Wang ch‘ung lun-hêng miscellaneous essays Traduits et annotés par Alfred forke



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1 Taking the character [] in the acceptation of degree, not of solar mansion.

2 See above p. 152 seq.

3 Which according to the view of many scholars may work wonders.

4 Like Duke Ching of Sung who is believed to have caused Mars to pass through three solar mansions.

5 The east point.

6 Whereas in fact it was rising. This conjecture is not very plausible.

7 Cf. Shi-chi chap. 83, p. 9v. and Vol. I, p. 117.

1 Vol. I, p. 117, Notes 5 and 6.

2 The Pei-wên-yün-fu cites this passage. See also Vol. I, p. 115, Note 4.

1 Vol I, p. 142, Notes 1 and 2.


2 Sse-Ma Ch‘ien makes this remark at the end of Shi-chi chap. 86, but in our text he does not say [] but simply [] ‘it is a great exaggeration’.

In Shi-chi chap. 34, p. 9r. we read that Prince Tan was kept a hostage in Ch‘in, but in B. C. 232 contrived to escape to Yen [Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. IV, p. 149].



1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 116 and 117.

2 A general of Ch‘i of the 3rd cent. B. C. See Vol. I, p. 161, Note 1.

3 [] which seems to stand for [], the two words used by Huai Nan Tse VI, 2r. where he speaks of Yung Mên Tse. The commentator remarks that this man was famous as a guitar-player and for his weeping, by which he touched the hearts of others. He wished to obtain something from Mêng Ch‘ang Chün.

4 See Vol. I, p. 281, Note 1.

5 Tsêng Tse having been all but killed by his wicked father for some small inadvertence, played the guitar and sang when he had recovered consciousness.

6 Few will be willing to admit this.

1 Heir-apparent of Chin who committed suicide, having been deposed and calumniated by the intrigues of the wife of duke Hsien. He was not put to death as stated in Vol. I, p. 247, Note 4.

2 A faithful minister of Wu who in 485 B. C. received a sword from his sovereign to kill himself. Cf. Vol. I, p. 140, Note 2.

1 See Vol. I, p. 222.

2 According to the old Chinese symbolism the note A corresponds to wood, which again is supposed to cause wind, a confusion of cause and effect, for the branches of trees are agitated by wind, but do not produce it.

3 The guitar.

4 A famous lute-player of primitive times.

5 A quotation from Hsün Tse. Lieh Tse observes ‘While Hu Pa was playing the guitar, the birds danced and the fish jumped’. Huai Nan Tse XVI, 1v. writes […], ascribing to Po Ya what our author says of K‘uang.

6 Vol. I, p. 379, Note 2.

1 Vol. I, p. 379, Note 2.

2 Shuking Part II, Bk. I, 24 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 49) [Couvreur].

3 A remarkable statement. Heaven here is treated as a being superior to God = Shang-ti, who has to obey its commands.

4 See above p. 16.

1 Analects VII, 34 [Couvreur].

2 Quotation from the Yiking : […], ed. 1880, chap. I, p. 7v., not to be found in Legge’s translation.


3 He would not have been the sage he was.

1 We cannot cure the diseases within the small compass of our body ; how could immense Heaven do it, Heaven taken as the empyrean ?

2 See above p. 167. Quotation from Huai Nan Tse VIII, 5r.

3 Vol. I, p. 294, Note 1, and p. 295, Note 1.


1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 277.

2 In the year 55 A. D.

3 In the province of Honan.


1 Baron Yi, the forester of Shun and assistant of . See Vol. I, p. 253.

2 Quoted from Huai Nan Tse VIII, 5r.

3 The tutelary deity of agriculture, a legendary emperor.


1 Vide Vol. I, pp. 353 and 357.

2 The Pei-wên-yün-fu quotes a similar passage from the Ti-wang shi-chi.

3 Cf. Vol. I, p. 355.

4 The various kinds of existing spirits.

5 A mountain in the province of Shensi, 90 Li north-east of Han-ch‘êng-hsien.

6 An officer of Chin.

7 The Shi-chi chap. 39, p. 31r (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. IV, p. 322) informs us that this mountain collapsed in B. C. 586. Po Tsung was of opinion that this was not to be looked upon as a prodigy.

