(Li Po's) Preface:

(Li) Po considers the fu as a current of ancient poetry,(1) its expressions bent on magnificence and beauty, and its meanings belonging to the erudite and wise.(2) If this were not so, how could fu illuminate praise and fulfill beauty, and impel heaven and move spirits?(3) Moreover, Hsiang-ju and Tzu-yün(4) strove to embellish the expressions of the fu, and past generations considered them to be literary heroes whom none dared to slander or criticize. Your servant addresses and discourses on their outline and my humble self will perhaps complete the narrowness of their usage and intentions.(5)

According to "Sir Fantasy",(6) the kingdom of Ch'u does not exceed one thousand li,(7) and the Dream Marsh occupies its greater portion. Moreover, the people of Ch'i could have swallowed eight or nine of them.(8) The "three cultivators" and the birds and beasts have no place to rest their shoulders.(9) It is not the feudal prince's intent to prohibit excess and give account of office. The "Shang-Lin Rhapsody" states: "On the left lies Ts'ang-wu, on the right is Hsi-chi." Examining its actualities, the land's circumference only entails several hundred li.(10) The "Ch'ang-yang Rhapsody"(11) boasts of the Hu(12) setting up nets, making circular pens and placing roebucks and tailed deer in them in order to strike them bare-handed with barbaric delight. The "Plume Hunt Rhapsody" with the Spirit-Tower's garden,(13) enclosed several hundred li to establish the palace portal.(14) At that time, this was considered the utmost in might, and the extreme of beauty. Now when we view it, how petty and insignificant it is!

If, however the ruler takes the four seas for his family and the ten-thousand clans to be his sons, then how are the mountains, forests, birds and beasts under heaven different from the multitude of commoners? In addition, your servant considers it impossible to use the great Tao to correct the Lord, to display the circumference and breadth of things, and to harmonize lines discussing the preserve's minutiae. My humble self serving as an insignificant servant does not aspire to this.

The present holy dynasty's parks, ponds and distant wastelands entirely deplete the six directions.(15) The early winter, tenth-month great hunt in Ch'in is used to further his charismatic glory and majesty, to practice military maneuvers, and to sweep the heavens and cleanse the wilds. How can it be that this is wasteful, wanton, excessive, extravagant and not in keeping with the intentions of the three drives?(16) Your servant (Li) Po will make an encomium, candidly demonstrating its merits.(17)

Its phrases are as follows:

1 Examining into the imperial T'ang's securing heaven and earth and penetrating the vapor-mother, hsi! enlightening the five leaves' blossoming luxurience,

2 It was K'ai-yüan that initiated the vast lodging with its revolvings around the pole star, hsi! encompassing the Six Thearch's glorious splendour.

3 Born in golden virtue's pure essence, hsi! cleansed in the jade dew's flourescent nourishment.

4 Refined elegance flourishes among the seven brilliances, hsi! decrees and enactments are according to the double principles, he embraces all the mysteries and acts as a master.

5 His brightness leaves nothing shadowed or unenlightened, his sovereign morality leaves none distanced or unendowed.

6 Longing for former ages' three drives, hsi! must give rise to the slayings of the four seasons.

7 The Setting:

8 The harsh winter is grievous and grave, the frigid air is cold and clear.

9 Pu Chou sends winds, Dark Dusk handles snow.

10 Trees shed their leaves, grasses loosen their joints.

11 The Earth's Sack is smokey and dark, the Fire well is frozen shut.

12 This month, the Son of Heaven dwells in the center of Dark Hall.

13 The cold of the Eight Waters, hsi! rests the hundred workers.

14 Examining the Royal Regulations, hsi! following the Nation's Airs,

15 Delighting in the farm folk's rest and leisure, hsi! these all result in the schooling of the hunt and the exercise of arms.

16 At the King's Command:

17 The god-like warriors are sent out towards the Nine Gates, the heavenly guardsmen are deployed towards the Four Wilds.

18 He summons the water steward and the forest sheriff, inquiring about the numbers of the earthly creatures.

19 A thousand riders like a whirlwind sweep away, ten thousand chariots thunderously hasten off.

20 They strike Fu Sang and brush fiery clouds, hsi!

encompass the Lunar Cavern and seek out the Cold Gate.

21 Brilliant and grand, they look on present and past, towering and swaying, they sweep toward the eternal and temporal.

22 This is but a rough sketch of it.

23 Within, he takes the Central Florescence as heaven's heart, without, he takes the "denuded of hair" as the ocean's mouth.

24 He clears the choked passes and makes the caverns open, swallows the barren fringes and utterly subjugates them.

25 Ta Chang, reckoning the paces, came and went,

Kua Fu shook his staff and hurriedly ran off.

26 His feet trace where the sun and moon revolve,

his purse envelops the potential and the actual of the Yin and Yang!

27 The Lordly King forthwith:

28 Strikes the swan-goose bell, making his simmurgh bells peal, leaves the Phoenix Gate, blowing open his imperial robes.

29 Drives the jade chariot's flying dragons, passes through the Divine Land's terraced peaks.

30 Journeys to Five Oaks, hsi! gazes on Three Peaks,

clasps Tender Willow, hsi! crosses Shang-lin.

31 Gathers the lofty dentate-banners; milling, mustering, halts the imperial canopy's deep ranks.

32 Thereupon,

33 He draws the "Leaning on Heaven" sword, bends the "Felling the Moon" bow.

34 The Kun-lun, Ah! hsi! They are within his grasp,

time and space, Ai! hsi! add to his power!

35 The (Yellow) River and the Han (River) for him reverse their flow, (Ssu) Ch'uan's summits for him give birth to winds!

36 Feathers and plumes flourish, hsi! and the nine heavens turn crimson, hunting fires flame, hsi! and a thousand mountains redden!

37 Then,

38 He summons Ch'ih-yu's retainers, assembles their long halberds and deploys them in the broad plain, expels the Rain Master, sends away the Wind Lord.

39 His deific majesty overpowers as thunder claps, his splendor and brilliance terrify the Man and Mei.

40 Making lowly the appearance and limits of the Imperial Preserve, making rustic the bounds and reaches of the Spirit Park.

41 And,

42 In the South, he takes (Mount) Heng and (Mount) Huo to make his boundaries, to the North, he takes (Mount) Tai and (Mount) Heng to make his hedge.

