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23. 康王之誥






I. The king came forth and stood (in the space) within the fourth gate of the palace, when the Grand-Guardian led in the princes of the western regions by the left (half) of the gate, and the duke of Pî those of the eastern regions by the right (half) 2. They then all caused their teams of light bay horses, with their manes and tails dyed red, to be exhibited;--and, (as the king's) guests, lifted up their rank-symbols, and (the other) presents (they had brought) 3, saying, 'We your servants, defenders (of the throne), venture to bring the productions of our territories, and lay them here.' (With these words) they all did obeisance twice, laying their heads on the ground. The king, as the righteous successor to the virtue of those who had gone before him, returned their obeisance. The Grand-Guardian and the earl of Zui, with all the rest, then advanced and bowed to each other, after which they did obeisance twice, with their heads to the ground, and said, 'O Son of Heaven, we venture respectfully to declare our sentiments. Great Heaven altered its decree which the great House of Yin had received, and Wan and Wû of our Kâu grandly received the same, and carried it out, manifesting their kindly government in the western regions. His recently ascended majesty,* rewarding and punishing exactly in accordance with what was right, fully established their achievements, and transmitted this happy state to his successors. Do you, O king, now be reverent. Maintain your armies in great order, and do not allow the rarely equalled appointment of our high ancestors to come to harm.'*

The king spoke to the following effect:--'Ye princes of the various states, chiefs of the Hâu, Tien, Nan, and Wei domains, I, Kâo, the One man, make an announcement in return (for your advice). The former rulers, Wan and Wû, were greatly just and enriched (the people). They did not occupy themselves to find out people's crimes. Pushing to the utmost and maintaining an entire impartiality and sincerity, they became gloriously illustrious all under heaven. Then they had officers brave as bears and grisly bears, and ministers of no double heart, who (helped them) to maintain and regulate the royal House. Thus (did they receive) the true favouring decree from God, and thus did great Heaven approve of their ways, and give them the four quarters (of the land).* Then they appointed and set up principalities, and established bulwarks (to the throne), for the sake of us, their successors. Now do ye, my uncles 4, I pray you, consider with one another, and carry out the service which the dukes, your predecessors, rendered to my predecessors. Though your persons be distant, let your hearts be in the royal House. Enter thus into my anxieties, and act in accordance with them, so that I, the little child, may not be put to shame.'

The dukes and all the others, having heard this charge, bowed to one another, and hastily withdrew. The king put off his cap, and assumed again his mourning dress.


1. KHANG was the honorary sacrificial title conferred on Kâo, the son and successor of king Khang. His reign lasted from B.C. 1078 to 1053. Khang, as an honorary title, has various meanings. In the text it probably denotes--'Who caused the people to be tranquil and happy.' Immediately on his accession to the throne, as described in the last Book, king Khang made the Announcement which is here recorded. Indeed the two Books would almost seem to form only one, and as such they appeared in the Shû of Fû, as related in the Introduction. The princes, with whose departure from the inner hall of the palace the last Book concludes, are introduced again to the king in the court between the fourth and fifth gates, and do homage to him after their fashion, cautioning also and advising him about the discharge of his high duties. He responds with the declaration which has given name to the Book, referring to his predecessors, and asking the assistance of all his hearers, that his reign may be a not unworthy sequel of theirs. With this the proceedings terminate, and the king resumes his mourning dress which he had put off for the occasion. The whole thus falls into three chapters.

2. See note on these ministers, p. 235.

3. These presents were in addition to the teams of horses exhibited in the courtyard;--silks and lighter productions of their various territories.

4. Meaning the various princes, and especially those bearing the same surname as himself.

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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia