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seven in number. Some of the pieces in the other Parts are marked by the same characteristic. In those Parts, however, there are many others which afford the best examples of Chinese poetry. The first piece of Part III. is remarkable as being constructed, in Chinese, in the same way as the 121st and other step Psalms, as they have been called, the concluding line of one stanza forming the commencing one of the next. In other pieces there is an approximation to the same form.
Throughout the book the pieces are distinguished among themselves as narrative, metaphorical, or allusive.
In a narrative piece the poet says what he has to say right out, writing it down in a simple, straightforward manner, without any hidden meaning reserved in his mind. It is not to be supposed, however, because such pieces are distinguished from the other two classes, that the author does not, at his pleasure, use the metaphor and other figures of speech in their composition. He uses them as freely as descriptive poets in any other language.
In a metaphorical piece the poet has under his language a meaning different from what it expresses,—& meaning which there should be nothing in the language to indicate. Such a piece may be compared to the Æsopic fable; but while it is the object of the fable to inculcate the virtues of morality and prudence, an historical interpretation has to be sought for the metaphorical pieces of the She. Often, moreover, the moral of the fable is subjoined to it, which never is done in the case of these pieces. The best specimen of such a com: position is the second ode of Book xv., Part I., where we hear only the plaint of a bird, whose young, reared by her with toil, have been destroyed by an owl, and who is afraid that her nest will also be destroyed. We know, however, from the Book of History, that the writer, the duke of Chow, intended himself by the bird, and that he wished in the piece to vindicate the stern course which he had adopted to put down the rebellion of some of his brothers.
The allusive pieces are more numerous than the metaphorical. They often commence with a couple of lines which are repeated without change, or with slight rhythmical changes, in all the stanzas. In other pieces each stanza has allusive lines peculiar to itself. These are for the most part descriptive of some objector circumstance in the animal or vegetable world, and after them the poet proceeds to his proper subject. Generally, the allusive lines convey a meaning harmonizing with the lines which follow, as in I. i. IV., where an English poet would begin the verses with Like or As. They are in reality metaphorical, but the difference between an allusive and a metaphorical piece is this,—that in the former the poet proceeds to state the theme which he is occupied with, while no such intimation is given in the latter. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to discover the metaphorical element in the allusive lines, and we can only deal with them as a sort of refrain, strangely placed at the begin. ning of the verses. Chinese critics do not scruple to say that there are many cases in which it is impossible to find any meaning in the allusive lines akin to what is subsequently said. I cannot persuade myself, however, that the poets ever wrote in such a random style; and the fresh and careful study of each piece, required in preparing the present volume, enabled me to see a good and suitable meaning in many lines, of whose force I had previously enjoyed but a dim and vague perception, and even in some lines where the meaning had eluded all the critics. My rule has been to bring out in the English verse the connexion between the allusive lines and those that follow; and this is the principal reason why my stanzas are frequently longer than those of the Chinese text. Occasionally, where the connexion was sufficiently evident, I have made no addition to show it. More rarely, I have been obliged to leave the connexion in obscurity, as being myself unable to perceive it.
In leaving this subject, it is only necessary to say further that the allusive, the metaphorical, and the narrative elements sometimes all occur in the same piece.
Chinese critics make a further distinction of the pieces, especially in the first three Parts, into correct and changed, or pieces of an age of good government, and pieces of a degenerate age. Such a distinction was made at a very early time; but it is of little importance. Many pieces 1 ranked in the second and inferior class are in their spirit part and style equal, and more than equal, to any in the other.
THE CHINA OF THE BOOK OF POETRY, CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO THE EXTENT OF ITS TERRITORY, AND ITS POLITICAL STATE; ITS RELIGION; AND
1. A GLANCE at the map prefixed to this chapter will give the reader an idea of the extent of the kingdom of Chow,—of China as it was during the period to which the Book of Poetry belongs. The China of The the present day, what we call China proper, of the kingdom embracing the eighteen provinces, may be on described in general terms as lying between the 20th and 40th degrees of north latitude, and the 100th and 121st degrees of east longitude, and containing an area of about 1,300,000 square miles. The China of the Chow dynasty lay between the 33rd and 38th parallels of latitude, and the 106th and 119th of longitude. The degrees of longitude included in it were thus about two-thirds of the present; and of the 20 degrees of latitude the territory of Chow embraced no more than five. It extended nearly to the limit of the present boundaries on the north and west, because it was from the north, along the course of the Yellow river, that the first Chinese settlers had come into the country, and it was again from the west of the Yellow river that the chiefs of the Chow family and their followers pushed their way to the east, and took possession of the tracts on both sides of that river, which had been occupied, nearly to the sea, by the dynasties of Hëa and Shang. The position of the present departmental city of Pin-chow, in which neighbourhood we find duke Lëw with his people emerging into notice, in the beginning of the 18th century before our era, is given as in lat. 35° 4', and long. 105° 46'.
The She says nothing of the division of the country under the Chow dynasty into the nine Ohow or provinces, of which we read so much in the third Part of the Shoo, in connection with the labours of Yu. Four times in the
Books of Chow in the She that famous personage is mentioned with honour, but the sphere in which his action is referred to does not extend beyond the country in the neighbourhood of the Ho before it turns to flow to the east, and there is reason to believe that he did here accomplish a most meritorious work. Twice he is mentioned in the sacrificial odes of Shang, and there the predicates of him are on a larger scale, but without distinct specification ; but T'ang, the founder of the dynasty, is represented as receiving from God the “nine regions,"2 and appointed to be a model to the “nine circles" of the land. These nine regions and nine circles were probably the nine Chow of the Shoo; and though no similar language is found in the She respecting the first kings of Chow, their dominion, according to the Official book of the dynasty,was divided into nine provinces, seven of which bear the same names as those in the Shoo. We have no Seu-chow, which extended along the sea on the east from Ts'ing-chow to the Këang river, and Chinese scholars tell us, contrary to the evidence of the She and of the Tso-chuen, that it was absorbed in the Ts'ing province of Chow. In the same way they say that Yu's Lëang-chow on the west, extending to his Yung-chow, was absorbed in Chow's Yung. The number of nine provinces was kept up by dividing Yu's K'e-chow in the north into three ;-K'e to the east, Ping in the west, and Yëw in the north and centre. The disappearance of Seu and Lëang sufficiently shows that the kings of Chow had no real sway over the country embraced in them; and though the names of Yang and King, extending south from the Këang, were retained, it was merely a retention of the names, as indeed the dominion of China south of the Këang in earlier times had never been anything but nominal. The last ode of the She, which is also the last of the Sacrificial odes of the Shang dynasty, makes mention of the subjugation of the tribes of King, or Kingtsʻoo, by king Woo-ting (B.c. 1323—1263); but, as I have shown on that ode, its genuineness is open to sus
I See II. vi. VI. 1: III. i. X. 5 ; ii. VII. 1: IV. ii. IV. 1. ? IV. iii. IV. 1; V. 3.
3 IV. iii. III. 1, 7 and IV. 3. 4 Ch. XXXIII.