43 He comes to the East Sea and creates a moat, he is drawn to the Western Deep and makes flow a canal.

44 Lures the Nine Lands' prized game, hsi! surrounds the thousand herds to bring them in, unites the Eight Barrens' exotic beasts, hsi! assembles the ten thousand clans and comes to the encampment.

45 Cloud-tall nets are lofty and wide, heaven-high barricades are densely spread,

46 Cunning snares scatter the plain, precipitous fences bar the paths.

47 Midges and sand flies pass, obscuring the clouds, locusts and moths fly and are beyond number.

48 The tiered empyrean and the exotic thorn bushes,

Snare the soaring birds and the cowering rabbits.

49 The following regiments add their skills, covering the peaks, blanketing the ridges.

50 Golden spears advance en masse, washing clean the field's frigid frost.

51 Rainbow banners flap like lightning, rolling up the lengthy void's flying snow.

52 Wu stallions charge in formation, Yuan chargers prance in blood,

53 Encoiling the many mountains' continuous sprawl,

dividing the far waters' flashing flicker.

54 He orders the five stalwarts to cast down peaks, the One Man to uproot trees.

55 They bring down, then order lofty defiles, deepen, and then flatten narrow ravines.

56 They break apart the stockades of bushes, open up the groves and copses.


They all hasten, rushing to the center of the plain!

58 And,

59 The likes of T'ien Chiang, Ku Yeh, tribes of Niaou Huo and Chung Huang,

60 Surpassing in lofty majesty, hunting on the verdant celadon.

61 YIIIN! WUUUUU! HSIAAO! storming about, flashing forward,

62 They flay the skin of striped panthers, hack the paws of black bears,

63 Striking lions, seizing yellow gibbons, grabbing thrice wrestling twice.

64 While some attack barehanded to prove their strength, others brandish weapons and vie to be first.

65 Performing tiger roars with osprey vision, hsi! their ch'i is brilliant flame and matching smoke!

66 Battering the cornered boar, smiting the giant Yen!

67 The owl goat reacts to their howls with rigid death, the dracopard loses his essence and collapses in a heap.

68 Some smash brains, thereby snapping spines, some spew marrow, slinging spittle.

69 They deplete the distant wastelands, scouring the forested preserve, throttling the horned wolf, exterminating the heavenly dog,.

70 Stripping the horned bull-gaur's crown, probing the tusked elephant's mouth,

71 Sweeping the mound-fox for a thousand li, twisting off the potent-viper's nine heads.

72 They gnash the leaping serpent, gulping and swallowing, dragging out the fleeing cow-gaur in order to drive it away.

73 The Lordly King thereupon:

74 Loftily "penetrates heaven", scatters the starry pendant-banners, careens the thunder chariots, wields the lightning whip, gazes on the stalwart knights' strivings in the hunt, regards the Three Armies and being delighted, speaks:

75 "Oh! how their flailing like spirits and striking like ghosts terrifies people!"

76 Furthermore,

77 He commands the K'uei drum to be set up, exhorting the martial footsoldiers.

78 Although the trampled down and run over are already numerous, yet the hunters continue with unabated ardor and do not yet cease.

79 He assembles crimson plume-banners, hsi! they shine as the sun, draws the Crow Caw bow, hsi! full as the moon.

80 The war chariots rumble and roar as they fan out one after another, mounted archers blaze brightly as they resolutely shoot.

81 The falcons' and hounds' pounced on and run down prey, the flyers and flee-ers, they fall and falter.

82 Those seizing river deer and roe-bucks roar and pant, trampling pole-cats and racoon-dogs to be hung on frames.

83 Lofty lance-tips and stained golden-blades flood the caves and ambush the dens.

84 Mark their extraordinary skills that surpass all others. Regard their flurried speedings as they race to and fro.

85 In addition, there are:

86 The White Mei and the Flying Destrier, the Bristled Bull and the Giant Fox.

87 With teeth like polished swords, spines like clumped bamboo.

88 Mouths that swallow pole-arms and short spears, eyes that put lances and great-shields in extremis.

89 Breaking the carnelian bow, he seizes the jade crossbow, shooting the savage boar, piercing the wild tiger.

90 The metal arrow-barbs with each shot, are bunched in flights of four and five.

91 Although Chisel-tooth grinds his fangs and wreaks havoc, who can say that the "South mountain white foreheaded one" is even worth looking at?

92 He gathers the Eight Captains, sweeps the Four Corners, dispatches Chuan Chu, sends off the men of Tu Lu.

93 Scrambling up high groves, despoiling sheer cliffs, they snatch Ch'an monkeys, seize metal-eating bears,

94 Trapping yellow pole-cats and flying squirrels on the steep precipices, crushing giant weasels and badgers with huge boulders.

95 Yang Yu shoots arrows, Ch'i Kung flies the chariot. Their skills are as lauded as Keng Ying's, their wonder is the equal of P'u Ch'ieh's,

96 Felling the lavender ducks in the cloudy blue, downing the wild swan-geese in the purple void,

97 Snatching the crane-geese, knocking down the black cormorants, pelting the earthly habitat and the spirit dwelling,

98 Beheading the flying roc at the Sun's borders, slaughtering the great phoenix at Heaven's frontiers.

99 The Lung-po men hook their giant logger-head turtles, Jen Kung-tzu catches his giant fish.

100 Depleting the Fashioner's varieties, how could any spirit-creatures or monsters remain?

101 Therefore;

102 Spurting blood flows in streams, flying feathers scatter like snow.

103 It appears as if

104 High heaven is raining animals, above falling to the great wastes, the piled fowl form a mountain.

Below, the fallen plunge into the forest of pits.

105 The solar crow loses his color in the dawning Sun, the lunar rabbit is bereft of his essence in the bright moon.

106 Longing to ascend and guide the hunt up to the "Grandest Clarity", he who desires the arched firmament halts on his path.

107 And suddenly:

108 There was nothing that wasn't as "a still ocean and an empty sky", in every direction, all followed suit.

109 Even the Ch'in emperor and the Han warrior hsi!, how can they even be compared with this contending in martial deeds?

110 In an instant;

111 The Lordly King suddenly was changed in his appearance, he flushed and lost his color, "By dwelling in peace and contemplating dangers, one guards against risk and prevents idleness, this hurried galloping leads to acting wildly, it is not a beneficial method for obtaining order.

112 In addition, the lords of men consider the doctrine of folded hands as honorable, the arcane and mysterious as precious.

