title of the Book.

Title of the Book. -- 周南一之一, 'Chow Nan, Book I. of Part I.' The first --is that of the last title, -國風 --. By Chow is intended the seat of the House of Chow, from the time of the 'old duke, Tan-foo (古公亶父)', in B. C. 8,325, to king Wan. The chiefs of Chow pretended to trace their lineage back to the K'e, better known as How Tseih, Shun's minister of Agriculture. K'e was invested, it is said, before the death of Yaou, with the small territory of T'ae(邰), referred to the pres. dis. of Woo-kung (武功) in K'ëen-chow(乾州), Shen-se. Between K'e and duke Lëw(公劉), only two names of the Chow ancestry are given with certainty, Puh-chueh (不窋) and Kuh(鞠, al. 鞠陶). Sz'-ma Ts'ëen calls the first K'e's son, but we can only suppose him to have been one of his descendants. In the disorders of the Middle Kingdom, it is related he withdrew among the wild tribes of the west and north; and there his descendants remained till the time of duke Lew, who returned to China in B. C. 1.796, and made a settlement in Pin (豳), the site of which is pointed out, 30 le to the west of the present dis. city of San-shwuy(三水) in the small dep. of Pin-chow (邠州).The family dwelt in Pin for several generations, till T'an-foo, subsequently kinged by his posterity as king T'ae (太王), moved still farther south in B.C. 1,325, and settled in K'e(岐), 50 le to the north east of the dis. city of K'e-shan, dep. Fung-ts'ëang(鳳翔). The plain southwards received the name of Chow, and here were the head-quarters of the rising House, till king Wan moved south and east again, across the Wei, to Fung(豐), south-west from the pres. provincial city of se-gan. When king Wan took this step, he separated the original Chow --K'e-chow -- into Chow and Shaou, which he made the appanages of his son Tan (旦), and of Shih (奭), one of his principal supporters. Tan is known from his appointment as 'the duke of Chow'. The pieces in this Book are supposed to have been collected by him in Chow, and the States lying south from it along the Han and other rivers. --We must supplement in English the bare 'Chow Nan' of the title, and say --'The Ode of Chow and the South.'

[The above historical sketch throws light on Mencius' statement, in Book IV., Pt II. i., that King Wan was 'a man from the wild tribes of the west (西夷之人).' I have translated his words by 'a man near the wild tribes of the west.' But according to the records of the Chow dynasty themselves, we see its rea ancestor, duke Lew, coming out from among those tribes in the beginning of the 17th century before our era, and settling in Pin. Very slowly, his tribe, growing in civilization, and pushed on by fresh immigrations from its own earlier seats, moves on, southwards and eastwards, till it comes into contact and collision with the princes of Shang, whose dominions constituted the Middle Kingdom, or the China of that early time.

The accounts of a connection between the princes of Chow and the statesmen of the ear of Yaou and Shun must be thrown out of the sphere of reliable history.'[

Ode 1. Celebrating the virtue of the Bride of King wan, and welcoming her to his Palace.

Stanza 1.

Stanza 1. 關關 are defined to be 'the harmonious notes of the male and female answering each other.' 關 was anciently interchanged with 管, and some read in the text 管管, with a 口 at the side, which would clearly be onomatopoetic; but we do not find such a character in the Shwoh-wan. It is difficult to say what bird is intended by 雎鳩. Confucius says (Ana. XVII. ix.) that from the She we become extensively acquainted with the names of birds, beasts, and plants. We do learn names enow, but the birds, beasts, and plants, denoted by them, remain in many cases be yet ascertained. The student, knowing kew to mean the wild dove, is apt to suppose that some species of dove intended; but no Chinese commentator has ever said so. Maou makes it the 王雎, adding 鳥摯而有別, which means, probably, 'a bird of prey, of which the male and female keep much apart.' He followed the Urh-ya, the annotator of which, Kwoh P'oh (郭璞), of the Tsin dynasty, further describes it as 'a kind of eagle(雕類), now, east of the Këang, called the ngoh(鶚).' This was for many centuries the view of all scholars; and it is sustained by a narrative in the Tso Chuen, under the 17th year of duke Ch’aou, that the Master of Horse or Minister of War, was anciently styled Ts'eu K'ew (雎鳩氏). The introduction of a bird of prey into a nuptial ode was thought, however, to be incongruous. Even Ch'ing K'ang-shing, would appear to have felt this, and explains Maou's 摯 by 至, as if his words --'a bird most affectionate, and yet most undemonstrative of desire;' -- in which interpretation Choo He follows him. But it was desirable to discard the bird of prey altogether; and this was first done by Ch'ing Ts'ëaou (鄭樵), and early writer of the Sung dyn., who makes the bird to be 'a kind of mallard.' Choo He, no doubt after him, says it is 'a water bird, in appearance like a mallard,' adding that it is only seen in pairs. the individuals of which keep at a distance from each other! Other identifications of the ts'eu k'ew have been attempted. I must believe that the author of the ode had some kind of fish hawk in his mind.