1 A reminiscence of Shuking (Yao-tien) Part I, 11 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 24) [Couvreur].

2 It existed already at that early period.

3 See Vol. I, p. 280.

4 A similar category is believed to attract a similar and to repel a dissimilar one.

1 The common version is that Tsêng Tse’s mother bit her finger, whereupon he felt a pain in his finger too. Cf. Mayers’ Manual No. 739 and Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 2022, also the Shang-yu-lu.

2 Kanghi’s Dictionary quotes this passage.

3 The dictionaries do not know such a man, but Huai Nan Tse XVI, 1v. refers to the story here related, saying […]. Consequently Shên Hsi cannot have lived later than the 2nd cent. B. C. The commentary adds that Shên Hsi was a native of Ch‘u. In his youth, he had lost his mother. Once he heard a begging woman sing in the street. The voice impressed him so much, that he went out and recognised his mother.

1 Cho Mao, a distinguished scholar and excellent official who by Kuang Wu Ti was ennobled as Marquis and died in 28 A. D. See Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 411.

2 A place in Honan.

3 Under the reign of P‘ing Ti, 1-5 A. D., twenty districts of Honan province were infested by locusts, and only Mi-hsien where Cho was magistrate was spared.

4 [][]. The first character must here mean an insect, a meaning not found in the dictionaries. [] stands for [] ‘mosquito’ … The combination ‘mosquitoes and gadflies’ is common. Cf. Chalmers, Structure of Chinese Characters p. 93, the Chêng-tse t‘ung and Giles, Dict. No. 7788.

5 A paragon of integrity.

1 Viz. to bring about universal peace.

2 Cf. Vol. I, p. 405, Note 1.

3 Analects XIV, 45 [Couvreur].

1 Cf. p. 323 seq.

2 As the emperor Ti K‘u had, Vol. I, p. 304.

3 We read loc. cit. that the eyebrows of Yao had eight colours, not that he had eight eyebrows.

4 Cf. Vol. I, p. 130, Note 1.

5 About the event see Vol. I, p. 234, Note 1.

6 I. e., it would be foolish. The story here alluded to of a peasant of Sung who having seen a hare running against the trunk of a tree and breaking its crown, fancied this to be an easy way of catching hares, and therefore settled down near the tree in wait for one, has been told by Han Fei Tse XIX, 1v. See Pétillon, Allusions p. 175.

1 Analects XIII, 12 [Couvreur].

2 From 206 to 179 B. C.

3 Quoted in an abridged form from the biography of Chia Yi in the Shi-chi chap. 84, p. 8r.

4 The Lun-hêng was written in 82 or 83 A. D. Cf. p. 207 and I, p. 9.

1 From Han Kao Tsu down to Chang Ti, under whom the Lun-hêng was completed, there are ten emperors altogether, the empress Hou excepted.

2 In 5 A. D. Ju Tse Ying, 6-8 A. D., was a child and reigned only nominally till in 9 A. D. Wang Mang snatched the empire from him.

3 In 25 A. D.

4 See p. 206.

5 64 B. C.

6 The modern Pin-chou in Shensi.

7 62 B. C.

8 An Annamese tribe. See Vol. I, p. 370, Note 2.

1 60 B. C.

2 58 B. C.

3 East of Hsi-an-fu in Shensi, the modern Hsien-ning-hsien.

4 55 B. C.

5 The Han-shu has [] instead of [] ‘ten odd quarters of an hour’ i. e., about two hours and a half.

6 53 B. C.

7 A place in Shensi. Cf. Vol. I, p. 364, Note 2.

8 All these portents are mentioned in the Han-shu chap. 8, p. 21v. seq. also.

9 58-75 A. D.