113 Cruelly exterminating Heaven's creatures; this can be considered as unprincipled."

114 Then he commanded the nets on three sides to be removed, exhibiting his universal humaneness.

115 "Those who have already killed something; every one of them has violated life, those who have not yet wounded anything; all of them are divinely innocent.

116 Yet even if we exterminate the furry ones with ambuscades, how is that like hacking flesh until the chariot wheels are stained incarnadine?"

117 He releases the majestic phoenix and the lesser river-phoenix, hsi! restores the benevolent white tiger and the unicorn,

118 Receives the Heavenly Treasure from Chen Ts'ang, carts the "not a bear" from the banks of the Wei.

119 Thereupon,

120 Feasting the hunt-followers, he enfoefs the weary and the injured, carriages convey the roast flesh, riders dispense spirits, they sheath the arms and weapons, burn the nets and snares.

121 And afterwards,

122 He climbs the Nine-nimbused tower, and celebrates in the Eight-corded garden.

123 Opens the "Sun and Moon's" door-bar, bursts the "Life Spirit's" portal.

124 "The sage acts and all creatures observe"; hunting in Ch'i and hounding in Ao, How can Hsüan and Ch'eng's hunts even be worth reckoning?

125 Sneering at King Mu's absurdities and exaggerations, they sing of the white-clouded Western Mother.

126 To what can you liken filling men with plain and simple flavors, inebriating these men with rich blended goblets of wine, drumming them with thunderclaps, dancing them with yin and yang?

127 Delighting in spiritual brightness, he is practiced in principle and virtue.

128 He stretches the "without an outside" to make a net, cuts the great substance to make a tethering post.

129 Stationing the Heavenly Net, it thereby covers him, hunting excellence and cultivation, he thereby drives to the extremes.

130 In this kind of winter-hunt, there is nothing that is not conquered.

131 He makes heavenly people repose in peace, grasses and trees to flourish and multiply.

132 The six palaces renounce their pearls and gems, the hundred clans rejoice in ploughing and weaving.

133 He stills Cheng and Wei's clamor, eschews gaudy and handsome colors.

134 The Heavenly Old One controls the plan, the Wind-ruler serves the humble.

135 It is the triple staircase that smooths the way for peace and the imperial doctrines that allow fulfillment.

136 How does this compare with all of these "Sir Fantasy", "Shang-lin", "Ch'ang-yang" and "Plume Hunt" calculating the numbers of the tailed deer and roe-bucks, bragging about the size of the preserves and parks?! TSAI!

137 Now he will extend glorious brilliance to following posterity, surpassing the arcane winds of distant antiquity, he amasses fine tablets, collects grand seals, ascends and raises an altar on Mount T'ai, seals virtue on She Shou. How can he and those seventy-two monarchs be entwined together a common thread?! TSAI!

138 The lordly king forthwith;

139 Retires the iridescent standards, returns the simmurgh coach,

140 Asks Broad Ch'eng about attaining the Tao, inquires after Great Wei's lonely dwelling.

141 Sends Wang Hsiang to gather black pearls from the scarlet waters. Those beneath heaven do not know where he has gone.


The text I have used is from Li T'ai-po ch'uan chi. with commentary by Wang Ch'i-chu (fl. 1758) I do not provide locations for references cited in the commentary because Wang's commentary provides direct quotations from the work cited which are sufficient for the purposes of the translation. For the reader with a special interest in one of the citations, it is a simple matter to locate the reference using one of the concordances available.

Notes to the Preface:

1. Fu are described as a "current" of ancient poetry in the Mao preface to the Book of Songs and in the preface to the "Two Capitals Rhapsody." Knechtges asserts that the implied meaning of "current" is "genre" (see Wen xuan, p. 92).

2. The rendering of this line relies on the textual variation found in the Hsiao edition as noted in the commentary. This substitution allows one to interpret this line as referring to learning as opposed to distance. Following this interpretation, the line refers to the multitude of allusions and hidden meanings that are an integral part of the fu genre which would only be apparent to a scholar who was familiar with the works alluded to.

3. This line is a direct quotation from the Mao preface to the Book of Songs.

4. Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju and Yang Hsiung (also known as Yang Tzu-yün) are the authors referred to here. They are both famous fu writers of the Han era and Li Po borrows heavily from both of their works in this fu.

5. This line can be taken to mean that Li Po is going to point out the faults and petty nature of these fu and then go on to correct these failings in his own work.

6. This is a famous fu by Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju (see Chinese Rhyme Prose, pp. 29ff for a translation of this work). It recounts the boastings of the ministers of the rival states of Ch'u and Ch'i as they describe the hunts of their rulers. It ends with the imperial envoy describing the imperial park, which surpasses those of Ch'i and Ch'u. The imperial envoy's reply is referred to as the "Shang-lin Rhapsody."

7. One li is equal to 1890 feet or approximately one-half of one kilometer.

8. This is a reference to the Ch'i minister's assertion that "Our state could swallow eight or nine of your Yün-mengs" (Chinese Rhyme-Prose, p. 36)

9. The "three cultivations" is a term for the three types of land that was cultivated: plains, mountains and lowlands. In this instance it seems to be referring to the farmers themselves rather than the land. "Resting one's shoulders" means simply to rest from one's burdens and labors.

10. The Han shu described Shang-lin park as several hundred li in circumference. This is also mentioned in the "Plume Hunt Rhapsody" (see The Han Rhapsody, p. 64).

11. The "Ch'ang-yang Rhapsody" and the "Plume Hunt Rhapsody" are famous hunting fu by Yang Hsiung (see Knechtges, 1976).

12. The Hu were northern barbarians mentioned in this rhapsody. They attacked wild beasts with their bare hands.

13. See Wen xuan, p. 162 L. 200n for more on this structure.

14. This line refers to the description of the boundary demarkation described in the "Plume Hunt Rhapsody." The park was bounded by vast mountains and several hundred li were designated as the "palace portal" (see The Han Rhapsody, pp. 65-6, Ll. 13, 20).

15. The "distant wastelands" are mentioned often in hunting fu as a place where hunting occurs. It is likely that these were managed "wilderness areas" outside the confines of the hunting park but in actuality not too far distant from the preserve itself. The great size of the imperial entourage made far journeys prohibitively cumbersome and expensive. The "six directions" means everywhere; North, South, East, West, up and down.

