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To another gentleman he has also to acknowledge his great obligation. When he was beginning to see the end of his task, he asked his old HongKong friend, W. T. Mercer, Esq., M.A. Oxford, to read and revise his manuscript before it went to the press. He knew he could not have a kinder critic, nor an abler,-as all will say who are acquainted with Mr Mercer's own volume of “ Under the Peak; or, Jottings in Verse, during a length. ened residence in the Colony of Hong-Kong," published in 1869.
Mr Mercer kindly acceded to the request, and went over every one of the pieces, pruning, correcting, and smoothing the versification, and making otherwise various suggestions. He recast some of the pieces in the first Part. The author has appended two of his recastings to his own versions, and I. ii. V, should have been mentioned as entirely his. In other cases it was found advisable to remake the pieces. To Mr Mercer also the Work is indebted, as the reader will perceive, for Latin versions of some of the pieces.
Two metrical versions in German of the old Chinese poems have existed for a good many years. The one was published at Altona, in 1833, with the title :-—"Schi-King, Chinesisches Liederbuch, gesammelt von Confucius, dem Deutschen angeeignet von Friedrich Rückert;" the other at Crefeld, in 1844, with the title :-“Schi-King, oder Chinesische Lieder, gesammelt von Confucius. Neu und frei nach P. La Charme's lateinischer Uebertragung bearbeitet. Für's deutsche Volk herausgegeben von Johann Cramer.” Of these the former by Rückert has much the greater merit, and the second translator had it constantly before him. The present version, however, is under no obligation to either, nor can a comparison be instituted between it and them. Cramer says that his version was “freely” made from Lacharme’s Latin translation ; nor had Rückert any other original. Of the character of Lacharme's translation the author has spoken in the preface to his larger Work.
122, King Henry's Road, London,
THE EARLY HISTORY AND THE PRESENT TEXT OF THE
BOOK OF POETRY.
THE BOOK BEFORE CONFUCIUS; AND WHAT, IF ANY, WERE
HIS LABOURS UPON IT.
1. SZE-MA Ts'ëen, in his memoir of Confucius, says :« The old poems amounted to more than 3000. Confucins removed those which were only repetitions of others, and selected those which would be serviceable Statements of for the inculcation of propriety and righteous- Chinese scholars. ness. Ascending as high as Sëeh and How-tsoih, and descending through the prosperous eras of Yin and Chow to the times of decadence under kings Yëw and Le, he selected in all 305 pieces, which he sang over to his lute, to bring them into accordance with the musical style of the Shaou, the Woo, the Ya, and the Sung.” This is the first notiee which we have of any compilation of the ancient poems by Confucius, and from it mainly are derived all the subsequent statements on the subject.
In the History of the Classical Books in the Records of the Suy dynasty (A.D. 589.–618), it is said :-“When odes ceased to be made and collected, Che, the Grand music-master of Loo, arranged in order those which were existing, and made a copy of them. Then Confucius expurgated them; and going up to the Shang dynasty, and coming down to the State of Loo, he compiled altogether 300 pieces.”
Gow-yang Sëw (A.D. 1006—1071) endeavours to state : particularly what the work of expurgation performed by Confucius was. “Not only,” says he,“ did the sage, reject whole poems, but from others he rejected one or more stanzas; from stanzas he rejected one or more lines; and from lines he rejected one or more characters.”
Choo He (A.D. 1130—1200), whose own classical Work on the Book of Poetry appeared in A.D. 1178, declined to express hirnself positively on the question of the expurgation of the odes, but summed up his view of what Confucius did for them in the following words :-“ Poems had ceased to be made and collected, and those which were extant were full of errors and wanting in arrangement. When Confucius returned from Wei to Loo, he brought with him the odes which he had gotten in other States, and digested them, along with those which were to be found in Loo, into a collection of 300 pieces.”
I have not been able to find evidence sustaining these representations, and propose now to submit to the reader These state-no con
state the considerations which prevent me from ments not sup- concurring in them, and have brought me ported by evidence. The view to the conclusions that, before the birth of of the author. Confucius, the Book of Poetry existed substantially the same as it was at his death, and that, while he may have somewhat altered the arrangement of its Books and odes, the principal service which he rendered to it was not that of compilation, but the impulse to the study of it which he communicated to his disciples. The discrepancy in the number of the odes as given in the above statements will be touched on in a note.
2. If we place Ts'ëen's composition of the memoir of Confucius in B.c. 100, nearly four hundred years will thus have elapsed between the death of the sage and any The ground- statement to the effect that he expurgated a
he previous collection of poems, or compiled
that which we now have, consisting of a few over 300 pieces; and no writer in the interval, so far as we know, had affirmed or implied any such facts. But inde pendently of this consideration, there is ample evidence to prove, first, that the poems current before Confucius were not by any means so numerous as Sze-ma Ts'ëen says, and, secondly, that the collection of 300 pieces or thereabouts,
lessness of the above representations.