1 Chang Ti, 76-88 A. D.

2 The States Ch‘i and Lu are of about equal importance, and so are Ch‘u and Sung.

3 Said of the length of the tablets. Cf. I, p. 456.

4 Apart from the Shi-chi of Sse-Ma Ch‘ien who describes only the beginning of the Han period, the history of the Former Han dynasty was written in the Ch‘ien Han-shu by Pan Ku and that of the After Han in the Hou Han-shu by Fan Yeh, but though much esteemed, their works have not been raised to the rank of classics.

5 Pan Ku wrote two poems descriptive of the eastern and western capitals of the Han.

1 Figuratively for the border lands of China with their people.

2 Cf. p. 208.

3 A people south of the Lobnor, said to be identical with the Lou-lan between Hami and Turfan.

4 A people in Yünnan, in the present prefecture of Yung-ch‘ang.

1 Analects IX, 10 [Couvreur].

2 On p. 192.

3 The capital of Huang Ti in Chili.

4 On Tan-shui and the Yu Miao see Vol. I, p. 494, Notes 3 and 4.

5 An allusion to the Yiking, 63th hexagram (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XVI, p. 205), The ‘devil country’ or ‘demon region’ means the barbarous hordes in the north of China.

6 See p. 18.

1 Ch‘ên Hsi was a counsellor to the king of Chao. He caused an insurrection against Kao Tsu in 197 B. C. and was decapitated in 196. Cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. II, p. 393 seq. and 399.

2 Cf. Vol. I, p. 218, Note 5.

3 Ch‘ao T‘so eked on five States to rebel against the Han. The plot failed, and Ch‘ao T‘so was put to death by order of the emperor in 154 B. C. Cf. Chavannes loc. cit. p. 499 and 509.

4 The acceptance of the Chinese calendar has always been regarded as a sign of submission.

5 A fact mentioned in the Shi-chi (Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 226).


6 This inference is wrong, of course, for we do not know whether the power of Ch‘in and Hsiang was, each of them, equal to that of Chieh or Chou.

7 Cf. Vol. I, p. 168, Note 2 and p. 430, Notes 1 and 2.

8 Who killed their rightful lieges.

1 Lit. the ‘three zones’ round the capital. Cf. Couvreur Dict.

2 A district in Shensi.


3 This passage is quoted in the T‘ai-p‘ing-yü-lan chap. 985, p. 3v., but the text differs. There the boy does not eat the cinnabar, but smears his body with it. See also Vol. I, p. 484 where the corresponding passage, which owing to the conciseness of the text was mistranslated, must be corrected. Tan Chiao is not a name.

4 Quoted in the Pei-wên-yün-fu.

5 Chapter of the Shuking [Legge][Couvreur], see Vol. I, p. 484, Notes 4 and 5.

6 I. e. Wang Mang who assumed the title the ‘New Emperor’.

1 A district in the Ying-chou prefecture of Anhui.

2 In 23 A. D.

3 Cf. Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 235.

4 The story is related by Mencius Book I, Part I, chap. VII, 4 (Legge, Classics Vol. II, p. 139) [Couvreur].

5 In the year 596 B. C. the capital of Chêng was taken by Ch‘u after a long siege. Then the scene alluded to took place. The narrative is found in the Tso-chuan, Duke Hsüan, 12th year [Couvreur].

6 See Vol. I, p. 319, Notes 4 to 7.

7 Generally known as Liu Hsüan, a cousin to Kuang Wu Ti.

8 The place where Wên Wang, the father of Wu Wang, was imprisoned by order of King Chou.

9 The last emperor of the Former Han dynasty.

10 An author, see Vol. I, p. 469, Note 3.

1 See Vol. I, p. 177 seq.

2 A solar mansion corresponding to Gemini.

3 See Vol. I, p. 180.

4 Cf. loc. cit. p. 181, where the reading Ch‘uang-ling (ed. B.) must be corrected into Ch‘un-ling.

5 On these various miracles compare Vol. I, p. 318 seq.

6 Cf. p. 311.

1 See p. 196.

2 See p. 213.

3 Chang Ti.

4 76-77 A. D.