16. The "three drives" can be interpreted as the three seasonal hunts of Han times. These hunts had different purposes: the first to provide cured meat for the sacrificial vessels, the second to entertain guests, and the third to fill the king's larder. It could also be interpreted as a three-sided hunt in which one side was left open to allow some of the animals to escape (see Wen xuan, p. 160; see also line 108).

17. The use of the word "candidly" follows the commentary which implies that the meaning is to speak clearly of truth and falsehood. "Demonstrating" might be more literally translated as "hits the center of." Li Po wishes to capture the merit of the hunt in his poem.

Notes to the Poem (by line)

L. 1: The "vapor-mother" is a Taoist term meaning the source of all vapor or chi, the essence of life in the Taoist philosophy. The "five leaves" refers to five great dynasties: T'ang, Liang, Han, Chou, and Chin. Some sources substitute other dynasties for these five.

L. 2: K'ai-yüan was the title for the first reign period (713-741) of the T'ang monarch, Hsüan-tsung, (r. 712-756) who ruled at the time this work was written. "Initiated the vast lodging" is possibly a reference to his moving the capital to Lo-yang from Ch'ang-an. The word for "lodging" () also has connotations of traveling or sojourning, which may be a reference to the many moves that the court made back and forth between these two capitals (see Twitchett and Fairbanks, vol. 3, pp. 357-8). "Revolving around..." follows the translation of Knechtges in the "Chang-yang Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1976, p. 81) and implies that the emporer's deeds were in harmony with heaven which revolved around the pole star. The Six Thearchs were the six major emporers of the T'ang Dynasty.

L. 3: "Hsi!" is a caesura particle that marks a break in the line. Its origins are in the literature of the ancient state of Ch'u, which straddled the Yangtze river in present central China. It became a part of the fu style by way of the "Elegies of Chu", which also use this convention.These are references to the autumn birthdate of the emporer Hsüan-tsung. "Golden virtue" was a florid expression meaning autumn, and the "Jade dew" is a term for the dew of autumn.

L. 4: "Refined elegance" is a term for literature and compositions. The seven brilliances are the sun, moon, and the five planets. This line could also be interpreted as a flattering comparison of the emperor to the six thearchs mentioned above. Together they are like the seven brilliances and refinement flourished under their rule. The "two principles" are the principles of yin and yang which governed the actions of the emperor. Rituals aimed at harmonizing these two principles were a part of almost every aspect of the T'ang monarch's life (see McMullen, pp. 113-58).

L. 6: The "three drives" are the three ancient hunts. The "four slayings" are the four seasonal hunts of the T'ang era.

L. 9: Pu Chou is the name of a mountain in the north-west part of the Kun Lun range (see Maspero, p. 9). The Pu Chou winds were associated with the onset of winter and the killing of life (Shih chi 25: 3). "Dark Dusk" was the spirit associated with early Winter. The verb "handles," although somewhat vague, preserves the association with the hand of the Chinese verb. Dark Dusk's hand might also be an oblique reference to the hands of the great bronze statues of gods which were used for collecting dew (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 135).

L. 10: This line is an indication of the time the hunt described in the poem takes place. It is an allusion to a line from the Kuo yu. The "loosening of the joints" occurs ten days following the "Cold Dew." "Cold Dew" was the name for a division in the solar calendar--corresponding roughly with October 8 (see Mathews' Dictionary p. 1178 for a table of the solar terms).

L. 11: The "Earth's Sack" is mentioned in Sung Yu's "Wind Rhapsody" and is explained in the notes of Li Shan as a large cavern. The Ch'ing chou chi describes it as a mountain cavern with a wide mouth which was the well of winds. The "Fire Well", probably a volcanic fissure of some sort, is mentioned in the Hua-yang Kuo chih. It was said to be so bright that it was visible at night. It was also a source of fire for the surrounding people.

L. 12: The actions of the Emperor were regulated by the "Yueh-ling", or "Monthly ordinances", included as a part of the Han shu. The part of the palace in which he resided was determined by the time of the year as was outlined in this book. According to the "Yueh ling", at the beginning of Winter, the Emperor should live in Dark Hall's center.

L. 13: The "Eight Waters" are the rivers and their tributaries which flowed in and out of the Shang Lin Preserve as described in the San Fu Huang T'u. They are also described in Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju's "Shang-lin fu." The "hundred workers" refers to the workers who made implements of lacquer. Presumably the cold made application of coats of lacquer impossible.

L. 14: The "Royal Regulations" was a part of the Li chi. It stipulated hunting during the early winter when the lords had no other business. This is an allusion to the "Eastern Capital Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 157). The Nation's Airs is a part of the Book of Poetry. This is also an allusion to the "Eastern Capital Rhapsody" (ibid., p. 159).

L. 15: Although the term which I have translated "Schooling of the hunt" appears in some texts as a term for a person who cares for the royal hunting horses, I am following the usage as it appears in the "Shang Lin Rhapsody" which has the meaning of drilling soldiers. This usage is more consistent with the second part of the line and preserves the continuity of meaning. For more on the translation of "exercise of arms," (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 135 line 312).

L. 17: The "Nine Gates" are the nine gates of the capital. The "four wilds" means the wilderness in all four directions. This is an allusion to the Hou Han shu; "He gathers and harvests the nine marshes' living creatures, binds and bags the four wilds' flyers and flee-ers" (cited in the Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Chinese Language vol. 7, p. 184).

L. 18: The "water steward" and "forest sheriff" were officers in charge of the imperial park and mountains and marshes respectively. They are mentioned in the "Western Capital Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 135).

L. 19: This was a common phrase describing numerous cavalrymen and charioteers. It is an allusion to the "Eastern Capital Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1982, p. 161) and is found in numerous other sources as well.

L. 20: The "Fu Sang" tree was a fabulous double mulberry tree said to grow in the East in the place where the Sun rises. The leaves of this tree, when eaten, bestowed immortality and a bright golden nimbus upon the eater. The ten suns bathed on this tree, with nine resting on the lower branches and one on top. It is possible that "Fu Sang" refers not to the tree, but rather to the mythical Eastern country where the tree grew. The people of this country were known for raising deer for milk animals. "Fu Sang" is also mentioned in Li Po's "Great Roc Rhapsody", the "Eastern Metropolis Rhapsody", and the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, pp. 211, 283). The "Lunar Cavern" is located in the far West. it is the birthplace of the moon (see "Chang Yang fu"). The "cold gate" is the entrance to the northern polar regions (see "Ta Jen fu").

