The Wisdom of Confucius

Page 42 of 49



Heaven shields and sets thee fast.
It round thee fair has cast
Thy virtue pure.
Thus richest joy is thine;—
Increase of corn and wine,
And every gift divine,
Abundant, sure.
Heaven shields and sets thee fast.
From it thou goodness hast;
Right are thy ways.
Its choicest gifts 'twill pour,
That last for evermore,
Nor time exhaust the store
Through endless days.
Heaven shields and sets thee fast,
Makes thine endeavor last
And prosper well.
Like hills and mountains high,
Whose masses touch the sky;
Like streams aye surging by;
Thine increase swell!
With rite and auspice fair,
Thine offerings thou dost bear,
And son-like give,
[Pg 199] The season's round from spring,
To olden duke and king,
Whose words to thee we bring:—
"Forever live."
The spirits of thy dead
Pour blessings on thy head,
Unnumbered sweet.
Thy subjects, simple, good,
Enjoy their drink and food.
Our tribes of every blood
Follow thy feet.
Like moons that wax in light;
Or suns that scale the height;
Or ageless hill;
Nor change, nor autumn know;
As pine and cypress grow;
The sons that from thee flow
Be lasting still!



The russet pear-tree stands there all alone;
How bright the growth of fruit upon it shown!
The King's affairs no stinting hands require,
And days prolonged still mock our fond desire.
But time has brought the tenth month of the year;
My woman's heart is torn with wound severe.
Surely my warrior lord might now appear!
The russet pear-tree stands there all alone;
How dense the leafy shade all o'er it thrown!
The King's affairs require no slackening hand,
And our sad hearts their feelings can't command.
[Pg 200] The plants and trees in beauty shine; 'tis spring.
From off my heart its gloom I fain would fling.
This season well my warrior home may bring!
I climbed that northern hill, and medlars sought;
The spring nigh o'er, to ripeness they were brought.
"The King's affairs cannot be slackly done";—
'Tis thus our parents mourn their absent son.
But now his sandal car must broken be;
I seem his powerful steeds worn out to see.
Relief has gone! He can't be far from me!
Alas! they can't have marched; they don't arrive!
More hard it grows with my distress to strive.
The time is passed, and still he is not here!
My sorrows multiply; great is my fear.
But lo! by reeds and shell I have divined,
That he is near, they both assure my mind;—
Soon at my side my warrior I shall find!



Forth from the city in our cars we drove,
Until we halted at the pasture ground.
The general came, and there with ardor strove
A note of zeal throughout the host to sound.
"Direct from court I come, by orders bound
The march to hasten";—it was thus he spake.
Then with the carriage-officers around,
He strictly charged them quick despatch to make:—
"Urgent the King's affairs, forthwith the field we take."
While there we stopped, the second corps appeared,
And 'twixt us and the city took its place.
[Pg 201] The guiding standard was on high upreared,
Where twining snakes the tortoises embrace,
While oxtails, crest-like, did the staff's top grace.
We watched the sheet unfolding grandly wave;
Each flag around showed falcons on its face.
With anxious care looked on our leader brave;
Watchful the carriage-officers appeared and grave.
Nan Chung, our chief, had heard the royal call
To go where inroad by Heen-yuns was made,
And 'cross the frontier build a barrier wall.
Numerous his chariots, splendidly arrayed!
The standards—this where dragons were displayed,
And that where snakes round tortoises were coiled—
Terrific flew. "Northward our host," he said,
"Heaven's son sends forth to tame the Heen-yun wild."
Soon by this awful chief would all their tribes be foiled.
When first we took the field, and northward went,
The millet was in flower;—a prospect sweet.
Now when our weary steps are homeward bent,
The snow falls fast, the mire impedes our feet.
Many the hardships we were called to meet,
Ere the King's orders we had all fulfilled.
No rest we had; often our friends to greet
The longing came; but vain regrets we stilled;
By tablets stern our hearts with fresh resolve were thrilled.
"Incessant chirp the insects in the grass;
All round about the nimble hoppers spring.
From them our thoughts quick to our husbands pass,
Although those thoughts our hearts with anguish wring.
Oh! could we see them, what relief 'twould bring!
Our hearts, rejoiced, at once would feel at rest."
Thus did our wives, their case deploring, sing;
[Pg 202] The while our leader farther on had pressed,
And smitten with his power the wild Jung of the west.
The spring days now are lengthening out their light;
The plants and trees are dressed in living green;
The orioles resting sing, or wing their flight;
Our wives amid the southern-wood are seen,
Which white they bring, to feed their silkworms keen.
Our host, returned, sweeps onwards to the hall,
Where chiefs are questioned, shown the captives mean
Nan Chung, majestic, draws the gaze of all,
Proud o'er the barbarous foe his victories to recall.

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