5 In the prefecture of Yung-chou, Hunan.

6 More details on these eight dragons are given on p. 216.


7 All these portents are faithfully chronicled in the Hou Han-shu chap. 3, p. 6r. seq., only in the numbers and the years there are slight differences.

8 Vol. I, p. 130.

9 By the usurper Wang Mang who ousted the Former Han dynasty.

1 The aborigines of Ssechuan.

2 In Vol. I, p. 505 where the same statement is made.

3 The two Chou emperors reigning from 878-828 B. C. (Li) and from 781 to 771 (Yu).

4 He left the old capital Hao-ching in Shensi, and took up his residence farther eastward in Lo-yi (Honan).

5 The savages from the four quarters.

6 In 1 A. D.

7 They could not converse with the Chinese through one interpreter, finding nobody who could understand their language and Chinese, and therefore required one more to translate their speech into a language from which it could be rendered into Chinese.

8 Tribes in the west of China.

9 Of these tribes only the Liang Yuan are mentioned in the Han-shu, Biography of Wang Mang (Pei-wên-yün-fu).

10 A place in Kansu.

11 The geographical part of the Sui-shu (quoted in the Pei-wên-yün-fu) informs us that the circuit of the ‘Western Sea’ includes the old city of Fu sse, wherever that may be, and embraces the kingdom of T‘u-yü-hun. There is the stone grotto of Hsi Wang Mu and the salt lake Kukunor. Chavannes, Les Tou Kiue Occidentaux p. 280 likewise places T‘u-yü-hun on the banks of this lake. The Hsi-yü-chuan, on the other side, states that T‘iao-chih which I take to be Syria, is conterminous with Hsi-hai, and that there are big birds whose eggs are like jugs (ostriches). It is impossible that the Han carried their conquests so far.

1 Cf. Vol. I, p. 131, Notes 1 and 2.

2 See Analects IX, 13 [Couvreur] and Vol. I, p. 406, Note 6.

3 An expression not found elsewhere.

4 Two ancient States in Ssechuan.

5 The modern Ch‘u-hsiung-fu in Yünnan.

6 The present Kuei-lin-fu, Kuangsi.

7 Kung Yang, Duke Chuang 32nd year.

8 The king of Kuang-ling committed suicide in 67 A. D., the king of Ch‘u in 70 A. D. See Hou Han-shu chap. 2, p. 13v. and p. 16v.

9 The family of Yin Chiang.

1 The son of the last emperor of the Yin dynasty, also called Lu Fu. See Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 207, Note 4. But here two different persons seem to be meant.

2 The Yin dynasty.

3 On the banishment of these four criminals see the Shuking Part II, Book I, 12 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 39) [Couvreur] and Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. I, p. 67.

4 Cf. p. 160, Note 1.

5 This seems to refer to an earthquake which happened in Wang Ch‘ung’s time.

6 See p. 161.

7 Cf. p. 18.

1 Cf. p. 134, Note 1.

2 76 A. D.

1 68 A. D.

2 The Huan district corresponding to the prefecture of An-ch‘ing, the capital of the province of Anhui.

3 Now Lü-chou-fu, 120 Li west of the present Lü-chiang-hsien.

1 This soi-disant lucky augury is shortly mentioned in the Hou Han shu chap. 2, p. 14r. where the lake in which the gold was found is called Ch‘ao-hu, a lake in Ho-fei-hsien (Anhui) now famous for its gold-fish. As further portents which appeared in the same year are enumerated : a unicorn, a white pheasant, a wine spring, and auspicious grain.

2 Extraordinary only for persons prejudiced and desirous to discover omens at all costs.

3 No. The event was very simple and harmless and only construed into a miracle. Small boys, whose testimony is not worth much, saw some vessel in the water, which they first took for a wine amphora, then for something else. When they stirred up the water it disappeared for some time, but at last they succeeded in raising it.
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