L. 21: "eternal and temporal" is but one of many possible translations for ch'ien k'un which refer to the first and ninth hexagrams. The meaning is similar to that of yin and yang.

L. 22: Comments of this sort is common to the fu genre. The poet uses this device to emphasize the glory of the subject, the inference being that it is indescribable. (For a similar usage, see "Western Capital Rhapsody" Knechtges, 1982, p. 145).

L. 23: "Central Florescence" is an archaic name for China. "Heaven's heart" is similar to "the center of the universe". "Barren northlands" is the translation for "chiung fa" which literally means "denuded of hair." This translation is based on Chuang tzu and his commentators, who describe the northern regions as "poor hair lands." "Ocean's mouth" is the common term for a harbor or estuary. I translated it literally to preserve the parallelism with 'heaven's heart."

L. 24: "Choked passes" is an attempt to preserve the association with the throat that is in the original Chinese and also to convey the meaning of "narrow, strategic passes," the common interpretation of "huo yen." This is an allusion to the "Wei Capital Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1982, p. 431).

Ll. 25: Ta Chang was a legendary minister of Emperor Yu. He paced off the distance between the Eastern and Western extremes. Kua Fu was a legendary strongman who chased the sun until overcome by thirst. His body spawned the Teng grove. The purpose of these two lines is to compare the actions of the emperor to those of these two legendary figures. Their accomplishments do not quite measure up to those of the emperor which are described in the following couplet.

L. 26: "Purse envelops" is an allusion to the Kuo Ch'in lun. I have chosen to translate "wei you" as two separate words; "potential" and "actual" rather than the common usage of "not yet." This choice was influenced by the possessive particle between "yin yang" and "wei you" indicating that the "wei you" was a part of the "yin yang" rather than an indication of the "yin yang's" future state. L. 28: The "swan-goose bell" announced the departure of the emperor (see Li chi cheng yi). This is an allusion to the "Winged Hunt Rhapsody". Knechtges translates it as "huge bells" (Knechtges, 1976, p. 67). "Simmurgh bells" were gold bells shaped like the simmurgh, a small golden bird noted for its beautiful song. They were hung on the imperial chariot. This is an allusion to the "Western Capital Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 140). For more on the Phoenix Gate, see Knechtges, 1982, p. 130.

L. 29: The "jade chariot" is mentioned in the "Eastern Capital Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, pp. 141, 158). "Divine land" is  a rendering of "Shen Chou", which was located South East of the Kun Lun range. It was said to be the residence of the ancient thearchs.

L. 30: Five Oaks and Tender Willow are mentioned in the "Western Capital Rhapsody." Five Oaks was the name of a palace located near Chou-chih, so named because of five large oak trees planted around it (Knechtges, 1982, p. 206; also Bokenkamp, p.281). Tender Willow was the name of a belvedere south of the Kunming pond. It is mentioned in the "Shang-lin Rhapsody" (ibid.). Three Peaks is a mountain mentioned in Kua ti chih. It is a mountain with three separate summits located to the south-east of Sha Chou.

L. 31: For more on "dentate banners" see Knechtges, 1982, p. 286.

L. 33: The "Leaning on Heaven" sword is an allusion to the "Ta yen Rhapsody" which describes " a long sword brightly brightly leaning against Heaven's outside" (quoted in the commentary, p. 65).

L 34: The Kun-lun mountains were said to be the home of the Queen Mother of the West. (For more on their significance, see Maspero, pp. 375-77).

L. 35: The characters I have rendered "Yellow Rivers and Han River" could also be interpreted as refering to the milky way. The following line of the couplet deals with the terrestrial province of Szchwan, however, so I have chosen to translate "He Han" literally.

L. 36: "Feathers and plumes" is an allusion to the "Wu Capital Rhapsody." The notes indicate that they are the plumed banners of the host. The "hunting fires" were used to drive the animals.

L. 38: Ch'ih-yu was a mythical rebel who was subdued by the benevolent Yellow Emperor (see Maspero p. 18). He is mentioned in the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody," and other hunting rhapsodies. Knechtges believes he is possibly a person in the costume of Ch'ih-yu who is leading a procession (Knechtges, 1982, p. 216). Whether or not this is the case, Ch'ih-yu can be interpreted as a symbol of defeated, submissive foes. The translation of "broad plain" follows Bodde, pp. 157-166. The "Rain Master" and the "Wind Lord" are weather deities. "Rain Master" is another term for "Dark Dusk" mentioned in line four. These two deities had associations with the constellations Hyades and Sagittarius respectively (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 160). They are mentioned in several hunting rhapsodies and they seem to be associated with the preparation for the hunt. L. 39: Apologists for the ritual hunts claimed that they served to intimidate the barbarian tribes. A similar line can be found in the "Western Capital Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 135).

L 40: The idea of these lines is that these ancient, famed places are no match for the glory of the emperor. Both are mentioned in the "Eastern Capital Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1982, p.157).

L 42: The translation of "boundary" for "chin", which has the literal meaning of cloak or garment follows the usage of the Fang yen. "Hedge" should be read in the sense of an enclosure for penning animals. "Heng" and "Huo" are two names for the same mountain. Mount Tai is actually located in the East. All the mountains mentioned are part of the five sacred mountains (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 172).

L. 43: The rendering of the word liu, meaning "to flow" as "erodes" is an attempt to show the active nature of liu. He "lius" the canal into being.

L. 44: The "Nine Lands" is a term for China, which anciently comprised nine states (see Chou li). The "Eight Barrens" was a term used to refer to the far places surrounding China. They are mentioned in the "Wei Capital Rhapsody" (also see Han shu, Hou Han shu, and many others).

Ll. 45, 48: These "cloud-tall nets" were used for netting birds. They are also mentioned in the "Dancing Crane Rhapsody." The "empyrean" and "thorn bushes" in line 48 are direct references to the "cloud nets" and "barricades" in line 35.

L. 50: Another indicator of time; the frost traditionally descended in late October.

L. 52: The "Wu stallion" is fabled horse mentioned in the Analects of Confucius. The "Yuan charger" was a legendary horse mentioned in the Han shu which could run a thousand li in a day. It would sweat blood. I have chosen to translate these in the plural, because they seem to be are references to the mounts of the army in general rather than any particular rider.

L. 53: "Flashing flicker" is an attempt to render the description of something which alternates between brightness and darkness.

