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Profoundly wise were [the lords of] Shang,
And long had there appeared the omens [of their dignity ].
When the waters of the deluge spread vast abroad,
Yu arranged and divided the regions of the land,
And assigned to the exterior great States their boundaries,
With their borders extending all over [the kingdom].
Then the State of Song began to be great,
And God raised up the son [of its daughter], and founded [the Family of] Shang.
The dark king exercised an effective sway.
Charged with a small State, he commanded success;
Charged with a large State, he commanded success.
He followed his rules of conduct without error;
Wherever he inspected [the people], they responded [to his instructions].
[Then came] Xiang-tu, all-ardent,
And all [within] the seas, beyond [the middle region], acknowledged his restraints.
The favour of God did not leave [Shang],
And in Tang was found the subject for its display.
Tang was not born too late,
And his wisdom and virtue daily advanced.
Brilliant was the influence of his character [on Heaven] for long,
And God appointed him to be model to the nine regions.
He received the rank-tokens [of the States], small and large,
Which depended on him, like the pendants of a banner; --
So did he receive the blessing of Heaven.
He was neither violent nor remiss,
Neither hard nor soft.
Gently he spread his instructions abroad,
And all dignities and riches were concentrated iin him.
He received the tribute [of the States], large and small,
And he supported them as a strong steed [does its burden]; --
So did he receive the favour of Heaven.
He displayed everywhere his valour,
Unshaken, unmoved,
Unterrified, unscared: --
All dignities were united in him.
The martial king displayed his banner,
And with reverence grasped his axe.
It was like [the case of] a blazing fire,
Which no one can repress.
The root, with its three shoots,
Could make no progress, no growth.
The nine regions were effectually secured by him.
Having smitten [the princes of] Wei and Gu,
He dealt with [the prince of] Kun-wu, and with Jie of Xia.
Formerly in the middle of the period [before Tang],
There was a time of shaking and peril,
But truly did Heaven [then] deal with him as its son,
And sent him down a minister,
Namely A-heng,
Who gave his assistance to the king of Shang.
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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia