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PREFACE,

When the author published his third volume, containing the Book of Historical Documents, in 1865, he hoped to proceed in 1867 to print the Book of Poetry which is only now offered to the public. He was obliged, however, early in that year to return to England, from which he came back to Hongkong in the spring of the past year, prepared to go to press at once with the present volume; but the loss by shipwreck of his printing paper rendered it necessary to defer the commencement of the work till towards the end of the year. The one delay and the other have enabled him to give the translation repeated revisions.

The Book of Poetry was translated into Latin about the year 1733, by Father Lacharme, of the Society of Jesus, but remained in manuscript till 1830, when it was edited by M. Jules Mohl, one of the eminent sinologues of Paris. M. Callery, in the Introduction to his version of the Le Ke, p. xix., has characterized Lacharme's translation as la production la plus indigeste et la plus ennuyeuse dont la sinole jo ait à rougir.' The translation is, indeed, very defective, and the notes accompanying it are unsatisfactory and much too brief. The author hopes that the Work which he now offers will be deemned by competent scholars a reliable translation of the original poems. He has certainly spared no labour on the translation, or on the accompanying notes and the prolegomena, to make it as perfect as he could attain to.

One great difficulty which a translator of the Book of Poetry has to contend with is the names of the plants, birds, quadrupeds, fishes, and insects, with which it abounds. To have transferred these to his translation, as Lacharme did, would have greatly abridged the anthor's labour, but would have been, he conceived, disappointing to his readers. He endeavoured, therefore, to make out from the

descriptions of native writers what the plants, &c., really were; and in this inquiry he derived great assistance from Dr. J. C. Hepburn of Yokohama. Having sent to that gentleman a copy of the Japanese plates to the Book of Poetry, described on p. 180 of the prolegomena, he was kind enough to go over the whole, along with Mr. Krainer, an English botanist; and in this way a great many plants and animals at which there had been only guesses before have been identified. Where the identification could not be made out, the author has translated the names by some synonym, from the Punts-aou or other Work, which could conveniently be given in English. There remain still a few names of plants and trees which he has been obliged to transfer. It is to be hoped that sinologues penetrating to their habitat in the interior of the country will shortly succeed in identifying them.

The author has to acknowledge anew his obligations to the Rev. Mr. Chalmers for the indexes of Subjects and Proper names. The index of subjects is fuller than the corresponding indexes to the previous volumes, and the author has been struck with its accuracy and completeness in preparing the chapters of the prolegomena. He has also inade the index of Chinese characters and phrases, at the request of several friends, more extensive, as regards the references, than formerly.

Mr. Frederick Stewart, Head master of the Government schools, has again given his efficient help in correcting the proofs; as also the Rev. F. S. Turner of the London Missionary Society. Even with their help and his own assiduous attention, it has not been possible entirely to avoid typographical mistakes. They will be found, however, to be few and unimportant.

Volume V., containing the Ch'un Ts'ëw, with the commentary and narratives of Tso K'ëw-ming complete, has been for several inonths in the printers' hands, and will be, it is hoped, ready for publication, in the autumn of next year.

Hongkong, December 14th, 1871.

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TIE CUINA OF THE BOOK OF POETRY, CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO THE EXTENT OF ITS

TERRITORY, AND ITS POLITICAL STATE, ITS REL'GION, AND SOCIAL CONDITION.......... 127

APPENDIX. Researches into the manners of the ancient Chinese, according to the She-king.

By M. Edouard Biot........

142

CHAPTER V.

150

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