L 54: The "five stalwarts" were said to have lived during the Shu Han dynasty. They were so strong they could throw down mountains (see Hua-yang Kuo chi). The "One Man" is mentioned in the Chou li. He was able to tear up trees by their roots.

L. 56: For a similar line see the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1982, p. 223 or Hughes, p. 42).

L. 59: T'ien-chiang and Ku-yeh were ancients renowned for their ability to strike down tigers bare-handed (see Yen tzu chun chiu). Niao-huo and Chung-huang are the names of tribes famed for their strength and hunting prowess. They are mentioned by Mencius and in the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody". The warriors of Chung-huang were known for their expertise in bare-handed combat. (For a reference on the practice of bare-handed combat, see Knechtges, 1982, p. 138).

L. 65: According to the commentary of Wang Ch'i chu, the meaning of this line is that they roared like tigers and had eyesight as keen as that of ospreys. Their ch'i, or life force, is powerful and balanced in yin (smoke) and yang (fire).

L. 66: The Yen was a mythical beast of great length mentioned in the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, pp. 221, 230 for a discussion on this beast).

L. 67: The "owl goat", mentioned in the Shan hai ching, was a mythical creature said to have the face of a man, long lips, a black body, and hairy heels. I have chosen to construe this line to mean that the howls of the hunters killed the beast, rather than the beast howling and then dying. There are precedents for this translation found in other hunting "fu:" The "Western Capital Rhapsody" tells of monkeys and gibbons falling from trees due to the fierceness of the warriors. "Sir Fantasy" and the "Winged Hunt" rhapsodies mention animals who die of fear (Watson, 1971 A, p. 47. and Knechtges, 1976, p. 70) In ancient times, it was believed that hunters could kill animals with their ch'i, or energy. This is possibly a reference to that belief (see Corcoran and Farkas, p. 90 91 for more on killing by means of "chi"). The dracopard, described in the Erh ya, has the head of a dragon, the body of a leopard, the tail of a horse, and the nails of a tiger. It was afraid of good people, but ate bad people.

L. 69: The "horned wolf" is mentioned in the Han shu. The "heavenly dog" is mentioned in the Shan hai ching. It is similar to a raccoon dog except that it has a white head. It was able to withstand the effects of cruelty (Schiffeler, p. 55).

L. 70: The "bull-gaur" was a fabulous horned bovine animal. It was said to have from one to three horns on it's head and was black in color.

L. 71: The "mound-fox" and the "potent-viper" are mentioned in the "Ch'u Elegies". The fox was said to be able to run 1000 li in a day (a li is a Chinese mile or about 1890 feet). The viper had nine heads and ate people. It is mentioned in the "Wu Capital Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 412).

L. 72: The "leaping serpent" is a beast similar to a dragon. It could fly among the clouds. The "fleeing cow-gaur" is a beast similar to the "bull-gaur" described above. It had only one horn and was green in color. This line appears to be referring to the actions of the hunting dogs. L. 74: "Penetrates heaven" means that the king dons the "penetrating heaven crown", a tall crown which was part of the imperial regalia. The "penetrating heaven crown" is described in the Han shu and the T'ang shu, and is mentioned in the "Eastern Metropolis Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1982, p. 265.) The "starry pendant-banners" and "Three Armies" are mentioned in the "Plume Hunt Rhapsody." "Thunder chariots" and "lightning whips" are mentioned in the "Ho-tung fu".

L. 75: This is an allusion to the "Plume Hunt Rhapsody."

L. 77: The "K'uei drum" was made from the hide of a k'uei, a mythical one-legged beast described in the Shan hai ching. The bones of this animal were used as drum-sticks. The sound of a K'uei drum could be heard for five hundred li and overawed the country (Schiffeler, p. 47).

L. 78: A similar line with opposite meaning appears in the "Western Capital Rhapsody": "Having trampled two or three out of ten, They restrain their ardor and briefly rest" (Knechtges, 1982, p. 137).

L. 79: "Crimson plume-banners..." is an allusion to Chia yü: "The white plume-banners are like the moon the crimson plume-banners are like the sun" (cited in Wang's commentary). The "Crow Caw bow" is a bow made from the wood of a "crow caw" tree. This tree had branches which were supple and when a crow would attempt to fly from a branch of this tree, the branch would bend, causing the crow to caw with fear. Another interpretation is that this phrase means "sorrowful cry" and refers to the legendary bow the Yellow Emperor's attendants used to shoot at the dragon he was riding. They missed the dragon and were unable to prevent him from leaving them, so the bow was named "Sorrowful Cry" (Knechtges, 1982, pp. 406-7). This bow is mentioned in the "Sir Fantasy Rhapsody" and the "Wu Capital Rhapsody." The comparison to the moon is presumably that it is drawn so full that it forms a circle like the full moon.

L. 80: "Fan out, one after another" is an allusion to the "Shang-lin Rhapsody."

L. 81: "Falcons and Hounds" are mentioned in the Hou Han shu.

L. 82: The "river deer and roe-bucks" are mentioned in the "Chu Elegies." The P'i ya describes the river deer as being smaller and more beautiful than a normal deer and white in color. The "pole-cats and racoon-dogs" are described in the P'i ya as well. These animals were skinned and their pelts hung on frames to dry.

L. 83: "Golden blades" are golden sword blades. This word is also used in the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody" to describe the great height of the palace ridge poles, so the connotation of height is also present. "Stained" is one interpretation, with the meaning being that the blades are blood-stained. Another possible interpretation is that the blades were dyed or colored in some way.

L. 84: "Regard" should be taken to mean "esteem" as well as "to see."

L. 86: The "White Mei" is an unknown animal unmentioned in other Chinese texts. The "Flying Destrier" is also not mentioned by name, and could refer to any of the numerous winged legendary beasts in Chinese mythology. The "Bristled Bull" is described in the Shan hai ching as a man-eating bristled bull whose cry is like the howl of a dog. The "Giant Fox" is described in the Shuo wen as suitable for sacrificing to heaven.

L. 88: Following the parallelism of the preceding line, the grammatically correct rendering of this line would be: "...eyes that extreme lances and great shields" with "extreme" being used as a transitive verb. I can find no precedent for this usage of the word "chi", and I am interpreting it to mean: "place in an extreme situation", or "push to the extreme."

L. 89: These weapons were ornamented with carnelian and jade. I interpret the line as referring to the actions of the emperor individually as opposed to the hunters in general. (It is hard to imagine the entire hunting party all breaking their bows at the same time.)

