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Chinese poem illustration: 大雅 文王/ Daya – King Wen by Anonymous

大雅 文王 part1

A key poem regarded as the Four Starters of Shijing(诗经四始), the first poem of Daya(大雅). The differences between Daya and Xiaoya are not clear today, many hypotheses are briefed in the video, the only thing that we are sure is that the poems read differently in some way.

The poem is about the first king of Zhou dynasty, King Wen(文王), or King Wen of Zhou(周文王), this is a honorific name given to a past king, his real name is Ji Chang(姬昌). Like half of the poems in Daya, this is an epic poem about a story of their past glory, very likely written in the early years of Zhou dynasty. In the words of ancient Zhou people, King Wen’s grandfather was honored/recalled as Grand King(太王), the first king of Zhou. From this very first epic poem in Daya, we could have some idea how Zhou people(周人) looked upon their history and kings. 於 could be read as wu1 which is an exclamation word.

大雅 文王 part2

4th-7th paragraphs is a standard epic poem, it descibed a moment of a key event: issuing law and orders to Shang people(商人), who were the defeated people of previous dynasty in a grand celebration ceromony lasts for days. This new interpretation could be referenced to an ancient history book: 逸周书/世俘解 which is attached after the poem.

History background: Shang dynasty was overthrown by King Wu(武王), son of King Wen, while the establishment of Zhou was by King Wen(文王) who is the first king of Zhou, the mandate is still under the name of King Wen in King Wu’s time, I.e. the chronicle year of Wen still used. Here is the words from 周语:惟十有三祀,王訪于箕子. It marked the 4th year regime of Wu as 13th year of Wen. 史记: 西伯卒,武王载木主,号为文王,东伐纣。木主 is the statue of King Wen, which symbolize King Wen and his throne.

Full video also available at Bilibili: 大雅 文王 Part1 Part2

大雅 文王
佚名

文王在上,於昭于天。
周虽旧邦,其命维新。
有周不显,帝命不时。
文王陟降,在帝左右

亹亹文王,令闻不已。
陈锡哉周,侯文王孙子。
文王孙子,本支百世,
凡周之士,不显亦世。

世之不显,厥犹翼翼。
思皇多士,生此王国。
王国克生,维周之桢;
济济多士,文王以宁。

穆穆文王,于缉熙敬止。
假哉天命,有商孙子。
商之孙子,其丽不亿。
上帝既命,侯于周服。

侯服于周,天命靡常。
殷士肤敏,祼将于京。
厥作祼将,常服黼冔。
王之荩臣,无念尔祖。

无念尔祖,聿修厥德。
永言配命,自求多福。
殷之未丧师,克配上帝。
宜鉴于殷,骏命不易!

命之不易,无遏尔躬。
宣昭义问,有虞殷自天。
上天之载,无声无臭。
仪刑文王,万邦作孚。

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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