תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

were not numer

digested under the same divisions as in the present Classic, existed before the sage's time.

3. [i.] It would not be surprising, if, floating about and current among the people of China, in the 6th century before Christ, there had been even more than the old poems 3000 pieces of poetry. The marvel is that ous.“ such was not the case. But in the “Narratives of the States," a Work attributed by some to Tso K'ëw-ming, there occur quotations from 31 poems, made by statesmen and others, all anterior to Confucius; and of those poems it cannot be pleaded that more than two are not in the present Classic, while of those two one is an ode of it quoted under another name. Further, in the Tso Chuen, certainly the work of Tso K'ëw-ming, and a most valuable supplement to Confucius' own Work of the Chʻun Ts'ëw, we have quotations from not fewer than 219 poems; and of these only thirteen are not found in the Classic. Thus of 250 poems current in China before the supposed compilation of the Book of Poetry, 236 are found in it, and only 14 are absent. To use the words of Chaou Yih, a scholar of the present dynasty, of the period Křëen-lung (A.D. 1736–1795), “If the poems existing in Confucius' time had been more than 3000, the quotations found in these two Books of poems now lost should have been ten times as numerous as the quotations from the 305 pieces said to have been preserved by him, whereas they are only between a twenty-first and twenty-second part of those from the existing pieces. This is sufficient to show that Ts'ëen's statement is not worthy of credit.” I have made the widest possible induction from all existing Records in which there are quotations of poems made anterior to Confucius, and the conclusion to which I have been brought is altogether confirmatory of that deduced from the Works of Tso K'ëw-ming. If Confucius did make any compilation of poems, he had no such work of rejection and expurgation to do as is commonly imagined.

(ii.) But I believe myself that he did no work at all to which the name of compilation can properly be applied, but simply adopted an existing collection of poems consisting of 305, or at most of 311 pieces. Of the ex

1 Wylie's Notes on Chinese Literature, p. 6. Tso K‘ëw-ming was not far removed from the era of Confucius.

of Confucius.

Proofs of the istence of the She, or Book of Poetry, before existence of the Confucius, digested under four divisions, and Book of Poetry before the time much in the same order as at present, there

0108. may be advanced the following proofs : First, in the “ Official Book of Chow," we are told that it belonged to the grand-master“ to teach the six classes of poems,-the Fung, with their descriptive, metaphorical, and allusive pieces, the Ya, and the Sung.” Mr Wylie says that the question of the genuineness of the Official Book may be considered as set at rest since the inquiry into it by Choo He, and that it is to be accepted as a work of the duke of Chow, or some other sage of the Chow dynasty. Without committing myself to any opinion on this point, as I find the passage just quoted in the Preface to the She (of which I shall treat in the next chapter), I cannot but accept it as having been current before Confucius; and thus we have a distinct reference to a collection of poems, earlier than his time, with the same division into Parts, and the same classification of the pieces in those Parts.

Second, in Part II. of the She, Book vi., Ode IX.,--an ode assigned to the time of king Yëw, B.C. 780—770, we have the words,

“ They sing the Ya and the Nan,

Dancing to their flutes without error."

So early then as the 8th century before our era, there was a collection of poems, of which some bore the name of the Nan, which there is nothing to forbid our supposing to have been the Chow-nan and the Shaou-nan, forming the first two Books of the first part of the present classic, often spoken of together as the Nan; and of which others bore the name of the Ya, being probably the earlier pieces which now compose a large portion of the second and third Parts.

Third, in the narratives of Tso K‘ëw-ming, under the 29th year of duke Sëang, B.C. 543, when Confucius was only 8 or 9 years old, we have an account of a visit to the court of Loo by an envoy from Woo, an eminent statesman of the time, and of great learning. We are told

Notes on Chinese Literature, p. 4.

that, as he wished to hear the music of Chow, which he could do better in Loo than in any other State, they sang to him the odes of the Chow-nan and the Shaou-nan ; those of Prei, Yung, and Wei; of the Royal domain; of Ch‘ing; of Ts'e ; of Pin; of Ts'in; of Wei; of Tang; of Chéin ; of Kwei; and of Ts'aou. They sang to him also the odes of the Minor Ya and the Greater Ya; and they sang finally the pieces of the Sung. We have here existing in the boyhood of Confucius, before he had set his mind on learning,' what we may call the present Book of Poetry, with its Fung, its Ya, and its Sung. The odes of the Fung were in 15 Books as now, with merely some slight differences in the order of their arrangement;-the odes of Pin forming the 9th Book instead of the 15th, those of Ts'in the 10th instead of the 11th, those of Wei the 11th instead of the 9th, and those of Tang the 12th instead of the 10th. In other respects the She, existing in Loo when Confucius was a mere boy, appears to have been the same as that of which the compilation has been ascribed to him.