L. 90: The idea here is that he fires four or five arrows in rapid succession as if shooting only once.

L. 91: "Chisel tooth" is a fabulous, long-toothed, man-eating beast mentioned in the "Ch'ang yang Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1976, p. 81) The Huai nan tzu describes it as one of the disasters of mankind. The "South mountain white foreheaded tiger" was a beast which was described in the Chin shu as even more terrible than Chisel tooth. The idea of this line is that the hunters are so fierce that even these two legendary monsters are unworthy of one's attention.

L. 92: The "Eight Captains" are described in the Han shu. They comprised the leadership of the land and sea forces. "Four Corners" is an allusion to the Erh ya: "The South-west corner, call it mysterious, the North-west corner, call it the inner courtyard, the North-east corner, call it cultivated, the South-east corner, call it deep" (cited in Tzu hai Dictionary). "Chuan Chu" is the name of a patriotic assassin employed by an emperor of the Wu dynasty to kill a rival. "Tu Lu" is the name of a country whose people were known for their acrobatic skills, especially pole climbing (see Knechtges, 1982, pp. 196-98). They are mentioned in the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody" and the Han shu.

L. 93: "Ch'an monkeys" are mentioned in the "Shang-lin Rhapsody" They are said to resemble the Macacus monkey with its furry head. Some commentators say they are white below the waist and black above; some claim that they are black below the waist and white above. The "metal eating bears" are mentioned in the "Three Capitals Rhapsody." They were said to resemble small bears. They were black with a white chest, about the size of a donkey and they ate metal. The meaning and pronunciation of the second character of this pair is not known.

L. 94: These animal names are approximations. The "yellow pole-cats" and "flying squirrels" and "badgers" are all described in the Erh ya. The "giant weasels", which were said to eat monkeys, are described in the Shih chi.

L. 95: The Han shu tells of Yang-yu, a famous archer of the Ch'u dynasty. At a hundred paces, he was able to hit the bull's eye one hundred times in succession. Chi-kung was a man who was able to make a flying chariot and travel to far places with it. His story is told in the Po wu chih. Keng-ying is an archer who was skilled in shooting birds with an arrowless bow. He is mentioned in the "Wei Capital Rhapsody." His story is told in the Warring States Intrigues (see also Knechtges, 1982, pp. 454-5). P'u- ch'ieh is a famous archer mentioned in the Huai nan tzu.

Ll. 96, 97: The identity and attributes of the wild fowl mentioned in these lines are uncertain. Various commentators disagree as to their color and size and other characteristics. For the purposes of this translation, it is enough to know that they are game birds. "Crane-geese" are mentioned in the "Sir Fantasy Rhapsody." "Black cormorants" are mentioned in the "Shang-lin Rhapsody." "Spirit dwelling" is a reference to the sky. "Pelting" rendered literally would be "pelleting", meaning to shoot with pellets. The commentary interprets it to mean "depleting", but I have chosen to ignore it in this instance.

L. 99: "Lung-pai" is the name of a mythical country of giants mentioned in the Lieh tzu. The people of this country were able to haul in six giant sea-turtles on one hook. The name, "giant logger-head turtles" was derived from the combination of "ling-kuei", which is a logger-head turtle, and "ao", which is a giant sea turtle. The legend of Jen Kung-tzu and the giant fish is found in the Chuang tzu. He fashioned a huge hook and caught a giant fish in the Eastern Sea.

L. 100: The "Fashioner" refers to the divine creator of Chinese mythology.

L. 104: "Raining animals" is an allusion to the "Sir Fantasy Rhapsody." The "pits" are traps to catch animals. L. 105: This is an allusion to the "Wu Capital Rhapsody" (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 413). The Sun was the supposed dwelling place of the three-legged solar crow (see Schafer, 1977, pp. 164-5). The Moon was the home of a lunar rabbit (see Schafer, 1976, pp.34-5). Even these mythical animals are not spared the fury of the hunt. "Loses color" is a way of saying that something is injured or killed.

L. 106: "He" refers to the emperor. "Grandest Clarity" is a Taoist term for heaven. "Desired the arched firmament" might also be rendered: "Persecuted everything under heaven" depending on which meaning of hen is used.

L. 108: "Still ocean and empty sky" is an idiom meaning that heaven and earth are is quiet and peaceful (derived from a quotation from the Li tou wei i).

L. 109: The meaning is that the hunts of these great rulers cannot even be compared with this hunt. The "Ch'in emperor" is Ch'in Shih-huang-ti, the founder of China's first great empire. "Han warrior" is a reference to the Han emperor Wu-ti, whose reign was one of great expansion and prosperity. Wu-ti was emperor at the time of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, and he was known for his propriety and patronage of the arts. Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju's original hunting fu were written to flatter Wu-ti.

L. 111: The description of the king in the "Shang-lin Rhapsody" is similar. He has a similar change in his appearance when he recognizes the excesses of the hunt. The admonition to "dwell in peace and contemplate danger" is quoted from the Tso chuan. "Hurried galloping and acting wildly" is a quotation from Lao-tzu which describes the negative effect of hunting on men's hearts.

L. 112: The "doctrine of the folded hands" is an expression for the Taoist ideal of a ruler who does not act and thereby rules. The "arcane and mysterious" is a colloquial term for the doctrines of Buddhism. It is also an allusion to the Tao te chih kuei lun. Li Po thus covers both major religions in this line.

L. 113: "Cruelly exterminating Heaven's creatures" is an allusion to the Shang shu.

L. 114: A more literal translation of "Universal" would be "six directional", meaning in all directions. "Removing the nets on three sides" is a reference to the actions of Cheng Tang, the humane and virtuous founder of the Yin dynasty. He removed the nets from three sides to allow the animals some path for escape (see Knechtges, 1982, pp. 160, 288).

L. 116: "Staining their chariot wheels" is an allusion to the "Sir Fantasy Rhapsody." The hunters stain their chariot wheels with the blood of the animals. The king is rationalizing his actions here. His hunts are not yet as gory as those in the "Sir Fantasy Rhapsody." This could be interpreted as somewhat ironic and satirical.

