Wednesday, June 24, 2020


Offerings and Blessings

Arthur Waley, The Book of Songs: The Ancient Chinese Classic of Poetry (New York: Grove Press, 1987), p. 161 (Song 156 = 125 Mao):
Abundant is the year, with much millet, much rice;
But we have tall granaries,
To hold myriads, many myriads and millions of grain.
We make wine, make sweet liquor,
We offer it to ancestor, to ancestress,
We use it to fulfill all the rites,
To bring down blessings upon each and all.
Id., p. 217 (Song 204 = 302 Mao):
Ah, the glorious ancestors—
Endless, their blessings,
Boundless their gifts are extended;
To you, too, they needs must reach.
We have brought them clear wine;
They will give victory.
Here, too, is soup well seasoned,
Well prepared, well mixed.
Because we come in silence,
Setting all quarrels aside.
They make safe for us a ripe old age.
We shall reach the withered cheek, we shall go on and on.
With our leather-bound naves, our bronze-clad yokes,
With eight bells a-jangle
We come to make offering.
The charge put upon us is vast and mighty,.
From Heaven dropped our prosperity.
Good harvests, great abundance.
They come, they accept,
They send down blessings numberless.
They regard the paddy-offerings, the offerings of first-fruits
That Tang's descendant brings.

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