在河之洲 (the Shwoh-wăn has 州 without the 水), --河 is the general demonstration of streams and rivers in the north. We need not seek, as many do, to determine any particular stream as that intended. 洲 is an islet, ' habitable ground, surrounded by water (水中可居之地).'

窈窕淑女 -窈 is to be understood of the lady's mind , and 窕 of her deportment. So, Yang Hëung (楊雄. Died A. D. 18, at the age of 71), and Wang Suh. 淑(has displaced the more ancient form with 人 at the side) is explained in the Shwoh-wăn by 善, 'good,' 'virtuous.' The young lady, according to the traditional interpretation (on which see below), is T'ae sz'(太姒), a daughter of the House of Yew-sin(有莘), whom king Wăn married.

君子好逑, -- if we accept T'ae-sz' as the young lady of the Ode, then the Keun-tsz' of course is king Wăn. 逑 and 仇 (in Ode VII.) are interchangeable, --匹, 'a mate.' K'ang-shing explains the line by 能為君子和好眾妾之怨, 'who could for our prince harmonize the resentments of all the concubines.' He was led astray by the Little Preface. [There is a popular novel called the 好逑傳, the name of which is taken from this line. Sir John Davis has translated it under the misnomer of 'The Fortunate Union.']

Stanza 2.

St. 2. 參差(read ch'in ts'ze) 荇菜, --參差 expresses the irregular appearance of the plants, some long and some short. 荇菜 is probably the lemna minor. It is also called 'duck-mallows,' that name being given for it in the Pun-ts'aou 本草 and the Pe-ya (埤雅; a work on the plan of the Urh-ya, by Luh Tëen(陸田, of the Sung dyn.), --鳧葵. It is described as growing in the water, long or short according to the depth, with a reddish leaf, which floats on the surface, and is rather more than an inch in diameter. Its flower is yellow. It is very like the shun, which Medhurst calls the 'Marsh-mallows.' but its leaves are not so round, being a little pointed. We are to suppose that the leaves were cooked and presented as sacrificial offering.

左右流之, -- the analogy of 采之, 芼之, in the next stanza, would lead us to expect an active signification in 流, and an action proceeding from the parties who speak in the Ode. This, no doubt, was the reason which made Maou, after the Urh-ya, explain the character by 求, 'to seek;' but this is forcing a meaning on the term. 流之 simply ='the current bears it about.' The idea of looking for the plant is indicated by the connection.

寤寐至反側, -- we have to supply the subject of 求 and the other verbs; which I have done by 'he', referring to king Wăn. The commentators are chary of saying this directly, thinking that such lively emotion about such an object was inconsistent with Wăn's sagely character; but they are obliged to interpret the passage of him. To make, with K'ang-shing and others, the subject to be the lady herself, and the object of her quest to be virtuous young ladies to fill the harem, surly is absurd.

思服, --服=懷, 'to cherish in the breast.' 悠哉,-悠, here, acc. to Maou, =思, 'to think.' In other places, in these Odes, it=憂,'to be anxious,' 'sorrowful'; and also = 遠, 'remote,' 'a long distance.' Choo He prefers this last meaning, and defines it by 長, 'long'. The idea is that of prolonged and anxious thought. 輾轉反側, -- the old interpreters did not distinguish between the meaning of these characters. The Shwoh-wăn, indeed defines 輾(it gives only 展) by 轉. Choo He makes 輾=轉之半, 'half of chuen or turning;' 轉=輾之周, 'the completion of 輾;' while 反 and 側 are the reversing of those processes. This is ingenious and elegant; but the definitions are made for the passage.

Stanza 3.

St. 3. As the subject of 菜 and other verbs, we are to understand the authors or singers of the Ode, -- the ladies of king Wăn's harem.

The Pe-che (備旨), however, would refer all the 之 in the stanza to the young lady, and the verbs to King Wăn, advising him so to welcome and cherish her; and this interpretation is also allowable. Maou, further on, explains 采 by 取, 'to take', and here 芼, which I have given, and which may be supported from the Le Ke, was applied to this passage. 友之, --'we friend her,' i.e., we give her a friendly welcome. The k'in and shih were two instruments of silk. We may call them the small lute and the large lute. The k'in at first had only 5 strings for the 5 full notes of the octave, but two others are said to have been added by Kings Wăn and Woo, to give the semi-notes. The invention of a shih with 50 strings is ascribed to Fuh-he, but we are told that Huang-te found the melancholy sounds of this so overpowering, that he cut the number down to 25.

In Chinese editions of the She, at the end of every ode, there is given a note, stating the number of stanzas in it, and of the lines in each stanza. Here we have 關雎三章,一章四句,二章八句, 'The Kwan-ts'eu consists of 3 stanzas, the first containing 4 lines, and the other two containing 8 lines each.' This matter need not be touched again.

The rhymes (according to Twan Yuh-tsae, whose authority in this matter, as I have stated in the prolegomena, I follow) are -- in stanza 1,鳩, 洲, 逑, category 3, tone 1:in 2, 流,求,ib.; 得,服*;側, cat. 1, t.3;in 3采, 友*ib. t.2; 芼,樂*, cat.2. The * after a character denotes that the ancient pronunciation of it, found in the odes, was different from that now belonging to it. A list of such characters, with their ancient names, has been given in the prolegomena, in the appendix to the chapter referred to.

