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Chinese poem illustration: 小雅 十月之交/ Xiaoya – Edge of October by Anonymous

小雅 十月之交1

Full video also available at Bilibili:小雅 十月之交1/ 小雅 十月之交2

One of the several poems written at the end of the West Zhou dynasty(西周), reflected this very critical period in Chinese history: country was splitting into many small states by joint devastation of nature disasters and bad governance.

At the time being, the poet sensed the huge danger of the country when watching the eclipse. Yet I bet no one at the time could imagine the outcome is a wartime of 500 years, in Confucius words: the rule of law had gone, the music was damaged(礼崩乐坏), I had reached the dead end(吾道穷).

A new argument is put forward toward the very confusing sentence “醘妻煽方处”. Beyond the video, 妻 could be a loan character of 器 as well.

The background picture of this video was taken in July 2020 at the foot of Li mountain(骊山), where the last king of West Zhou(幽王) was killed.

小雅 十月之交2

Part1 is about eclipse and foregoing disasters, while the poet wondered what kind of disasters ahead of the suffered people and country.

Starting from 4th paragraph, the poet talked about the reality, the most prominent group of officials in the capital, he even wrote down their names one by one in this poem which reflected his utmost fury: the disasters were not only by the heaven which is the common sense of Zhou society, but by these worst officials.

The poet expressed his own situation and loneliness in this huge chaos, a contrast to majoraty people. By analysis, the poet’s job as a fortuneteller(卜人) or an official historian(史官) is drafted. Just compare the words of the history book(竹书纪年): 冬十月辛卯朔,日有食之 with the first two pairs of sentence. The name/title list in 4th paragraph is also a proof which is very likely the working habit of a historian. So many real names with job titles make this poem the only kind in Shijing.

The background picture of this video was taken in July 2020 at the foot of Li mountain(骊山), where the last king of West Zhou(幽王) was killed.

小雅 十月之交
佚名

十月之交,朔月辛卯。日有食之,亦孔之丑。
彼月而微,此日而微;今此下民,亦孔之哀。

日月告凶,不用其行。四国无政,不用其良。
彼月而食,则维其常;此日而食,于何不臧。

烨烨震电,不宁不令。百川沸腾,山冢崒崩。
高岸为谷,深谷为陵。哀今之人,胡憯莫惩?

皇父卿士,番维司徒。家伯维宰,仲允膳夫。
棸子内史,蹶维趣马。楀维师氏,醘妻煽方处。

抑此皇父,岂曰不时?胡为我作,不即我谋?
彻我墙屋,田卒污莱。曰予不戕,礼则然矣。

皇父孔圣,作都于向。择三有事,亶侯多藏。
不慭遗一老,俾守我王。择有车马,以居徂向。

黾勉从事,不敢告劳。无罪无辜,谗口嚣嚣。
下民之孽,匪降自天。噂沓背憎,职竞由人。

悠悠我里,亦孔之痗。四方有羡,我独居忧。
民莫不逸,我独不敢休。天命不彻,我不敢效我友自逸。

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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