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Tag: literature Liji 礼记 

Exemplarious translation of Liji 礼记 "The Book of Rites"

 
The Liji 礼记 "Book of rites" is a collection of descriptions of ritual matters written during the late Warring States 战国 (5th cent.-221 BCE) andFormer Han 前汉 (206 BCE-8 CE) periods.

Exemplarious translation:
3. (5.) 王制 Royal Regulations

王者之制:禄爵,公、侯、伯、子、男,凡五等。诸侯之上大夫卿、下大夫、上士、中士、下士,凡五等。
According to the regulations of emolument and rank framed by the kings, there were the duke; the marquis; the earl; the count; and the baron - in all, five gradations (of rank). There were (also), in the feudal states, Great officers of the highest grade - the ministers; and Great officers of the lowest grade; officers of the highest, the middle, and the lowest grades - in all, five gradations (of office).

天子之田方千里,公侯田方百里,伯七十里,子男五十里。不能五十里者,不合于天子,附于诸侯曰附庸。天子之三公之田视公侯,天子之卿视伯,天子之大夫视子男,天子之元士视附庸。
The territory of the son of Heaven amounted to 1000 li square; that of a duke or marquis to 500 li square; that of an earl to 79 li square; and that of a count or baron to 50 li square. (Lords) who could not number 50 li square, were not admitted directly to (the audiences of) the son of Heaven. Their territories were called 'attached,' being joined to those of one of the other princes. The territory assigned to each of the ducal ministers of the son of Heaven was equal to that of a duke or marquis; that of each of his high ministers was equal to that of an earl; that of his Great officers to the territory of a count or baron; and that of his officers of the chief grade to an attached territory.

农田百亩。百亩之分:上农夫食九人,其次食八人,其次食七人,其次食六人;下农夫食五人。庶人在官者,其禄以是为差也。
According to the regulations, the fields of the husbandmen were in portions of a hundred acres. According to the different qualities of those acres, when they were of the highest quality, a farmer supported nine individuals; where they were of the next, eight; and so on, seven, six, and five. The pay of the common people, who were employed in government offices, was regulated in harmony with these distinctions among the husbandmen.

13. (15.) 丧服小记 Smaller Records of Mourning Dress

斩衰,括发以麻;为母,括发以麻,免而以布。齐衰,恶笄以终丧。
When wearing the unhemmed sackcloth (for a father), (the son) tied up his hair with a hempen (band), and also when wearing it for a mother. When he exchanged this band for the cincture (in the case of mourning for his mother), this was made of linen cloth. (A wife), when wearing the (one year's mourning) of sackcloth with the edges even, had the girdle (of the same), and the inferior hair-pin (of hazel-wood), and wore these to the end of the mourning.

男子冠而妇人笄,男子免而妇人髽。其义:为男子则免,为妇人则髽。
(Ordinarily) men wore the cap, and women the hair-pin; (in mourning) men wore the cincture, and women the same after the female fashion. The idea was (simply) to maintain in this way a distinction between them.

苴杖,竹也;削杖,桐也。
The dark-coloured staff was of bamboo; that paired and fashioned (at the end) was of eleococca wood.

17. (19.) 乐记 Record of Music
凡音之起,由人心生也。人心之动,物使之然也。感于物而动,故形于声。声相应,故生变;变成方,谓之音;比音而乐之,及干戚羽旄,谓之乐。
All the modulations of the voice arise from the mind, and the various affections of the mind are produced by things (external to it). The affections thus produced are manifested in the sounds that are uttered. Changes are produced by the way in which those sounds respond to one another; and those changes constitute what we call the modulations of the voice. The combination' of those modulated sounds, so as to give pleasure, and the (direction in harmony with them of the) shields and axes, and of the plumes and ox-tails, constitutes what we call music.

乐者,音之所由生也;其本在人心之感于物也。是故其哀心感者,其声噍以杀。其乐心感者,其声啴以缓。其喜心感者,其声发以散。其怒心感者,其声粗以厉。其敬心感者,其声直以廉。其爱心感者,其声和以柔。六者,非性也,感于物而后动。是故先王慎所以感之者。故礼以道其志,乐以和其声,政以一其行,刑以防其奸。礼乐刑政,其极一也;所以同民心而出治道也。
Music is (thus) the production of the modulations of the voice, and its source is in the affections of the mind as it is influenced by (external) things. When the mind is moved to sorrow, the sound is sharp and fading away; when it is moved to pleasure, the sound is slow and gentle; when it is moved to joy, the sound is exclamatory and soon disappears; when it is moved to anger, the sound is coarse and fierce; when it is moved to reverence, the sound is straightforward, with an indication of humility; when it is moved to love, the sound is harmonious and soft. These six peculiarities of sound are not natural'; they indicate the impressions produced by (external) things. On this account the ancient kings were watchful in regard to the things by which the mind was affected. And so (they instituted) ceremonies to direct men's aims aright; music to give harmony to their voices; laws to unify their conduct; and punishments to guard against their tendencies to evil. The end to which ceremonies, music, punishments, and laws conduct is one; they are the instruments by which the minds of the people are assimilated, and good order in government is made to appear.

41. (44.) 昏义 The Meaning of the Marriage Ceremony
昏礼者,将合二姓之好,上以事宗庙,而下以继后世也。故君子重之。是以昏礼纳采、问名、纳吉、纳征、请期,皆主人筵几于庙,而拜迎于门外,入,揖让而升,听命于庙,所以敬慎、重正昏礼也。
The ceremony of marriage was intended to be a bond of love between two (families of different) surnames, with a view, in its retrospective character, to secure the services in the ancestral temple, and in its prospective character, to secure the continuance of the family line. Therefore the superior men, (the ancient rulers), set a great value upon it. Hence, in regard to the various (introductory) ceremonies,--the proposal with its accompanying gift; the inquiries about the (lady's) name; the intimation of the approving divination; the receiving the special offerings; and the request to fix the day - these all were received by the principal party (on the lady's side), as he rested on his mat or leaning-stool in the ancestral temple, (When they arrived), he met the messenger, and greeted him outside the gate, giving place to him as he entered, after which they ascended to the hall. Thus were the instructions received in the ancestral temple, and in this way was the ceremony respected, and watched over, while its importance was exhibited and care taken that all its details should be correct. 

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  [Editor:一尾鱼   2015/02/11/]
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