Interpretation of the Ode.

I have said that the Ode celebrates the virtues of the bride of King Wan. If I had written queen instead of bride, I should have been in entire accord, so far, with the schools both of Maou and Choo He. During the dyn. of Han a different view was widely prevalent, -- that the Ode was satirical, and should be referred to the time when the Chow dyn. had begun to fall into decay. We find this opinion in Lëw Hëang (列女傳, 仁智篇), Yang Heung(法言,孝至篇), and up and down, in the histories of Sz'-ma Ts'een, Pan Koo, and Fan Yeh. -- By the E Le, however, IV., ii. 75, we are obliged to refer the Kwan-ts'eu to the time of the duke of Chow. That a contrary opinion should have been so prevalent in the Han dyn., only shows long it was before the interpretation of the odes became so definitely fixed as it now is. Allowing the ode to be as old as the duke of Chow, and to celebrate his father's bride or queen, what is the virtue which it ascribes to her? According to the school of Maou, it is her freedom from jealousy, and her constant anxiety and diligence to fill the harem of the king with virtous ladies to share his favours with her, and assist her in her various duties; and the ode was made by her. According to the school of Choo He, the virtue is her modest disposition and retiring manners, which so ravished the inmates of the harem, that they sing of her, in the 1st stanza, as she was in her virgin purity, a flower unseen; in the 2d, they set forth the king's trouble and anxiety while he had not met with such a mate; and in the 3d, their joy reaches its height, when she has been got, and is brought home to his palace. In this way, thinks Choo, the ode, in reality, exhibits the virtue of king Wan in making such a choice; and that is with him a very great point.

The imperial editors, adjudicating upon these two interpretations, very strangely, as it seems to me, and will also do, I presume, to most of my western readers, show an evident leaning to that of the old school. 'It was the duty,' they say, 'of the queen to provide the harem 3 wives (三夫人. ranking next to herself), nine ladies of 3 rank (九嬪), 27 of the 4th (二十七世婦), and 81 of the 5th(八十一御妻).' Only virtuous ladies were fit to be selected for this position. The anxiety of T'se-sz' to get such, her disappointment at not finding them, and her joy when she succeeded in doing so: --all this allowed the highest female virtue, and 'made the ode worthy to stand at the head of all the Lessons from the Manners of the States.

Confucius expressed his admiration of the ode (Ana. III.xx.), but his words afford no help towards the interpretation of it. The traditional interpretation of the odes, which we may suppose is given by Maou, is not to be overlooked; and, where it is supported by historical confirmations. it will often be found helpful. Still it is from the pieces themselves that we must chiefly endeavour to gather their meaning. This was the plan on which Choo He proceeded; and. as he far exceeded his predecessors in the true critical faculty, so China has not since produced another equal to him.

It is sufficient in this Ode to bear the friends of a bridegroom expressing their joy on occasion of his marriage with the virtuous object of his love, brought home in triumph, after long quest and various disappointments. There is no mention in it of King Wan and the Lady Sz'. I am not disposed to call in question the belief that that lady was the mistress of Wăn's harem; but I venture to introduce here substance of a note from the 'Annals of Empire', Bk. I., p.14, to show how uncertain is the date at least of their marriage. In the Le of the elder Tae, King Woo is said to have been born in Wăn's 14th year, while, in the standard chronology, Wăn's birth is put down in B. C. 1,230, and Woo's in 1,168, when Wan was 62. But both accounts have their difficulties. First, Wan had on son -Pih Yih-k'aou -- older than Woo, so that he must have married T'ae-sz' at the age of 12 or thereabouts, when neither he or she could have had the emotions described in the Kwan-ts'eu. Further, as Wan lived to be 100 years old, Woo must then have been 85. He died 20 years after, leaving his son, King Ching, only 14 years old. Ching must thus have been born when his father was 80, and there was a younger son besides. This is incredible. Again, on the other account, it is unlikely that Wan should only have had Pih Yih-k'aou before Woo, and then subsequently seven other sons, all by the same mother. And this difficulty is increased by what we read in the 5th and 6th Odes, which are understood to celebrate the numerousness of Wăn's Children.

These considerations prove that the specification of events, as occurring in certain definite years of that early time, was put down very much at random by chronologers, and that the traditional interpretation of the Odes must often be fanciful.

Class of the Ode; and Name.

Class of the Ode; and Name. It is said to be one of the allusive pieces(興). At the same time a metaphorical element (比) is found in the characters of the objects alluded to: -- the discreet reserve between the male and female of the osprey; and the soft and delicate nature of the duckweed. The name is made by combining two characters in the last line. So, in many other pieces. Sometimes one character serves the purpose; at other times, two or more. Occasionally a name is found, which does not occur in the piece at all. The names of the Odes were attached to them before the time of Confucius, of which we have a superfluity of evidence in the Ch'un Ts'ew. From the Shoo, V., vi. 15, some assume that the writers of the pieces gave them their names themselves; and this may have been the case at times. --The subject of the name need rarely be referred to hereafter.