L. 117: These are all auspicious animals. The Yo-chou, or "lesser river phoenix" is described in the Shuo wen as a divine bird that lives on rivers, like a duck but larger, with red eyes. It is also described as being a small phoenix by Chiang Hua in his notes to the Beast classic. The "benevolent white tiger" is described in the P'i ya. The "unicorn" is a Ch'i-lin, a fabulous lucky animal described in the Shi chi. It was said to have a deer's body, a cow's tail, wolf paws, and one horn.

L. 118: The "Heavenly Treasure" is the name of a fabulous beast with the head of a cock and the body of a man. It is mentioned in the "Plume Hunt Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1976, p. 69). It was also known as the Chen Treasure and is mentioned by that name in the "Western Metropolis Rhapsody." Some accounts described the beast as a stone with the head of a cock. It was associated with shooting stars (see Knechtges, 1982, pp. 182-3). Owning the male animal meant that the possessor was a rightful king (see Tai k'ang chi). "Chen-Ts'ang" is the name of the country where the beast was discovered. "Not a bear" is an allusion to a story related in the Sou shen chi. The king went hunting by the Wei river. The oracles told the king that he would have only one catch; not a dragon, not a serpent, not a brown bear, not a black bear. The king caught no animals, but met a man who returned to the capital with him and became a trusted minister. The meaning here is that the king has found a trusted minister. This story is also referred to in the "Eastern Metropolis Rhapsody" (ibid., p. 289). The emperor Hsüan-tsung recruited his most influential minister, Yao Ch'ung, on a hunting trip (see Twitchett and Fairbank, vol 3, p. 348).

L. 120: Similar feasts are described in other hunting fu, with the feasters being served by mounted stewards who rode up and down dispensing food and drink (see Knechtges, 1982, pp. 141, 225).

L. 122-123: The "Nine-nimbused tower" is also mentioned in Li Po's "Bright Hall Rhapsody." The commentary identifies the "Nine Nimbi" as the heavenly dwelling places of the Taoist "Heavenly Immortals" (p. 33). The "eight cords" were the distant lands that joined heaven and earth, binding them together (mentioned in the Huai nan tzu). The names of these structures are possibly the poet's own creations. It is also possible that these were the actual names of various halls, gardens, and towers. The religious connotations of these names are obvious and they associate the emperor's actions with goodness and piety.

L. 124: "The Sage acts..." is a direct quotation from the Chou i. "Hunting in Ch'i and hounding in Ao" is an allusion to the "Eastern Metropolis Rhapsody." These two places were the favored hunting parks of the kings of Chou (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 290). "Ch'eng" and "Hsüan" are the names of Chou kings who hunted in Ch'i and Ao. The "Eastern Metropolis Rhapsody" calls their hunts "not worth mentioning."

L. 125: King Mu was the hero of various legends, including one in which he met the Western Mother and she prophesied that he would not die, but would return to her. In the end, however, he proved unworthy and died anyway. The Western Mother is referred to as "white-clouded" because the augury mentioned white clouds and also because clouds symbolize the damp, life-giving yin element associated with this female deity.

L. 126: On the rendering of shih as "these men", see Dobson, A Dictionary of the Chinese Particles, p. 667.

L. 128: "Great substance" is a religious term approximating the Western concept of Nature. The word for "substance" can also be interpreted as a grown tree, thus allowing the metaphorical creation of a tethering post. "Without an outside" refers to the domain of the king. As he owned everything under heaven, his domain had neither an inside or an outside (an allusion to the Kung-yang chuan). This line is an allusion to a line in the "Ch'ang-yang Rhapsody": "To pound the Tz'u-yeh mountains into nets, to coil the Southern Mountains into nets" (The Han Rhapsody, p. 80).

L. 129: The "Heavenly Net" is a term for the laws and principles of heaven. It also is the name for the constellation Hyades.

L. 131: The "six palaces" are the palaces that housed the numerous imperial concubines. This is an allusion to a story in the Chou li where the concubines burned their precious things to show their temperance.

L. 133: The music of Cheng and Wei was held to be harmful and incorrect. It is also mentioned in the "Ch'ang-yang Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1976, p. 82).

L. 134: The "Heavenly Old One" was a deity who was in charge of keeping the scheme of heaven. He was a minister of the Yellow Emperor. "Wind ruler..." is an allusion to a story told in the Shi chi: The Yellow Emperor watched a whirlwind blow dirt away and commented that rulers should clear away evil in that manner, thus serving their subjects. L. 135: The "triple staircase" is mentioned in the "Western Capital Rhapsody" (Knechtges, 1982, p. 120). This is a reference to the three staircases at the main entrance to the Everlasting Palace and is a metonymic device that refers to the emperor himself. This line makes the emperor the source of happiness.

L. 137: "Arcane winds" is a term for religious mysteries. The tablets referred to are jade tablets which were given to monarchs as a sign of their royal authority. The seals consisted of two slips of bamboo on which contracts and treaties were written (see Legge, p. 181). Both were associated with good luck and magical protection. Knechtges translates "grand seals" as a "good sign" (Knechtges, 1976, p. 85). The accumulation of these tablets and seals could be interpreted as a sign that the number of vassals and the expanse of the monarchs authority was increasing. Raising an altar on Mount T'ai was an act which exhibited the divine right of the monarch. It is mentioned in several of the rhapsodies on hunts and capitals. It was known as the "feng sacrifice" (see Knechtges, 1982, p. 152, Wechsler, pp. 170-94, and McMullen, pp. 128-132 for more on this rite). "She Shou" is the name of a mountain where the virtuous deeds of a great monarch were engraved in stone. "Seventy-two" refers not to a particular number, but is an expression denoting all. This expression is derived from the numerological belief that seventy-two was the number that fulfilled yin and yang. It therefore came to mean "all" or "every."

L. 140, 141: "Broad Ch'eng" and "Great Wei" are personifications of the Tao. The "black pearl" represents the Tao. Wang-hsiang means "purposeless" meaning that the emperor finds the Tao through purposelessness. These are actions of the Yellow Emperor, as related in Chuang tzu (see Legge, pp. 345, 359, 536). The final sentence is an allusion to a story in the Chuang tzu which tells of a Taoist disciple, Kang-sang K'u who became a recluse and spurned the worship of the people in a nearby village. K'u believed that promoting and employing wise and talented men led to instability, so he employed only the "boorish, rude, bustling and ill-mannered" (see Legge, pp. 514-16).

Go to the Introduction to Li Po and the Great Hunt Rhapsody

Go to the Bibliography



If you would like to contact me with questions or comments, I can be reached at