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Shijing (The Book of Songs) (2)

 

The following are selected from Shijing:

GUAN! GUAN! CRY THE FISH HAWKS

from Zhounan

Guan! Guan! Cry the fish hawks
on sandbars in the river:
a mild-mannered good girl,
fine match for the gentleman.

A ragged fringe is the floating-heart,
left and right we trail it:
that mild-mannered good girl,
awake, asleep, I search for her.

I search but cannot find her,
awake, asleep, thinking of her,
endlessly, endlessly,
turning, tossing from side to side.

A ragged fringe is the floating-heart,
left and right we pick it:
the mild-mannered good girl,
harp and lute make friends with her.
A ragged fringe is the floating-heart,
left and right we sort it:
the mild-mannered good girl,
bell and drum delight her.

[NOTES]

This is a love poem, describing a man of the royal family in love with a girl collecting edible water plants , and his efforts to court her.

Zhounan: (The Odes of Zhou and the South) In the early years of the Western Zhou Dynasty, Lord Dan of Zhou (reigned 1063-1057 B.C.) made Luo City (today's Luoyang City in Henan Province) its capital and from there he ruled over other dukes. The poems in Zhounan are that from Zhou and the states south of Zhou, covering an area of today's Henan and Hubei Provinces.

the river : The Yellow River.

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