Fourth, in this matter we may appeal to the words of Confucius himself. Twice in the Analects he speaks of the odes as a collection consisting of 300 pieces? That Work not being made on any principle of chronological order, we cannot positively assign those sayings to any particular periods of Confucius' life; but it is, I may say, the unanimous opinion of the critics that they were spoken before the time to which Sze-ma Ts'een and Choo He refer his special labour on the Book of Poetry. The reader may be left, with the evidence which has been set before him, to form his own opinion on the questions discussed. To my own mind that evidence is decisive on the points. -The Book of Poetry, arranged very much as we now have it, was current in China long before the sage; and its pieces were in the mouths of statesmen and scholars, constantly quoted by them on festive and other occasions. Poems not included in it there doubtless were, but they were comparatively few. Confucius may have made a copy for the use of himself and his disciples; but it does not appear that he rejected any pieces which had been previously received, or admitted any which had not previously found a place in the collection. Confucian Analects, II. iv. 1. ? Confucian Analects, II. ii.; XIII. v.

ments in

the

4. Having come to the above conclusions, it seems Further errors superfluous to make any further observations in the state on the statements adduced in the first para. first paragraph. graph. If Confucius expurgated no previous Book, it is vain to try and specify the nature of his expurgation as Gow-yang Sëw did. From Sze-ma Ts'ëen we should suppose that there were no odes in the She later than the time of king Le, whereas there are 12 of the time of king Hwuy, 13 of that of king Sëang, and 2 of the time of king Ting. Even the Sung of Loo which are referred to by the Suy writer and Choo He are not the latest pieces in the Book. The statement of the former that the odes were arranged in order and copied by Che, the music-master of Loo, rests on no authority but his own ;-more than a thousand years after the time of Confucius. I shall refer to it again, however, in the next chapter.

5. The question arises now of what Confucius really did for the Book of Poetry, if, indeed, he did anything at all. The only thing from which we can hazard the slightest Did Confucius opinion on the point we have from his own lips. enho ananing in the Analects, IX. xiv., he tells us :-“I Poetry? returned from Wei to Loo, and then the music was reformed, and the pieces in the Ya and the Sung all found their proper places.” The return from Wei to Loo took place when the sage was in his 69th year, only five years before his death. He ceased from that time to take an active part in political affairs, and solaced himself with music, the study of the Classics, the writing of the Ch'un Ts'ëw, and familiar intercourso with those of his disciples who still kept about him. He reformed the music, -that to which the poems were sung; but wherein the reformation consisted we cannot tell. And he gave to the pieces of the Ya and the Sung their proper places. The present order of the Books in the Fung, slightly differing, we have seen, from that which was common in his boyhood, may also have now been determined by him.

then do anything

"Every instance pleaded by Sëw in support of his expurgation of stanzas, lines, and characters has been disposed of by various scholars.

? When this Che lived is much disputed. From the references to him in Ana. VIII. XV., XVIII. ix., we naturally suppose him to have been a contemporary of Confucius.

As to the arrangement of the odes in the other parts of the Work, we cannot say of what extent it was. What are now called the correct Ya precede the pieces called the Ya of a changed character or of a degenerate age; but there is no chronological order in their following one another, and it will be seen, from the notes on the separate odes, that there are not a few of the latter class, which are illustrations of a good reign and of the observance of propriety, as much as any of the former. ' In the Books of the Sung again, the occurrence of the Praisesongs of Loo between the sacrificial odes of Chow and Shang is an anomaly for which we try in vain to discover a reasonable explanation.

6. While we cannot discover, therefore, any peculiar labours of Confucius on the Book of Poetry, and we have it now, as will be shown in the next section, substantially as he found it already compiled to his hand, the subsequent preservation of it may reasonably be Confucius’serattributed to the admiration which he ex- was in the impressed for it, and the enthusiasm for it with pulse which he which he sought to inspire his disciples. It of it. was one of the themes on which he delighted to converse with them. He taught that it is from the odes that the mind receives its best stimulus.? A man ignorant of them was, in his opinion, like one who stands with his face towards a wall, limited in his views, and unable to advance.3 Of the two things which his son could specify as particularly enjoined on him by the sage, the first was that he should learn the odes. In this way Confucius, probably, contributed largely to the subsequent preservation of the Book of Poetry;—the preservation of the tablets on which the odes were inscribed, and the preservation of it in the memories of all who venerated his authority, and looked up to him as their master.

vice to the She

? Analects, VII. xvii.

? Ana., VIII. viii.; XVII. ix.

3 Ana., XVII, X.

* Ana., XVI. xiii,

« הקודםהמשך »